I played on my high-school tennis and basketball teams, and with practices and games combined, I was always fit. Once I started college, though, things changed dramatically. Away from my mother's cooking, I ate high-fat, high-calorie meals without much nutritional value. Social gatherings kept me on the go and I sustained myself with candy bars and soda. I made feeble attempts to exercise at the campus gym, but defeated the purpose by rewarding myself afterward with candy, cookies and soda. By the end of my first year, I'd gained 25 pounds and barely fit into my size-14 clothes.
I went home for the summer determined to lose the weight I'd gained. I committed to working out five days a week at the gym, and by the end of summer, I'd lost 20 pounds and felt great. For the next two years, I struggled to maintain the loss. School meals were all-you-can-eat, and I didn't always make healthful choices. By my senior year, I'd regained the weight and was miserable.
Instead of going on another diet that would have lasted for a short time, I wanted to make solid changes that I could maintain for the rest of my life. I started by joining Weight Watchers, where I learned the basics of healthful eating. I focused on eating low-fat, high-fiber foods with fruits and vegetables in every meal. With these filling, nutritious meals, I felt in control of my eating. Weight Watchers also taught me that I didn't have to cut out my favorite foods, like cookies and brownies. Instead, I learned to enjoy them in moderation. Over the next year, I lost 20 pounds
Soon, I increased the intensity of my workouts and started weight training. At first, I was skeptical about weight training and thought I would get big and bulky. But when I learned that building lean muscle actually boosted my metabolism and helped me lose weight, I was hooked. I lost 20 more pounds in four months and ultimately reached my goal of 155 pounds.
After reaching my goal weight, I wanted to help others who were struggling with the scale, and I became a Weight Watchers group leader. I help track the progress of group members, support them with their goals and teach them what I have learned about being fit and healthy. It's been incredibly fulfilling.
My family and friends tell me that I'm now a whole new person. I have endless energy and am amble to keep up with the demands of my hectic life. Losing weight and becoming healthy was a long process, but now that I've done it, I'm determined to be this way for the rest of my life.