From Yo-Yo Dieter To Weight Loss Success Story: “I Changed My Life!”
When Vanessa Washington had to catch her breath after merely drying off with a towel, she knew she’d it was time to make a change.
She weighed 224 pounds, was wearing a size 22, and was worried about her long-term health and longevity. But losing weight wasn’t the problem—she’d done that dozens of times before. Like many other Americans who struggle with their weight, the real problem was keeping it off.
“I always gained it all back and then some,” the traveling account manager and trainer says of her previous weight loss efforts.
Washington lost 36 pounds in 2008, but gained back 20 in the six months that followed. In 2012, she lost 50 pounds in eight months, but gained almost half of it back in a year. She was traveling for work 75 percent of the time, and eating healthy on the road was tough.
Also, the lingering effects of a 2010 knee injury made exercise difficult, keeping her away from the aerobics and dance classes she loves so much. But Vanessa says her weight loss yo-yoing was really about her mindset when it came to food.
“I used to dream of ‘cheat days’ and what I would indulge in,” she says. She would use food as a reward for good things in life, and a way to deal with things that weren’t so good. It was a comfort mechanism, and when other diets took away the chocolate and pasta she craved, it was tough… and the reason she relapsed at the end of the diet. Washington turned to Nutrisystem, hoping the portion-controlled and fiber-rich pasta and dessert options would help her lose weight and keep it off.