How WW Helped this Veteran Get Back On Track

A change is just what she needed.
Published June 9, 2017

*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). Kelly lost weight on a prior program and is continuing on WeightWatchers.

As told to Katerina Gkionis

I started eating for comfort when I got back from an eight-month US Navy deployment in the Middle East. Back on shore, I developed a lot of anxiety about being alone and struggled without the camaraderie of the Navy community.

I’d always been super fit and active, so over the next few years, regular workouts helped me skate through biyearly physical fitness tests that called for sit-ups, pushups, and weigh-ins.

When I was honorably discharged in 2015, though, I knew I had to change my eating habits. Having just moved in with my now-husband Ian, a Marine veteran I met on deployment, I’d eat out often, sometimes polishing off enough food for four people—hello, burritos and nachos! Or if Ian, who’d gone back to school, was studying on a Friday night, I’d run to the store, grab chips and cookies, and eat them all while watching TV.

As a result, I felt tired and sluggish all the time. During a hike on a weekend trip to Denver in August 2015, I felt so out of shape and out of breath beside Ian, who’s naturally slim and active. It wasn’t until I saw photos of myself from that weekend that I noticed just how much weight I’d gained.

I desperately wanted to feel good again, and so I thought of WW. Having followed the program before, I knew it could get me back on track.

Getting real with my portions

During my first week back on WW, I focused on the quantity of food I was consuming. I love chips and sweets, and I knew I could still have them—I just had to track my intake. So I started measuring out my portions and tracking every single bite that went into my mouth

Because San Diego is known for its delicious Mexican food, I had no plans to cut it out. Instead, I saved my WeightWatchers for chips with salsa, and ordered grilled chicken with rice, which I measured out to cap my intake at one serving. At a chain restaurant Ian and I liked to go to, the servers let me order from the kids’ menu, which serves up smaller portions.

What Kelly ate then vs. now



Sugary cereal and doughnuts

Chicken sausage and roasted potatoes over spinach


Fried chicken, French fries, and a milkshake, or a large burrito

Ground turkey, fresh pico de gallo, spinach, and black olives on a corn tortilla or in a taco salad


A 10-piece chicken nuggets, French fries or chips and salsa

Air-fryer chicken with frozen mac and cheese; whole wheat pasta with meatballs; or a lean cheeseburger


Spicy tortilla chips

Flavored Greek yogurt; baby carrots, or a sliced banana with almond butter

Now that I’m a civilian employee for the Navy, I sometimes spend days or weeks on a ship throughout the year. On board, I try to stick to lean meats and vegetables for lunch and dinner, have dessert every other day instead of daily, and keep healthy snacks on hand to eat between meals. I also like to jot down motivational notes to help me stick to my plan. My most recent one: “Don’t stop until you’re proud.”

When travelling for pleasure, I always think of a tip from my WW Coach: Ask yourself, “Can I have this anywhere?” For instance, is that blueberry muffin at the hotel breakfast that delicious? Probably not. But the cheeseburger that Ian wanted me to try at his favorite childhood diner in Florida is special, so I saved up WeightWatchers for that.

Goal getter

Getting my eating habits in check gave me the energy I needed to start running: At the end of 2015, I set a goal to do one 5K for every month of the next year. In January, I walked the 5K; in February, I walked and ran a bit, and so on. I’ve continued to race ever since.

I also started joining my husband for hikes, including one that took us up Cowles Mountain, the highest peak in San Diego. When we got to the top, we took in a breathtaking sunset. I couldn’t believe what I’d accomplished—and couldn’t wait to share it with the members at my WW Workshop, who were super excited for me!

A welcome change

When I first started the new program and began to search through the WW app for WeightWatchers values, I felt like a new member all over again. There were so many choices—so many ways to fit in indulgences and still stay within my WeightWatchers Budget.

The new program gave me the kickstart I needed to get back to the healthy habits that made me feel good. In five weeks, I lost five pounds*. Switching it up was just what I needed.

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Feeling blessed

I’m proud to have served my country and come from a long line of military veterans—including my parents and grandparents—that have done the same. To be able to live a happy, healthy, and fit life is the cherry on top.

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