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Almost a year ago I introduced you to my friend Pam who successfully lost weight a few years ago. Perhaps more important than achieving her weight loss goals, she actively maintains those goals and enthusiastically helps others do the same.
So I thought you would enjoy an update about Pam . If you didn’t meet her the first time , you can do so now . Here’s my original post from last September.
Meet my friend Pam
I am pleased to introduce you to my friend Pam. My husband and I met Pam and her husband in a ballroom dance class. I was immediately captivated by her radiant smile and Southern charm. Since then I have learned more about her and watched an amazing transformation in her life.
Pam and I attending a friend’s wedding at the dance studio
Pam graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor of Arts from Mississippi State University in 1980. With a major in Communications, she started her career as a writer and Account Executive for advertising and public relations agencies in Mississippi and in Oklahoma where she moved after marrying. She was the Marketing Director for a large medical clinic for several years. Since 1995, she has enjoyed being a stay-at-home mom with involvement in PTA, church and community. In 2012, she was named Volunteer of the Year by her community public school system.
But despite such a charmed life, there was a struggle, one that Pam shares with many people. In this blog I have discussed the physical and emotional consequences of excess weight; you will be encouraged by Pam’s success story which she so generously shares with me and you.
“Breaking up(with junk food) is hard to do .”
By Pam Whitson
“I was happily married to the love of my life and should have been having the time of my life. Sadly, my self-confidence and my happiness had been stolen, and I was the thief.
For over two decades, I robbed myself of peak energy, vitality, health and beauty by totally disregarding my intake of food. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I thought about what I should do. I spent money on self-help tapes, gym memberships and weight loss programs from the practical to the extreme. I whined and wished about it constantly. And it didn’t help knowing that I was not alone; almost half of adults are overweight or obese.
And I had occasional moments of success. Like the time I was within four pounds of leaving the “obese” category. (Obese is a BMI, body mass index, of 30 or higher) After months of hard work, I ran to Glamour Shots for the mid-1990s version of a sequin and big hair make-over. On the way home from my triumphant photo session, I stopped by my favorite barbecue place and started eating my way right back to where I was before. I gained all the weight I had lost back and more.
I joked my way through feelings of depression, because I had an unhealthy relationship with food. I thought about it way too much. I ran to it for instant gratification. I was too in love with the tastes, the textures, the sheer delight of food. Even now, I love to grocery shop. One of my favorite places on the planet is the cereal aisle of the grocery store.
“One of my favorite places on the planet is the cereal aisle of the grocery store.”
Finally, at age 53, after twenty years of carrying way too much weight for my 5’7 ½” (1.7 meters) (yes, the half inch counts!) frame, I was ready for a change. Really ready. Change isn’t easy. Change hurts. I walked into Weight Watchers and pretended it was my first time ever. I read everything. I listened and participated. I went to every meeting. I hung around afterwards and pestered my leader for every little nugget of information I could cling to.
Pam and her daughter before her weight loss.
I rejoined Weight Watchers in July, 2012, with 20 pounds (9 kg) still off from a previous Weight Watcher effort. I lost 40 pounds (18 kg) in 4 1/2 months to be at goal before Thanksgiving! I learned to maintain this loss during the required six week maintenance period with Weight Watchers and became an official Lifetime Member before the year’s end of 2012. This meant a lot to me because my birthday is New Year’s Day. How wonderful to start the year at a healthy weight!
At Weight Watchers I learned I could change.
I could change what I put in my grocery basket.
I could change what I ordered in restaurants.
I could change how much I moved.
I could change my relationship with food for good.
I still enjoy food. Very much. Maybe even more than before because now I appreciate my food as fuel to live a healthy and active and even beautiful (in the eyes of the beholder) life!
I still enjoy the tastes, even more so because I choose only the best. My plate is colorful with roasted veggies and fresh fruits and salad greens.
I enjoy grilled lean chicken, steak and seafood. My carbs are high fiber, full of flavor and texture. I no longer long for the processed foods full of white flour, sugar and fat.
By pairing healthy eating with increased physical activity, my weight dropped from 226 lbs (102 kg) to 150 lbs (68 kg). Now 70 pounds (31 kg) lighter and at a healthy BMI of 23, I feel so much happier and healthier.
Once I started eating better, even before I was near my goal weight, my self-esteem and confidence were instantly restored. Just knowing that I had a plan gave me optimism and excitement. I’ve been at goal for almost three years and I wouldn’t trade it for the world (or even a crisp cookie). And I now stay about 10 pounds (4.5 kg) below goal as a safety net.
