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Fit and fabulous at every age

Eagle’s Trace residents shed pounds with Weight Watchers

Created date

December 25th, 2012

Not surprisingly, losing weight is one of the most common New Year s resolutions. It s also one of the most commonly broken. The reason people don t stick with a diet is that they think it s all or nothing, says Donna Hoeflinger, a Houston-based Weight Watchers leader. Anybody can go into deprivation mode for a short period of time. The key to sustained weight loss is to make small, incremental changes you can incorporate into your lifestyle. Hoeflinger conducts weekly meetings at Eagle s Trace, an Erickson Living community in West Houston, where residents are winning the battle of the bulge. I ve had people ask me why I m leading a group at a retirement community, says Hoeflinger, who has 15 years experience working for Weight Watchers. I tell them that people want to look and feel their best at any age. The truth is, my Eagle s Trace group is one of the most successful I ve ever led.

Success story

More than 20 residents have joined the Weight Watchers group since it started in May 2011. More than half have reached their goal weight, with some losing up to sixty pounds. The slim-down initiative started with one resident s quest to lose weight. Janet Marvin, a retired nurse, began attending Weight Watcher s meetings at a location near Eagle s Trace in an effort to lose a few unwanted pounds. I joined Weight Watchers once before when I was a nurse at the Shriners Hospital in Galveston, says Janet. I reached my goal weight and was awarded lifetime member status. But when I moved to Eagle s Trace in 2009, it was almost like the first year of college. I let the freshman 15 creep up. When Janet began shedding pounds, other residents took notice. Soon enough, people took interest to host a weekly Weight Watchers meeting at Eagle s Trace. This group has the upper hand when it comes to losing weight, says Hoeflinger. One of the cornerstones of the Weight Watchers program is group support. Residents here have a built-in support network. They exercise together, they eat together, and they cheer each other on.

Success stories

Over the past 19 months, Janet has reached her goal weight. She s been able to stop taking blood pressure medicine and has more energy. Before I lost weight, I could only walk a half mile before I had to rest. Now I can walk two miles without stopping, she says. Janet isn t the group s only success story. John Hume has lost thirty pounds since he joined Weight Watchers in May 2012. My heart doctor told me I was carrying around too much weight, he says. Since I joined Weight Watchers, I ve been able to stop taking three medicines, and I ve had to buy new clothes. Donna Craig attended her first meeting in mid-September 2012. Four weeks later, she was twelve pounds lighter. The most astounding thing about the [Weight Watchers] program is that you don t feel hungry, says Donna. If you follow the program, you will lose weight. Now that I know how to do it, I think it will be easier to maintain my goal weight.

Moderation is key

An important component of the Weight Watchers program is making smart food choices. With the help of Erickson Living s My Nutrition website (, residents can view online weekly menus for the community s Garden Room Restaurant. They can see the nutritional information for each menu item and use filters such as low sodium or gluten free to customize their meal plans. Residents are also taking those small steps Hoeflinger encourages. They ve asked Bonnie Neal, dining service manager, to order lower calorie wine spritzers for happy hour. They use the weekly meetings to solve dining dilemmas, like how to eat in moderation at the community s Sunday buffet. You can have it all, just not all the time, Hoeflinger says.