Jessica Ballou, Published January 01 2012
It's my job: Woman + Weight Watchers = goals met
She battled with her weight her whole life, including a time when she had gastric bypass but gained all the weight back.
She joined Weight Watchers for the first time around 1989. She kept quitting to find something new and different, but she always came back.
Wold joined Weight Watchers for the eighth and final time on Jan. 3, 2001. She weighed 273.8 pounds, and since then, she has lost 119 pounds.
She has now been a meeting facilitator, among many other things, at the Weight Watchers in West Fargo since August 2002.
Q: Can you tell me a little bit about the Weight Watchers program?
A: Anyone can eat anything. Nothing is off limits.
It’s about learning appropriate portion sizes. People come to meetings, get knowledge and support.
Meetings are recommended, but optional. Not everybody’s a meeting person. In our new location, we’re open seven days a week.
It’s really a one-size-fits-all program because there’s something for everyone.
How did you get involved with Weight Watchers here?
In order to work here, you need to be a lifetime member.
It wasn’t easy, and I wanted to be able to help others.
The last time I joined, I knew that whatever I did, I wanted to be able to do it forever. I can do Weight Watchers forever.
Financially, this fit my bill. It’s $9.92 a week. It really has been the best experience to teach people so they go home and teach their families.
There are lots of tools available to us, but you’re not required to buy anything.
What makes Weight Watchers stand out from other weight-loss programs?
It fits everybody’s lifestyles: people with dietary restrictions, food allergies – it works.
We have guidelines, and that’s all they are: guidelines.
It’s a group thing; you’re not in it alone.
Flexibility is probably the biggest word.
The new Points Plus program came out a year ago, and it’s one of the healthiest things.
What made you stick with Weight Watchers the final time?
Somehow there was a click in my brain.
The final time, I said I wasn’t quitting if it took me two weeks, two months, or 20 years.
What brought me here was to be done being fat. What keeps me here now is health.
I like seeing the changes in people. It’s not the pounds I get caught up in; it’s the lifestyle.
Do people have misconceptions or preconceptions when they walk into Weight Watchers for the first time?
I know some people are really reserved about the weigh-ins. They’re worried they’re going to be penalized for gaining, but no. We understand it’s part of the process.
There isn’t packaged food. It’s a lifestyle thing.
Do you have any tips for people who might set New Year’s resolutions about losing weight and how they can stick with it?
Get a mindset. There’s so much about positive self-talk. It’s about setting goals, writing them down, sharing them.
Do some meal planning.
It’s not “I hope I can do this.” It’s “I’m going to do this.”
Anybody can walk in and be a guest at any time and check out a meeting for free to see if they like it. You fill out a registration form. There are different payment options. The monthly pass one is the cheapest, at about $9.92 a week.
People can also do Weight Watchers online. On the website there are lots of success stories and recipes. It’s one of those websites you can get lost in for days. It brings Weight Watchers to anybody.
If you sign up online, you can’t come into the meetings. If you sign up for the Weight Watchers Monthly Pass, you can get access online for free.
I just want to encourage people to give it a try.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Jessica Ballou at (701) 237-7311