It was knowing how much and what kinds of food to eat that helped Susie Begam-Vilolette lose 40 pounds. But the director of a new Craig-based Weight Watchers group knows it's also the support from others who also are trying to lose weight that has helped her stay slim.
"The hardest thing for me was walking from the parking lot to the building," Begam-Vilolette said about the first few times she attended the group's meetings. "But everybody here always roots for you. I want people to feel that they are comfortable here."
For at least the past year, members of a Weight Watchers group have been making the trek to Hayden to attend meetings. Although a number of Craig residents believed enough in the program to make the drive, the opportunity to attend meetings closer to home makes the pledge to lose weight a little easier, some members said.
"It was worth it," one woman said about the 20-mile journey to make meetings in Hayden, "but this will be so much better."
About 20 members and prospective members showed for Weight Watchers informational meeting Friday night. Refreshments included group-approved foods such as veggies and lowfat dip, soup and even chocolate-covered strawberries.
One woman who didn't want to be identified said she likes the consistency of being involved in the group. She uses the group's Web site to read inspiring stories.
"It's too hard to do it by yourself," said the woman, who has lost and kept off five pounds. "Giving up food is like giving up your best friend. It's better to have somebody to talk to."
Another woman said she's lost and kept off 40 pounds after joining the group about a year ago. She appreciates the group's thrust toward recommending healthy foods and that it doesn't require going on any "weird" diets.
"I've tried so many diets," she said. "It's not a diet, but a way of life."
Initially, Weight Watchers didn't think there would be enough response to hold meetings in Craig, Begam-Vilolette said.
However, about 20 e-mails from residents weary of making the commute to Hayden showed that Craig could support the gatherings.
"It's not a bunch of whiny women," Begam-Vilolette said. "There was never that. It's a lifestyle change for people wanting to change their lives. The main thing is support."
The Weight Watchers group meets at 5 p.m. Tuesdays in the Black Mountain conference room at the Colorado Department of Transportation building, 260 Ranney St.