Claudia Makes a Difference

Claudia smiling
Claudia smiling
 Refusing calorie-laden dishes, like chile rellenos, isn't just rejecting food, it's rejecting your culture. I had to learn to manage difficult situations. 
*People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
Claudia lost weight with a prior Weight Watchers program and is continuing with PointsPlus.

Claudia joined Weight Watchers back in 2002. She fell in love with the Plan, got to her goal weight and decided to become a Leader. Soon, the Members in her California town began asking for Spanish-language Weight Watchers meetings. A native of Mexico, she decided to begin leading meetings in Spanish. We originally published Claudia’s success story in 2007. Now, in 2014, she’s still leading three Spanish-language meetings a week, still at her goal weight and continuing to inspire her Hispanic community to get healthy.

In Claudia's words

I grew up in Mexico. As a child I was overweight and constantly tormented. The kids had 20 nicknames for me, and they all translated to "chubby." I immigrated to the United States when I was 27 and settled in California, where I continued to gain weight. After my doctor told me I was obese and I saw particularly unflattering photos of myself, I got serious about getting healthy. Weight Watchers got me there.

Once I lost the weight, I became a Leader. And as soon as I started leading meetings, Members appreciated seeing a Latina face at the front of the room and began to approach me about conducting meetings in Spanish. That started an endless stream of requests for meetings that were not only in a language the community could understand, but that also addressed the concerns of that community.

Making changes

Many of my members share my Mexican heritage. We recognize that family gatherings in our culture can be tricky. When it’s someone’s birthday, you always hear “What do you want to eat?” not, “Here’s a check.” Refusing calorie-laden dishes, like chile rellenos, isn't just rejecting food, it's rejecting your culture. I had to learn to manage difficult situations. I learned that portion control can go a long way in weight management. I know now that I don't ever want to turn down my favorite foods, but I need to make sure not to let mom pile 10 tacos on my plate when just two will do.

The greatest challenge I face in the Hispanic community is the widespread misconception that members have to buy Weight Watchers food in order to follow the Plan. I’m personally trying my best to educate and explain the true essence of "healthy lifestyle" and behavior change to my community.

Enjoying life

My favorite dishes growing up were chilaquiles and enchiladas mole. I could eat them hot, cold or three days old, it didn’t matter. The problem is when you like something, you feel the need to finish it, no matter how big the portion is. Now I still eat chilaquiles and mole, but in moderation. I’m aware now.

The silent killer

I call diabetes the “silent killer” of my community. My grandparents are diabetic and I recently had another family member die from diabetes-related complications. I see it all the time in my community. We eat the same things every day and not many people realize just how unhealthy some of these foods are.

At the end of the day, family is a big deal to the Hispanic community. If you want more time with your kids or your mom or your grandma, you have to be healthier. That’s the message I try to spread to my Members.

Happier and healthier

When you’re overweight, you’re always trying to please everyone else in order to be accepted. For so many years I was the “clown” of the party. But at a healthy weight, you’re able to be more yourself. Losing weight has opened so many doors for me mentally, professionally and personally.

Leading meetings in my community is a big responsibility. I just want to help my people learn to enjoy the food out there that’s good for them—there are so many healthy options. I feel it’s my purpose in life and the legacy I want to leave. I’m not going to be rich or famous, but these people that I’ve guided make me see life differently every day. If I can make a difference and help one person change their life, I’m happy with that.

Claudia's Tips
  • I always recommend getting exercise out of the way first thing in the morning, before the day's duties derail you. If you aren't a morning person, change into workout clothes as soon as you get home. Hit the street for a walk or throw in a DVD immediately, no matter what. Do not sit down! The minute you do, you will find something else that needs your attention.
  • I urge my members to be patient. Take advantage of the support offered at the meetings and stay focused on your weight-loss goals. Enjoy the positive changes you experience, and don't worry about the time it will take to get to your goal.
  • I make lists of the reasons that I want to maintain a healthy weight. I force myself to recognize that it is worth it.
  • Understand you must get involved with your weight loss. You need to read every bit of material available to you. Learn everything you can. The more you learn, the more successful you will be.