A community where I was never too fat to fit

As an overweight female not much fit.  

I didn't fit into my bathing suit and at this size I wasn't going to buy one that fit and actually wear it in public!

I didn’t fit into my bathing suit and at this size I wasn’t going to buy one that fit and actually wear it in public!

 

My clothes didn’t fit. I didn’t fit into the little opening in my kayak. The saddle I took great care and much expense to ensure fit my horse perfectly, no longer fit me.

Morgan horses present some challenges when fitting a saddle to their backs. The have wide, short backs and low withers. My saddle fits me and my horse here, but when I gained weight my butt was too big for the seat.

Morgan horses present some challenges when fitting a saddle to their backs. They have wide, short backs and low withers. My saddle fits me and my horse here, but when I gained weight my butt was too big for the seat. It should never hang off over the cantle (back of the saddle.)

 

I felt as though I didn’t fit with my peers, but it needs to be said that that had more to do with me than how my peers treated me. I was limited by my weight physically. I imposed social limits on myself because of my weight.

I tried to lose weight on my own. I lost weight on my own plenty of times in the past, but this time things were different. The difference was I now had four daughters and I knew they watched and learned from me. I didn’t want them to learn that “Mom is a hypocrite.” Teaching children healthy habits by telling them what to do, while I exhibit my extreme weight loss behaviors, wasn’t going to give me the desired results.

I was aware that there was a commercial weight loss program that was built around healthy food choices and eating habits. I knew that the program was delivered through weekly meeting attendance. The food plan was what I needed. It would be a way to actually be saying, “do as I do,” instead of saying to them, “do as I say, not as I do.

The part that held me back was that going to a weekly meeting thing. Everything, absolutely everything, about going to a meeting every week was going to be a bad fit. It wasn’t going to fit into my crazy, hectic schedule. My girls were involved in a variety of activities and I was responsible for getting them there and home again.

I had my job as a promotional assistant for Estée Lauder. I traveled to different Lauder counters and department stores throughout Maine as a makeup artist. I was busy! How would I make meetings fit into my already too full schedule?

Besides the problem of meetings not fitting into my schedule, I for sure, wasn’t going to fit with the people who attend meetings. Except for needing to lose weight I’d have nothing in common with them. I saw no value in going to meetings. They were one more thing that wasn’t going to fit me.

Knowing that I wanted to lose weight and be a good role model was important. It was more important than all the reasons why joining Weight Watchers was going to be a bad fit. I wasn’t ready to walk through the door by myself so I talked a friend into joining with me.

The first meeting was every bit as awful at I thought it was going to be. We sat in the back and kept ourselves segregated from the rest of the members. We were asked to stand and introduce ourselves (thank goodness that doesn’t happen anymore to new members!) The people there were as unlike me as a group of people could be. Just as I thought, I wasn’t going to fit. One meeting was all it took for my friend to know she didn’t want to go back.

I thought about quitting too, but it was important to me that I lose weight while being a good role model, so I returned the following week. I moved closer to the group. I listened to what they were sharing. I started to realize I had more in common with this diverse group of people than I thought.

A woman twice my age with questionable taste in clothing shared how she lied to her husband about what she ate when he wasn’t around. I lied to my family too. It felt good to know that I wasn’t the only person who did this. She shared how she didn’t need to lie anymore. We all celebrated with her. Story by story, week by week, I was becoming a member of this community.

I found a place where I fit. I was a member of this community and that was as important to my weight loss success and my desire to get to goal. Indeed, that was what got me to goal. The community became so much a part of me that I wanted to become a more integral part of it. I accepted an invitation to train to become a leader.

Here I am introducing Weight Watchers revolutionary points-weight-loss food plan, August 1997

Here I am introducing Weight Watchers revolutionary points-weight-loss food plan to “my community,” August 1997

Becoming a member of the community gave me the confidence to do things I never thought I could do including live TV cooking demonstrations.

Becoming a member of the community gave me the confidence to do things I never thought I could do including live TV cooking demonstrations.

I’ve been part of this community for more than 25 years. The benefits of finding where I fit go far beyond reaching and maintaining my weight goal.

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It’s now my passion to ensure that anybody, everybody who feels their weight is stopping them from fitting discovers how easy it is to fit into the community that Weight Watchers built.

 

 

 

 

 

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.