Beth's Success Story
Beth Shepherd-Glash, of Long Island, New York, recalls her weight problem
beginning as a 12-year old girl. "I weighed 128 pounds in 6th grade, when
the other kids didn't even weigh 80 lbs. soaking wet," she recalls. Due to
the serious health problems of a younger sister, the family's focus was
elsewhere. "I ended up feeling lonely, and eating my way into comfort." Her
parents mainly served fast food and canned goods like Spaghetti-os and snacks
to feed the family, given limited time and resources. In adulthood, she
continued those bad habits, and relied on food for her friendship and
feelings of inner satisfaction.
Thankfully, after 30 years of obesity, she finally took the blinders off and
has lost 90 pounds on the Weight Watchers program. For the first time in her
life, she sees how wonderful being slim can be. What made the difference?
The painful awareness that she needed self-control and discipline in many
areas of her life. She credits her success to her faith, the support of new
husband Scott, and the Weight Watchers program. "This was the most difficult
thing I ever had to do; my body rebelled every minute, of every day, at
having to control its appetite and impulses!"
While listening to a church motivational tape in August 2001, Beth realized
she had to grow up and get disciplined. "Not only was I morbidly obese, but
I was often lazy and unfocused on goals of any type," she says. "I rarely
exercised, and the house was frequently cluttered." There was no regular
schedule for food shopping, laundry or housekeeping chores. "I just went with
the flow, letting life toss me around, day to day." Previous weight loss
attempts rarely lasted more than a few weeks. "My typical weasel-out answer
was, 'oh, I just can't lose weight'." Now, she knows, a more accurate
comment would have been, "I won't lose weight!"
In many ways, Beth was a contradiction. At work from 9 to 5, she was an
organized overachiever, excelling in keeping the company's key executives on
track and on time and keeping tabs on departmental budgets with accuracy.
When her fiancÚ planned annual hiking and camping vacations, she eagerly
participated, even climbing mountains in the Adirondack Region at her top
weight of 232. But once at home, she failed to follow through on diet,
exercise or any other kind of goals.
Beth believes it was no coincidence that she purchased the motivational tapes
just before Scott expressed his wish that she join Weight Watchers. "God
has incredible timing," she says. "Weight Watchers gave me the framework to
fit healthy eating into my life," she says, "and Scott was my cheerleader
every step of the way." Though a difficult road, she learned to make
positive, active choices, rather than unhealthy, undisciplined ones.
"Everyone who is overweight has choices to make every day. I decided to
choose the harder ones; to deny myself the immediate gratification, so that
an even greater reward could be mine later on." Especially helpful was her
keeping track of her food intake in the food journal, having pre-made up
snacks such as little bags of pretzels, and lots and lots of fruit and water!
The Glashes were married in May 2002, and Scott has also lost 15 lbs. as a
result of their renewed commitment to healthy eating. "Life is good," Beth
says. "My new sense of self-control and discipline has made our whole lives
a lot more pleasurable, and not just at mealtime!"
Well... here goes:
Does anyone remember the skinny kid who could eat almost anything?
The one people would say "Don't worry, it will catch up to her".
Well, I was that kid.
For most of my childhood, I was relatively thin. In fact, my mother
used to call me 'hipless' because my pants would never stay up. And I
stayed thin until I got my first job during my senior year of high
school. At McDonalds of all places! Add to that the fact that I had
just gotten my driver's license and my weight slowly started to creep
up. When I graduated high school, I weighed about 121lbs. At 5'2",
not a bad weight. But, alas, it was not to last. At college, I
gained the dreaded 'Freshman Fifteen" After I left college (without
graduating... I eventually did receive an AS degree years later) I
was up to about 135-140.
After several failed relationships, my weight began to creep ever
upward. During each decade (of weight) I would dread the next. I
kept saying "I don't want to weigh 150... 160...170...ect" But the
pounds came and invited all their relatives to join them!
