Claiming Center Stage

 Now I’m the star of my own show! 
*People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
As a young opera singer, Jennifer was constantly overlooked for leading roles because of her size. But after dropping 20 dress sizes with Weight Watchers, she finally got to play her dream part — Carmen!

In Jennifer’s words

As an overweight opera singer, I wasn’t getting the kinds of roles I wanted. In my late 20s I was playing parts like the old maid, the housekeeper and other roles meant for much older singers. Carmen is a famous role — a provocative gypsy seductress — that I was dying to play, but I was told many times that I wouldn’t get to play her until I lost weight. I had the voice, but I didn’t have the look. My weight was holding me back. That was the driving force behind my weight loss.

Getting started

I’d been overweight my entire life. But I wasn’t overweight because of what I was eating. It was really about portion size. Immediately, I invested in the Weight Watchers food scale. It sits on my kitchen counter and I use it daily. I weigh and measure my food so I know what the appropriate portions are. That, coupled with going to my meetings, helped me stay on track. I often had my Leader remind me of what a normal portion was supposed to look like. And tracking was key. I actually keep the three-month tracker with me all the time — the paper one! I will always continue to use that. It keeps me accountable and played a huge role in my success.

A more active life

Before Weight Watchers, my activity level was pretty much non-existent. I was always a person who liked to dance and liked to move, but I wasn’t an “exercise person,” per se. It was a bit daunting and scary for me the first year, but once I’d lost a little bit of weight, I joined a gym. I started on the treadmill, slowly. Now I’ve become a bit of a runner and I’m a huge fan of hot yoga and Zumba. I built up my exercise gradually. I started out not exercising at all and built up to working out five days a week. Now I’ve struck a balance of exercising two or three days a week and I consider it a constant part of my life. It’s definitely helped me to stay motivated these past five years.

Help from eTools

I’ve always been a fan of eTools — especially the Recipe Builder because I love to cook. Being able to plug in a recipe that I already have and find out what the PointsPlus value is has made my journey a lot easier. I also love that I can use the Barcode Scanner and the PointsPlus Calculator, which I have on my smartphone, at the grocery store. I use those all the time.

Building confidence

Before my weight loss, my confidence wasn’t very high. I’ve always been a performer and a jovial person, but now the confidence you see on the outside matches how I feel inside. Going from a size 26 to a size 6...I don’t even know how to put that into words.

Honestly, I never limited myself even when I was carrying the extra weight. However, it was just yesterday — and you hear this all the time, but it’s true! — I was running up a few flights of stairs in the subway and I wasn’t out of breath. I’ll never forget being a kid, and even in my 20s, always feeling like I finished last, literally. I couldn’t keep up with my friends. I’ve always been a fast-paced person, but my body was holding me back from that. Now I’m running up multiple flights of stairs. That’s a wonderful feeling.

Words of wisdom

If you had asked me in 2005 if I ever thought I’d lose the weight, I would have told you no. If I can sit here today and do this, you can do this. You just have to really want to do it. Weight loss isn’t just losing one pound or two pounds every single week. It’s not steady. That’s one of the main reasons I kept going to my meetings — to remind myself of that. There would be some weeks where I would lose and others that I would maintain or gain a little bit. But I had to remind myself to look at the big picture. That was hard for me.

We live in a society that’s always looking for a quick fix. We want the weight off yesterday! I just trusted the process. Little by little the weight came off. Going to meetings and having my Leader and other Members cheer me on when I wanted to give up because the weight wasn’t coming off fast enough was a huge help. Staying motivated at those times was one of the hardest parts — especially because I had so much to lose.

Leading lady

I’m happy to say that I’ve played the part of Carmen many times since I’ve lost the weight. I’ll never forget that first time being in the wardrobe room and having a couple of dress options to choose from. I looked at one that looked a little too big and another that looked a little too small and thought nothing was going to fit. Sure enough, the tiny dress zipped right up.

After that I was cast again and again. Now I’m playing the types of roles I know I was meant to play. I’m the star of my own show.