It was around February of 2009.
After a year of dieting, I had some impressive stats. Well, incredible stats actually.

52 Weeks
221.4 Pounds lost
From size 60 pants to 32
From 5XL to a medium
Workout twice a day

Not only that, but I was huge with Weight Watchers. I weighed in every week. I went to meetings every week. I was all over their forum boards as well. Honestly, I was Weight Watchers. It was not a diet, it was a lifestyle. It was just like they said on TV.

And in my mind it was the only way to lose weight!

At the time I worked as a Managing Partner for a restaurant. One I thankfully no longer work for. Every morning I worked with my sales manager, who was on Jenny Craig.

My sales manager was around 180. She maybe needed to lose 25 pounds. Actually, that is what she always told me. I never think anyone needs to lose weight but myself.

She would bring in her Jenny Craig food and I would laugh. For some reason, being on Weight Watchers made me feel superior, like I understood everything about dieting. Jenny Craig was like this step-sister diet. Like they just gave you food and said “Eat! And then lose weight!”

Well, one day she was eating her food and I said to her…

“You really should try Weight Watchers. It is more of a lifestyle than a diet.”

I am glad she was in a really bad mood that day. Because what she said changed me forever.

“Tony, do me a favor. And I want you to really think about this. What is the difference in Jenny Craig and Weight Watchers?”

I am a very random person. Sometimes people say things to me that hit home.

I thought about when I was really on Weight Watchers. I remember only eating Fruities as snacks. I remember opening my freezer and it being filled with red boxes. Red Smart Ones because I would not eat any other frozen dinner. By the way, Smart Ones are the worst ones taste wise compared to the other brands. It seems like every company decided to really change flavors except Weight Watchers.

I remembered my leader selling me WW smoothies and two point snacks. I remember how important it was to see a WW emblem on a product I used.

The more I thought about it, WW was a diet just like Jenny Craig was. There was no difference.

“You keep on talking about WW. WW! WW! WW! You are not even on WW! I was on it, and all I see you eating is eggs, apples and cauliflower. The whole point from when I went was you can eat what you want. Obviously you can not!”

She was not far off. Every meeting I went to someone questioned how I ate. They would make the “I am not eating like that” comment. I never pushed my habits, yet I was pushing a diet on someone else. I loved the fruits and vegetables I ate. I did not want to resort back to small portions of processed foods. It would not work for the long haul for me. Short term, very well though.

“Jenny Craig is a good system. Do you even know that they want you to get off their frozen foods? Do you even know the counselor I talk to every week cares about me? Do you even know their frozen dinners are just like WW, but I think they taste better?”

I did not know. For the last year I was so cocky about my weight loss that I thought it was the only way. That you could only be successful if you were a member of WW. That being a lifetime member meant you will be skinny for the rest of your life.

“You work out all the time! Like with weights. You do not look like someone who used WW!”

She was beyond right. Who was I to try to convert someone or promote something I actually did not agree with? Did I want to be accepted that bad? Did I need a star on a bookmark to know I had a great week?

I did go to a lot of meeting that brushed working out under the rug. Working out was so important in losing my weight. My father-in-law once told me that if I worked out and never changed my eating habits I would have lost 120 pounds. I agree.

“And do not take this the wrong way, but as much as I find losing 200 pounds amazing, you are not an inspiration to my weight loss. Most people will not lose that much weight. I love Valerie Bertinelli. She looks great and lost around the same amount of weight I did”

At the time, I thought everyone could relate to my story. A man losing 221 pounds on his own!!! Without Pills!!!!

The truth was I was arrogant. Beyond arrogant. My story should have never happened. I should not have been 420 pounds. I should not have had to lose 200 pounds. My story was extreme. It was the one that someone reads and goes “WOW!” and that is it. I did not want to become the weight loss blurb that so many have become.

You always hear that this is a journey.

Well, it is.

You need to learn about yourself and what you are able to do. You need to know where the stars are so you can reach for them. You also need to know where the sky is to know your limits.

This past three years I have learned a lot about myself. I learned that I do not need to be unhappy at a job. I learned that having a child is wonderful. I learned that being there for a loved one means more in the long run.

I also learned that my diet is more like The South Beach Diet (Phase 2) or 100 other diets out there. I learned that counting calories is easier than points. I learned that weight training is important. I also learned that I might get knocked around the ring, but this fight will go fifteen rounds.

I also learned that the only perfect way to lose weight is the way you lose weight.

I quit WW a while ago. I thank them for saving my life. At a time where nothing went through my head, a weekly book and an hour meeting meant a lot.

It is not so interesting that I quit rather why I stayed a member for ten months that I did not go to a meeting. My biggest fear was being a “Two/three/four time member”. I knew when I quit, it had to be forever. It was a great part of my journey, but it is time for me to move on.

There are a lot of good diets out there. You just have to follow them.

So whether you are on South Beach, Atkins, WW, Jenny Craig, Medi-Fast, Zone, F Factor, Nutri-System, Paleo, Slim Fast, or Body For Life……

Find what works for you.


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