Small Steps on a Long Journey

 Just one week in, when I lost 5 pounds without significantly changing my habits, I knew this was going to work for me. 
*People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
Being young, tall and athletic usually means you can carry a lot of extra pounds without drastically affecting your mobility. So it was with Demetrius, until he realized disease and a shortened life expectancy came with that extra weight. Luckily, he found the motivation to make changes.

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Growing up where many a dish begins with “Southern fried,” Demetrius loved his family meals for their hearty flavors and for the table-wide togetherness. One growth spurt after another, en route to his full height of 6'3", allowed him to enjoy his fried favorites — plus desserts at any hour — without straying too far from a reasonable weight.

Georgia Southern University, where Demetrius works as director of human resources, was also where he earned his bachelor’s degree and his MBA. Over the six years when studying was his main activity, he put on extra pounds, though nothing alarming. Upon entering the workforce, Demetrius fell into unwise dining patterns: big breakfasts, even bigger lunches at buffet restaurants, full dinners at night, then onto the couch with a remote. During physical exams, his physician would mention the inherent risks of a growing waistline, especially given his family medical history. Steps had to be taken. What made you decide to start losing weight?
Something clicked in my head during a physical, when the doctor spoke to me about high blood pressure and diabetes, both of which run in my family. The first few times he warned me about my weight, I wasn’t ready to listen — this time I was. Your mind was made up to do something — did you know what that would be?
I had been seeing Weight Watchers commercials on ESPN, and that was the direction I was already leaning. What allowed me to move forward was creating achievable goals. I could never have set a goal of losing 130 pounds — that would have seemed impossible. My goal starting out was to lose 30 or 40 pounds. I thought that would be a great achievement. What aspect of Weight Watchers Online helped you the most?
Using the PointsPlus® calculator to shop and plan meals gave me a way to organize my food intake. I also made very good use of the excellent recipes online. One of the best is Oven “Fried” Chicken, which really does taste Southern-fried. I also made the Vegetable Lasagna and the Chicken Fajita. I’ve gotten a lot of compliments for the Peach Cobbler, which makes sense here in Georgia. I love inviting people over and cooking for everybody, and I didn’t change that part of my lifestyle; I just changed what I brought home from the supermarket. What other techniques did you use?
I used my Weight Watchers Online account as an accountability tool, and I enlisted the help of some friends who happen to live in other cities. I gave them my password so they could log in and see my food choices, my weigh-in results, my exercise, everything I was doing. They could cheer me along or point out where I went off my plan. What sort of timetable for progress did you have?
From the start, I used 5-pound increments for my weight-loss goals. It was a little slow in the beginning, but after a while, I had checked off 5, 10, then 15 pounds on my chart. I built some momentum when I started running on the treadmill. A friend and I would meet at the gym — that was another accountability factor for me. No being lazy when somebody is looking around for you. Did you develop any other workout habits?
About four months after I started Weight Watchers, I joined a Monday-night pickup basketball group. A friend asked me to play, and at first I said no. Then I got to thinking that I was already 25 pounds lighter, and maybe I could take the strain. When I got there, I found out they play full-court instead of half-court, which made me want to turn right around. The first night, my stamina was terrible. The second night, it wasn’t quite as bad. Now I’m a regular on Monday nights — my best skill is rebounding, but I can score from the low post, too. And boy do you melt off pounds playing full-court hoops. Awe-SOME. How did you feel as you were making your way down through those 130 pounds?
I felt proud of myself. It was a great feeling just to stick with it and make the program work. I would always celebrate the big milestones — 25 pounds, 50 pounds, then 75, then 100. Those were the few times ever that I would eat ice cream or eat a piece of cheesecake. I would celebrate and then get right back to work. Along the way, I was reducing my waist size from 46 down to 34, so I was going through clothes quickly. I would actually complain sometimes, because a pair of pants would only be worn three or four times before it was too big. People around me were always giving me compliments, saying how good I looked, and I never got tired of that.


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