I met my daughter's father when I weighed about 180 lbs. Since he, in
his own words, was built "like a linebacker" my weight was not an
issue. When I accidentally became pregnant, we had some rough times
and ultimately decided not to marry although the parting was amicable.
Since by this time I had begun a career which would provide a good
stable base for myself and my daughter, I decided not to pursue child
support. Though many people have criticized this decision, I knew in
my heart that I did not want to become "that b*** I owe money to"
I gained about 40 lbs during the pregnany and lost most of it shortly
thereafter. When my daughter was 6 months old, I joined WW for the
first time and managed to lose almost 20 lbs. However, because I had
to rely on babysitters to attend the meetings, I eventually dropped
out. But I went back a few years later and left again and back again
ect. ect. ect.
About this time, I started to have major problems with my daughter.
Problems that eventually led to her being diagnosed with Asperger's
Syndrome and place in the special ed program at her school. She was
still in a regular classroom, but strategies were (supposedly) in
place to help her cope. While she is brilliant academically, her
behavioral problems (due to lack of social skills, communication
problems, and sensory difficulties) were causing problems.
When my daughter was in the third grade, I joined WW again and started
the 123 Success program. While I loved the fact that nothing was
forbidden, I did have trouble losing the weight and only lost 12 lbs
or so over the 6 months that I was on program. I'm not sure if it was
the program or if I was not completely committed.
In October 1999, the proverbial dam burst on my daughter's problems at
school. To make a long story short, she was removed from the regular
school and placed in a self contained class in our County BOCES
program. This would turn out to only a temporary placement while my
parents and I dealt with the irony that is Aspergers..... too many
'problems' to be successfully mainstreamed but too intelligent for a
self-contained classroom (please note, this is a generalization based
on my daughter, there are many AS kids who with the right supports can
function in a regular class.... our school system could not/would not
provide the right support) Since by the end of the fifth grade, my
daughter was testing at the post-secondary level (above 12th grade)
BOCES was unable to challenge her academically. We eventually wound
up..... (as this essay is a prediction of the future, I can not say
what was decided....this is one thing that is up in the air)
With the stress in my life on the increase again, I had to drop out of
WW. I tried doing it on my own for a while, and even attempted the
Atkins diet. Yuck! I lasted a week. Lost 15 lbs but they came back
'with friends' as they say.
Late in the year 2000, I started to take stock and started to look at
things from a new perspective. I made several key observations
1. I'm not happy like this
2. My daughter deserves better
3. I'd like to be able to shop in the Misses department again
4. I'm not healthy at this weight
5. I'd really like to be able to wear a belt again
6. And... most importantly...
My 20th HS reunion is less than 2 years away!!!!!
While I was heavier at my 10th reunion than I was at graduation, I was
even heavier when I started my new WOL, weighing in on 1/11/01 at
238.4 lbs. Most likely my heaviest weight (there were times when I
was afraid to get on the scale). But I joined and followed the
program to a T, losing 7 lbs my first week. I found that the small
change(s) between 123 Success and Winning Points made a major
difference in my weight loss. Even though the weight loss eventually
slowed, I learned to viewt the occasional gain or even plateau as a
learning process. I stuck to it and eventually realized each and
every one of my goals.
#1. That dreaded HS reunion. I was determined to be at goal for this
and since I had given myself well over a year to lose the 100+ lbs I
had to lose, I made my goal easily and attended my reunion in a
little (and I do mean 'little' <G>) red dress. At first, it was going
to be a little black dress, but I decided that if I lost 100+ lbs that
I wanted to be NOTICED!
#2 Reaching Goal at WW. Being awarded my gold star and later my key
gave me a sense of accomplishment the likes of which I had never
known. After being on program for over a year, I had seen many people
take center stage in their moment of glory. And each had had a
different story to tell. Some had lost only 10 lbs. Others had lost
more. Some had made several attempts to reach goal before finally
reaching it. Each success was celebrated with the same enthusiasm and
the same question from our leader..... "Are you wearing a belt?". You
see, the one thing that our leader requires of the members is that
'You must be wearing a belt when you make goal (or lifetime)" So,
wearing a belf for the first time in 15 years, I took the spotlight.
