Shelley was one of the organizers of the Saint John X-Weighted event. Her motivation for wanting to be involved and help other people lose weight, came from her own success which has been partially motivated by her love of the show.
Before making the decision to lose weight Shelley was 358.8 pounds. "That was my heaviest,” she says. She started going to Weight Watchers, although she initially went to support her friend, and not because she was really that bothered about losing weight herself. “But I found that I loved it and in the 2 ½ years that I have been going to Weight Watchers, I have only missed three meetings in total. I’ve organized my life around that, I try really hard not to miss meetings,” she says.
Shelley says that she got to that 358.8 pounds through mindless eating and although she knew that she was big, she says that she got a real shock when she saw the number on the scale. "I had done a couple of the quick fix diets before that, where I'd drop 30 pounds and then put it back on soon after. But they really were diets, and not sustainable, Weight Watchers just clicks for me and matches my lifestyle," she says.
Too Big to Exercise?
Initially, Shelley was not exercising much as she felt like she didn’t know what she could do when she was that size. She had been using the elliptical trainer, but was flicking through the channels one day when she came across the episode of X-Weighted where Paul Plakas was saying that he thought elliptical trainers were useless.
“I missed his reasoning for that and so I e-mailed him. He emailed me back with the explanation, and I then asked his advice on what I could do when I weighed as much as I did," she says, "and he was really good and helped me lots.”
With Paul's advice, Shelley started to use the treadmill, holding on to both rails at first. "He told me that at one point it would just happen for me, and eventually I would be able to run on the treadmill," she says, "and it was true, eventually I let go of the rails and I was able to up the speed. Eventually one day it was too slow when I was walking and all of a sudden I was running and I really have never looked back."
Shelley is taking part in the National Challenge, and is trying to lose another 50 pounds.
In the 2 ½ years of her journey, Shelley has reached plateaus and says that being part of Weight Watchers was really helpful for getting through those times. "It lets me know that everybody has been there, and for me it's about mentally not getting down about it. I've been stuck at this weight for a long time now and I think it's because I'm really getting close, and that was one of the big benefits of having Paul here: He gave me a different kind of workout to do that would step it up and help me get back to losing weight," she says, "the workout he suggested is really kicking my butt.”
"I just really like Paul's approach," say Shelley, who became such a fan that she now says she could probably recite what was said on every episode there is. "I don't want anybody to sugarcoat it, because I don't sugarcoat it for anybody else," she says, "I do take a lot of things that he says on the show and use that advice."
Shelley says that if you do reach a plateau, it is important not to let it derail you. “Every day is a new day, that is the way I have approached it. There are days when you get off-track but I have never let myself regret it, I just start again that day,” she says.
Shelley says that to succeed, you need to keep your goal in mind at all times. “I have a clear goal so when I'm a restaurant I have no problem asking them for an alternative meal or to bring the fruit instead of desert and they are usually quite accommodating," she says.
Shelley says that she never focuses on the big numbers of how much weight she wants to lose, she just kept focusing on losing the next 5 pounds. "Because really, when you think about having to lose 150 pounds, it is a lot of weight and it is demoralizing to think of that," she says.