How 15-Minute Meals Helped This 27-Year-Old Lose 44 Pounds*
*People following the WeightWatchers weight-loss program can expect to lose 1 to 2 pounds per week. Mallory lost weight on a prior program and is continuing on WeightWatchers.
As told to Lucy Shanker
About two years ago, my boyfriend and I had dressed up as Bugs and Lola from Space Jam for Halloween. While I felt cute in my outfit and had an amazing night, I was mortified when I saw pictures of myself in costume. The next day, instead of enjoying the memories, I spent hours untagging myself in the photos my friends had shared on social media and frantically calling them to take their posts down. That’s when I realized I had to face it: Those photos were my reality, and I needed to make a change.
Because I’ve struggled with my weight for the majority of my life, I knew shedding pounds wouldn’t be easy. Despite being very active and playing competitive sports from elementary school through college, I always felt larger than my peers, particularly after college when I’d stopped playing sports but maintained college habits like snacking throughout the day and eating late at night.
Once I started working long shifts as a nurse, I struggled to balance my health and busy schedule. I often skipped breakfast, which left me ravenous by lunchtime. After work, I’d go to happy hour or dinner with my friends and order whichever menu items sounded best without worrying about what I was eating. Having tried virtually every fad diet plan out there, I’d given up and gotten used to feeling lethargic and moody.
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After my friend found success on WW—she looked amazing!—I decided to join WW in November 2017. I went to my first WW Workshop on a Monday afternoon but ended up settling into a weekend Workshop, where I felt like I found my place. Although I’m fairly introverted, and the members ranged in age and life stage, there were so many people I could relate to.
After my first Saturday morning Workshop, the WW Coach asked me to define my “why,” or motivation for getting healthier. Beyond my short-term goal of fitting into a dress at a friend’s wedding, I didn’t want to suffer from type 2 diabetes like my grandfather. The conversation definitely helped me solidify my resolve.
Doing it on my own terms
Unlike many of the WW members I met in my Workshop and on Connect, I don’t like to cook. For me, this posed a problem around dinnertime since I’d grown used to eating out. To break the habit, I found foods that were just as convenient as takeout with lower WeightWatchers values. Thanks to pre-cooked chicken breasts, rotisserie chicken, and microwavable pouches of rice, I began to master meals like stir-frys and omelettes that took fewer than 15 minutes to make. I also started to measure my wine pours and found Cense wines, which have one fewer WeightWatchers value per glass than alternatives.
Another big change: I started eating in the morning, relying on quick and easy options like homemade scrambled eggs or turkey bacon sandwiches that made breakfast a no-brainer.
While I continued eating out with friends, I learned to look up the menu beforehand and pre-track WeightWatchers-friendly options on my WW app. This way, I have a game plan before I get to the restaurant and know I’ll stay within my daily WeightWatchers Budget, no problem.
What Mallory Ate Then vs. Now
Scrambled eggs with lean ham, cheese, and salsa; a buffalo chicken omelette; protein waffles; or a reduced-fat turkey bacon sandwich; and two shots of espresso mixed with a protein shake
A cheese-filled chicken pesto panini drizzled with oil or a chicken sandwich with mayo plus a side of French fries or potato chips and a soda
A Mexican rice bowl filled with lean ground chicken or turkey with taco seasoning, beans, corn, avocado, salsa, and Greek yogurt “sour cream”; or a chicken breast sub topped with ZeroPoint veggies and sweet onion sauce, plus a bag of baked chips and a diet soda
Takeout or restaurant dishes like drunken noodles, General Tso’s chicken, white rice, and a few glasses of wine
Cajun-spiced chicken breast with a side of mashed potatoes or sauteed spinach; a shrimp and green bean sauté with jasmine rice; shrimp or chicken fajitas; or chicken pho; and one glass of wine
Potato chips, pretzels, granola bars
Protein bars, WW Turkey Pepperoni Snack Sticks, plain chicken breast, apples, grapes, tangerines, baby carrots and pepper strips with a Greek yogurt-based ranch dip
Finding activity again
After my post-college weight gain, I felt like a washed-up ex-athlete; I was embarrassed to head to the gym. But after losing about 30 pounds on WW, I gained the confidence to join a fitness club and get active again. At first, I tried kickboxing classes. While I’ll admit it was intimidating—we punched and kicked the bag, ran laps around the gym, and performed burpees—and everyone around me made it look impossibly easy, I stuck with it and worked my way up to two to three classes a week. Slowly but surely, I began to feel more like an athlete and more capable than ever before.
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Revitalized and energized
After losing 44 pounds*, my moods have improved, my energy levels are up, and I’m even more productive at work. Even better: I don’t cringe when I see myself in photos.
Newly armed with confidence, I’m not going back to hiding my body online or in real life. I’m done worrying about the way I look—for good!
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