Losing it: Weight Watchers key to taking off pounds for two Northeast Mississippi women

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

Two women. Two different motivators.
One wanted to get back to her college weight.
The other wanted to slim down for a class reunion.
Together, they found the solution: Weight Watchers.
Here are their stories.

Lesiah Thompson
Lesiah Thompson, 32, is the office coordinator/secretary at the North Mississippi Medical Center’s Diabetes Treatment Center. She and her husband and three children live in Pontotoc.
“I first joined Weight Watchers in June 2009,” she said. “I had just had my third baby and I had it in my mind that I wanted to get back to my college weight, because we were absolutely through having children and I was ready to get the weight off. I stayed on the program for six months and I lost 35 pounds.”
Thompson, who is five feet, 8 inches tall, started out weighing 272 pounds. After the 35-pound weight loss, she was down to 237. She kept that weight off for a while and then decided to join the program again to get the rest of the weight off.
“There were some health issues as well,” she said. “I wanted to decrease my chances for hypertension and diabetes. So I rejoined the program in January 2011.”
Thompson stayed on the program through December 2011 and lost an additional 54 pounds, for a total weight loss of 89 pounds. She now weighs 183.
“I’m staying with the program and I’m probably going to try to lose 11 more, so I’ll hit that 100-pound mark,” she said. “I’m still going to meetings and when I lose that last 11, I’ll be a lifetime member of Weight Watchers.”
She said the hardest part of the program was realizing what a big snacker she was and that the snacks were unhealthy.
“With Weight Watchers, you have to count everything you put into your mouth,” she said. “The first week was really horrible. I thought, ‘I can’t do this.’ I was crying all the time. I didn’t realize how much I was eating. When I went to weigh in that first week, I’d lost 11 pounds. That gave me motivation. I realized it was a lifestyle change and I was determined to stick with it.”
Thompson started to change the way she cooked for her family. Chicken is no longer fried; it’s baked. She makes creamed potatoes with lowfat milk instead of whole milk. Her husband has even dropped 20 pounds, thanks to her healthy cooking habits.
“I still eat what I like, but instead of eating two cups of creamed potatoes, now I only eat a half-cup,” she said. “Portion control is so important. It’s hard. It takes work. You just have to be determined. You have to go into it with a positive mind frame – that you can do it. And you can.”

Teresa Tittle
Teresa Tittle, 48, is a registered nurse and certified diabetes educator at the Diabetes Treatment Center. She lives in Tupelo and sometimes cooks for her adult daughter.
“Last year was my 30-year class reunion and I wanted to lose 30 pounds for it, so I joined Weight Watchers in January 2011,” she said. (The reunion never materialized.)
Tittle, who is five feet, four inches tall, started her journey at 229 pounds.
“I have been big all my life,” she said. “If you added up all the weight I’ve lost all together it would be over 600 pounds. I lost 75 pounds in the seventh grade, and 95 in the 12th grade. I lost 115 after I had my first baby and I lost 106 pounds in 2000. And then I’d lose 10, 15, 20 pounds in between. I’d lose and then I’d gain it back.”
At the end of 2011, Tittle had lost 57 pounds and she now weighs 172. Her goal is to get down to 150.
“The hardest part of the program for me was portion control,” she said. “I’ve taught diabetes education for nine years now, but I was never a portion measurer. When I started measuring, it was an eye-opener to see how much we eat. Measuring makes the difference.”
Healthy eating, Tittle said, is just good common sense – life in moderation. She also works out at the gym for an hour five days a week.
“When you get older, you have to combine everything,” she said. “Exercise and healthy eating – you have to do it all. And if you have kids at home, you need to start making changes for them. You need to start training them now to eat well and exercise.”
Tittle said she’s learned not to beat herself up when she does overindulge.
“If you have one bad meal, that’s OK,” she said. “Just make sure the next meal is spot-on.”
The mother of two has learned to use lowfat ingredients in the meals she prepares at home: skim or 1 percent milk, turkey bacon, reduced-fat sour cream, spray oils and butters and sugar-free syrup.
“You get used to the taste and it doesn’t even bother you,” he said.
While Tittle is thrilled with her weight loss, she admits this past year hasn’t been easy.
“If you’re truly obese – if weight is truly an issue with you – it’s something you will battle every day,” she said. “There’s no magic cure, no magic formula. You have to work at it every day. Some days you’re going to do well. Some days you’re not going to do so well. Just don’t give up.”
ginna.parsons@journalinc.com