How WW’s New Features Helped This Member Lose 51 Pounds*
*People following the WeightWatchers weight-loss program can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. Heidi lost weight on a prior program and is continuing on WeightWatchers.
As told to Katerina Gkionis
WW and I go way back: After my second child was born 16 years ago, I joined WW and was incredibly successful. Several years later I had defaulted to old habits, then returned to the program that worked. After reaching my goal, though, I thought I could maintain my weight loss on my own. With two kids and a full-time job, life got busy. I’d grab whatever food was in front of me, whether it was potato chips, candy, chocolate, or a burger and fries at the drive-thru. Over nine years, I gained 30 or 40 pounds and reached my heaviest weight ever.
I didn't realize just how much my body had changed until a shopping trip in March 2016. I needed swimsuits, dresses, and sleeveless tops for an upcoming cruise, but everything I tried on felt too snug or looked unflattering. I ended up buying the only items that fit out of necessity, not because I liked them. Days after our cruise ship arrived back home, I walked into a WW Studio.
A member again
I felt a sense of relief as I stood in line waiting to register for my third WW journey. I knew from experience that I’d lose weight if I tracked what I ate—and I was ready to commit for good. What’s more, having attended weekly WW Workshops in the past, I knew I’d leave feeling motivated.
In my absence, WW had developed an app with a barcode scanner, tons of recipes, and Connect, the members-only social network where people post about their progress on the program. I loved seeing then-and-now transformations of members around my age, many of whom were also working moms like me. Scrolling through members’ posts made me feel like I had the support of my Workshop group at my fingertips throughout the week.
And then there were the new ZeroPoint™ foods. Because I like to eat large quantities, I appreciated knowing I could have several servings of fruit or vegetables to save WeightWatchers for the rest of the day.
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Eating with intention
Although it isn’t typical, I lost six pounds* that first week. But as the weeks went on, I continued to experiment with different foods and habits. I found that swapping processed foods for fruits, vegetables, and grains, for instance, helped me stay full throughout the day. I also fought fast-food temptation on the go by keeping snacks, like small baggies of cashews or dates, in my car and made it a rule to keep a healthy stock of bananas in my fruit bowl.
Since I’m a teacher and weekdays can be hectic, I also started meal-prepping on weekends. I’d grocery shop every Saturday, and on Sundays I’d cook bean chili or Instant Pot® rice and beans to add to different meals throughout the week.
What Heidi ate then vs. now
Shredded wheat cereal with milk
Overnight oats made with old-fashioned oats, almond milk, flaxseed, chia seeds, bananas, and blueberries
A frozen meal or sandwich, or a school lunch like pizza on Fridays
Turkey or three-bean chili, split pea soup, or rice and beans, and an apple
Tacos, meatloaf, pizza, or burgers
Black beans and brown rice with frozen mixed vegetables, or veggie tacos with black beans and sweet potatoes, lettuce, salsa, and avocado
Chips, ice cream, or cookies
Fruit, nuts, dates, oatmeal with fruit, or cashews
After about a month on WW, I’d conquered my biggest obstacle: defaulting to processed foods. Feeling like I could accomplish even more, I set my next goal: to ride beside my husband in the 50-mile bike ride he trained for every year.
With 12 months to prepare, I knew I’d be ready for the challenge. I bought a bike right away and started riding on a trail near our house three to four times each week. On days that I didn’t ride, I’d use the elliptical we had at home. Then, about 10 months later, we bought an at-home spin bike, and the virtual classes helped me get even stronger.
As the ride approached, I was nervous but excited: Having lost 40 pounds,* I had more energy and felt less tired than ever before. Gearing up on game day was exciting: For years, I’d sat on the sidelines while my husband rode with his friends. But pedaling through the miles myself, I found, was exhilarating. Although it wasn’t a race and I could've ridden at my own pace, I was able to keep up with the group. After crossing the finish line, I felt more confident than ever.My husband and I still bike together, but after our big ride, I set my sights on running a 5K. Now that I’ve gone the distance, I know I can go even further.
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Winning all around
Three years and over 50 lost pounds* later, my family booked another cruise. This time, I had no trouble finding clothes that fit and flattered my body. (Hello, sleeveless tops!)
On the cruise, I had way more fun getting dressed for dinner and sunbathing in my swimsuit, since I liked the way my body looked and felt. And because I’d grown used to paying attention to foods I ate and staying active, I didn’t even gain weight while I was away, transitioning right back into my regular routines when I returned. After 16 years on and off WW, I’ve found success beyond the scale. And let me tell you—it feels amazing!
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