How I Lost 83 Pounds In 1 Year With WW
Hi! Tell us about yourself…why did you decide to start losing weight?
I’ve been overweight most of my adult life. I always knew I wanted to lose weight – not just the physical weight – but to be healthier, more confident, and more comfortable with myself. When I started Graduate School, my health was my last priority. After graduating, I started a job that I love working at a hospital with dialysis patients.
Working with people who are battling a chronic illness started to put my own health into perspective. As I settled into my job and new routine, I started to feel in control of my life again. I was contemplating a change but wasn’t quite ready. Eventually, I got tired of it. I was tired of being overweight, irritable, self-conscious, hiding in photos, and feeling lethargic.
I was sitting at my desk at work when I decided I had to take a chance. The previous week I had seen multiple commercials advertising WW (formerly Weight Watchers). I decided at that moment to give it a try and signed up for a 6-month commitment. I genuinely didn’t think it would stick or I would be where I am today – but I am forever grateful for taking the chance.
What was your workout routine? Can you give us what a typical week looked like for you working out?
Two months into my journey I decided I was ready to add in exercise. I found a local gym that offered small group classes and started going three times a week. It was hard. I worked with the instructor to make modifications to the exercises to meet my needs. The classes were a combination of strength training, cardio, and HIIT workouts.
Unfortunately, after six weeks the gym closed due to COVID and then closed permanently. One of the instructors decided to launch her own small business offering small group classes outdoors a few months later. Once a week I went to an hour-long class with three other women. Every class combined strength training, cardio, and HIIT workouts.
When they were available, I went to extra drop-in classes as well. Recently, I started using the Peloton app. I have enjoyed the Strength and Stretching classes offered on the Peloton app. I created a space in my finished basement and play the classes on my TV to create a more in-person class feel. I’m looking forward to combining the Peloton classes with my once-weekly in-person class when it resumes this Spring.
What was your nutrition like? Can you give us what a typical day of eating looked like?
When I first started, I solely focused on my eating habits. I used the WW app religiously. Looking for meal ideas, recipes, scanning everything with a barcode, learning what substitutions I could make. In the beginning, I needed to focus on basics. I focused on lean meats, vegetables, fruits, eggs, and low points snacks. I started loosely tracking calories and macros to make sure I was eating enough and getting nutrients.
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I used calorie/macro counting more as guidance than as a strict tracking tool. I’m not very adventurous with my eating, so most days I ate the same meals on rotation. Every Sunday I would prepare 5 days’ worth of breakfasts and lunches for the workweek. Some weeks worked wonderfully, and others I was sick of what I prepared by day 3. Those moments were hard in the beginning.
I found it difficult to balance my nutrition with my social life. Whenever my friends asked to go out to eat, it was challenging to decline. I wanted to enjoy my life, but I also wanted to be consistent with my goals. About three months into my journey, COVID hit. As strange as it sounds, I found consistency and motivation during this time.
Restaurants were closed to dine-in eating. I couldn’t socialize with my friends. We limited the number of trips to the grocery store. In those early months, I found my groove. I figured out the balance between enjoying myself and staying on plan. Once a week, my significant other and I ordered out to support local businesses. I was able to enjoy the meal and move on. It wasn’t always easy. I struggle with food guilt. However, it helped me feel in control, balanced and fulfilled.
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How did you stay motivated to lose weight? Did you ever slip up?
Staying motivated has been challenging. I have moments where I’m doing great and feel like I have all the motivation in the world. Then there are other moments where all I want to do is eat cheesy nachos and lay on the couch all weekend. It would be dishonest to say that never happened.
There were definitely times I just didn’t care and did what I wanted. Those moments never made me feel better. Almost always, I felt terribly both physically and emotionally afterward. It’s something I constantly work on, and something I think everyone needs to constantly work on.
I try to find balance and take things one day at a time. On tough days, I take it one meal, one snack, or even one bite at a time. I aim to be able to enjoy my favorite foods in moderation. Weight loss is as much (if not more) about the mental piece than the physical piece.
When did you start to notice progress?
I started noticing changes in my body about six months in. My clothes weren’t fitting anymore. I saw my friends for the first time in a few months and everyone noticed my weight loss right away. People at work started noticing around this time as well. It felt amazing, but also slightly uncomfortable. It is incredibly encouraging for others to notice your hard work and compliment you. However, it can also feel like everyone is watching you and you can’t “fail”.
To this day, it is difficult sometimes for me to see the changes in my own body. I notice the most in photos and videos of myself, or in the way my clothes fit. When I look at photos of myself from before my weight loss I don’t recognize myself. I don’t remember feeling that size.
As uncomfortable as I was with my weight, I never realized just how overweight I appeared in photos and to others. When I see myself now in photos, it feels like me I always saw. One thing I do to help see the changes in myself is taking measurements every 2-3 months. When the weight loss has slowed, seeing the change in inches helps to keep me motivated.
Did you use any sort of trackers/apps/scales to track your progress?
To track my progress I use a variety of tools and apps. I still use the WW app every day to track my food. Once a week, I weigh in and enter my weight into the WW app. In addition to the WW app, I frequently track my food in the MyFitnessPal app as well to monitor calorie intake and macronutrients. This helps me ensure I’m not only using my points but that I’m also getting the nutrition my body needs.
I weigh myself daily using the FitIndex scale. It is a Bluetooth scale that connects to an app. The app tracks your body metrics and creates graphs to visualize your progress. For me personally, I chose to weigh daily. Weighing daily has helped me better understand body weight. I don’t feel as stressed when I see a small gain because I have learned to see the difference between weight gain versus normal fluctuation.
Are there any other fitness products that you used frequently?
I love macro dense snack alternatives. Quest Loaded Taco Chips are my absolute favorite. I really enjoy Fiber Gourmet pasta. Almost every day I try to incorporate a small dessert. I really enjoy Enlightened ice cream, Nick’s Swedish ice cream, Eat Me Guilt Free brownies, and Barbell protein bars (literally taste like a chocolate bar!).
Do you have any weight loss “hacks” or “secrets” that helped you succeed?
Finding substitutes for my favorite foods helped me stay on track! When I’m really busy at work and short on time to drink water, I’ll chug 16oz to get some in. I highly recommend using a food scale and weighing in grams. Many times the serving is actually larger than if you were to measure it with measuring cups!
Do you have any fitness books/podcasts/websites that you’d recommend and why?
I recommend checking out Netrition.com! It is an online nutrition store where you can purchase the products you’re looking for and have them shipped right to your door. I’m able to find all of my favorite items without having to place a bunch of different online orders. They carry a wide variety of products, even well-known brands that you’d find at the grocery store. It makes staying on track easier, especially in the times of COVID.
What is your best advice to beginners who are looking to lose weight?
If you’re looking to start your own fitness journey, find what will work best for you. Start with small sustainable changes. You don’t need expensive products, fancy tools, or even a gym membership. You can start in your own kitchen. It doesn’t need to be expensive to be effective.
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