Big losers

Local Weight Watchers group meets goal of losing one ton in 11 months

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Here's the skinny on the local Weight Watchers group.

The ladies lost a ton. Let's put that into perspective.

That's 2,000 pounds. Some trucks weigh that much. A million dollar bills does, too.

It's the pre-cooked weight of 8,000 quarter-pound hamburgers, six Shaquille O'Neals and roughly the combined poundage of the Moffat County High School offensive and defensive lines.

The point is, 2,000 pounds is a lot.

By losing that and then some -- 2,060 pounds to be exact -- the local Weight Watchers group, made up of 95 women, met their goals for the year in just 11 months. The group meets for weigh-ins and a discussion each Tuesday in the lower level of St. Michael Catholic Church.

Signs of positive reinforcement are hung all over the walls of the church and the phrases greet members.

You made the right choice, you're in the right place, now go for it.

That sums it up.

Weight Watchers isn't a club, society or union where members participate sparingly throughout the month. It's a lifestyle, say those who are on the program and have seen the firsthand results.

Weight Watchers co-leader Robin Schiffbauer, who has lost 41 pounds, is one who can verify the program's integrity.

"It works," Schiffbauer said. "It's a lifestyle change. ... I think also they love the support. The ladies give ideas to each other. They're very supportive of helping each other and they love Susie."

She's referring to group co-leader Susie Begam-Violette, who leads the Weight Watchers meetings after the weekly weigh-in is completed. Her banter with the ladies bounces back and forth between the comical and inspirational -- comedy hour meets The Power of Positive Thinking.

She began her talk Tuesday evening by telling a joke about a woman who asked her husband for a birthday present that went from zero to 240 in "nothing flat," a clear reference to a new sports car. Instead, "he went out and bought her a scale," which drew a chorus of chuckles from the ladies.

Ah, the scale.

Depending on how a member does during the week, it can be friend or foe. Begam-Violette waxed about how the scale should be looked at as something besides an enemy.

"We're not failing," she said, "the scale is giving us feedback."

The difference between success and failure with the program, she added, hinges on the person, not some contraption.

"It's me putting food into my mouth, not the scale," she said.

Members also trade suggestions and give encouragement. They trade recipes and tips for success that include proven, time-tested winners like splurging on vegetables instead of chocolate, splitting one portion into two and eating a small snack before going out to dinner.

Perhaps no one among the Weight Watchers group has had more success than Darby McDermott, who lost 70 pounds in 18 months. She credits her success to the Weight Watchers program.

"I think it's the best program in the whole world," McDermott said. She added that she isn't satisfied with the weight she's lost so far and has a target goal in mind. What's that goal?

"I'm definitely not telling anyone yet," she said.

Joey Chadwick, another member, shed 35 pounds in seven months. Weight Watchers is helping her maintain her new weight.

"This is keeping me on track," Chadwick said. "Everybody should eat this way from the time they are born. This is not a diet, it's a lifestyle."

Weight Watchers begins with a 5 p.m. weigh-in each Tuesday at the Catholic church, 678 School Street. Meetings begin at 6 p.m. and generally last 30 minutes. There is an $11 per-week charge, but several payment plans are offered.

In April, Weight Watchers will offer a new spring season pass, which is a 17-week savings plan that will run between April 30 and Aug. 26.

For information about Weight Watchers, call Begam-Violette at 824-1956.

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