Ode to the WW leader.
I have had my share of leaders in my six years since joining Weight Watchers. While I don’t have pictures of all of them (should have done a better job at that) I will share a few with you. I am sad that some of my previous leaders are also no longer with WW.
My connection to my WW leader is huge. Much like a mother figure, I really value the support that I receive. I guess it is sort of that feeling of not wanting to disappoint them. I know that I need a strong leader and a strong connection to my leader for my success in WW. We are lucky to have so many meetings available in my area AND so many wonderful leaders, as well as support staff. I have even spoken several times to our area Director, Donna, and had the privilege to meet one of the two sibling duos that took over the WW of Salt Lake City franchise that my area is a part of.
My very first leader was Lynn. She was always open and honest with her food struggles. At the time I started WW, Lynn had actually put on a few pounds and was struggling with the fast food drive through. I could really relate to her since I was just starting out and struggling with the food aspect. She ended up retiring but before she did she left us with contact information so we could let her know when we got to goal. And I did just that! I was so good to hear from her and I would very much like to see her again as well. (**Edited to add: I did see her after all**)
When Lynn left, Kimberly replaced her. Kimberly was very much into activity as she was a personal trainer and an avid cyclist. Her focus was more activity based and less focus on food. I, however, needed support with food more than activity. My Mom was attending meetings with me at that time so we decided to move to a different location. However, this would not be the last of Kimberly. Mom and I decided to give Kimberly another shot and went back to our old meeting. Kimberly really started to grow on me. We developed a really great connection and I enjoyed her wisdom and valued her input on exercise. After I lost 100 pounds, I really started to shift my focus to exercise and Kimberly was a great resource. Kimberly had to give up her evening meetings and moved full time to Boise where she led the group at the YMCA. Once I moved to Boise I started attending her meetings. I really miss her. I also heard she recently quit WW and had a pretty upsetting life change as well. I have not yet seen her in passing but would love to catch up.
|Myself and Kimberly|
The first time we changed meetings from Nampa is where I met Tamela. Tamela was really funny and openly honest about her food choices: the good, the bad, the ugly, and the really ugly. I loved her honesty. I love how candid she was about her food choices and why she used her points the way she did. I also learned a trick from Tamela I still use today. Bread, wine, and dessert: have two of the three but not all three. I have used this method many times. Sadly, Tamela quit WW. I am not sure exactly what the reason was. I was privileged to celebrate my 100 pound milestone while attending Tamela’s meeting. Mom and I had moved back to our original meeting location before I made goal, however, I earned my Lifetime status on the night Tamela was a substitute for the meeting/leader where I was currently attending.
|Tamela and I|
When Kimberly left the Nampa meeting, she was replaced by Sheilah. Much like the rocky relationship I had with Kimberly, I didn’t instantly connect with Sheilah. She was much like a first time school teacher and she loves stickers and prizes to try and get everybody energized. It took a bit of getting used to but over time I really started to enjoy Sheilah and her many years of WW experience. Sheilah has been attending WW through all the years she had babies. Her long term success to the program was encouraging, even if that success wasn’t all in maintenance. I often see Sheilah at the exercise classes I attend at the YMCA and we developed a really great friendship. I stop into Sheilah’s meeting from time to time. She still teaches at my original meeting location and at the location near our house.
|Sheilah and I|
Shortly after I got married and moved to Boise, Mom stopped attending meetings. I decided to move my meetings to Boise and save myself the drive. This is where I first met Donna. Donna is hands down my favorite leader. I just really have a strong connection with her. Donna is the strong silent type. She is really like a mother figure. In my times of struggle or when I have to switch meetings for my work schedule and can’t attend her meetings, I miss her. I remember once being frustrated and in tears thinking “I just need Donna.” When the time comes for Donna to move on to other aspects of her life, she will leave very big shoes to fill. I still attend her meetings my work schedule allows. I have also developed a close relationship with her Tuesday morning meeting members. I find I also miss them when I have to attend a different meeting.
|Myself and Donna (a little fuzzy though)|
Diana was a leader I met after I moved to Boise when I needed a new location after my work schedule changed. I was really in limbo at this point in life and feeling like I just didn’t fit in at the meetings. Diana lead the meetings at the Meridian location and I had met her a few times when she would substitute at other meeting locations. I thought she was bold and loud and had so much fun energy. Our Monday night group was also really awesome and I started to feel like I had fit in again. Several times some of my meeting members and Diana would meet outside of the meeting for walks on Sundays. Diana has great wisdom and was a huge ball of energy. Her husband passed away after a second more agressive battle with cancer. I have never seen anybody so strong and continue to focus on her program after such a life changing event. Since her economic status changed telling us, “my husband didn’t leave me a rich widow” Diana had to leave WW to take a full time job. I continue to connect with her on Facebook and I was able to get a photo with her when she popped into a meeting.
|Myself and Diana|
Natalie is a leader I met while she was a receptionist at Tamela’s meeting and then reconnected with her as a receptionist at Diana’s meeting. Natalie is closer to my age and we have a lot in common. She was able to secure her own meeting location in Boise so I have attended there a few times to visit. She is always encouraging and enjoys when I drop in for a visit. I also hear from her often on Facebook.
|Natalie and I|
Whenever I change shifts at work, I often have to attend a different WW meeting. After Diana left, it was hard to find a good meeting where I fit in and really connected with the leader. There is a center right by our house that I go to when I attend my Tuesday morning meetings with Donna. The Monday night leader had recently left and they finally found the new replacement, Jean. The first meeting I attended she asked about my goal weight and I told her my weight loss story. She was very impressed! I think that sort of broke the ice and started a connection. She enjoys my input or at least doesn’t seem to mind I talk too much in the meeting. She is funny and very knowledgeable. She also leads several meetings a week, which is very impressive. I plan to return to Jean's meeting when I need a Monday night meeting option that works with my shift work hours/shift.
|Myself and Jean|
So, there you have it. My sordid affairs with my WW leaders! Each one has a special place in my heart and played a big part in both my weight loss and maintenance journeys. I will be forever grateful to the wonderful staff WW employs in my area. Yes, I have always wanted to be a leader. I know I would be good at it and I have even had several people say they would attend my meeting if I was able to become a leader. WW doesn’t allow you to be a leader until you are at their BMI goal weight. I am currently at a weight set by my doctor and still 20 pounds above WW’s goal. I have no desire to lose another 20 pounds so I won’t be a leader anytime soon.