• Prior to embarking on this journey, I made the decision that I would do whatever it took to succeed. In January 2006, I vowed that I would not start 2007 weighing 200 lbs., and I made that my focus all year. I began the year at 272 lbs. and hit 198 on Christmas Eve.
• I rarely go grocery shopping without a written list, or on an empty stomach. It minimizes the chance of my buying items that are not point-friendly, regardless of how attractive they may be priced.
• I buy single-serving portions of higher-point items. When I must buy the larger-sized container (which is rare), I separate into smaller servings as soon as possible.
• I generally give myself a reward after every 25 pounds lost. I keep track by putting a photo of the reward item on my fridge and updating after each weigh-in (see Goal Poster Gallery).
• I stop wearing items of clothing as soon as they become too big. Given the chance between buying something that is a perfect fit and the next size down that is a little snug, I typically buy the smaller item.
• I only buy clothes that coordinate with what I already own – and what I am absolutely in love with. Otherwise it stays on the rack.
• I take photos frequently and have measurements taken monthly. The downward shift in numbers is a boost when the scale won’t budge.
• I keep a binder of weight loss stories, especially of fellow Weight Watchers members. Whenever someone posted on the board that (s)he would be featured in a magazine, I made sure to get a copy of the article.
• Many times along this journey, I have had to remember that it took me more than 30 years to get to my highest weight. Taking three years to lose it has been a bargain!
• Yes, there are mornings that I would rather sleep in rather than work out, and there are events where I’d like to have a little more of everything. It only takes a few moments for me to remember how I looked and felt during the many years when I exercised no restraint – or, as my Leader often says, “Would you rather eat what you want or wear what you want?”

• I exercise six mornings and five evenings per week, striving for a minimum of 30 Activity Points (APs).
• Whenever weather and distance permit, I walk for local errands – gym, drugstore, grocery store (depending on what I need to buy).
• When I must drive, I try to park as comfortably far away from the entrance as possible. It’s a good way to sneak in exercise and makes leaving the area much simpler.
• I have been doing Turbo Jam since early 2006. My two favorite routines are Cardio Party I and Punch, Kick & Jam.
• Exercise must be fun, or I won’t do it.
• If I only worked out on the days I truly felt like it, I would still weigh over 300 lbs. Many times I have a reluctant start but am feeling better once I’ve finished a workout.

Weight Watchers
• I lost most of my weight on the Flex Plan, starting in April 2005 with a Daily Points Target of 32. In November 2007 I switched to the Core Plan because I found that I was no longer losing with a Daily Points Target of 21. I have found it very freeing to get my dairy, oil and other requirements without worrying about whether I have Points to cover them.
• When faced with the choice between a healthy snack (e.g., fruit) and a not-so-healthy snack (e.g., usually something that isn’t Core), I try to eat the better one first. I am usually satisfied and have no desire for the other.
• I use eTools to track several days of meals in advance. Since I attend meetings on Sundays, my highest calorie days are typically Sunday and Thursday, but even then I am mindful of my intake.
• I eat my Activity Points each day. When I was on Flex I got as close as possible to my Daily Target. On either plan, I try to stop using my Weekly Points Allowance when I am down to 12-15, especially on Friday and Saturday.
• If I know I am attending an event where there will be a lot of food served (wedding, cookout, holiday meal with family) I make sure not to arrive hungry. I will have a small bowl of veggies before I go, or carry a piece of fruit or baggie of pretzels in my purse. If I wait until the meal is served to eat, I usually end up eating too much, too fast.
• I have never used a No Weigh-In Pass. I face the scale and move on.
• When I find myself "hungry" before a meal, or at night after dinner, I have a glass of water, cup of diet soda (Diet A&W Root Beer is my favorite) or a cup of fat-free milk. I am usually satisfied. If not, I try to have a piece of fruit or raw vegetables.
• I rarely seek out "fat-free" items, even if they are Core. I will use a low-fat salad dressing over a fat-free one, and I don’t bother with items like reduced fat peanut butter – it has just as many points as regular when comparing labels.
• When I go to a food event, I do not "dress to grease." This means no sweats or stretchy bottoms. I wear jeans with a belt or a fitted skirt. These clothes do not facilitate overeating, and I don’t want to eat so quickly that I end up spilling food on them.
• I rarely swear off any particular food – I rather try to work it in in smaller doses.
• When I did Flex, I approached the use of Daily Points like money – if I knew I had $25 for meals for an entire day, I probably wouldn’t spend $15 on breakfast. Now that I am on Core, I approach my Weekly Points Allowance the same way. Fortunately, most of the items I regularly eat are Core, so this allows me to save my Weekly/Activity Points for things I really want.
• Speaking of money, I don’t carry much of it. It saves me from impulse (read: non-Core) buys at the corner or convenience store, or joining the gang for lunch on days other than my previously arranged higher-point days.
• I prepare most of my dinners for the week over the weekend. This prevents me from snacking (a lot) while waiting for dinner to be ready.
• Generally, the more natural (Core) foods (lean meat, dairy, fresh fruits and vegetables) I eat, the less craving I have for processed items like chips and candy.
• Water is crucial. I try to get in a minimum of six glasses a day without counting items like diet soda or decaf coffee or tea. When I do drink caloric items like orange juice, I use the smallest cup in the house. Before starting Weight Watchers I bought a child’s sippy cup for this very purpose.
• Prior to WW, I would buy a 3-lb. package of ground turkey. It would last for two meals, sometimes three. Now I use my food scale to separate the turkey into 8-oz. blocks.
• I am working on eating different meals each day. This keeps my body guessing and I don’t get bored. It also keeps me out of following the Program on a diet mentality.
• When there’s a conflict in Points values between WW materials and a nutritional label, I use the information on the label. Even though it usually costs me Points, I’m never sorry.
• I have found that Core takes much preparation, both in cooking and in shopping. However, the investment pays itself off quickly – the fresh fruit lasts longer than the chips or fruit bars, for instance, would last in my house, and since I’m eating non-processed foods, it takes less time to cook.