When the inevitable question came up "How much did you lose?" I was
able to proudly state. " I lost 100+ lbs on the WW program" The
reaction of the other members as heartwarming. There were those who
had begun their journeys with me and those who were just starting
out. There were even those who had as much weight (if not more) to
lose as I did. I hoped that, in some small way, I could be an
inspiration to them.
#3. Making Lifetime. Being able to attend meetings for free as long
as I did not go above my goal weight by more than 2 lbs has been more
motivating than anything I had ever done in the past. (Including the
'decades of dread' mentioned earlier in this essay.) Unfortunately,
in this society, money talks. But during my weight loss journey I had
come to discover the importance of being selfish. Of taking time for
myself without feeling guilty about it. I learned to consider the one
night a week that I went to WW as 'me' time.
In reaching my goal, I had accomplished something I had originally
thought impossible. I had set a firm goal for myself. By breaking
the seemingly insurmountable task into smaller bits, I was able to
celebrate each small step knowing that each one took me closer to my
ultimate goal. I had found a whole network of supporters both visible
(such as those at my WW meetings) and invisible. Perhaps it was the
invisible supporters, the ones who were known mainly by a screen name
on my computer, who were the most helpful. These were the ones who
didn't mind it when I cried for help at 2am because a Chocolate cake
ws calling my name. They were the ones who helped me through many,
many bouts with PMS (pre menstrual snacking).
So.. what's next? Between losing this weight and advocating for my
daughter's rights as one of many people with 'invisible disabilites'.
I have discovered a well of self-esteem I never knew I had. I had
even (early on in my journey) begun to volunteer along with a group of
coworkers to go into the High Schools in our area to promote
Engineering as a career. As my weight went down, my self confidence
went up. I started to realize that people were interested in what I
had to say. No, not everybody, but those who weren't probably worth
it anyway. Once I stopped hiding behind my weight, I had to ask
myself "What was I hiding from?" The emotions which once triggered
major binges are now the cataysts for change....the warning signs
that I need to step back and take inventory. I am no longer the
timid mouse of a girl that I was in HS. You know, the one who never
stuck up for herself. Like Dorothy, the Scarecrow, The Tin Man and
the Lion, I discovered that what I was searching for lay within me the
entire time. And also like Dorothy I learned that if I ever want to
go searching for my heart's desire to look no further than my own
backyard for "if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with"
Hopefully at least a few of you made it to the end <G> This exercise
has proven to be very beneficial for me. Putting my story and my
ultimate 'winning outcome' down in black and white has strengthened my
resolve and has made me further committed to getting this weight off.
New Years Goal....165.0
My name is Tzyrel. I live in Westchester County in NY State. I have been
on WW since January 31, 2,001. I decided to join WW after I attended a
meeting as a guest. It was interesting. The meetings make the difference. The
support is important.
My husband is very supportive of me. I have no children. I reached
my 10% goal on May 10 which was my birthday. That was a nice feeling.
Weight Watchers has made me realize that I can eat what ever I
like and want. Smaller portions is actually the best way. If one wants more,
then go for it as long as the points are available. It takes a lot of will
power to do something like this. This goes for anyone.
Getting on with the story. On July 19, I reached Lifetime. It was
such a good feeling to go up and receive my key to the door of Lifetime. That
day was one of the best days of my life. It made me feel so wonderful. Total
weight loss since I made Lifetime is 25. Weight Watchers is something I
thought I would never need to do in my life, but I am glad there is a program
that helps. It makes all the world a difference.
I wish you luck in your journey in this lifetime commitment. Never
give up the ship because the sails are flying high to pull you through.
Your WW friend,