Sonya Alvino

Lost 36 lbs

My first stint with WW was over 10 years ago when I successfully shifted 28 lbs of baby weight, and attained Lifetime membership through sheer bloody-mindedness and gritted determination. I forged my way through the point system, the meetings, the tracking and exercise regimes with the ultimate goal in mind of reaching my target weight. I reached that weight after 5 months and if I’m totally truthful, I found it easy. Goal Achieved. Stellar results. But what now? Little did I know, that the real challenge was ahead of me, the challenge of maintaining my weight and not gaining it all back.

 

I sunk into complacency, lapsed on meeting attendance, held on to exercise for about 5 years, but then ditched that too….10 years later I jumped on a scale see 175lbs on the dial - 30lbs over my original target weight – I couldn’t believe it! Along this path I had fallen victim to the ideology that surrounded me, that women in my age range must expect weight gain, and that there is little that can be done about it, and that, it wasn’t really my fault – after all, my hormones were raging and I had no control over that. For months I accepted my fate as a fat woman, but it ate away at my personality and confidence, and after seeing my photo as a fat person one too many times, I decided to do something about it and rejoin WW for the long haul this time around.

 

My Weight Watchers journey has been about so much more than navigating the boundaries of portion control, or food choices, or exercise routines, for me, this has been a journey of self discovery and an introduction to a territory new – the territory that is me, the person that makes Sonya…the challenges, cycles, traits and habits that have brought me this far in life and which may need to change to take me further.

 

I always say that the biggest compliment I could give WW, and its program, is the ultimate “kindness” it fosters to members. If you don’t do good today, get back up and on track tomorrow – there is always another day. I’ve even heard my WW leaders say “don’t beat yourself up”. This kindness in the program has struck chords with me in so anyways. I recently watched a Netflix series called “Vikings”…one episode hit home for me – where a 10th Century Monk was seen flaying himself for his sins with a horsehair whip that he would hurl over his shoulder under he drew blood. I saw immediately that this was me - this is how I had treated myself my entire life – not just in terms of weight gain, but in all facets of life. If I gained 2lbs one week, I would come to the WW meeting literally in tears, beating myself up for my lack of achievement, calling myself names internally and general denigrating myself to nothing. This had huge parallels in my life as a whole, how unkind I was to myself, unforgiving, constantly pushing and beating myself up. WW has taught me to recognize this in myself and to be kinder, more accepting, gentler, allowing myself to be human, make mistakes, but to get back on that wagon the next day and to ride the horse home! I love the program for that and the support system that is in place to extend that kindness to me.

 

This was lesson one – be kind to yourself.

 

My next lesson was in acknowledging how arrogant I had become about weight loss, and about how it was supposed to happen, thinking that I knew more than anyone on this subject, and that WW couldn’t teach me anything new. I scoffed at the thought of losing one pound per week as trifling and inconsequential and as I’d been a lifetime member for many years – how could WW teach me anything new. The game was over, I was hopeless, there was no point to this or any other WW membership, I was almost resigned, I couldn’t, biologically lose weight and that was that! Gradually, I realized how this mentality was actually sabotaging my efforts to lose the weight and achieve my goals and how my arrogance and a ‘know it all’ attitude had been preventing me from attaining my goals by walking through the step by step rules of Weight Watchers for the second time around and seeing the ‘new’ rules as better, more specific, healthier, and that these tiny ‘tune-ups’ to the WW program were actually the development of a scientifically proven method that works. Through sharing the emotions behind this arrogance, and hearing the stories of others in our meetings over a period of months I realized that there was a humbling taking place in my heart and that this translated to my acceptance that I did not, indeed, know it all, and that WW did hold the answers, the scientifically proven knowledge and the keys to helping me unlock the door to a new life.

 

This was the second lesson – to be humble.

 

I love attending the meetings. This is my church, my own personal seat of human kindness, the place where I am accepted for my role in the group and where I can share interesting aspects of this journey with a myriad of people from all walks of life. I realize that this group interaction has encouraged me to be open to accepting information from all avenues, however, meek, mild, aggressive, or bold, I came to see that there was a shift taking place in me that was now allowing new information to penetrate the layers of arrogance that had once sabotaged my journey, and I am so deeply grateful for that. Reading between the lines of the WW program, seeing the points allocation to various food groups, and learning the hideous saturated fat content of meat options, I have naturally moved closer and closer to a vegetarian diet and am enjoying the overall benefits of plant-based proteins. The genesis for this move has been born out of information shared and realized in each of the meetings that I attend every week, and also an opening of the heart and mind to accept this information by accepting information from any avenue it is given.

 

This was the third lesson – to stay open and humble.

 

I re-joined WW on April 1st, 2017 (April Fools Day – no joke!) and had reached my goal weight by November 1st, 2017.  I’m still going through growing pains in my journey to stay on track and to keep the weight off and I’m sure that this will open up new lessons over future months. I say to anyone struggling with weight to just ‘walk through the door and let the movement carry you the rest of the way’…this is how I have felt through my WW journey and I will be eternally grateful to everyone at WW for their part in this journey. It has seriously changed my life in so many deeply inspirational ways.

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