Battle of the Bulge

Stephanie Warner
 I never really understood what people were saying about getting all these endorphins from exercise. Now, after I go for a run, I feel healthy and strong. 
*People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
Stephanie’s life as a military wife took an emotional toll on her, and she ate to cope. But making small changes helped her find freedom from food and a healthy, active life.

Stephanie faced a challenge when her husband, Campbell, was deployed to Afghanistan only six months after their wedding: She used food to quell her mixture of emotions. But after he returned home, and they started a new life in a big city, Stephanie learned that making tiny tweaks to her lifestyle could help her deal with any difficult moment that she may face.

What was it like when Campbell was away?

It was a really hard time for both of us. I was trying to hide my feelings so I ate for comfort. I started taking on extra duties at work just to keep my mind occupied. I knew I was gaining weight, but I just pushed those feelings away. By the time he came back, I had gained 60 pounds, and I hated how I felt.

When did you decide to make a change?

About a month after he returned, we moved to Washington, DC. We were living in the middle of the city so we either had to take the Metro or walk to get anywhere. I had reached the highest weight that I'd ever been in my life, and it was hard to even walk a block. I felt heavy, unhealthy and just weighed down. I had difficulty finding a full-time job, so I decided to make weight loss my top priority. I had been on Weight Watchers before and I knew it worked, so I joined again.

What was different about joining this time around?

I wasn't trying to get skinny fast—I knew it had to be a lifestyle change, so I started small. I watch the morning news every day, so I decided to walk on my treadmill during the show each morning. That led to me drinking more water, which meant that I started cutting back on the six cans of diet soda I was drinking each day. As I started to get more active, I decided to give running a try.

How did that first time go?

It felt impossible; it was hard to run for more than 30 seconds, and I just thought, maybe running isn't for me. I still stayed active which is really easy to do in DC. But about six months later, I decided to run again. It was January at the time, and I signed up for a 5K in May. I started by running for one minute, then for two. Then all of a sudden, I was running for five and 10 minutes. One day, I ran a whole mile without stopping. I still remember that day—I just couldn't believe I ran a mile! I ran the entire 5K in May, and now I'm training for a 10K.

That's great. What about your relationship with food? How has that changed?

Each week, I tried to make one healthy fix, whether it was creating a grocery list and sticking to it, planning out our menu or prepping our meals for the week. I never really thought about what I was putting into my body before, so I became much more aware throughout this process.

What was your husband's role in this journey?

He's been so supportive! He never told me, "You need to take care of your weight." He was just there along the way to help me and encourage me. He's a runner, so he could relate to those goals that I set for myself, and he was so excited for me when I reached them.

It seems like you have a great support system, and you've created a whole new lifestyle. What would you say to someone who is just starting out, who thinks they could never get to where you are now?

Don't look at the big picture—for me, I knew I needed to lose over 100 pounds. I said to myself, "How long is that going to take?" But I started realizing that it's about making lasting changes and gradually working your way up. You have to concentrate on you. You have to think about how you feel and say, these are the changes I am making for myself.

In the beginning, I thought it was going to be so much work. I had to change everything. So I focused on small goals, and now it's just become my life.

Weight loss
91 pounds

Favorite indulgence
Ice cream

Winning tactic
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