Success Stories in Progress
(part 2)

By Kimberly Dawn Neumann

February 28, 2005

Guess what? There are more of you out there! After profiling two Success Stories in progress last month, we found three more dynamic Members who, while not yet at their goal weights, are already successes thanks to the pounds they’ve shed. Find out how their lives have changed for the better.

Brenda and George
The couple that diets together, succeeds together? That seems to be the case for George and Brenda, who joined Weight Watchers as a team in April 2003. Since then they’ve each lost about 50 pounds*, and though there have been setbacks along the way, they’re determined to succeed for their health and for their children.

Conjoined Members

Brenda: This is something we both decided to do because we weren’t feeling well physically. George is 6 feet tall and started at about 370 pounds. I’m 5’ 4” and joined Weight Watchers at 234 pounds. Before, I would come home and sit on the couch every day and feel like I was dying. Eventually I realized I didn’t want to fall into the family tradition. Everybody is overweight and we have a history of high blood pressure, heart problems, and stroke. So George and I started Weight Watchers and we’ve been going together ever since.

George: I’d tried two other times to go by myself, and lost a little weight, but I didn’t stick with it. I was having problems with my knees, my back, and my blood pressure from the extra weight. It was really getting me down because I was only 39 years old. So, when my wife’s supervisor at work invited us to a Meeting, I went, but I wasn’t enthusiastic because I’d failed before. The leader convinced me to give it another shot though, and I lost right away, the first two weeks. That success really got me rolling.

It’s definitely better with us both doing it. My wife inspires me, with how much she’s lost and how much she wants to continue.

B: We’ve just been doing this gradually and what really keeps us motivated is that we feel so much better physically. We’re more active. We actually went dancing recently instead of just sitting at a table and watching people dance.

Watchers While You Work

B: I usually bring my lunch to work, but even when I go to a restaurant, the waitstaff is great. I work in Spanish Harlem and they must give you about three cups of rice on one order! However, I showed them before and after pictures, since they speak Spanish and I speak English, and they were so happy and understood what I was doing. Now when they see me they say “Little rice right Mommy?” and give me reasonable portions. They’ve been very supportive.

G: For me it’s harder. I work the New York City Metropolitan Transit Authority, on the subway tracks, on the night shift, which means I start my workday around 9 p.m. My biggest problem has always been snacking, so I have to watch that. It can be hard to find good snacks late at night. I bring in those cans of Dole pineapples though, or bananas. It’s very hot down there and draining so I try to drink a lot of water too.

B: The trains get pretty close and he used to make a joke when he first lost 30 pounds* that he was glad he’d slimmed down because his stomach might have hit the subway cars!

G: I’m in a very rigorous job. I don’t want to be one of these guys I see down there who’s extremely overweight and in a lot of pain. I want to be in a different place physically so that I can perform my job with no problems.

Central Challenges

B: I find staying on the routine, especially during the holidays, to be the hardest thing. We just celebrated three birthdays. It was nothing but cake, cake, cake. But instead of tempting myself with leftovers, I brought it to my co-workers and gave it away!

G: The hardest thing for me is not to get complacent. I recently had a back-slide after we got home from a cruise. Ironically, I was good on the actual cruise, but when I got home it was like cruise withdrawal.

Willpower Winner?

G: Brenda definitely has the most willpower consistently. I’m weak when it comes to snacks and sodas. But when I’m focused, I’m good.

Home, Gym or Home-Gym

B: I work out at home. Believe me I know it’s hard getting off the couch! I watched the exercise programs on Fit TV for a week before I even moved. But one day I got up. I started with 3 minutes a day. After about a week, 3 minutes became 15 minutes. Now I exercise daily with different programs or videos.

G: I play basketball. I also go to the gym and mostly do cardio. Getting back on track physically was a great thing and I’m really encouraged. I can now race my daughter who is 7 years old and has a lot of energy!

