René Falgout, Meetings, Lost 92 lb*
*People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose up to two pounds per week. René lost 92 lb on a prior Weight Watchers program and SmartPoints®.
“I’m a turtle—I lose slow and steady—but six years later, I’m still moving forward!”
In René’s words:
“Never trust a skinny chef.” That’s the first piece of advice I got from my instructors at culinary school. The next bit: “Fat equals flavor.” When I started there after I graduated high school, food quickly became my classwork and my homework. We’d cook a seven-course meal during class, and then sit down and eat it—with the appropriate wine pairings, of course. After culinary school, I turned to recipe development. I was working on a cookbook about Louisiana cuisine and I had to taste all of the recipes—gumbo, racks of ribs, potato salad. But while I was cooking rich foods, my life didn’t feel very rich. I wouldn’t allow myself to have fun. I’d shy away from events, because I was physically uncomfortable. I was depressed, I was bored, and I started closet eating for comfort. It was a rough point in my life, and I didn’t know how to stop it.
The right kind of peer pressure
My co-worker, Michelle, had joined Weight Watchers and one day she asked if I wanted to go with her. I hadn’t been yearning to go to WW; to be honest, I joined because of peer pressure! I didn’t think the Program could work for me. I had been up and down the scale for so many years that I didn’t think anything could stick. But when Michelle said, “Why don’t we just try Weight Watchers?” I jumped right in. It was on a whim that I walked into that meeting room in 2010, and since then, I haven’t turned back.
Finding the freshness
I joined in the summer, and I took advantage of the season by including all the different fruits and vegetables into my meals—all fresh, not fried. Soon I realized that “fresh equals flavor,” too. I became creative: I learned to make a gumbo I could eat on-plan by lightening up the base of the dish, the roux. How I do it: Instead of adding oil to the flour, I brown the flour in the oven. Then I swap in a small amount of olive oil for cooking the vegetables, then add the dry roux (browned flour) and fat-free broth to keep it full-flavor but not full-fat. I also eat yummy chicken sausages instead of pork, and I take advantage of local seafood. My grandfather loves to do crab boils, and the shrimp, crab, crawfish, and okra that are inside the pot are all so delicious.
No more barriers
When I discovered my “why” for this journey, I was able to find success: I realized that I didn’t want to be limited anymore. Before my weight loss, when I’d go to weddings, I’d sit in the corner with my arms folded, worried that someone was going to ask me to dance. Now, I want to get on the dance floor—I want to be a wedding crasher! I never realized how much fun dancing was. My weight held me back mentally and physically in so many ways, and now it doesn’t. I’m not living on the sidelines of my life, watching everyone else have fun. I’m the one enjoying myself now—and it feels amazing.
Lean on me
I had been on a weight-loss roller coaster for so long that I didn’t think anything could work for me. But my friend Michelle really helped me stick with the Program. When I didn’t feel like going to a meeting or I was having a bad week, she’d push me to go. Now we work out together, too, and if she doesn’t want to go to the gym one day, I motivate her to get moving. When you fall off track, it’s amazing to have someone there to say, “Let that roll off your shoulders—you can do this.” I feel blessed to have a person who does that for me.
Managing emotional eating
Of course, I still have moments when I head to the pantry aimlessly, but now I first ask myself a few questions: What am I craving? Am I craving peace? Am I craving love? And then I close the cabinet door. I’ve realized that a box of cookies won’t give me a hug. And the SmartPoints plan has made a huge difference in the food choices I make. I don’t have the desire to eat what I’d want in the past. I have this clarity that I’ve never had before, and I can see a bright future ahead. I’m a fit and healthy chef now—and my friends and family can trust me to help them reach their own goals, in Cajun country and beyond.