My name is Michelle Rollins and I am a 23-year-old recent college graduate (December, ’08!) and newlywed (November, ’09) living in small town west Texas!
I grew up in Fort Worth but moved to Plainview in 2006 to pursue my B.A. in Art at Wayland Baptist University. It was there that I met my husband, Edgar, some of the best friends I’ve ever had, and 40 excess pounds. I tried throughout my years in school to reverse the damage of the college weight gain to no avail. School cafeteria meal plans were mandatory, and I never had money for my own groceries.
Somewhere along the lines I learned to love cooking. I was not a stranger to the kitchen growing up, but it wasn’t until my second year at Wayland, after a friend introduced me to the Food Network, that I found that I could channel my creative energy into cooking, and my love for it grew enormously.
Upon my graduation in December of 2008, I took it upon myself to make better choices in the food I would prepare and eat in order to lose the weight that 2.5 years of college food and college habits had left me. I had never been lean in my life, but at that time, I was the heaviest I’d ever been–180 lbs, which was noticeably overweight for my 5’6″ frame.
The changes I made did not have immediate or quick results. In four months I’d only lost two lbs, which in hindsight isn’t terrible if I’d kept it up. However, I grew up with ridiculous eating habits, such as naturally gravitating toward bread over vegetables, eating an entire pan of cookies or brownies in two days (if they lasted that long!), or drinking all the Dr Pepper I could possibly fill my stomach with any time I had the opportunity. These habits prevented me from obtaining or sustaining any real progress in my health.
In April, 2009, I was assigned to perform a “self-improvement” challenge on myself for a graduate class in which I was enrolled. I decided that my challenge would be living a healthy lifestyle, and one of my goals for the assignment was weight loss, with Weight Watchers being my method. I was not able to afford a membership at the time, but I gathered enough information in my own personal research over the internet to implement the plan on my own.
Within three weeks of the challenge I dropped from my starting weight of 178 to 170 lbs. After the three week challenge was over, however, I lost the accountability to keep counting points, and I stopped losing. But that summer Zumba classes started being offered at the university, and I officially fell in love. I grew up being sporadically involved in various dances classes, and if I had my way I’d dance every day. This new activity in my life combined with some of the habits I learned in my short few weeks following Weight Watchers enabled me to keep off the pounds I’d lost.
Unfortunately, the summer ended and so did the Zumba classes. Fall began and I discovered Spice Cake and Zucchini Bread. I have a real big problem with fresh baked goods, and the world’s biggest sweet tooth to boot. In one month I gained back 6 of the 10 lbs I’d lost since graduation.
Just a month and a half before my wedding, my employer began sponsoring a Weight Watchers at Work program. For 17 weeks, I could join this program for free, as long as I attended 14 out of 17 of the meetings. It was a godsend, and I soaked up the opportunity like a sponge. I officially began Weight Watchers on October 9, 2009 at 176.8 lbs, and since that day I’ve lost about 35 lbs, maintained a healthy weight, and discovered a new, happier way of living.