In January 2005, Ruth Kirksey noticed a sign on a bulletin board at work that ended up changing her life forever. It was a sign promoting a Weight Watchers group that met during the lunch hour.
Kirksey, 46, who was born and raised in Silverton, was never concerned about her weight growing up. Over the years the pounds began to slowly add up. Then, when her doctor said she needed to be on blood pressure medication and that she was pre-diabetic, Kirksey knew she would have to make some serious changes.
“I joined Weight Watchers with my lunch buddies, which has helped tremendously. Instead of eating out everyday, we now bring our lunch to work. When I reached my 10 percent goal, I was committed to reaching a healthy weight,” Kirksey said.
Another aspect of the Weight Watchers program that Kirksey appreciates is that she is able to cook and eat “normal foods.” In fact, her husband and two grown boys don’t even realize that they are eating healthier, she said.
There are a few tricks that Kirksey has found that make eating healthy throughout the day easier. She keeps sugar-free Jell-O and instant pudding in serving size containers on hand.
“I’m a snacker,” she said. “I still have snacks in the evening, I just try to keep it healthy.”
Besides a proper diet, Kirksey also spends an hour walking every day.
“The treadmill is in the spare bedroom, and I walk while watching T.V. during the evenings,” she said.
“The program is well worth the price of the weekly meeting. It’s more costly being unhealthy. I spent more money eating lunch out everyday, then the cost of the meeting. It was worth it,” Kirksey said.
“You’ve got to be ready to commit because if you’re not ready to, it’s not going to happen. You have to believe that you can and will do it. I reached a point where I just said, ‘I’ve got to do it.’”
Although it can be a tough transition at first, Kirksey said that if you wait for it to become routine, everyone can find success. She also credits a lot of her success to the support of the other people in her Weight Watchers group.
“I still go to the meetings, a lot of co-workers have joined because of seeing the results that I’ve had. I continue to support them and keep myself in the right frame of mind. It’s a lifestyle change you have to make. I told them that I would go to the meetings as long as they went,” Kirksey said.
Besides the obvious results, such as compliments on her new figure and purchasing a closet full of new clothes, Kirksey said that there are other benefits as well.
“I have a lot more energy, I am able to work out in the garden a lot longer, and I’m able to go to the basement to the fourth floor and I’m not looking for the oxygen tank, I can talk when I get to the top of the stairs,” Kirksey said.
Because Kirksey hasn’t regained a pound since reaching her goal weight, she was able to gain brand new wardrobe.
“I gave away bags and bags of clothes, some of them were even brand new,” she said.
Earlier this year Kirksey entered the 2006 Weight Watchers Most Inspiring Stories of the Year contest and placed second in the Western Regional competition. In her essay Kirksey shared, “On May 31, 2006, I reached my goal weight and became a Lifetime Weight Watcher member. Besides looking better, I’m healthier.”
Her prize was a one-night stay in the hotel of her choice, but she’s the most proud of the priceless gift of a healthy lifestyle and the opportunity to share her success stories with others.
“It feels amazing to be at my goal weight. I still can’t believe it. I never would have thought I would lose 90 pounds,” Kirksey said.
Kirksey was able to discontinue taking blood pressure medicine and her blood results are in the normal range.
“My doctor was happy about 35 pounds ago,” she said. “He’ll be surprised when he sees me at the end of this month.”
The Silverton Weight Watcher meeting is on Monday nights at 6:30 at the First Christian Church, 402 N. First Street. For more information about the Weight Watchers program, visit www.weightwatchers.com