I’ve been with the City of Saint Paul since 1999, having relocated here from California where I also worked in City government, for the Cities of Mountain View and Berkeley. I currently work in the Department of Safety & Inspections, Code Enforcement where my duties include managing the Truth-In-Sale of Housing program.
I was a competitive swimmer in my youth. I started playing tennis when I was in my mid-twenties, and began adult competition through the USTA a couple of years later. I’ve been competing ever since. Playing tennis is now my major recreational activity and is so much a part of the structure of my life that I get very distressed when I can’t play.
What was your problem? What was your motivation to change this?
I’m in my 60’s now, and I have been looking forward to continuing to play tennis long into retirement. Unfortunately my knees weren’t cooperating with my plan. I have arthritis in both which was making my time on the court very uncomfortable and limited. I looked in the mirror and saw that I was no longer trim and svelte; I didn’t look 30 anymore. Now, while I never expect to again look like I’m 30 instead of 60, I did recognize that being overweight was contributing to the problem with my knees. I knew it was something that I could actually do something about, without medical intervention, to improve my odds of spending retirement the way I planned to do.
So, what did you do?
Several years ago, I attended Weight Watchers. At that time, I lost about 35 pounds and kept it (mostly) off for about 5 years. Then, I got lazy and stopped paying attention to what I was eating. I gained back almost every pound I initially lost. (Ice cream and chocolate are my go-to treats!) This was frustrating. I was having trouble motivating myself to make any significant changes. – that is, until I saw the City was offering a discount to employees for participation in Weight Watchers and that meetings would, conveniently, be in City Hall, during the work day (lunch hour). I think there was no more than 3 days between when I saw the announcement and went to my first (reprise) meeting on October 3, 2013.
What have the results been?
I was stunned to lose 5 pounds the first week back on Weight Watchers! That result is NOT typical. What it meant to me was that I knew what to do, and I could do it. Progress since then has been slower, but still steady. The Holidays were a challenge and while I didn’t continue to lose, at least I gained only 1 pound back. It took only 9 weeks to lose 20 pounds. Amazing. That’s a little more than 2 pounds a week. I’m not yet at my goal and that goal is still a little bit of a moving target. I want to lose another 5 to 10 pounds.
How is your life different now?
I’m more mindful of what I’m eating. It helps that I truly like fruits and vegetables, and don’t care that much about meat. I still go to restaurants and eat out. The Weight Watchers program is one that teaches you to recognize sensible foods and portions so that you can balance out your consumption of the treats that you still can have – in moderation!
And, most importantly, my tennis game has improved! I’m able to play longer and more frequently, and I move better on the court. I’m really happy about that!
Do you have any advice for others wanting to lose weight?
What you eat is something that is totally within your control. You don’t have to deprive yourself of any of the foods you love, you just need to be mindful of your portions and make sure that your other choices are ones that are healthy for you. Attending group meetings is one way to assist you in maintaining your commitment to yourself. Weight loss is not easy and old habits are always hanging around just waiting to creep back in; banishing them to history is a constant battle that does get easier and can be won.
If I have any advice at all, it’s to set a goal and find help to reach it. This way works for me.

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