Sicklerville resident Robin Wahl happily admits she needed Weight Watchers to reach her healthy weight goal.
In fact, she's become a bit of a spokeswoman for the weight-loss program, having been selected as a 2012 Weight Watchers "Celebrate for Success" grand-prize winner.
As one of three grand-prize winners, Wahl won a $2,500 shopping spree, a styling session with Oscar Award winner Jennifer Hudson in Los Angeles in late November, and a trip to New York City for New Year's Eve 2013. She even filmed a few Weight Watchers commercials while in Los Angeles—one of which debuted New Year's Eve just after the ball had dropped in Times Square.
"Weight Watchers is a really good diet because it trains you how to eat everyday food and live in your everyday world. And I'm not just saying this to plug the diet. It is true," she said. "In a world where we're all running and getting surgeries and everything else—and the surgery is great and it helps people who are in trouble—but if you don't know how to eat, you don't learn how to eat what's in your refrigerator...you're not really going to change too much."
A mother of five who found herself working overnight shifts as a paramedic, Wahl says it was often easiest to eat what she could, when she could.
Wahl, 40, peaked at 260 pounds. In addition to obviously unhealthy dietary practices, Wahl was smoking a pack of cigarettes a day and not exercising much.
"Being in a high stress job like a paramedic, I have to be honest—I drank a little more than I should've, I smoked cigarettes like a fiend, and I never exercised," Wahl recalled on Wednesday.
In January 2010, the veteran Virtua Health paramedic, who lives in Washington Township just across the Gloucester Township border, decided enough was enough.
"The one way I started this was I signed up for a 5K in Haddonfield and I said I was going to train for it," Wahl said. "So, I got out there and a little bit at a time I began walking and I quit smoking. ... Eventually, I did do the 5K."
She was able to lose about 25 pounds using Weight Watchers' online program, but wasn't quite where she wanted to be.
Enter Weight Watchers meetings—a program that had proven successful for Wahl as a teen—and she's lost 77 more pounds, for total weight loss of 103 pounds in less than three years.
Wahl is now an avid runner, having completed several half marathons and marathons. She competed in two half Ironman competitions in 2012—one in Cambridge, MD, the other in Port Republic, NJ—and is currently training with her husband, Bill, for her first full Ironman competition.
Her motto these days: Nothing tastes as good as thin feels.
You can meet Wahl Saturday at 12:30 p.m. at the Turnersville Weight Watchers center, where she will speak as part of "One Amazing Day." The center has a Blackwood mailing address (08012 zip code) and is located at 5851 Route 42, Suite 5.