Success Story: How One Bride Lost 50 Pounds

Bride Mali Fraleigh shares how she lost over 50 pounds before her big day.


Weight loss before and after

The Bride: Mali Fraleigh. A project manager for an insurance company, Mali lives in Gainesville, Florida, with her husband, Sam, and their two dogs. "We were married at a nature preserve in my hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin."

Her Big-Day Goal: "I wanted to feel confident in my wedding dress and cherish my pictures for years to come. I wanted to be able to look back and be proud of myself for all I could accomplish in 10 months."

"Going to the gym, grocery shopping and cooking meals used to be chores for me, but now I enjoy them. Each of these ‘tasks’ gives me time to spend with my hus- band after a busy day at work, and that is invaluable to me."

Why WW (formerly Weight Watchers): "My grandmother was a lifelong member and employee and swore by the program. She passed away the summer before my wedding, so this gave me something I could do to feel close to her."

On the Program: "I followed WW exclusively on the app. Rather than attend meetings IRL, I relied on Connect, WW’s members-only social network. Whenever I was having a hard day I'd scroll through Connect and see the challenges, stories and successes of others, which kept me super-motivated."

Game On: “Calorie counting, eating at a caloric deficit never clicked for me, but the assignment of 'points' to each food made WW feel a bit like a game. The program’s exibility reminds me that not every day can be perfect. I could still feel successful even if I'd indulged a bit."

Foodwise: "Breakfast was (and still is) typically a combination of eggs and fruit. When I want to mix it up, I'll do protein waffles and chicken sausage or low-sodium bacon. I get creative with salads or wraps at lunch, using leftovers like shredded chicken, adding beans or corn for a southwestern avor, and trying different yogurt-based dressings. A typical dinner at our house is sautéed veggies with a protein like grilled chicken."

Fitness: "I started with WW’s "Couch to 5K" program, which let me build up my endurance at a pace that wouldn't overwhelm and drive me to immediately quit. I’ve since been able to shave 10 minutes off my time, and I feel so grateful for my capable body"

Biggest Challenges: "It could be tricky coming up with healthy meal ideas on top of the stress that came with planning a wedding. I'm a huge snacker, so finding zero and low-point options (rice crisps, fruit, veggies with yogurt dips) was key. Plus my husband and I are huge craft-beer fans. I turned to alternatives like vodka soda with lime and spiked seltzer."

"Sometimes I'd find myself having a cookie and not wanting to track it because I knew it was like 11 points. It's really important to keep tracking to, well, stay on track. Again, the Connect community is ever-motivating for me!"

Weighing In: "I did (and still do) check my weight almost daily to help me see how much weight can fluctuate day to day. Knowing this, I could handle gains or seemingly insigni cant losses more."

Biggest Changes: "I’ve always had an unhealthy relationship with food. I'd eat a big meal and beat up on myself. Now I have a better understanding of what my body needs. I fuel it with the right foods to keep me going. I can still enjoy all the foods I love, just in moderation."

"My now-husband motivated me when I couldn't motivate myself, lifted me when I was feeling down about a small gain, and perhaps most importantly, he changed his eating habits right alongside me in solidarity."

Goals: "I wanted to lose 25 pounds — I doubled that! And I wanted to run one mile without stopping — I exceeded that, too. When I started this journey, I thought there was an end in sight, that I’d lose the weight and not have to be as strict anymore. But after shedding 25 pounds, my new regime became a part of my every day, and I can’t imagine it any other way."