Within Reach

When WW’s in-person Studios closed during the pandemic, Virtual Workshops were born. And with them, a haven for Black women to be vulnerable, transparent, and just be—together.

By Lee Anna A. Jackson

Traditional wellness spaces haven’t always been so welcoming to Black women. Yet a support system bestows feelings of belonging and control that are proven to help people reach goals. When we receive support, per a study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, we interpret obstacles as less challenging; we also eat healthier and, per another study, lose more weight. No wonder that our Black Women’s Virtual Workshops, launched in 2020, have become the most consistently attended across all WW Virtual Workshops. Filled with multiple generations of women working toward a similar goal, it’s the type of community you rarely find outside family. In fact, when members talk about their group, the word “family” comes up a lot. But we’ll let them tell it themselves.

Finding Health
and Healing

Cheria Moore
30, Huntsville, Alabama

After graduating college, the Chicago native moved to Alabama to help take care of her mom, who was diagnosed with cancer, and Cheria’s own well-being fell to the side. She dropped hobbies, like yoga, and hit her heaviest weight of 311 pounds. Unhappy internally and externally, she joined WW to focus on her health.*

Difficult Days
“I grew up in poverty, so you ate because you were hungry, not for health reasons. The older I got, the more I became conscious of my image, but never my overall health. The goal was to fit unrealistic beauty standards, and I did a lot of damage to my body over the years because of that.”

A Health Scare
“When I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in September 2021, the first person I turned to was my Workshop Coach, Monika. I bawled my eyes out and Monika cried with me. She’s helped monitor my progress and messages me outside of Workshops to ask if there’s anything I need to talk about. With her support, my numbers dropped almost out of the diabetic range in a matter of months.”

Knowing You Matter
“The accountability that the women in this group have for each other is astounding. We have a sisterhood that formed organically and is nothing but love, and it’s so good to see people who I can relate to. If I miss a Workshop because I’m not feeling up for it, I’ll get a message saying, ‘Hey, are you OK? We missed you tonight.’”

EMBRACING a Shared Sense of Wellness

Lauren Peebles
39, San Francisco, California

On and off WW since her law school days, Lauren never quite felt like the program spoke to her as a young Black woman. When her weight went up during the pandemic, she decided to recommit—and found a reason to stay.

A Needed Change
“When I was first on WW, there weren’t many people who I could relate to, not only culturally but also age-wise. Now that WW has Black Women’s Workshops, it’s changed everything. There are women of all ages who understand my wellness experience.”

Help to Adapt
“When WW switched over to the PersonalPoints™ Program, I had a huge attitude for a couple of weeks. I’m such a creature of habit. But I had to ask myself, ‘Are you going to give up your whole health and wellness journey just because the program shifted? You can’t do that.’ Some of the ladies in the Workshop were able to help me find things that work for me, like replacing my buttered popcorn with an air-popped version. Now I love it.”

Trusted Confidants
“With the Workshops, I don’t have to code-switch. There’s a common language that we all speak. If someone says they found a really good collard greens recipe, I believe them because they have a similar experience about what collard greens should taste like.”


Shevon Elam
42, Chicago, Illinois

From a family that always struggled with weight, Shevon joined WW after her mom lost 75 pounds* on the program. She now leans on her Workshop crew to maintain healthy habits during the pandemic.

Real Talk
“Working from home threw me off my regular physical activity routine. I used to walk two miles during my commute, but once I wasn’t going to the office, my biggest activity of the day was getting dressed! The women in the group gave me ideas for staying active during the day. Without them, I wouldn’t have been able to maintain my weight loss. They’re not going to say what they think I want to hear—they’re going to give me tough love. But if I’m being too hard on myself, they’re going to remind me to give myself some grace.”

