This Member Broke Free From A Fixed Mindset—And Lost 43 Pounds*
*People following the WW program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds/week. Christina lost weight on a prior program and is continuing on PersonalPoints™.
As told to Katerina Gkionis
I lived on the sidelines for most of my life, never wanting to make an entrance and always wanting to hide. At an event like a wedding, I’d rush to the reception, find my seat right away, and stay in one spot the whole time. I had so much love in my life—my two children, my husband, my family—but I couldn’t find love for myself.
Food was a big part of this pattern. After stressful days of teaching elementary school, I’d often turn to a bag of chocolates or chips for comfort. Then I’d feel bad and want to hide, which caused me to avoid social situations, which would bring on more sadness and junk food. I didn’t realize these behaviors were what you would call “emotional eating.” It was a cycle, and I didn’t know how to stop it.
No matter how much my husband encouraged me, supported me, or suggested new things to try, I was set in my ways, the queen of a fixed mindset. I didn’t believe I could better myself. This was the way my life was; no sense in trying to change.
Something finally shook loose in late December 2015. I had attended a fundraiser with my family, where a friend of mine snapped a photo of us that was later posted on social media. I knew my weight was an issue, but when I saw the photo, I was shocked by how much I had let myself go.
I had tried WW back in 2003, six months before I got married, but didn’t take full advantage of the program. I’d go to the WW Studio for a Wellness Check-in, then skip the WW Workshop. That meant I missed out on all the tips, tricks, and recipe ideas. I forced myself onto a boring diet of salads with grilled chicken, which wasn’t enjoyable or sustainable.
I decided to try WW again—and go all in this time around, Workshops included. This was something I needed to do for myself.
During my first Workshop, members talked about the PersonalPoints values of different foods. Someone said, “Everything has PersonalPoints, even the creamer in your coffee.” That made me think. My friends were always joking, “Hey, Chris, do you want some coffee with that milk?” because I’d add so much half-and-half to every cup. So, that first week, I decided to measure out two tablespoons of creamer each time I drank a cup of coffee. It was eye-opening. It also helped me see that small changes could add up to something big. In that first week, I lost 6 pounds*!
I remember the WW Coach saying in the Workshop, “Don’t think about everything you want to change all at once.” Got it. I changed my coffee—what could I do next?
What Christina ate then vs. now
Weekdays: salad with lettuce, tomato, cucumber, onions, and grilled chicken or leftovers from the night before. Weekends: pizza and pasta
Pan-fried chicken cutlets, large bowls of pasta, hamburgers
Turkey Meat Loaf, air fryer chicken cutlets, spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles, and turkey or chicken burgers
Chips, cookies, chocolate
Fresh fruit such as grapes or clementines, WW Snack bars
Going the distance
Before WW, I had set a goal to start being active with my husband. He’s very fit, and he was always inviting me to join him on his workouts. My new “small changes” mindset helped me believe that I could actually start running.
When my husband and I first started running together, we’d go until I was out of breath—about a quarter of a mile. Then, we started increasing the distance by a little each time, until I was able to reach a full mile. I was still self-conscious about exercising in public, so I’d run outside only if my husband was with me. Otherwise, I’d work out on my treadmill. I’d always take a moment to acknowledge the progress I was making.
One day, I came home from work after a long, stressful day, in need of some fresh air. My husband wasn’t available to work out, so I said to myself, “You know what? I’m gonna go for it.” I put on my running shoes, stepped outside, and went jogging by myself! It was a breakthrough moment that showed me how much confidence I had gained. My old, fixed mindset was slipping away. I could see the growth from the inside out.
I also realized that I was reaching for the potato chips less and less. At the start of my journey, I had worried that cutting out emotional eating would be a huge obstacle. Having an outlet for my stress—through running—made healthy eating patterns feel easier.
With a new running routine and a series of small changes to my eating behaviors, I was seeing major success. My Workshops—and especially my WW Coach—played a big role in keeping me motivated.
At the end of each week’s Workshop, my Coach would recite an inspirational saying or quote. The sayings really resonated with me, and I began to understand the power of mantras. I even started collecting bracelets stamped with mantras: “You are enough.” “She believed she could, so she did.” I have 13! Each morning, as I put one on, I say the mantra to myself to support a healthy mindset.
My daily practices paid off. About eight months into my journey, in August 2016, I reached my goal of losing 43 pounds*.
A milestone NSV
Over the past few years, I’ve made a number of personal strides, from doing more public speaking at school to dancing at weddings. One of my favorite moments was from August 2018, when I asked my husband if he’d like to try rockwall climbing for our 15th wedding anniversary. Yes, it was finally my turn to suggest something new!
Admittedly, my confidence was a bit shaky. When we arrived at the climbing gym, I looked up at the walls and immediately wanted to run home. But instead of succumbing to self-doubt, I told myself, “One step at a time.” I had to trust that this simple approach would lead me to the top.
My husband went first, and I cheered him on from below. I went next, ascending slowly, moving my hands and feet from one hold to the next. The top seemed so far away; I wanted to let go and give up. My husband encouraged me: “You can do it, Chris! You got this!” And you know what? I did!
When I got back down from the top, my husband wrapped me in a giant hug. This feat required a lot of mental and physical work, and he was proud of me. I was proud of me, too.
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Finding the power within
After that day at the climbing gym, I got myself another mantra bracelet. The message? “I can do hard things.”
Appreciating my own grit and ability to change has been huge for me. I can look at a photo of myself and see joy; I can look in a mirror and see strength; I can proudly say to my children that while it’s important to love others, loving yourself is paramount. You are enough.
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