Driven to Join
By Steve Carr
Pam Simon was driven to join Weight Watchers to keep from driving.
“I’m one of those people who’ve joined Weight Watchers multiple times,” she explained. “The last time I joined was, in part, because I was living in Lake Havasu and there aren’t a lot of shopping options. Ninety percent of the reason was that I didn’t want to have drive to Laughlin to shop at bigger stores for women. The closest Lane Bryant was in Laughlin.”
That was nearly three years, 70 pounds and countless miles ago.
About a decade earlier, after seeing “a lot of success and losing 40 pounds, I had my heart broken. I couldn’t get out of that depressed state. I’d go to the gym, where I love to go, and the endorphins just weren’t firing. That was unusual for me. My mental health was getting in the way of my physical health,” Pam recalled. “After 10 years of getting myself out of that, I’m taking care of myself again.”
“70 pounds and countless miles ago.”
She’s still on that road and there are no exits for her to walk away again.
“I’ve struggled with weight my entire life,” Pam said. “Everyone says it, and I’m beginning to see how true it is, but the last time really is a struggle of wills. It’s just really hard to make the scale move the way you want it to.”
That’s not keeping her from trying, of course, and one factor that keeps pushing her forward is that photo … the one on Facebook “that’s now a badge of honor because I don’t even recognize myself and how heavy I look.” But she does remember being bullied in school. A lot. “Some of those memories, even from 20 years ago and even though I don’t know those people any more, stay with me. I remember those names they called me.”
Back then, she found comfort and safety in the marching band. “It was a wonderful situation for me. I had safe people, a safe place to be and support. But when you leave your safe little pocket and go out into the jungle of high school, who knew what would happen.”
“I’ve struggled with weight my entire life.”
Today, she spends her days back in the high school jungle, but now as a history teacher in the Phoenix Union High School district at Bioscience High School, a school for kids interested in science. “Somebody has to teach the class they don’t want to show up for!” she said.
She’s also engaged! A spring wedding is in the works. “I don’t think it would have been cool to date me in high school. My fiancé doesn’t care what my weight is. We went on our first date two days before I joined Weight Watchers.”
Now, her fiancé, Vito, also is a member. “We’re both 36 and want to have kids,” she said. “We know we’ll be older parents and our eating habits will have to change if we want to live long enough to take care of kids. This morning, a little over a month since he joined, he showed me how big his belt is and will need a new one.”
It’s those small victories that help maintain her focus.
“I struggle at times to stay focused on Weight Watchers. I look forward to being at school and having my routine. That’s the thing with anything you accomplish in life. You decide you want to do something and get it done.”
That includes incorporating Weight Watchers into a very hectic classroom schedule.
“There are definitely trade-offs,” Pam explained. “If it takes an extra day to get my grading done, I’ll take an extra 20 minutes at school and go up and down the stairs, especially on days when I know I can’t get to the gym.”
“I have a wedding dress to put on.”
She brings her own lunch every day, a meal she describes as “pretty boring.” “It’s more snacks than lunch. I bring a turkey sandwich every day, which I love, plain Greek yogurt with fruit to put in in it, Baby Bell cheese and perfectly portioned pistachios, apples, oranges and carrots. And a Quest Bar, the lowest point protein bar I’ve ever been able to find.”
She and Vito cook a lot at home. When they go out “we rotate a couple of places where we know what we can order for low points and not have to struggle with decision making.”
And she has her students, who are as focused on her FitBit as she is.
“My kids ask me if I’m getting my steps in,” she said. “Some of them think it’s funny, but they’re incredibly supportive. Now I remind them that I have a wedding dress to put on.”