A Safe Space
“The pandemic, George Floyd’s and Breonna Taylor’s killings, the country’s political unrest—I don’t know how anybody was not emotionally eating. I really wasn’t sure how to navigate it, but WW’s Virtual Workshops gave me a judgment-free place to open up about my stress. I share more with these women than I do with girlfriends I’ve known my whole life. They understand how these events impact the wellness journey.”

Good TMI
“Sometimes I feel like I’m sharing too much in Workshops. But then my mom, who also goes to Workshops, will tell me that someone in her group passed along my advice. It’s like, ‘Wow! They’re listening to me!’ That’s often how it works: Someone will say one little thing during a Workshop, and that will be the one little nugget I needed.”


Bridgetta McCloud
53, Atlanta, Georgia

In 2004, Bridgetta was diagnosed with Graves’ disease. Managing her condition, combined with a three-hour daily job commute, didn’t leave the project manager with much time for other areas of her wellness. Now a WW lifetime member of 11 years, Bridgetta has discovered ways to prioritize activity and healthy eating.

Motivating Advice
“There’s a myth in the Black community that once we get older, we get larger and can’t lose weight. But with the Black Women’s Workshops, I met other women like me who had lost the weight and were able to keep it off. I shared my story with other Workshop members and inspired them to find success on their journeys. I love that my words can have such a powerful effect.”

Coming Together
“We show up for everyone. When we lost one member to lung cancer, we all rallied around her daughter. There’s a sense of togetherness—there’s no negativity, bickering, or ‘I’m better than you’ attitude.”

True Friendships
“We may meet virtually, but our relationships are real. These Workshops are like one of those amazing family gatherings where you’re having such a good time that you don’t want it to end, you don’t want the party to be over. Sometimes we’ll linger on the call even after it’s over—no one is ready to hang up.”

Turning Wellness
Into a Job

Diane Frazier
62, Queens, New York

Sharing her story in Virtual Workshops so inspired the retired school teacher, she decided to go from WW member to employee. Today, Diane is an in-Studio Guide, helping members check in and track their progress.

Comfort Zone
“I worked hard to lose more than 100 pounds,* so when I saw the scale suddenly go up, I had a meltdown. I later learned that a medication I was on caused the weight gain, but I had my group to turn to while I figured out what was going on. That camaraderie has been key to helping me stay on this road to wellness. If we see that someone’s crown is crooked, we fix it—it’s a beautiful thing.”

Guiding Others
“The support I got from my Virtual Workshop made me realize that there are so many other women like me. So I told my Coach, ‘I want to help people that look like me with their own journey. I want to be a Guide one day.’ She said I have everything it takes, so I went for it! I am having so much fun being a Guide.”

An Open Door
“We welcome everyone to be a part of this Workshop community, and while we’re tight-knit, we make sure new people feel at home. Not in the mood to share? You don’t have to talk; you don’t even have to turn on your camera. The conversation is the motivation, and even if you don’t join in, you’ll feel the energy and the love.”

Discovering Purpose
in Leading

Sandra Jenkins
70, Islip, New York

A retired word-processing supervisor at a law firm, Sandra never misses the weekly Workshops, plural—propelling her into a role helping others on their wellness journeys too.

Checking In
“I’ve been crowned the group’s unofficial ‘secretary,’ so I can’t miss out. I attend five of the Workshops without fail every week. I can count on one hand how many I’ve missed. As secretary, I keep track of members who are MIA so that we can reach out and see what’s going on. Whether someone is considering quitting their weight-loss journey or struggling with health issues, we’re there to lift each other up.”

Beyond Weight
“We get creative with our wellness tips. I love mac and cheese, but I’ve learned to make it in muffin tins so that I can control the portions. But it’s not all about weight loss. If someone needs encouragement for something that’s going on in their life, we’ll change the conversation and talk about that for a while.”

Just Like Family
“I’ve never met most of the women who attend the Black Women’s Virtual Workshops in person, but at this point they’re my sisters and aunts. Honestly, it’s like we’ve known each other for years.”

*People following the WW plan can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week.