• Food scale (I own a Salter)
• Air popper for popcorn
• Measuring cups/spoons
• Week 1 (Eat Wisely) Booklet and PointsFinder – I keep one of each in both of my kitchens, my everyday purse, my car, my weekend bag, and my desk at work
• Complete Food Guide and Dining Out Companion
• Weight Watchers eTools
• Rice cooker (for brown rice)

• Salsa
• Popcorn (dry, prepared in air popper)
• Weight Watchers Giant Fudge Bars
• Sparkling flavored water (sold in most supermarkets and large retailers)
• Smart Balance Buttery Burst Spray
• Fat-free milk
• Diet A&W Root Beer
• Mrs. Dash Garlic & Herb Seasoning
• Fiber One Oats & Chocolate Bars
• Fiber One cereal (original)
• Stewed tomatoes (no salt added – store brand)
• Kidney beans
• Whole wheat pasta (many stores have their own brand)
• Wish-Bone Light Salad Dressings (my favorites are Italian and Honey Dijon)
• Herb-Ox Sodium Free Instant Broth & Seasoning (Beef and Chicken)
• PB2 Powdered Peanut Butter (http://bellplantation.com/)


For my 100 and 150 lb. milestones, I created playlists to propel me toward my rewards.

Titles from my 100-lb soundtrack (I Know I Look Good):
• This Is My Night - Chaka Khan
• Glow - Rick James
• I'm Coming Out - Diana Ross
• She's a Bad Mama Jama - Carl Carlton
• Ladies' Night - Kool & The Gang
• U Got the Look (Long Look) - Prince
• That Lady - The Isley Brothers
• I'm Every Woman - Chaka Khan
• Brick House - The Commodores
• Watching You - Slave
• Shake It Up Tonight - Cheryl Lynn
• Vogue - Madonna
• Pride (A Deeper Love) - Civiles + Cole

Titles from my 150-lb soundtrack (Cutting Loose):
• Bustin' Out - Rick James
• Razzamatazz - Quincy Jones
• Nobody Can Be You - Steve Arrington's Hall Of Fame
• Let's Dance - David Bowie
• Stir It Up - Patti LaBelle
• Control - Janet Jackson
• Sidewalk Talk - Jellybean Benitez feat. Madonna
• All I Wanna Do - Sheryl Crow
• Let's Get Down - Tony! Toni! Toné!
• Go Deep - Janet Jackson
• Dancewitme - Maxwell
• Fired Up - Funky Green Dogs
• Get Involved - Q-Tip & Raphael Saadiq
• Free Again - Soul II Soul
• Put Your Records On - Corinne Bailey Rae

• Beck, Judith S. The Beck Diet Solution: Train Your Brain to Think Like a Thin Person. ISBN-10: 0848731735. ISBN-13: 978-0848731731.
• Fletcher, Anne M. Thin for Life: 10 Keys to Success from People Who Have Lost Weight and Kept It Off. ISBN-10: 0618340556; ISBN-13: 978-0618340552.
• Gould, Roger. Shrink Yourself: Break Free from Emotional Eating Forever. ISBN-10: 0470044853; ISBN-13: 978-0470044858.
• Lederman, Judith. Joining the Thin Club: Tips for Toning Your Mind after You've Trimmed Your Body. ISBN-10: 0307341461; ISBN-13: 978-0307341464
• McGraw, Dr. Phil. The Ultimate Weight Solution: The 7 Keys to Weight Loss Freedom. ISBN-10: 1416513183; ISBN-13: 978-1416513186.
• Rippe, James M. and Weight Watchers. Weight Watchers - Weight Loss That Lasts: Break Through the 10 Big Diet Myths. ISBN-10: 0471721727; ISBN-13: 978-0471736295.

• Clean Eating Magazine. Promotes eating of foods in their most natural state. http://www.cleaneatingmag.com
• Muscle & Fitness / Muscle & Fitness Hers. Bodybuilding, health and fitness. http://www.muscleandfitness.com and http://www.muscleandfitnesshers.com/
• Weight Watchers Magazine. Tips on following the Program, exercise and health columns, success stories. http://www.weightwatchers.com/shop/mag/index.aspx
• Although publication was discontinued in 2007, I would be remiss in failing to acknowledge American Media, Inc., the publishers of Looking Good Now Magazine, for that magazine’s contribution to my success.


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