Returning students saw it while walking in the hallways in the first week of school. Marian’s faculty and staff were looking slimmer and clearly had rocked their summer wardrobe while students were enjoying their sunny, school-free days. Maybe it was just summer’s seasonal fresh foods and good vibes that helped shed a few pounds, but many teachers and staff members had also been participating in a weight loss program all summer.
Mrs. Sheri Reynolds coordinates Marian’s wellness group. “I had a couple of teachers come to me and ask, ‘What about Weight Watchers at work?’ I looked into it and found that you have to have 20 people in order to do it. We just didn’t have quite enough interest at that time,” Reynolds said. More and more people shared their interest in the program, and after the holidays were over in early 2015, she pitched Weight Watchers again and more than enough people responded.
Weight Watchers is a weight loss program that encourages a healthy lifestyle, but without using a crazy diet. Using a point system, participants track their food, exercise and sleep on an app. There are no preset meals, and it’s up to you if you want to eat that slice of cake for dessert.
The group has been meeting sporadically for the past three years, but has had consistent participation in 2016. This year alone, the faculty has participated in a 17-week session in the spring, a 12-week summer session and are currently in a 12-week fall session.
“The staff are not required to join Weight Watchers, only if they want to, and Marian will pay the cost of half of the program if the staff member finishes with a certain level of participation,” Reynolds said.
Motivating yourself to live a healthy lifestyle can be extremely difficult, but the support system of the Marian community helps the group stay on track.
Each week, the participating faculty members meet with a Weight Watchers representative in the Marian Room to weigh in and discuss their progress (or lack of it), tips and tricks and experiences. They celebrate each other’s successes and motivate each other when the scale doesn’t move or goes up.
“My mom loves the Weight Watchers meetings because of the community. It makes losing weight a bit more fun and easy for her,” Reynold’s freshman daughter Abby said.
As a school, the Weight Watchers team has lost 619 lbs. since September of 2015, and Miss Ronda Motykowski, Dean of Student Affairs, has lost 62 lbs., the most weight of the group. “Ms. Rohlfs and Ms. Brusnahan were worried about me and my health, so when we found out that Marian was going to host a Weight Watchers session, Ms. Rohlfs and I decided that we would do it together to support each other,” Motykowski said. She has gone down four dress sizes in the past year and is still motivated to continue losing weight.
“The encouragement we all receive from each other is priceless. So many of us have done [Weight Watchers] outside of Marian and not been successful because we don’t have the network we have here,” Reynolds said.
Although it is not a competition, some faculty members form little rivalries to see who can work out the most. “The weight loss is more of an encouragement thing because we want each other to succeed, but there’s a competition between Ms. Hinrichs and I to see who can work out the most. We’re averaging going to Ms. Christen’s Jazzercise class about five times a week,” Motykowski said.
With their support and encouragement for each other, the Marian Weight Watchers group is unstoppable, and the numbers on the scale just won’t stop dropping.