“I’m Never Going Back to the Way I Was”
*People following the WW program can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week.
As told to Alice Oglethorpe
The day after Christmas is a strange time to decide to lose weight, but on December 26, 2020, I was sitting in my chair and got hit with the realization that if I didn’t do something about my health, I’d be dead in a few years. At that point I weighed 358 pounds, had a mildly blocked aortic valve, and was taking three different medications for high blood pressure. I also had type 2 diabetes, so I was taking a ton of insulin: 28 units of fast-acting insulin with each meal and 180 units of long-acting insulin every day. My weight was really taking a toll on me—my knees hurt and if I did anything at all physical, I’d be short of breath and sweating profusely. That day I signed up for WW, and switched to the Diabetes-Tailored Program when it launched. I’d done the program a few times in the past and it had always worked, but I would lose some weight, stop tracking food, and regain it all. This time I was in it for the long haul.
There was no doubt what was going to be the toughest part for me: Adjusting my late-night eating. Every single night, after I ate dinner, I would sit on the sofa, turn on the TV, and snack on chips and dip, cheese, peanut butter cups, ice cream, and whatever else I had in my pantry. It was such a mindless habit that I didn’t know if I’d be able to stop.
When I first started out, I had 64 PersonalPoints™ a day, which was a lot of food! But it was still easy to go over if I wasn’t making smart choices. I’d scan a candy bar and realize it was 15 Points®, so I started choosing healthier foods that I could eat larger quantities of. And that’s how I found fat-free bagged popcorn as a late-night snack. I could eat a few kernels at a time and it would last through the entire evening. I also embraced ZeroPoint™ foods—things like vegetables, chicken, and eggs had no Points so I worked them into a lot of meals. I started weighing myself once a week and, after the first few weeks, I’d lost 15 pounds.*
What Fred Ate Then vs. Now
Sugary cereal and two pieces of toast with peanut butter
3 scrambled eggs
A full sandwich with deli meat, two slices of cheese, chips, and a banana
Half a sandwich with deli meat, one slice of cheese, and a banana
Spaghetti with garlic bread
Fish and a salad
Crackers, candy, and grapes
Strawberries and carrots
Teaching My Body to Move Again
I used to ride my bike or play golf, but it had been a long time since I’d been regularly active. So I started super small, walking down my driveway to the stop sign at the end of my street and back. It only took about five minutes, but I’d be dying at the end. After about a month, I could make it to the next stop sign. Then a month after that I could go on a 15-minute loop around my neighborhood. That became something I did—and still do!—twice every day. I live in Michigan and it gets freezing in the winter, but I’m still out there walking even when it’s 10 degrees below zero.
Ever since I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes 15 years ago, I’ve been diligent about checking my blood sugar four times a day. Within a month of starting WW, I realized my blood sugar numbers were going down, which meant I needed less and less fast-acting insulin. I went from taking 28 units to 22, then 18. I’m sure it’s because I was consistently losing weight—a pound or two a week on average. I started to think that maybe I could get off insulin completely, which became my motivation. Three months after starting the program, my doctor told me I didn’t need to take any fast-acting insulin anymore. And now, a year and a half after rejoining WW, I’m off long-acting insulin as well. I still can’t believe I don’t have to inject myself multiple times every single day.
No Looking Back
I’m now 233 pounds—something I haven’t weighed since college. I had to buy an entirely new wardrobe, everything was too big (even my underwear!). But even though I’m close to my goal weight of 210/220 pounds, I’m going to stick with tracking my food and weighing myself once a week. I’ll never let myself go backward—it’s just not going to happen.