Tammy Kept On Smiling

When this member saw the early signs of type 2 diabetes, she decided to make a change for good — what she had wanted to do for 30 years.
Published October 30, 2015

Tammy lost 72 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). Tammy lost weight on a prior program and is continuing on WeightWatchers. Watch how Tammy celebrated her success with a tea party in the video below.

In Tammy's words:
I’d tried WW many years ago, and it worked for me. But after my second pregnancy, I didn’t go back to the program. Instead, I became a human guinea pig, trying every fad diet. Of course I’d lose weight, but as soon as I stopped following a certain food plan, I’d gain back the pounds I’d lost and more.

What led Tammy to change

The turning point
When I turned 49, I started experiencing health issues; I’d wake up in the morning, and my eyesight would be blurry — and my glasses wouldn’t help. I love water, but I was always reaching for something to drink. And I was tired and fatigued. When I realized that these symptoms all pointed to type 2 diabetes, I have to admit that I wasn’t surprised. My grandfather had type 2 diabetes, and I remember seeing him suffer through the 12-year progression of the disease, eventually losing his foot. Since I’ve been battling my weight for decades, I figured I was predisposed to type 2. When I told my doctor about my symptoms, she suggested that I lose weight. I had the image of my grandfather’s suffering in the back of my mind, and I didn’t want that happening to me.

Getting healthy together
I vowed to lose weight after this doctor’s appointment, but I was scared of failing. My neighbor, Janice, knew about my worries, so she invited me over for lunch one day and cooked a few WW recipes. When I tasted them, all I thought was, “OMG, these are fabulous!” She let me borrow her cookbooks, and I made several of the recipes over the next few days. When I hopped on the scale and saw a drop, I decided to become an official member.

Eating out on-plan
We live outside Atlanta, so we love our barbecue. When we’d go out to a local restaurant, we’d get barbecue spare ribs, baked beans, potato salad — and we’d even order the signature soda cake, which, as we say in the South, was “slap-yo’-Mama good.” But now, I’ve developed new tastes, and fresh, seasonal produce or a big salad is so much more appealing than those heavy options. And if I do want fried chicken one day, I know I can still have it — I just plan ahead. When I’m going to a picnic, I’ll always bring my own food, like my pulled “pork.” I’ll use turkey instead of pork and a low-sugar barbecue sauce, and I’ll cook it for hours. To this day, people think I’m lying when I tell them it’s turkey. And guess what? It’s still “slap-yo-Mama good.”

Get the picture
I’m a photographer, and the job is pretty physically demanding. When I shoot a wedding, I’m on my feet nine to 12 hours that day. When I photograph senior portraits, I’m climbing up a ladder, getting down on my knees, lying on my belly; basically moving from one unusual position to the next just to get the right camera angle. Now, my whole job is much more manageable and enjoyable.

How Tammy’s success with WW has improved her life

Fit for a queen
I like to sew my own clothes. Years ago, I created a dress form using my own measurements so that I could make clothes that fit me perfectly. Looking at it now, I can clearly see how far I’ve come. It’s so exciting to make a dress or blouse with less fabric. And shopping for clothes has become fun again — I usually do a little dance in the fitting room.

A clean bill of health
When I went back for my yearly checkup, my doctor was so excited by the results! My blood work was all clear, and I told her how the type 2 symptoms had disappeared in a few months. As I’d started to lose weight, my feet stopped hurting, I didn’t feel as thirsty, and my eyesight improved. And what’s more, I learned how to eat balanced meals. I always used to skip breakfast and then be starving by lunch. Now I have high-protein oatmeal with walnuts, craisins, flaxseed, and white chia seeds. Since I’m not ravenous by lunch, I’m satisfied with turkey sliders or hummus with crudité. I don’t feel deprived anymore.

Celebrating our success
I don’t know how I would’ve succeeded without Janice. It was amazing to have a buddy to lean on throughout my journey. When she reached her goal weight, I threw her a tea party to celebrate her achievements. I told myself, “When I get to my goal, I’m going to throw myself a Mad Hatter tea party, complete with pretty dresses, pearls, hats, tea, and healthy cookies.” And, I did it. It was a wonderful day; my friends and I talked about foods we love, new clothes we’ve bought, and exciting experiences we’ve had, and this positivity felt great. I realized, for the first time, I feel comfortable with who I am.