“I Don’t Cry”

A commentary by Weight Watchers member, Mary Brady, about Monday night’s Celebration of Success (An event honoring Metro Detroit area members who have lost 50 pounds or more.)

Last night, Weight Watchers franchisee owner  Florine Mark and her staff held their annual celebration for members who lost 50 plus pounds. Kayleen and I went with great anticipation. We were not to be disappointed. The first person I saw as we entered was Tuesday leader Sherry! She greeted us with joy and hugs and made sure we knew where her section was for our group. I felt immediate euphoria.

I now know why Florine Mark is a successful business woman. Before the actual ceremony started, she held a book signing session. As I stood in line, I observed how she made every single person feel special. She made the book yours with a personal greeting. She asked everyone how much they lost. She was accommodating with requests for pictures. She truly cared that you came.

I was surprised just how small in stature she was. I am almost 5’5 and I was taller than her and she wore heels! Yet….don’t let her small frame fool you. She is a pillar of strength and carries herself well.

I heard my name being called and turned around and saw Lisa, my Thursday meeting leader. She wanted to introduce me to the THINLINE magazine editor. I felt so honored.

I kept seeing people I knew from meetings and the cheerful greetings we shared made me feel complete. It was like we shared this common bond even though we truly weren’t friends, we were comrades in arms supporting one another.

The program started with Florine speaking. I realized why she is in such demands for public speaking events. She was open, honest, humorous, and no nonsense. Someone sneezed three times and she said “BLESS YOU” three times! A baby cried and she told the mother she didn’t have to leave because she had children of her own and understood.”Yet, .if you are beating the baby, I will be back there in a flash to take care of you,” she followed-up.

Florine was well aware of her audience and captivated them into her speech. She told her own story and how she brought Weight Watchers to Michigan years ago. I felt a twang of sadness when her speech ended because I could have listened to her for hours on end.

The honorees were broken up into groups of weight loss. The first group were those that loss 50-60…then 60-80….100 plus…..

It was quite clever how the event coordinators presented the members. As Florine called each name, the screen showed a Weight Watcher border magazine with the member’s name, their before/after picture, total weight loss, and a blurb that they wrote. Some wrote that they can now bend over and tie their shoes without losing their breath. One older lady was quoted as saying that younger men flirt with her now. They were cute…they were personal……they spoke reality. As each person walked up, clapping and cheers erupted.

Sherry, one of my  leaders, stood on  the side lines and as her members were going up, she handed them a single white rose. I thought that was such a class act. She whispered something to each one to let them know she was proud of them and that they were exceptional.

I never smiled so much in my life. My face hurt from stretching those muscles I don’t use that often!

Florine told everyone that we were burning calories from clapping.

As they made their way to the stage, ssome members told their stories.

A young girl of 16 lost 80 plus pounds. She joined Weight Watchers because the kids at school made fun of her weight. She felt alone. She praised her leader for her success. The room got silent and felt for the young girl. Perhaps others were thinking back on their own youth.  I thought it was a sad commentary that kids have not really changed when it comes to judging someone based on their weight,  even though more emphasis has been placed on accepting other regardless of appearance or beliefs. I am so glad she found Weight Watchers.

A married couple lost 195 pounds between them. The wife spoke first and started to get choked up and announced to all that she told her husband when they started Weight Watchers that  she didn’t think she could do it. He cut in and said that between the two of them they lost …basically him..a whole person.

A few shared that this was not the first time they had lost 100 pounds. They lost…they gained….and now they lost again. I thought this took courage because how many of us has made goal…..almost made goal….or didn’t make it….only to come back and have to start all over again and in some cases, have to lose more than what we originally had to lose. It is a fear that can be a reality. They made us aware. Good for them.

Then the Celebration of Success was over.

As my friend Kayleen drove us home, I sat looking out the car window, lost in thought. The neon lights amidst the darkness were comforting.

The night was about the honorees. It was their night to cherish and we were lucky to share their moment. They were inspiring. They are us one day.

and yet….

the night was MORE than that.

It was a unity of one as a whole.

We were a community of love and support.

People were PROUD of their leaders and other members that attend the same meeting as themselves.

I know I was. I was proud to see Sherry and Lisa. I was PROUD and so HONORED that I attend their meetings. They are my leaders, my mentors, my friends. People I knew and saw…..we share in our meetings and no judgments are made, only suggestions and support.

It starts at the top. Florine started this and it has trickled down to her staff and finally to us, the members. It shows…I felt it…..I was apart of it along with the others…..

I could hear a voice….”Mary are you listening to me?”

It was Kayleen……and I was jarred back to the now.

As I said, “Sorry, what did you say?”, I quickly brushed away a tear that was escaping and turned my attention to my friend and not the scenery that was lit up by the lights from the darkness.