At age 10, I noticed my cousins - who were my age - were much smaller than me.
At age 12, on the odd occasion that I didn't hit a home run (I was a good batter), my softball coach would put in a runner for me once I made it to base. I was too big. I ran too slowly.
At age 14, my friends were all wearing two-piece swimsuits and I barely squeezed into my size 16 misses one-piece.
At age 15, I weighed 172 lbs. I was 5'4" tall.
I was no longer just chubby. I no longer could chalk up my outer cushion to “baby fat.”
I was overweight – and it was the peak of my teen years.
My dad one day suggested we sign up for NutriSystem. Mom, Dad and I all needed to lose weight. The program worked, and I was dedicated. I faithfully ate my "puff burgers" (just add water to this piece of styrofoam!) and yogurt. Through my dad's hospitalization, a horrific bike wreck that stole my summer, my parents' divorce and a new school, I stuck with it. By the time my sophomore year began, I weighed 135 lbs. (Thanks to a growth spurt, I also had reached my final height of 5'7" – which helped a lot.)
1-3-5. Those three little numbers became my lifelong barometer for my own personal definition of "fat." Whatever you do, Shannon, don't go above 135.
Except I did....eventually.
After graduate school, I landed a great job in Corporate Communications for a Tulsa, Okla.-based energy company. I also had a sparkly ring on my finger and a wedding date on the calendar. Unfortunately, the extra pounds had crept back up. It was time to get them off again, and I didn’t want to eat anymore “puff burgers” to make it happen.
My employer offered a Weight Watchers at Work program, so I decided to attend a meeting. It was one of the best decisions I ever made. In 16 weeks, I was back to the magical numbers of 1-3-5, and I had achieved WW “Lifetime” status. More importantly, I had learned how to manage my portions and pick the right foods. Have I fallen off the wagon? Sure. But I always know how to get back on.
And I have never had to eat a “puff burger” again.
My battle with my weight began during childhood. My devotion to the WW program began 12 years ago.
Today, I’m starting this blog to share my WW tips with anyone who is interested.
Because someday, when I'm all grown up, I would love to become a real WW leader. In the meantime, I'm hoping I can share my tips, recipes and experiences through social media.
Come join me. Let me be your online WW leader!