Little Rewards Go A Long Way

B: Clothes are definitely my favorite reward. Every paycheck I get something fun. I used to make myself wait until I reached a certain weight but now I’m like “No, this is a celebration for me!” And I pass my clothes on to the Salvation Army or Goodwill as I get smaller, so it’s not like they’re going to waste.

G: Sometimes the self-doubt creeps in like “You could’ve lost more, you should’ve lost more.” So, when that happens, I’ll encourage myself with a CD or DVD. It’s sort of my “You know, you’ve been doing this for a while and it’s gonna happen” reward.

Major Motivators

Even though everyone is saying I look great, health-wise I don’t feel I’m yet at the weight that I should be. I know I can do more. And being around for my daughters is the ultimate motivation. I want to enjoy life with my family.

G: I’m determined to reach that place I never thought I’d get back to and I’m not there yet. I want to marry off both my children and to see my grandchildren if, God willing, they happen. The goal is to be here for a very long time.

Camille has lost over 55 pounds* since beginning her Weight Watchers commitment on March 31, 2004. And she’s still shedding weight on her way to a healthier life.

Suddenly Self-conscious

Camille: I’ve been overweight since I was a young child, but I never felt it was a problem. I was still cute and still got dates. But then I gained more weight and went from cute to “Whoa, this is out of control!” I realized I didn’t like what I’d become at this larger weight, and I’d never in my 45 years on this earth not liked myself.

A Change in the Air

C: I kept saying I wanted to do something about my weight, but kept putting it off. A business trip is what finally pushed me over the edge. I got on a plane and this very nice male flight attendant came over and whispered “I’ll just get you an extension belt shall I?” I shot back “Don’t be ridiculous. I don’t need one of those.” But after he left, I realized I couldn’t buckle the belt. I almost burst into tears. I called a different attendant to get the extension belt because I was too embarrassed.

Reality Check

C: When I finally did go to Weight Watchers, I had no idea what I weighed and when I stepped on the scale, I was disgusted. I knew it was bad, but I didn’t know it was that bad.

This time was so different from the first time. I started going to Meetings and the people in it are so unbelievable. The Meetings now help keep me motivated and I really look forward to going.

Non-Scale Victories

C: I didn’t want to get frustrated when I started doing this, so instead of a number, I had certain goals, like I want only one chin again. When I wear a skirt, I want the front and the back to be the same length. And it’s kind of funny, but you know how some people can cut their toenails by sitting down and putting their legs in front of them, straight or cross-legged? I want to be able to cut my toenails like that.

The Non-Smoking Section

C: I’m really taking steps to take care of myself. I stopped smoking a year and a half ago, which actually wasn’t that hard in comparison. I tell people that quitting smoking is a piece of cake. Controlling what you put in your mouth is much harder. I didn’t gain the weight when I quit smoking though. I don’t want to send that message. I’d already gained the weight. This was another positive step towards changing for the better.

A Surprised Exercise Junkie

To come out of this feeling the way I want to feel, I knew I’d have to start exercising. Since both my kids are into it, I started yoga. My teachers are super supportive and because it’s a non-judgmental atmosphere I never feel self-conscious since everyone is at different levels. So, now I do that two days a week. And then I added Pilates and I walk a lot. This winter I’ve signed up for a water aerobics class.

Now I get depressed if I miss my classes. I never thought that would happen. But as a result, I found my hip bones the other day, and I haven’t seen those in years!

Family Support

C: My immediate family is really happy with the changes in me and they’ve been so supportive. My husband has even learned the lingo. We were ordering Chinese take-out the other night and he was like ‘Do you want a scallion pancake or is that too many
POINTS®?’ It was really cool that he knew to ask that.

Self Motivation

C: I know it’s only a number but I still can’t believe I let my weight get so high and I have trouble dealing with that. But, I’m doing this for me – not because I want anyone to think I’m terrific or because there is a wedding coming up or something. I just couldn’t deal anymore and I needed to get off the rollercoaster. There have been times when I’ve been frustrated, but I’ve never given up.

*Results not typical.

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