Kelly's Way Forward

This single mom followed her passion, controlled her type 1 diabetes, and found the energy to become a better parent to her two kids.
Published June 10, 2016

Kelly lost 99 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). Kelly lost weight on a prior program and is continuing on WeightWatchers. Watch Kelly’s inspiring journey of perseverance and strength in the video below.

In Kelly’s words:
Over the years, my weight fluctuated. I tried every fad diet and even took pills to lose weight, but nothing worked for long. I was also diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in the eighth grade so that was a challenge to manage, too. Then, when I was in my 20s, just six months after I had my second child, my husband left me. It was a traumatic experience. There I was, a stay-at-home mom with two children. I got a job as a bartender to get by. My life was in turmoil, and eating well was the last thing on my mind. I turned to food to cope.

Bouncing back

Picking up the pieces
Slowly, I started to get my life together. My mom moved to Illinois to help me with the kids, and I started searching for a more stable job for the good of my family and me. I found an entry-level position at a local hospital. Then I decided to pursue a master’s degree in public health. After I finished my degree, I was offered a job in Tucson, AZ, so the kids, my mom, and I made the move down South. I was happy to have a fresh start but frustrated with myself and depressed that I’d gotten so big. My mom had sworn by WW so I decided to give it a try.

Getting with the program
During my first three WW Workshops, tears streamed down my face. I felt like a total failure at 
life. My marriage hadn’t worked out, I was obese, and I had type 1 diabetes — but the positive reinforcement that I received from the group each week helped me find strength! The support of my WW Coach, Pam, still means so much to me. From the beginning, she was able to see the potential within me. I also met two of my best friends, Sandi and Peggy, at the Workshop. Their kindness and care have helped me move forward.

Becoming a walk star
I started walking around my neighborhood for exercise, but after my mom passed away last January, I really got into hiking. I began to head to Catalina State Park, which is close to my home. I found that hiking was a way to clear my head; it was a form of meditation for me — I was in nature, just me and my music. It’s the best “me time” I could ask for. One day I hiked 13 miles!

Smartphone support
I can’t say enough good things about Connect. Sometimes, you’re not as forthcoming with people face-to-face as you are virtually. No one in Connect judges you because they’re all experiencing what you’re going through. I like to post exercises I do each day, recipes I’ve tried, whether I gained or lost that week, or I’ll post a quick question to Oprah!

How Kelly’s success with WW has improved her life

Changing the game
Now I’ve become the active, present mom that I always wanted to be. I’m 
a team parent for my son’s wrestling team and a manager for my daughter’s softball team. I can tell how happy my kids are to see me involved with their activities. I realized that I’m no longer afraid of people staring at me on the softball field or when I walk with my son to wrestling practice. I’ve become a positive person, and my kids have noticed that, too.

Dealing with diabetes
For most of my life, when it came to my condition, I always felt like I was chasing numbers. I thought I would never be able to get a handle on them. When I was heavy, my insulin resistance would be high; then it would dip when I was exercising and dieting. I was in a constant cycle of losing and gaining weight, trying to control my blood sugar numbers. I’ve been wearing an insulin pump since 2001. As I became heavier, I had to take more insulin throughout the day. When I joined the program, I was taking one unit of insulin for every 6 grams of carbs; now my insulin resistance is lower and I take one unit for every 12 grams. Changing my habits, eating more fruits and vegetables, and walking and hiking have all made this chronic disease more manageable.

Moving forward
I’ve had a lot of trauma in my life, but my weight loss helped me handle it all. When I moved to Arizona, I left the gray cloud of my divorce behind. I loved being a professor at the community college, I got healthier with WW, I found my best friends at my Workshop, and I started over. I lost all the extra baggage — both visible and invisible — and I began a new life. I’ve found myself again.