When I saw that photo, and read her e-mail, I spontaneously asked her to join our team. I figured, "Hey, if this girl's good enough for Oprah, she's got to be good enough for us!" I thought she probably wouldn't even consider joining, because it was so out-of-the-blue and we really didn't know each other at all. To my surprise, she accepted right away, and I couldn't be happier to have her on our team! It has been so fun getting to know her, and she fits right in. Enjoy her story!
I have struggled with my weight for most of my life, but never really became aware of it until middle school. I was approximately 40 pounds overweight at that time. One event in particular impacted me that would change the way I viewed myself.
I knew that the majority of the eighth grade girls at my school were gathering for a slumber party, but I was not invited. I received a phone call that night and this is how it went:
“Hello, is Andrea there?”
"This is she"
“Hi, this is Weight Watchers and we want to sign you up for a meeting.”
After that, all I could hear on the other end was laughter breaking out and I hung up. I laugh now because little did they know that Weight Watchers showed me the lifestyle principals to lose my weight and make it a lifestyle.
I picked out my size and went to the dressing room and I could not get them buttoned. I remember feeling panicked because they didn't fit. They were a size 24, and I now needed a size 26. I remember leaving the mall depressed and discouraged about how far I had let myself go—around 280 pounds to be exact.
I decided at that point I could not allow myself to continue down the path I was going. I slowly made changes to my diet through Weight Watchers and started walking. I struggled many years with my weight going up and down but I never quit fighting. I had so many weight books from joining and rejoining Weight Watchers. I would lose 50 pounds one year and gain 20 back the next, but I was determined that I was not going to quit this journey I had started.
My story is about patience and persistence not perfection. I was tired of struggling, and in 2009 my "aha" moment came. I had met a new Weight Watchers leader named Martha, and she finally made it click for me--this was not a diet and all about a number on the scale, but this was a lifestyle.
She showed me how to make healthy choices livable, she showed me that I was going to be eating and living this way for the rest of my life so I needed to make this enjoyable. I needed to learn how to eat foods I enjoyed and work in my favorite treats. If I didn’t like something I was eating, then I needed to stop eating it, if I didn’t like an exercise I was doing, then I needed to stop doing it. She gave me a magnet that said these great words, “Lose it the way you intend to live it.”
In 2011, my hard work had paid off and I was invited to be part of the Oprah Weight Loss Finale Show. It was an absolute dream come true! I had watched all of her weight loss transformation shows and had dreamed about being on one someday and the opportunity came!
As I started making a conscious effort to eat foods that I really liked, and work in treats that I was craving, this really did become a lifestyle to me. I began running that year little by little. I signed up for a few 5K’s and loved the feeling of race day.
The next year I completed a 10k and this year I ran my first half marathon. Next, on the list--running a marathon before the end of the year—did I just write that? Yikes!
I contacted Katie earlier this year because I was amazed by her transformation and wanted to let her know what an inspiration she was and that we had several things in common besides our weight loss. We had both been on television, and I had also had the same surgery Katie had the year before. Katie invited me to be part of the Ragnar team and I am thrilled at the opportunity. I have gained 11 of the most amazing friends in the process.
|130 pounds down!|