Ann Beat Breast Cancer

Ann knew she couldn’t control her genes, but she could control her weight, so she joined WW.
Published October 29, 2015

Ann lost 26 lbs*

*At 6 months, participants in a clinical trial of the WW weight-loss program lost an average of 9.7 lbs (5% of body weight). And, people who track their food more often lose more weight. When actual WW members track their food at least two times a week for 6 months they lose on average 16.6 lbs. (7.9% body weight). Ann lost weight on a prior program and is continuing on WeightWatchers. Watch Ann’s journey of surviving two breast cancer diagnoses, which led her to make some healthy changes.

In Ann's words:
My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and passed away when she was 53. I decided to be proactive and get tested for the BRCA1 gene. Having the gene would put me at a high lifetime risk for breast cancer, and sure enough, I was a carrier. In 2008, I was diagnosed with breast cancer, something that I thought was inevitable. To treat it, I had radiation and a lumpectomy. Because I’m at a higher risk for ovarian cancer as well, I had a hysterectomy in January 2009 to up my chances of survival. My sister was also diagnosed within months of me, and it really shook our family. When you’re going through something like that, you’re not thinking of weight loss. We were just focused on beating this horrible cancer.

Ann’s steps to building a healthy lifestyle

The final straw
When I got through my treatment and became cancer-free, I realized that I had gained weight throughout the process. But I still wasn’t thinking of what I was eating — it was too much to handle at that point. Then, the breast cancer returned in 2010, and I had a partial mastectomy and underwent more radiation. Once the second cancer was gone, my doctor suggested that I try losing weight to get as healthy as possible. I knew he was right, and I had a very realistic approach to weight loss: I wasn’t going to become a model, but if I just lost 10% of my body weight, I knew it would make a huge difference. One major obstacle was my issue with another ailment: Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease. The muscular condition actually prevents me from exercising. Finding a pain-free way to work out was a huge challenge, but I didn’t let it get me down. I said to myself, “My weight loss will be slow, but I am determined.”

Making it work
Previously, I attended WW Workshops, but with my health issues and countless doctors’ appointments, I knew I wouldn’t be able to get to a WW Studio. I had to find an easy and convenient way to do this, so I joined WW Digital. The mobile tools were my go-to, especially the barcode scanner in the app. There’s not a thing that comes into the house not scanned, thanks to my husband — he loves using it at the grocery store!

Finding support
My husband and two children have been so supportive, but they weren’t on the program with me, and at times, I felt like I didn’t have anyone for encouragement or advice. When I had a knee replacement and started to fall off track, I found my way back through the 24/7 Live Coaching. I had a nice conversation with a WW Coach who helped me find my way again — it was just what I needed to keep going.

How Ann’s success with WW has improved her life

Keeping up with my lifestyle
We live just outside Boston, and the local fish restaurants are some of the best in the country. Whenever we eat out — which is often, since our kids are no longer living at home — I order broiled haddock, shrimp, or scallops. Fish is sometimes served with French fries, but now I ask for a baked potato. Overeating was a huge problem for me, and I would always finish my dinner plate, no matter how big it was! The digital tools taught me how to measure and use a scale, and I learned the correct portions of meat and fish. There are a lot of local restaurants in the app, so I know what to order and what to stay away from. Most importantly, I still track even if I have a slip up; I figure I’m only lying to myself if I don’t track it! We all make mistakes — the key is to keep going.

Feeling great
I used to look in the mirror and hate what I saw. Now, I can look at myself and feel good. When I was sick, I always had issues with my body image. Now, I am confident in my size, and I know clothes are going to look good on me. I carry most of my weight in my hips, but they don’t hurt as badly as they once did. Plus, my weight loss helped me bounce back after my knee replacement. And my oncologist is thrilled by my success! I can now focus on my newfound career — writing children’s books — and leave the past behind. Nothing is in the way of achieving my dreams!