Grantham Journal Big Interview: I am so proud of saving and changing lives
Tracy Ferguson has run a Weight Watchers group in Grantham for 20 years and is one of the best leaders in the country, having being awarded her Diamond Leader status for the past 16 years. Here, she tells the Journal how she became involved in Weight Watchers and what the past 20 years has meant to her.
When did you first join Weight Watchers?
I joined Weight Watchers in September 1995 with a few friends from work. I had tried losing weight myself, but usually started on a Monday and was off it again by Wednesday. So I thought why not give it a go? I didn’t know what to expect as I had never been to a slimming class before. When I got there I couldn’t believe how many people were there and how friendly and welcoming the leader was and the group itself. I felt really comfortable. My weight was 13-and-a-half stones and I was lacking confidence and really didn’t like myself. I got off to a great start losing three-and-a-half pounds in my first week. I continued losing weight most weeks, following the points plan, and loved how I was looking and feeling. I went to class every week and found them invaluable. I got to goal at the end of 1996 after losing four-and-a-half stones and I am still at goal today.
How did you become a leader with Weight Watchers?
My leader asked me if I had ever considered becoming a Weight Watchers leader and I remember giggling as I hardly ever said anything in class, just loved listening to others. I went home and discussed this with my husband and decided to apply. With Weight Watchers you have to have lost weight and be at a healthy goal weight at all times. I think this is good as you should be a good example and proof it works. I had several interviews and I started my new career in February 1997 after several training courses. I hold eight busy meetings a week so I work full time for Weight Watchers. I became a leader/coach in February 1997. I have been in the same venue ever since, the Guildhall Arts Centre, in St Peters Hill, on Monday mornings at 9. 45am and 12.15pm. I also hold meetings at Fernwood, off the A1 near Newark, Balderton and North Hykeham.
What do you like best about your job and what are you most proud of?
Well where do I start. Firstly, I have had an opportunity to change people’s lives, and I believe save lives too. I get to meet so many wonderful people week in week out. I like to be informative, inspiring and motivating, too, in what I do. I have people who came in on crutches or with terrible health problems whom I have helped to lose weight and get their lives back, who are now walking and off medication for diabetes. I have so many proud moments. My member Trace Hart joined me two years ago after being referred by her GP to me with type 2 diabetes, but having lost over 90lbs she is off all medication and has no health problems at all and is such an inspiration to our Monday morning group. Another proud moment just a few weeks ago was celebrating with my member Marlene Bean who got to goal with me in 1999 after losing over three-and-a-half stones and is still at goal and comes every Monday. She has lost the weight and gained so much, including lots of great friends.
I am just so proud of each and every one of my members for taking control and getting the help from me to make a difference.
What would you say to anyone who is struggling to lose weight?
My message to anyone who is trying to lose weight is to come along to my meeting and let me help you. We have two fabulous plans – one a Smartpoints counting or the other a no counting plan. If you are struggling you are not by yourself.
Losing weight isn’t easy but it is very rewarding. We all have our ups and downs and with a little help you can succeed.
What is your ambition for the future?
My ambition for the future is to keep doing what I do best...help, support and motivate my members bringing a smile to there Monday morning. One goal is to stay at goal with Weight Watchers for years to come. I believe I can make a difference to my members.
How do you feel about your long service?
I have been a Weight Watchers leader/coach for 20 years and celebrated my long service award in February and I am still at goal. I was also awarded Diamond Leader status – which lasts for two years – for the eighth time in January 2017. This is awarded to the best leaders in the country.
To have this honour once is something but knowing I have been a Diamond Leader continuously for 16 years since it was launched is incredible and something that I am extremely proud of.
n Anyone interested in finding out more is asked to call Tracey on 07871 950256.