A Weight Watcher Family Story: Literally
When Nancy Celaya talks about the impact of Weight Watchers on her niece, Holly Solene, she scoots to the section on the last two pages of the WW guide highlighting “Your Progress Beyond the Scale.”
“It lists all the measurements of success beyond losing weight,” Nancy said from her home in south Chandler. “Energy, fitness goals, trying different foods, body measurement. So many of those fit Holly. For her, it’s beyond the scale and all the other benefits she gets.”
“It’s beyond the scale and all the other benefits she gets.”
Nancy and 26-year old Holly have attended Weight Watchers meetings together since February. For Nancy, it’s a return to a place she first learned to love nearly 30 years ago. “I was around when they had that very first old program when we had to eat fish five days a week.”
She became a Lifetime member in the 1980s but work travel made her meeting attendance more off than on.
“She wasn’t making good choices and was just gaining weight.”
Two factors brought her back: First: “I love the new Freestyle.” The second: She loves Holly more.
“What prompted me to bring my sweet Holly with me was because of her Down syndrome. She doesn’t feel full when she eats. She wasn’t making good choices and was just gaining weight. It got to the point where my sister was worried about her blood work. I told her I was going back to Weight Watchers and how much I love the Freestyle and that I thought it was something that Holly could learn from.”
“Because of Holly’s disability, she’s socially aware but not cognitively,” explained Holly’s mom, Peggy. “She has basic reading skills, but can’t count money or tell time, so keeping track of things for Weight Watchers is difficult.”
“Weight Watchers is teaching Holly to make good choices.”
“Weight Watchers is teaching Holly to make good choices. If I ask her what she wants to eat, she says all the right things, but sometimes it’s hard to follow through. It’s a long road, and progress is slow, but she’s learned a lot.”
At 4’8”, “she struggles with weight,” Peggy explained. “Because of the Downs, she’s got very low muscle tone and difficulty with exercising. She needs to lose about 30 lbs., but if she can do 10, I’d be happy.”
Holly is, indeed, making progress toward her weight goal. And more.
“The group we’re in is one of those groups that really clicks,” Nancy said. “We’re all friends and Holly is a part of that. They all know her. She doesn’t talk much. She’s managed to get a few pounds off, but the big advantage is that she’s lost inches and makes better choices. She knows if she eats cake, it’s 2” square. She goes to the gym and works out. She’s a lot more aware. If she eats something that’s not in the program, she tells me, ‘I messed up Aunt Nancy. I had 12 French fries.’ I tell her ‘that’s OK, but if you did that, you need to do this.’”
“She can read and loves to be in charge of what she orders.”
“What’s exciting to me is noticing the changes,” Nancy said. “We were at a restaurant and Holly and I were sitting together ordering off the menu. She can read and loves to be in charge of what she orders. She ordered a salad with chicken. That to me was one of those moments that’s so cool.”
The Thursday meetings reinforce the lessons Holly now applies to her every-day life.
“The meetings have given her support, so she listens to what everybody says,” Nancy said. “It’s just so amazing to me. She knows the people in the group and it’s something we do together. It’s friendship and support and being with her Aunt Nancy,” who, by her own admission, still has about five more pounds to reach her goal weight.
“I love the group so much and even if I’m on lifetime, I’ll continue.”
“Holly and I are going to keep going. I love the group so much and even if I’m on lifetime, I’ll continue,” she added. “I’ve got the very hard last five pounds to go, so it will be a while. For Holly, it gives her a check point. She weighs in and she knows there are other things about her body that are healthier.” Including her blood work.
“For me,” Nancy said, “I love losing the weight, but I’m loving the friendship and that my clothes feel better. I just turned 71 and I have energy. For Holly, it’s so much more. She rides her trike, and boy does she peddle to the metal. I’ve known her all her life and the whole wellness concept and progress beyond the scale is definitely her. That’s what Weight Watchers has been to her.”