Fran Miner, 68, Largo
STARTING WEIGHT: 259
CURRENT WEIGHT: 162
WHY I DID IT: I became the ultimate couch potato. I was in a lot of pain with a back injury received during a car accident. I rarely went out of the house because the pain was so intense. I couldn't even do something as simple as walking around the block; much less do anything that required standing or endurance of any kind. If I did some kind of activity like washing dishes, I had to sit down immediately after to the stop the pain. The less active I became, the more weight I gained and the more miserable I felt. My self-esteem was at an all-time low. I finally went to Weight Watchers in October 2010 and began the journey to get my life back. I finally made the commitment to myself to get healthy.
HOW I DID IT: Over the past 19 months, the Weight Watchers program has taught me how to lose weight by eating healthy. Because it was so easy to track my food and activity online, I was able to follow the program and still live my life. This is not a diet; this is a lifestyle change. You don't have to buy special food; you eat the same food that your family eats. Portion control allows me to have the foods I love.
You get so much support at the weekly meetings. The other members share their stories, their accomplishments and problems. No matter what my problem for the week was, I always found a way to solve it and continue losing weight. Everyone on the Weight Watchers staff at my meeting always encouraged me and helped me feel good about myself as I went through the process. I couldn't think about losing 100 pounds. It was just too overwhelming. My goal has always been to lose 5 pounds. That I could manage. With everyone's help, I have had amazing success.
HURDLES: One of the biggest problems I had when I started was not being able to do anything physically. I started exercising using WII Fit and exercised five minutes at a time. I advanced to a walking tape and started exercising 15 to 20 minutes at a time. I now walk 3 to 4 miles a day, do weight training two or three times a week and, most important, I do not have any back pain.
When I had a week that I didn't lose weight or gained a few ounces, I would review my logs for the past week and make some kind of change. Sometimes you get in a rut with what you eat, and simply eating something different or changing your exercise routine will help you to start losing again.
GOING THE DISTANCE: Weight Watchers has kept me on track for the last 19 months, and I feel very confident that I will reach my goal (7 more pounds) and be able to maintain the weight loss.
BEST ADVICE: You need to make a commitment to yourself first. Once you do that, find a program you can live with and take it one step at a time.