How This Woman Lost 77 Pounds* Without Giving Up Her Daily Glass Of Wine

Turns out, it’s all about the portions.
Published August 10, 2019

*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). Susan lost weight on a prior program and is continuing on PersonalPoints™.

As told to Lucy Shanker

In 2015, I found a pair of knee-high, vintage designer boots online and knew had to have them. The day they arrived on my doorstep, I couldn’t wait to slip them on. But then I realized: They wouldn’t zip over my calves.

This wasn’t the first time I was bothered by my body: I've struggled with my weight since puberty. After I had my daughter, the number on the scale fluctuated until about 10 years ago, when the pounds really started to accumulate.

It’s not like I didn’t try to lose the weight: Back in 2013, I had struggled with a cough that lasted several months. I’ve always been drawn to holistic wellness practices, so I went to an Ayurvedic doctor who advised me to dramatically change my eating patterns. I gave up dairy, gluten, red meat, processed sugar, and all alcohol except wine.

Having cut out all the “bad” foods in my diet, I expected the pounds to fall off. As it happened, my cough and congestion disappeared, but the weight didn’t. A few years later, when my beautiful boots didn’t zip, I felt defeated. I placed them back in the box, relegating them to the back of my closet.

RELATED: The #1 Weight Loss Program

Getting answers

Hoping my new habits would eventually deliver, I continued my restrictive diet until January 2017. Meanwhile, my best friend had begun WW. After just a few months, she was massively successful. When she raved about how easy the program was to follow, I thought, “Why not try WW? If it works for her, it might work for me."

When I went to a WW Studio for my first WW Workshop and had my first Wellness Check-in, I knew what to expect from the scale. Still, I felt angry and confused: Given the foods I’d cut out, I didn’t understand why I was still overweight. I actually raised my hand during the Workshop and said to the members in the group, “I don’t know why I’m here.”

Luckily, my WW Coach helped things click. Change, she told me, comes down to two things: the choices you make and the portions that you eat. 

She also urged me to identify my “why,” or motivation for getting healthier. I wanted to feel more comfortable posing for photos—no more hiding in the back row of group shots. And I wanted to rock those vintage boots.

Measuring my way to success

After that, I started to weigh and measure my food and used the WW app to track everything I ate. It led to a big wake up call: While I’d been making healthy choices, I’d been consuming portions that would have put me over my PersonalPoints Budget. For instance, my husband and I would make a pound of salmon and a pot of rice for dinner, but then we’d each eat half a pound of fish and big heaps of rice rather than a one-cup serving. Once I started focusing on the volume of my food intake, I realized that more reasonable portions could be plenty satisfying. Finally, I felt in control and started seeing results.

What Susan ate then vs. now

Breakfast-A hard-boiled egg and coffee with a splash of almond milk
LunchA spicy tuna roll with spicy mayo plus a bag of baby carrots and half of a container of hummusChicken or turkey breast with a handful of baby carrots and an apple or a veggie omelette with grilled tomatoes
DinnerHalf pound of salmon with a few portions of rice or chicken thighs and drumsticks with quinoa plus half a bottle of wineSashimi with one serving of rice, salmon with kale braised in vegetable broth, or turkey meatballs over spiralized zucchini noodles, plus two glasses of wine in my portion-controlled WW wine tumbler
SnacksChips or hummus with gluten-free crackers or carrotsFrozen blueberries, apples, peapods, or baby carrots

Overcoming setbacks

About two weeks into my WW journey, I began traveling back and forth between New York City and Florida to visit my sick father. It was a stressful time, but the program gave me welcome structure: During trips, I’d go to the supermarket and buy turkey and carrot sticks, and take them with me to the hospital for lunch. I’d always carry my water bottle to stay hydrated during long visits.

When my father died six weeks later, there was a seemingly endless flow of friends bringing me casseroles and sweets before and after the funeral. Somehow, I managed to resist emotional eating. My mindset was different this time: I was going to follow through.

The support I received in my Workshops and on Connect, the WW members-only social network, helped enormously. From the members I met in real life to those I talked to online, they all helped keep me motivated with say, 30-day exercise challenges. In addition to those, I use an activity tracker that I sync with the WW app—I compete in step challenges with friends that I've made in my Workshop—and practice Pilates. My key to success: I’ve found exercises that I love.

RELATED: Invite your friends to WW—for each one who joins, you’ll both get a free month on us!

Reclaiming self-esteem

Incrementally, my clothes began fitting better, and I actually liked the way I looked in them, although I eventually emptied my closet and donated just about everything to charity to make room for new clothing in a smaller size. Having lost 77 pounds*, I actually enjoyed trying on the dresses!

My success on WW has completely transformed my outlook on life. My self-confidence has skyrocketed, and I present myself to the world in a new way.

I kept my “why” close by throughout my journey: When I hit my goal, I had professional photos taken of me. And guess what? I rock my vintage boots regularly. I feel like a rockstar. 

Explore more WW member weight loss transformations.