'I leveraged my highly competitive nature'
Sara Key, 43, Tampa HEIGHT: 5-foot-9 STARTING WEIGHT: 222 CURRENT WEIGHT: 146WHY I DID IT: Throughout my whole life, I firmly believed that I could lose weight by myself; there was no need to pay someone to tell me how. I thought plans like Weight Watchers (WW) were hoaxes or scams; I rationalized that I was genetically predetermined to be my size forever. Last summer, my leg was broken. Because of the pain of hobbling around on crutches for six weeks and watching my weight increase due to inactivity, I became desperate. It was simple: I was tired of being tired. HOW I DID IT: I started noticing Weight Watchers commercials, and they seemed to be everywhere. I had friends tell me they were going to meetings and that it was working for them. I saw the booth at the 2011 Tech Data Health and Wellness Fair and was curious. Knowing that my family and work obligations would never allow me to attend regular meetings, I stopped by the WW booth to see if they had information about their online programs. That is where I met Laurie (my future leader), who told me that, with the right level of interest, Weight Watchers would actually come to Tech Data. Talk about a plan that I could commit to — after all, I'm here every day! To be successful, I leveraged my highly competitive nature and challenged myself to beat the goals, beat my genetics and stay on target. I am also frugal with my money, so I was determined to get a positive return on my investment in weight loss. When WW said "write down everything you eat," I wrote it down. When WW said "these are your budgeted points for the day/week," I made sure to stay under my budget. In doing so, I gained control over my eating habits and watched the weight steadily drop as my energy and confidence rose. Four months into my WW journey, I had lost nearly 40 pounds. My weight loss success tempted my husband to sign up as well. He is successfully using the online version and I am his "meeting leader." At this point, he is down 40 pounds. Early on, our 10-year-old son became our self-appointed coach. He questions us daily about tracking, asks how many points we're eating, and literally slaps our hands away when we mindlessly reach for his french fries. While it has certainly helped having the encouragement of my family at home, the biggest sources of support have been the WW members that I pass in the hallway at Tech Data every day. Between us, we pass smiles, winks and raised eyebrows. We know when a member took the stairs instead of the elevator, and we encourage each other in a multitude of little ways. I call it "positive peer pressure." HURDLES: I had some health issues when I first started – first the broken leg and then I had to have my appendix removed just a few months after beginning WW. I couldn't exercise, but I stayed on the eating plan. Those were just hurdles to cross, but not walls, and I got past them. GOING THE DISTANCE: A full year of my life has been dedicated to this journey, but it has been entirely worth it to me. Not only am I healthier and more energetic, but I have a new wardrobe (six sizes smaller), as well as a totally new outlook on life. I reached my goal of losing 75 pounds almost three weeks ago, and I could not be happier. I am now ready to handle maintenance and I know I will be successful, because WW has taught me how to take control and make good choices. My son put it best in his Mother's Day note: "I love my new 2012 mom!"
I Lost It is a regular feature highlighting individual weight loss success stories and does not reflect the opinions of 4you, which encourages you to work with a physician or a nutritionist before embarking on a diet. To share your story, visit TBO.com, search Lost It; or email email@example.com; or mail to 4you, The Tampa Tribune, 200 S. Parker St., Tampa FL 33606.