20 Years of Lifetime

By Debbie Koenig

On a Saturday morning in December of 1997, Judy, my Weight Watchers Leader, asked me to come to the front of the meeting room. She gave a little speech about how I’d been attending faithfully for three years, every Saturday, unless I was out of town. I kept coming when I knew I’d be logging a gain from a rough week. I kept coming while I went through a divorce. I kept coming during an excruciating, nine-month plateau, after I’d lost 75 pounds but couldn’t seem to shed the last 25. I kept coming until I’d finally done it—I’d lost 100 lbs and maintained my weight long enough to qualify for Lifetime Membership. Judy handed me a certificate and a commemorative pin, which I still have. I’m quite sure I cried.

Fast-forward 20 years. Obviously, a lot has changed: While I enjoyed the dickens out of my 30s—I thought of myself as Carrie in Sex and the City—by the time I turned 40, I was remarried and (finally) pregnant. Now, about to turn 52 (oy), I’m amazed that I’m still here at Lifetime, but not at all surprised.

I’m amazed that I’ve now spent almost as much of my life at a healthy weight as I did being obese. I’d made at least a dozen attempts at Weight Watchers before that last time, always nosediving after a few weeks or months. I never really imagined I could lose the weight, nor keep it off. Achieving that took therapy, an amazing leader, and an understanding that this was about changing my life, not just losing some weight. I pictured the future in a way I never had before, with a concrete sense of what was possible instead of a fantasy of magical, transformative weight loss.

I’m not at all surprised to reach 20 years of Lifetime Membership, because I did reach that understanding. I spent three years getting to know my body and my mind, figuring out which foods I could enjoy in moderation and which would prove so irresistible I’d be better off avoiding them completely. After I received my certificate and my pin I continued to track for several years, until I was confident that I’d built a strong habit of making healthy choices. And even two decades into my Lifetime, when I slip, which I do from time to time, I resume tracking until I feel comfortable again. This is my life, my way of living. I built it, with the help of Weight Watchers.

None of this is to say that I’m flawless. As I said, I do mess up sometimes. While I was writing (and testing recipes for) my cookbook, I gained 25 lbs. But I knew Weight Watchers would help me lose it again, and the plan did. Even now, I’m a few pounds heavier than I’d like to be. I’m paying closer attention to my eating during the holidays, to make sure it doesn’t go any further. With WW Freestyle™, I’ve got the flexibility I need for the next 20 years.

Follow Debbie on Connect @debbieskoenig
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