Katerina and I have both been overweight for basically all of our lives. We both have tried to loose weight before and with some success, both on our own and through professional weight loss programs. Those programs are fine, I suppose and certainly help a lot of people, but for us what happened was that we lost the weight and then gained back the weight, because we still hadn't really learned to eat right. Back then(I don't know about now) you had to eat the food they gave you to eat and you made few choices on your own regarding what you would eat. After the weight was off, we still didn't know how to eat right. Not that I'm blaming anyone but myself, I ate the food myself (and really liked it :P) Also, we did not go through their maintenance programs. One of the things I like about Weight Watchers is that from "day one" you are learning how to keep track of what you have eaten that day and how much you can eat. In other words, it is like being on maintenance the whole time, you just add a few points when you want to stop losing weight and start maintaining it.
Addendum: A note on my (Brian's) half of the story. I say that I have been overweight for basically
all of my life. I have been overweight for most all of my adult life. Morbidly obese. But what I did
not say, what I did not even realize until recently, is that I was not very overweight until my
20's. I'm not sure exactly when. Maybe I'll figure that out later by looking at pictures of myself.
(If I can find any of that time period, I avoided pictures). I *THOUGHT* I was much heavier than I was
right though high school, and I believe even part of middle school. See, I had been *TOLD* I was fat by
someone. A couple of people(no, not my parents). I was not my optimal weight, but I was probably within
10-20 pounds of it for all my childhood. Because I did not have washboard abs, I thought I was fat.
I did not know this until I recently saw pictures of myself. I know this sounds crazy, but it is true.
I PERCEIVED that I was fat... and I became what I thought I was. I think that this can work both ways.
Tell yourself that you are going to be thin. Believe that you will be thin again and stay on course. Tell
yourself that you ALREADY are thin, and eat like a thin person.(make sure you get enough points of course)
You WILL be thin again. You will become what you are in your mind.
My name is Brian. I live in Louisville, Kentucky and no, we don't marry our brothers, sisters or cousins here.(haha, at least most of us don't). I met my girlfriend, Katerina on the internet several years ago and in April of 2000 she made the trek across the nation from Bellingham, Washington to Louisville and we moved in together( we had met in person before, I vacationed in Bellingham the year before, and she visited me here also).
Neither of us were happy with our weight. I was 358.8 pounds, 5'8" and she was 291.8 pounds, 5'3". So between the two of us we were 650.6 pounds(and only 10'11" haha)! My mom and sister had just started Weight Watchers and had been telling me that they thought it was a great program. At this time I was 33 years old, morbidly obese, could not walk from one street corner to the next without being out of breath, and thinking that I would probably be dead within 2 years. I used to say in 5 years at the max, but that isn't really what I thought. I guess I thought if I didn't say it out loud (or in writing) that I was that close to death, it wouldn't be true, and I could feel better. The first day that Katerina was in Louisville, I asked her if she would be interested in going to Weight Watchers with my mom and sister. She told me that she had been thinking of asking me the same.
That next thursday, which was the day that my mom and sister were going to Weight Watchers, we met them there and joined. That was April 20, 2000, one week before my birthday. I wasn't sure if I would like Weight Watchers, but I was sure that I needed to lose weight, and that I had to start losing weight soon. That week I counted my points, guzzled my water, I think I even had some pizza! Finally weight-in day rolled around and we made our way back. I stepped on the scale and it showed 347.6 pounds, I had lost 11.2 pounds! I could do this! Weight Watchers(at this time the program was called 1-2-3 Success, now it is called Winning Points) gave me the ability to easily monitor how much I was eating and how much I could eat and still lose weight. By May 18, 2000, one month OP(on program), I was down to 337.8 pounds(down 21.0 pounds) and could already walk miles!
I'm not going to say that losing weight is easy, because anyone that has ever tried knows that simply isn't true. However, with Weight Watchers giving you the tools and support you need, it sure is easier. I also worked hard finding foods that were low points, that I could work into my lifestyle. I found fudge popcicles that were 1 point, I found pizza that HALF the pizza was 16 points, I found pre-cooked teriyaki chicken, barbeque chicken, etc that was 3 points a serving. In fact, I spend a lot of my exercise time walking around grocery stores haha! You might be thinking.. he sure did spend a lot of time finding "junk" to eat. Well ... you'd be right, but hey, it's what I like, and if it isn't easy, I will have a lot harder time keeping to it. Weight Watchers isn't so much a diet, as it is a life style change. You have to find the way to fit it into your life style, or it simply won't work for you. That isn't to say that I haven't incorporated fruits and vegetables into my diet, because I have. I think I have eaten more onions, cauliflower, broccoli, mushrooms, green beans, etc, in the last year than a lot of people eat in their lives!
Anyone that is thinking of trying to lose weight should definately give Weight Watchers a try. Weight Watchers is very flexible, allowing you to find a way to fit it into your life. Once you start it, stay with it! Don't give up. There are good times and bad times, as with everything in life. The first time I lost less than a pound, I was SO depressed, I wanted to walk out. The first(and only so far) time that I gained, I actually did decide to skip the meeting, walked out to my car and just sat there for a couple of minutes. Then I got out of the car and walked right back in. I don't stay for every meeting, mostly because of scheduling, I stay when I can though. I think it really helps, it's an important part of the whole. If you decide to try to lose weight, be honest with yourself, KEEP TRACK of what you are eating. Don't cheat, because you would only be cheating yourself.
