-AS SEEN IN BRIDAL GUIDE MAGAZINE-
The Bride: Andrea Stramler Higginson, 30, who lives with her husband, John, and their rescue pup, Primrose, in St. Louis, MO. The duo had two celebrations, a micro-wedding in April 2020 and a larger celebration exactly a year later.
Big-Day Goals: "I wanted to feel like my best self in my wedding dress," Andrea says. "And I wanted to make sure my fiancé experienced a jaw-dropping moment when he saw me walk down the aisle. Maintaining my weight loss was key: I got to wear my wedding dress two years in a row without any additional alterations."
Fitness: "Before WW, I was not active at all, and my diet was garbage. I ate heavy food almost every meal and had mixed drinks almost every night. Now I work out 6-7 days a week because I love how it makes me feel. I’ve gained such an appreciation for what I can do with my body with my newfound strength!"
Why WW (formerly Weight Watchers): "I'd tried pretty much every diet known to man. WW seemed like a truly livable program. I made the decision to join and never looked back! During the pandemic, as I was closer to goal, I became very active in the virtual workshops and all the support they bring. This is a program I can see following for life."
The Workout Plan: "Since the pandemic, I've been working out at home in my basement. I started with a couple of weights and have grown it into a solid basement gym with a fuller set of dumbbells, resistance bands, and a Peloton. I start with 45-60 minutes of lifting, followed by a Peloton ride. If it's nice out, I'll take a walk before work; if the weather is bad, I'll do a longer bike ride."
Foodwise: "Breakfast: oatmeal with protein powder and peanut butter powder or an egg scramble with veggies. Lunch is a veggies and protein combo like Buffalo chicken stuffed zucchini. Our go-to dinner is steak or chicken fajitas, which I turn it into a big salad."
Support System: "My now-husband John has loved me in all sizes, but encouraged and supported me in my weight-loss journey. He eats what I eat (though he does have a candy stash, lol), goes on walks with me and the dog, and knows that mornings are when I get my workout in and take some me time."
Staying on Track: "I had set my mind on putting in the work to lose the weight, and I kept at it. There are days that I don't have the same motivation, but I try to focus on the next goal. Sometimes we get caught up in the little issues that we face and forget to focus on the events down the road. Focusing on the next goal has helped motivate me and keep me moving forward. Nowadays, I focus on my strength and sustaining those long-term healthy habits that will keep me healthy for years to come."
What Works: "Nothing is off limits in WW so I don't feel that I have to restrict myself. The focus is on sustained weight loss and building healthy habits to foster success. The WW community — especially on Instagram — is extremely supportive. Our members love to lift each other up and celebrate our success on our journeys."
Biggest Challenges: "When Covid hit, we had to play every bit of our wedding by ear. It was a learning curve for all brides. We worked with our vendors to move our date, and cooked dinner for our micro-reception at home the first time around. It was very low-key and special. The 'repeat' wedding a year later was even more special since we were finally able to be with so many friends and family members."
#Goals: "Before WW, I was between a size 16 and 18 or XL and XXL. Now I wear between a size 6 and 8 or a size S/M. The wedding-dress process was foreign to me! When we started the dress shopping process, I had lost almost 60 pounds and was shocked to find that I actually fit into a good number of dresses at the salon. Shopping pushed me out of my comfort zone, and I ended up picking something that I never expected I’d wear. I purchased a size I hoped would fit and started monthly fittings four months before the wedding. I was pleasantly surprised to find I needed to take the dress in quite a bit for it be wedding ready!”