By Steve Carr
There was a time Jennifer Scott thought about Weight Watchers but couldn’t “find a catalyst to join. I had looked into online tools only and I knew there were meetings near me, but I wasn’t finding something that really made me want to join.”
So, when a friend at work needed a 15th person to start an At Work program, it took some arm-twisting for Jennifer to sign up. “I thought about it and figured I may as well try it and see.”
Scott Sparks had already seen results of U-Haul’s At Work program when he joined in November 2016, right after he and his wife had their second child.
“I thought about it and figured I may as well try it and see.”
“My son was three at the time and loving to run around,” he said. At 310 pounds, keeping up with him proved quite a challenge.
“I had heard of Weight Watchers and seen the commercials for it,” he said. “My friend who started the program saw results right away. Seeing somebody I knew, and seeing those results so quickly helped me decide. The fact that the company provides the program to employees at no cost also helped.”
And, once Jennifer and Scott became involved, At Work’s on-site convenience made the decision to stay – and the motivation that comes with it – that much easier.
“We communicated on a very personal level.”
“Seeing people in the program regularly was great,” said Jennifer, now a Lifetime Member after dropping more than 60 pounds. She joined in March 2017. “We’d see each other in the cafeteria and share tips about the food on the menu and the number of points. Or, we’d talk about vacation and what we did so we didn’t use all of our points. We communicated on a very personal level.”
She speaks about At Work in the past tense because, after a few months in the program, she lost her job through a corporate downsizing. “It was something that had never happened to me,” she said, even more ironic because she moved from North Carolina to Arizona four years earlier for that particular job.
“I miss seeing the people at work,” she said. “It’s nice to have that type of camaraderie. It was a bond over the fact that we were co-workers and we were bonding together in Weight Watchers.”
She carried the concept of that bond into an immediate transition to regular Saturday meetings in her North Phoenix neighborhood and is now fully employed in the same line of work that brought her to the Valley.
“Weight Watchers made a difference for me.”
“The women who work at my Weight Watchers location are some of the most supportive people I have ever met,” she said.
She also carries the benefits of healthy eating with the regular exercise that had always been part of her routine and now includes more than 20 races, the first, a 5K, coming two days after her first official Weight Watchers meeting.
“Weight Watchers made a difference for me,” Jennifer said. “I feel like I have grown and gotten healthier physically and mentally. It’s given me confidence to do things I haven’t done before like cooking. Cooking used to seriously stress me out. I never did it. Now I love it. I’ve probably cooked more in the last 13 months than in the last decade!”
Like Jennifer, Scott, a software engineer, finds motivation in seeing others from U-Haul’s At Work program.
“Scott lost more than 115 pounds.”
“Seeing them and being part of the journey together is encouraging because we see the progress that the other is making,” he said. “It’s also encouraging that the company is keeping health at the forefront and offering the program for us.”
Scott and his friend combine regular exercise into their At Work routine, walking from their central Phoenix building down the block from the corporate headquarters, and using the stairs, even if the meeting is on the ninth floor.
“He grew up in a family that ate a lot.”
“If I get to the meeting and weigh-in out of breath, it still feels good,” he said.
There’s another benefit for Scott, who has lost more than 115 pounds.
He grew up in a family that ate a lot.
“We didn't leave anything on our plates,” he said. “Dad always tended to get large helpings on his plate. I inherited that from him. I’m hoping my children see that I’ve started with less and have an understanding of how much should be eaten in one sitting. I hope they’re watching us and taking in our eating habits and seeing that we don’t have to eat everything on our plates. Just eat till you’re full.”
Scott’s parents and wife are also on weight-loss programs, motivating one another and sharing recipes. Yet another benefit.
“My mom asks me every week how the Weight Watchers meeting went,” he said. “She’s tried a few recipes and they like what they’ve never tried before. We’ve introduced them to new dishes.”
Jennifer’s Favorite Recipe:
Here's the recipe for my 6-point shrimp fried rice (one of my favorite things to make):
- Crisco Olive Oil Cooking Spray - 0 points - use as needed
- 1-2 eggs - 0 points
- 1 tsp toasted sesame oil - 1 point
- 1-2 tsp Spice World minced garlic - 0 points
- 1-2 tbsp raw onions - 0 points
- 1/2 cup cooked lima beans - 0 points
- 10-15 shrimp (I use frozen fully cooked shrimp and thaw them in cold water) - 0 points
- 1 cup minute white rice - 5 points
- 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce - 0 points
It's easy to make. I cook the eggs first using the cooking spray. Once that's done, I combine all the other ingredients (soy sauce last) and keep stirring so nothing gets burned and all the flavors are evenly distributed.
The great thing about this is that you can play around with the serving sizes of all the 0-point foods to adjust based on preference and hunger level. I am not a fan of peas and carrots in my fried rice, so I use lima beans instead.