Elle: "My confidence and self-compassion has soared"
Start weight: 10st 10lb
Current weight: 9st
Goal weight: 8st 10lb
Start date: October 2017
What was your 'why' for joining WW?
Since the age of 21, I’ve been a ‘yo-yo dieter’. I'd lose weight in a matter of weeks, but put it all back on again really quickly. In ten years, my weight has fluctuated by 3st. I wanted to find something that worked for me the healthy way.
Since joining WW as a Digital member in October 2017, I’ve lost 2st 3lbs, and have maintained for two years now!
What would you say are the experiences that have motivated and affected you on the way?
Going back a few years now, I used to hate having my photo taken, and there were a few pictures from events which I untagged myself from on social media because I didn’t like the way I looked.
But it wasn’t just about my weight or way I looked; my mind was all over the place too. I was really unhappy, and felt like I was always comparing myself to other people and where they were in their lives. I felt like I needed to find my passion.
Throughout my WW journey, my self-compassion and confidence has soared. When I first walked into my Workshop, I felt anxious and withdrawn, but now I'm thriving, and I really do feel that. I feel so happy and content. I finally feel I'm where I'm meant to be in my life.
During your time to goal, what are your milestone moments?
When I joined the Workshops a few months in, I only had half a stone to lose. For me, my milestone moment was when I first walked through those doors – I'd been thinking about it for weeks, and I'd finally built up the courage to go on my own. Everyone was so friendly, and I was instantly put at ease.
Another milestone moment was just before I reached goal - I got into a bikini and felt much more confident about the way I looked.
You started as a Digital only member, but you felt you needed more of a community. How did you feel about your Coach and being among other WW members?
As I didn't have much to lose, I was afraid people would judge me or stare at me, but nobody did. I quickly learnt that everyone is on their own journey and people are in different stages of their journey - for some, it was their first day, while other had already got to goal. It doesn't matter what size you are, everyone is so welcoming! My Coach has always been amazing, and even during lockdown I've continued with the Virtual Workshops every single week. It helps so much having that additional support.
The community in the WW app is brilliant, too. I’ve started using Connect a lot more, and I've met a lot of great people there including some amazing new friends. I never really felt like I fit in anywhere before, but now I feel like I’ve found a group and just slotted right in - they’re like family, really.
Everyone is really positive on Connect - I've yet to come across any negative comments. Everyone is on their own journey, and you’ve got to be kind to one another.
Other than Connect, what are your three favourite things about the WW app?
Definitely the barcode scanner - I use it every single day, even in the office when someone offers me a biscuit. It keeps me on track, and I find that if I fall off the bandwagon it’s generally because I haven't scanned.
I’ve also recently started using the workouts in the WW app a lot more, and have discovered there’s a section entirely devoted to HIIT. I love those types of workouts!
The recipe section is great to have a quick flick through to get some ideas together when meal planning. I don’t always have all of the ingredients in, however I tweak them slightly and they work really well. I love finding new, easy meals to cook.
For people who aren’t tech savvy, is the app easy to use?
Yes definitely, I really enjoy the app and found it easy to use from the get go. If it wasn't there I probably would have failed a long time ago. It’s in your pocket and it is so ideal!
How do your friends and family feel about your WW journey?
I think at first people thought “here she goes again on another diet!”, but now I’ve been successful and integrated it into my life so easily, they’re just so pleased for me. When I was in the local newspaper, they were so impressed and proud. My nana was a lifetime member of WW so if she was still around, she’d be really proud of me.
Has your relationship with food and cooking changed on your journey?
It’s changed so much – I’m only 5'2" and I was eating huge portions. Back when I lived with my parents, I used to hide chocolate and sweets underneath my bed, and I used to binge eat.
The WW programme has taught me about the healthier options I didn’t know about before, which have now turned into healthier habits. I never used to be a big fan of vegetables, but now I make sure to include them in my meals. Like courgette - I'd never tried it before and assumed I wouldn’t like it…now I love it! It’s about knowing the healthier food options and swaps.
How did you find lockdown?
Because I live on my own, I felt like I was in my safe haven. I knew what foods I had in, I knew what I was going to eat for meals - and I also had more time to cook. I was so on it with exercise, too. I had the perfect April where I only had one day not 'on plan'. Since lockdown has eased, that's started to slip a little bit.
How did you deal with being home alone?
Luckily I like being on my own and really appreciate quiet time - having me time really helps clear my mind. I really needed it at that point - I felt so refreshed.
I didn't see my family for seven weeks in person but we spoke all the time, and when they started going out for walks, I would walk and follow them two metres behind. We’re never going to experience anything like it again (hopefully!) so I made sure to value it and make the most of the positives.
What advice would you give to someone who has got to goal?
When I was approaching my goal, I knew that I was going to stay with WW for maintenance and switch to the ‘healthy habits’ plan in the app. This gives me an extra five SmartPoints each day - just that bit more leeway. There are weeks when I struggle to stay on track, but that’s life and we're all human.
If I lose weight one week that's great, and if I gain weight one week that’s also fine - the aim is to maintain below my goal weight, and keep my mindset balanced by not beating myself up about weight fluctuation. I'm on this journey for life – I've learned the healthy habits that work for me now, and I know exactly what I need to do to continue. I'm so glad I chose to stick with the WW programme once I hit my goal weight, as it has kept me focused and kept the weight off. It’s about having the right balance between fun and food, because you can have it all. These healthier habits will be with me for life.
For me, the most important thing to come out of my WW journey is how much I've changed. It's not about the weight anymore; it’s about me as a person and how much I’ve evolved. I might not be at the same point in life as everyone around me is, but I've learnt that’s okay. Everyone goes at their own pace. My mindset has changed completely, and I'm so happy with my life right now thanks to WW.