Success Stories

A shift in her why helped this bride-to-be lose 65 pounds*

How family caregiving brought new urgency to her journey.

*People following the WW program can expect to lose 1-2 pounds/week. Taylor, WW ambassador, lost weight on a prior program and is continuing on myWW™.
 

As told to Katerina Gkionis
 

In 2017, my goal was to take 52 hikes. Along with my boyfriend and mom, I wanted to get out in nature and enjoy my beautiful home state of California. We had some amazing adventures that year, but I couldn’t help feeling down on myself: No one on the trails looked like me. I always felt out of place.

I had assumed I would lose weight as a byproduct of all the hiking—we were logging serious miles, after all. Instead, I ended up gaining 30 pounds. As an event planner, I’d fill up on party food served at work functions, like buffalo wings and mozzarella sticks. After my long days, I’d grab things on the go: pizza, hot dogs, sugary coffee drinks. I felt larger than everyone around me. I was so self-conscious.
 


When the holidays rolled around, I made the typical New Year’s resolution to lose weight. Looking back now, I have to laugh a little at my reason: I had been with my boyfriend for about a year and was hoping he’d propose in the coming months. I just wanted to look good in the photos.


RELATED: Join, invite a friend, and get a free month of WW
 

Strong start


I joined WW in January 2018, attending my first WW Workshop with a friend who was already a WW member. I ended up trying a few different WW Workshops before connecting with a WW Coach named Suzanne, whose vibe struck a balance between lighthearted, serious, and motivating. I immediately felt comfortable with her.

Early on, I learned how important meal planning is and began mapping out what I was going to eat for the week ahead. That was a big breakthrough. Meal prep helped me feel more in control of my choices instead of feeling like I had to settle for whatever food was around.
 

What Taylor ate then vs. now

 

  Then Now
Breakfast Fast-food breakfast burritos with egg, cheese, and potato; bacon, egg, and cheese on a croissant, plus a sugary coffee drink Nonfat Greek yogurt bowl with strawberries, blackberries, raspberries, a sliced banana, peanut butter powder, and dark chocolate chips; frittata with eggs, broccoli, grilled onions, turkey pepperoni, light mozzarella, and spices; two shots of espresso with a protein shake
Lunch Pretzel dogs and French fries; flatbread with Caesar salad; bar food like mozzarella sticks and buffalo wings Greek bowl with chicken, quinoa, tzatziki, cucumber, tomato, and red onion; ZeroPoint™ turkey chili
Dinner Three or four slices of cheese pizza, garlic knots, Caesar salad Homemade pizza using two-ingredient dough topped with marinara sauce, light mozzarella, turkey pepperoni, and veggies
Snacks Homemade pizza using two-ingredient dough topped with marinara sauce, light mozzarella, turkey pepperoni, and veggies Carrots, unsweetened applesauce, string cheese or spreadable cheese, banana, turkey jerky, and seaweed snacks


A profound shift in why


From there, WW felt easy for me. I tracked my food; I got my blue-dot days; and my healthy habits became second nature. I started an Instagram page dedicated to my journey—@taylormadetasty—and used it to gain inspiration, find and share recipes, and practice accountability.

Sadly, my boyfriend and I entered a difficult period of family losses and hardships about six months into my journey. First, his mother—who was only in her early 60s—passed away. Then, my boyfriend’s grandfather was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer. His grandfather moved in with us, and we became his primary caregivers for the final 15 months of his life.

Our situation was immensely challenging through the end of 2019, and losing loved ones deeply shifted my thinking and priorities. My why became not just about looking good in photos; instead, I wanted to establish habits that would support a long and healthy life.

 

The power of movement—and me time


While I had always enjoyed scenic weekend hikes, I knew I needed an activity for busy weekdays, too. I tried walking and Zumba, which I liked. Then I scored a free week of spin classes in summer 2018; that was the real game changer.

I ended up going to six classes in seven days. I felt totally reenergized up after that first class, and I wanted to capture the feeling again and again. So, I kept showing up.  When the lights dimmed and the music came on at the beginning of class, I’d get goosebumps. I still do.

With all the challenges of caregiving, I learned that it’s important to set aside time for myself to recharge and blow off steam. Those spin classes were my release. I also shared everything about my journey on my Instagram page. I felt so fortunate to have a virtual community in my corner. Taking care of myself helped me better support the loved ones who were counting on me every day.

I recently completed my 200th spin class—a goal I had wanted to reach for a few months. I feel so strong and capable, excited to tackle my next goal of holding a plank for two minutes straight. So far, I’m up to 30 seconds. I’ll get there!

A new chapter


Any thoughts of a wedding had been on the back burner since 2018, so I was stunned  when my boyfriend proposed during a vacation to Nashville in early 2020. He dropped to one knee, and a hired photographer popped out of nowhere to snap photos of the moment. I was absolutely overjoyed. I had no worries or feelings of self-consciousness about how I would look in the photos. The proposal was beautiful, and I felt beautiful, too.

Of course, it’s been really exciting to lose—and keep off—65 pounds*. More important, my entire mindset has changed. I no longer engage in negative self-talk. My journey is my own. Now, I hike with confidence. If people pass me on the trail, who cares? What matters is that I’m doing something healthy for myself.

Last month, I visited a bridal salon with my mom and nine girlfriends. I tried on so many wedding gowns—including styles I never thought would work for my body—happily twirling and showing off the dresses. It was a wonderful day. I can’t wait for more wonderful days as my fiance and I work to build a long, healthy, beautiful life together.

Explore more WW member transformations here.