I've now been OP for almost 1 year and as of April 09, 2001 I weigh 236.8 pounds and have lost 122.0 pounds. I'm losing about 1/2 a pound to 2 pounds a week. I have a long way to go, but as long as I stick with it, it WILL come off eventually.
Although my physical struggle with weight did not begin until puberty struck, I know my psychological struggles with food began long, long before. I came from a family of big eaters, and food was an intregral part of our lives. You know the drill...feasting during holidays, non-holidays, rainy days, sunny days, happy days, sad days, and Mondays thru Sundays was the norm for my family. It was just the way we were, and as I didn't have a weight problem, I never gave it a thought.
A few years after the death of my father, my mother relocated with my sister and me from New York State to Washington State. I was 12 years old and weighed 110lbs. By the time I started the 7th grade I weighed 130lbs. By the end of that school year I weighed 160lbs, and so began my struggles with weight and food. Even at that young an age I would go on any crazy diet that I could. I would lose a few pounds and gain it right back. By the time I graduated from high school, all of my efforts to try and lose weight only resulted in disappointment, and I went through my high school graduation ceremonies wearing the biggest gown the school could order. I weighed 236lbs.
Throughout my 20's I attended college and worked a sedentary job and continually battled with my weight. Several times I actually lost significant amounts. When I was 28 years old I did Jenny Craig but the only weight that I lost permenantly as a result of that diet was the few ounces that my gall bladder had weighed, for the 'diet' compromised my gall bladder and it had to be removed.
By the time my 30's rolled around I had pretty much given up on myself. I stood no taller than 5'3" and weighed over 290lbs. There were never any Proms in my life. There were no boyfriends. I did not experience the thrill of that 'first kiss' with a boy. "Always a bridesmaid and never a bride"??? No, no...I was never even a bridesmaid. I would never be able to fit into the dress! There were no summers at the lake. I never knew what it felt like to wear a short, sexy black dress. No, I never got to experience so much of life that others take for granted. However, I can tell you exactly what it is like to live with obesity and what it feels like to be incessantly viewed as 'less than' simply because I weigh 'more than' I should.
I was in a play once...a musical. At one point during a dance number the girls hop on the boys' backs. The director took one look at me and smirked and said it would be funny if my partner hopped on my back instead of me on his. And so I was humiliated nightly during performances when my dance partner would hop on my back and I would hear the audience roar with laughter at my expense. I know what it feels like to be outside and go for a walk and hear the most hurtful of comments shouted with utter hatred from open car windows. I know what it is like to have people condescend to me and tell me how pretty I WOULD BE if I were thin. And I know precisely what it feels like to fall in love with someone and for him to tell me how much he loves me and how I am the most 'beautiful soul he has ever known and ever will know'...but that he can't 'love' me because of my weight.
..............ENTER BRIAN............. I spotted Brian across a dark, smokey room in a little cafe in a very secluded, exotic location. Now, Brian may have some dilusions of grandeur that we met on the Internet ...but this is MY story...and I'm stickin' to it!!! :P
Ok, ok. I met Brian on the 'dating service for nerds'... the Internet (only admitting to it 'cause he dun spilled the beans in his personal history...eeesh!). After desperately trying to approach our relationship in true ostrich fashion (i.e., with my head buried in the sand), he convinced me to allow him to come to my home in Washington State for a visit. We met and I visited him in his home in Kentucky. Less than a year after that I left my beloved Washington State and made my home here in Louisville, Kentucky with Brian.
A week after I arrived, Brian and I decided to join his mother and sister at Weight Watchers. I had never joined before and didn't know exactly what to expect. I must confess I was surprised by the program. Eat what you want within reason? Count points and not calories? Chocolate is not forbidden?? Dining out is not forbidden? I couldn't believe what I was hearing. It sounded so simple. Eat like a 'normal person' and you will eventually weigh a 'normal weight'. I had always associated 'weight loss' with 'deprivation'. I was not used to eating pizza and losing weight. But eat pizza I did...and lose weight I have!
Brian has noted that being on WW is like being on maintenance from 'day one'. And he's right. Instead of forcing you to deprive yourself and restrict your calories to lose weight and then worry about LEARNING how to eat normally, WW has you practicing the techniques of keeping weight off permenantly from the moment you walk in the door. And that I walked in that door...is something I am grateful for every moment of my new life.
I will not thank WW for giving me 'my life back'. I thank WW for giving me a 'life that I never knew was possible'. And sometimes in life, there really are no words to express how I feel. This is one of them.
On February 14th, 2001...I celebrated my first Valentines Day ever. Brian and I sat together in a quiet restaurant, holding hands...and I was wearing a short, sexy black dress. And so now I know what that feels like. It feels beautiful. And I feel beautiful. And I wouldn't trade that feeling for all the chocolate in the world.