Pam on a well deserved vacation
In addition to my daily walks, I enjoy ballroom dancing, Jazzercise, swimming and an occasional bike ride. I wear a Fitbit and accomplish 15,000 steps a day.
I’ve been a Weight Watcher leader for two and a half years and just LOVE it! I never imagined I would do this; you might as well as told me I would become an astronaut. While helping me stay at a healthy weight, I enjoy the privilege of making new friends and helping other people be their most confident and healthy selves.
Just for fun, I’ve started a Park Walking group that explores different parks in our city every two weeks. We took a summer break (Oklahoma gets real hot in the summer) but will be back on the trails in September.Along with my awesome Weight Watcher members, I’m enjoying a new healthy relationship with food for good. “
Pam is now a Weight Watchers coach
Weight Watchers may not be the answer for everyone, but Pam’s idea of changing our relationship with food should be a part of any weight management plan. Our eating habits affect our health in other ways, so even if you are not overweight, using food appropriately is important.
Physical activity also has health benefits beyond weight loss. I joined Pam’s walking group and find it a fun way to exercise and make new friends. (My favorite walking shoe is Go Walk by Skechers.) In addition to social dancing with our husbands, Pam and I are part of a ladies dance team. We performed a Western theme dance routine to the song “These Boots are Made for Walking” . That’s so appropriate for someone who walked her way from a BMI of 35 down to 25. If she can do it, so can you.
So what’s Pam doing now?
Pam has maintained her junk food break-up by continuing to make wise food choices consistently. She may have an occasional splurge, especially on special occasions or travelling. But most of the time she sticks with what she has learned works for her.
Enjoying real tea time at The Kensington Palace Orangery! Cucumber sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and delectable tiny treats – glad I already weighed in!
Weighing in at Weight Watchers
Pam is still a Weight Watchers coach and mentor, posting promotions on social media and inviting people to meetings. Like these recent posts-
“If you’ve been thinking of giving ‘getting ‘fit and healthy’ ONE more try, come and join and make it THE try that changed your life.”
“Sixty fun members and lots of celebrations at Weight Watchers today! We may have fun, but we are seriously proud of their achievements!”
“Thinking of using a No Weigh In pass at Weight Watchers tomorrow? Go right ahead! Just be there, 10:30 am, as we go “beyond the scale.” Happy 4th of July and hope to see you soon!
“Mall Walk for cash and prizes! Meet me this Thursday morning, July 7th, at 9:30 am for a super fun walking challenge! Bring $2 and any kind of step counter (Fitbit, pedometer, phone tracker, etc) to take part in the cash reward. We’ll also have drawings for prizes! Everyone is welcome and I hope to see you there!
Some of the prizes given at her meetings
“Great meeting today “Clear The Clutter” if it doesn’t spark joy in your life get rid of it!!”
“WW Friends: Let’s attend the “Every Body Happy” free class together this Thursday, 1:30 p.m.. The class sounds super fun – practical tips for looking great at every size and building a transitional wardrobe to feel our best as we lose weight. Hope to see you there!”
“Drinking our life or at least our SmartPoints away? This week at Weight Watchers, we’re learning how to be smart about our coffee drinks, happy hour, even tea, lemonade and slushies! Hope to see you at the meeting Monday at 12 noon, Tuesday at 10:30, or at the meeting time and place that works best for you!”
Her other “secret” to weight maintenance is regular physical activity. She ballroom dances with her husband and organizes regular park walks with other ladies . She recognizes the power of group support and encouragement, as well as the safety in walking in groups. She even goes to Zumba class with her mother.
At one of the many parks in our city
A trip to London
Pam and her family know how to have fun. They make even ordinary occasions special. But recently they had an extraordinary experience as they toured London. She posted regular updates on Facebook where I noticed she was doing lots of walking. She even went bicycling one morning through Kensington Park and Hyde Park.
I think maybe for her the highlight of the trip was visiting a Weight Watchers meeting where she was weighed in stones. That’s unfamiliar to us Americans, so she explained that one stone equals 14 pounds.
And Pam even met Queen Elizabeth! (well almost, haha)
And one more piece of exciting news- I think I am as excited as Pam is. This spring Pam’s daughter graduated from college- the same one I went to. And she is now a medical student- also at the same school I attended!
future physician in training
I am happy to see talented young women and men who want to dedicate their lives to the medical profession, and it’s a special treat when they are the daughters and sons of friends. I look forward to the day I can call her my colleague.