Feature Fridays: Alyson GelinasToday's story comes from Alyson Gelinas and it is truly inspiring! Alyson decided to take control of her life and her weight. She stayed positive and believed in herself, read on to hear how awesome she is!
Her story and why she wanted to make the change to live healthy:
All my life, I have been overweight. The extra weight had not only carried an extra burden physically, but had become a wall to hide behind. Growing up, food was not only a means for living, but also a means for celebrating. I am a part of a big Portuguese family, where "get togethers", consisted of enough courses of food to feed a small community. I learned to associate food from my culture with family traditions and good times. Not only was I attributing good food to good memories, but I was learning to associate eating with my other emotions and actions as well. If I had a bad day at school, my eating habits would reflect on that. It got to the point where I was not even aware of what I was eating. I attributed my intense emotions- whether I was extremely happy or sad- to a food reward.
I can't say that there was a specific turning point in which I had realized that I was rapidly gaining weight in the years following my high school graduation. I can remember back before joining Weight Watchers that I had a conversation with my doctor about the health risks attributed with being over weight and the risks I specifically was exposed to due to my family medical history of high blood pressure, heart problems and diabetes.
I realized that if I wanted to do this and succeed, I had to do it for myself. No matter how many times someone told me I could do it, I had to believe in myself and want to do it for myself. After taking the plunge and joining Weight Watchers, I started to realize that even though I may not have had some things in common with some of the members, we all had one thing in common- we wanted to make a change. Whether that change be to lose a few pounds, learn to eat healthier, or both, we were all there for a common reason. We shared a unifying bond.
Once I began to see and feel some of the changes caused by losing weight and attending the meetings, it began to "click" with me. I began to see my eating habits in a different way, and I finally started seeing the light at the end of my weight struggle tunnel. The amount of support I have been given through Weight Watchers has not only helped me see my goals more clearly, but it has given me the self-confidence to continue my journey and realize that I am worth it. I have lost 116 pounds so far, and I know this is only the beginning of a beautiful lifestyle change.
How she did it:
I joined Weight Watchers and attended the weekly meetings. I am a firm believer that the positivity and motivation of others can help you with your own personal goals.
How she keeps it off and maintains the healthy lifestyle:
The weekly Weight Watcher meetings are really helping me to keep it off. Even if I have a feeling that it's going to be a gain, or I've had a bad week, I still go, weigh in, and accept the positive or negative consequences. If I avoided the scale and my meeting every time I gained, it would be much easier for me to gain more than what I actually do. These tools keep me accountable.
Some of her tips:
Think about your ultimate goal, but really focus on mini-goals. I knew I was going to have a lot of weight to lose. In the beginning, I really focused on losing five pounds at a time. That way, it didn't seem so overwhelming and unattainable.
Even though the scale is important to my weight loss, it's not everything! Other victories, such as activity victories (increasing your running time, being able to make it through an entire group fitness class without a break, etc) or what I call "body image" victories (dropping a pant size or fitting into a smaller size) are just as important! Be proud of what you can accomplish outside of weight loss.
My name is Alyson, I am 23 years old and a college graduate. I have lost 116 pounds on the Weight Watchers program. I enjoy running, Zumba, Quest bars, and snuggling with my dog. I am a teacher and a lover of helping others achieve their goals. "Without struggle, there is no progress."
Find out more about Alyson and her journey here:
I want to thank Alyson for sharing her fantastic weight loss story with us. She is an inspiration and truly encompasses the passion for believing in yourself and achieving any thing you set your mind to!
Have a healthy and fit day,