I have struggled with obesity my entire adult life. In 2010, at a very desperate point of my life, I turned to bariatric surgery and very quickly lost just over 100lbs but didn't learn anything, other then I was desperate. I slowly started to gain the weight back then in 2015 my mom, who also struggled with her weight, died from complications to the flu brought on by her obesity. 

That is what made me walk through the doors of Weight Watchers. Over the next 15 months I lost another 90 lbs, a total of 180lbs from my heaviest, and learned how to truly live. Here are some of the more important lessons I learned through my journey:

* I can’t do this on my own.

* Put yourself first. Don’t be guilted or bullied into doing something you don’t feel good about🥇.

* Don’t be afraid to ask questions and share your experiences.

* Don’t let one set back derail you. Poor choices will happen for a number of reasons. Accept it, own it and move on. Chances are you’ve made way more positive choices over a period of time, focus on them🤗.

* Set realistic, timely and attainable goals - I try and set goals that I actually have control over like drinking more water in one day or getting in more steps. I always had incremental weight loss goals. It seemed easier to say ‘I want to loose 5 pounds’ 18 times instead of ‘I want to loose 90 pounds’ once😬.

* The mental aspect - the mind needs more time to loose the ‘being fat’ image then the body does. Be patient and kind with yourself. I still have body image issues and struggle with this one daily😵.

* Leave the ‘but’ where it belongs…behind you - I had a habit of replying to a compliment with ‘thanks BUT’ I don’t do that anymore. I’ve earned and deserve that compliment😎.

* A loss is a loss is a loss - it doesn’t matter how large or how little, celebrate all losses. I didn’t gain that much weight over night, I need time to loose it in way it won’t come back🙃.

* Weight loss is unpredictable - There were weeks I would rock the program, get plenty of activity, drink lots of water and still gain or turtle. This is when I would focus on non-scale victories or measurements. There are so many variables as to why I didn’t loose that week it’s mind boggling🤨.

* Celebrate Non Scale Victories - Loosing weight isn’t just about the numbers. It’s about re-discovering living. Being able to climb a flight of stairs, wrap a towel around you, not need a seat belt extender, cross your legs, fit into clothes from your past. The victories are so rewarding🎉.

* Take measurements - the weeks I didn’t have a scale loss I would inevitably have lost 1/4 of inch somewhere (usually off my bosom)🙄.

* Incorporate ‘exercise’ that suits you - going to a gym is not the only type of activity out there. Walking, taking the stairs, canoeing, hiking, skating, skiing, swimming, stacking wood, anything. The important thing is to get moving and stay moving🏂.

* Don’t compare yourself to others. This is your journey and it will be as unique and individual as you are. It will take as long as your body needs and it doesn’t matter if you have 10 pounds or 100 pounds to loose; you deserve to be here and do it in your own time🎟.

* Do not remove a food - the best part of the WW program is it fits you, you don’t have to fit it. So I continue to have French fries, cookies, cake, pizza, Diet Coke, whatever, but in moderation! For me, if I tell myself I can’t have something, you can betcha I will crave and eventually binge on that item. I now have a choice🍪.

* Communicate with important people in your life about your expectations, fears and desires. As much as this journey is life altering for you, it is for the other people too📞.

* Inspire others - I’ve finally accepted I can inspire others. I would be humbled to be the person to help just one individual realize a portion of their dream on this journey. It took me a while to accept this one because what may seem like an unremarkable journey to me may be inspirational to others💫.

* Love yourself - this one too is a hard one to fulfill, but I have come to learn I am worth it! I couldn’t truly begin to love and take care of others until I loved and took care of myself and most importantly, I am worth it and so are you!💐

Cheers all!

Because I had reached goal, I was eligible to work for WW and have since become a leader and coach. It was actually 2 years to the day from the time I walked through the door to when I became a regular Coach with WW. It is exhilarating empowering members - assisting them in personalizing the WW program to fit their needs. Join me on Thursday’s at 5:30pm in the Oshawa WW Centre located at the Sobey's plaza, Taunton and Wilson for encouragement and inspiration.