Maine Firefighter fights excess weight with Weight Watchers

When Weight Watchers of Maine launched its Fit to Rescue ME program in the spring of 2013 offering free Weight Watchers meetings to firefighters, police officers, and emergency medical technicians, Phippsburg firefighter, Dana McClean signed up. He successfully fought fires, but wasn’t as successful fighting his weight.

http://wabi.tv/2014/05/21/weight-watchers-offers-free-program-maine-police-fire-rescue-personnel/

Mclean confides, “Since I was a very young I have had a weight problem.”

Dana McLean, age 12, far right

Dana McLean, age 12, far right

“My weight affected the way I was able to perform simple tasks, sometimes making them hard to complete. I was totally worn out at the end of the day. Firefighting gear became uncomfortable because of weight gain.”

21-years old

21-years old

He confides that he was no stranger to diets, “After trying and failing at every weight loss method out there I was unsure of what to try next. I saw an ad for Weight Watchers of Maine Fit to Rescue ME program for First Responders. I decided to give it a try.”

Mclean, 42, with his brother in 2012

Mclean, 42, with his brother in 2012

He didn’t stick with it. “Then, says McLean, “in December of 2015 I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  I was put on medications and had to check my blood sugar levels daily. At that point I was determined to turn things around. “He called to see if the program was still being offered.

It was but only for the people who had signed up and were still attending meetings. It wasn’t open to new members. It turned out that there was a private citizen who wanted to help and is a strong believer in Weight Watchers. This person offered to cover the cost of McLean’s first 12 weeks on the program with a stipulation to continue covering the cost of meetings.

If McLean attended faithfully, this same person would pay for another 12 weeks and would continue for as long as it takes for McLean to reach Weight Watchers Lifetime status. He recently began his third 12-week series.

He has lost more than 89 pounds since he started. He’s hoping to hit the 100 pound mark by the end of February with just 8.8 pounds to go. The Weight Watchers Plan and meetings made the difference for him. He says his success is a combination of a few things.

“I can eat the foods I like. I have had to modify some but am able to eat ‘normal’ food. I like the positive attitude of all involved. No matter what happens today, tomorrow is a new day.”

Some diets forbid red meat, others make potatoes off limits. Weight Watchers food plan lets you eat both and all other foods too. SmartPoints helps members eat what they enjoy within a framework of a healthful, reduced-calorie plan.

Some diets forbid red meat, others make potatoes off limits. Weight Watchers food plan lets you eat both and all other foods too. SmartPoints® helps members eat what they enjoy within a framework of a healthful, reduced-calorie plan.

Weight Watchers meetings helped McLean change some unhealthy habits. “The biggest and hardest is learning not to eat when I’m not hungry.”

“Having support from family and friends is a key to success. I have the best support system in my weight loss journey. Doing Weight Watchers with the love of my life has been a blessing. Planning our meals and activities has been a big help in my success. My fiancé Alison and I have together lost about 150 pounds.”

Dana is determined to reach his goal and follow the Weight Watchers maintenance plan to stay there. “It will be a challenge, he says. “I have 40 plus years of living this way and know that it will always a challenge to stay on track to a happy and healthy life.” Weight Watchers will be there to help him even after reaching goal with Weight Watchers Lifetime Membership.

Losing weight has opened up his life and enabled him to enjoy what he calls, “some of my non scale victories.”

Now that he’s considerably lighter he is delighted. “I am also able to be more active. My fiancé and I set a goal of doing a 5k race every month. We have done so starting in March of 2016.

Indoor 5K at Bates College in January 2017.

A slimmer, patriotic, Dana McLean ran in the indoor 5K at Bates College in January 2017.

I have been able to get out and hike and explore places I’ve never been.”

“I’m wearing clothing sizes that I haven’t seen since my teens. I’ve gone from a 54″ waist to 40” and from 3XL to large. I can go out hunting and being able to go places without being winded. Now I can sit in auditorium seats with room to spare. I can go kayaking.”

Dana proposed to Alison January 1, 2017 on Popham Beach. The couple has lost a combined weight of 150 pounds.

Dana proposed to Alison January 1, 2017 on Popham Beach. The couple has lost a combined weight of 150 pounds.

Weight Watchers of Maine, Inc. has limited space for first responders (Firefighters, Police Officers, Emergency Medical Techs, and Dispatchers) to join our program for free on a first come/ first serve basis. FMI click here

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.