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‘Weight watchers taught me portion control — And helped me lose 100 pounds’

Then, when I was 16, my father died suddenly-I found comfort for my grief through food, so I started gaining weight more rapidly.

Then, when I was 16, my father died suddenly-I found comfort for my grief through food, so I started gaining weight more rapidly. Three years later, I met my first husband, who was also overweight-together, we just ate food and built our family.

A little background: I used to take trips to San Diego with my best friend to have "girls' days"-our plans revolved around which restaurants we wanted to try and where we'd eat next. Basically, it was a day-long eating spree.

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Then, one Thanksgiving, she came to stay at my house-and I was surprised at what I saw: She'd lost 30 pounds through Weight Watchers.

But what happened after Thanksgiving Day shocked me even more: After eating a full Thanksgiving meal, she woke up Friday morning and immediately went to a Weight Watchers meeting. "That's just how the program works," she told me.

When she came back from her meeting, she reported that she had actually lost a pound and a half-after eating Thanksgiving dinner. That exact moment made me want to start losing weight on Weight Watchers too.

In case you don't know, Weight Watchers relies on a points system (each food is assigned a points value, and you aim to hit a certain number of points per day, according to the program's website) and encourages you to eat more fruits, veggies, and lean protein (and fewer sweets and fats).

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I followed the plan exactly, and I lost about 80 pounds. But, life got in the way again: I had two more kids and fell off the Weight Watchers wagon, so I gained back most of the weight I lost.

My youngest child was 1 years old, and I have to admit: It was harder to get back into the groove of the program this time. At first, I chose foods that were based on convenience. As a mom of three who worked all the time, I often grabbed Lean Cuisine meals that I knew were points-friendly.

But as I continued the journey, things started to get easier again. At first, I was solely paying attention to my portion sizes-no one had ever taught me about those before. I still ate what I normally ate-just less of it. I learned those nutrition labels on the side of the box were there for a reason: If a serving size is half a cup, that's what you should be eating (and counting).

While I was on Weight Watchers, I measured every single thing I ate-down to the ounce. Here's what typical day on the diet usually looked like:

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Yes, that sounds strict-and it was-but it truly got me familiar with proper portion sizes. But, over the years, I started transitioning to more nutritional, typically healthy foods. I began buying as many fresh foods as possible–I even started meal-prepping. Here's what I typically eat now, on a more relaxed (but still healthy!) diet:

But, while I improved my eating habits, I also practiced being kinder to myself. On the program, I never beat myself up for any hiccups-not if I gained a few pounds one week; not if I went out and ate more than I initially planned; not if I skipped a workout-nothing. I knew that, with the next day or next meal, came another chance to start over. Overall, it took me 10 years to lose 106 pounds on Weight Watchers

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I worked out five days a week, always making sure to change things up so my body doesn't get bored. I've done everything from boxing to lifting weights to running.

Even now, I still work out five days a week-and my new husband (I remarried-my first husband passed away when I was 38 years old) is religious with his workouts, so he adds an extra level of motivation for my exercise and diet plans.

I'm 50 now, so, while it took me 10 years to lose the weight on Weight Watchers, I've also maintained it for another ten.

Now, instead of having my life revolve around food, I'm more focused on staying healthy for my family. That’s what life is all about. Being here and enjoying it.

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