The rumors are true; I am hanging up my scales and moving on from my role as a WW coach. It’s not a decision I have made hastily or lightly, and it is most certainly not a revolution, or throwing in the towel. Simply it’s the end of one chapter, and looking to the next.

I’ve been a WW (formerly Weight Watchers) member for over 12 years. Joining that day was probably the pivotal moment of my life. So much has changed in that time, and I owe so much of the person I am today to WW. It was that passion and gratitude for the company that made me decide to become a coach, a decision I have never regretted. I have worked alongside some amazing people, made some life-long friends, been blessed with some incredible opportunities and memories I will cherish forever.

So why am I leaving? Well, there are two main reasons for my departure; business and personal growth.

 

Business and priorities

I became a WW coach in 2014, when I had the time and energy to spare. I joked from the start it was a moderately paid hobby, it didn’t feel like work, just something I loved doing. But over the years, the company has grown, the role has evolved, and my life around it has become busier, messier and more stressful.

I put my heart in to my workshops and supporting members, whilst trying to stay on top of the behind the scenes administration. But niggles of stress have started to inflict in to other areas of my life, and whilst I still adore my time with members, I started to resent the time doing admin. I was complaining about never having any free time, and the tolls of stress were showing in my physical and mental health. Something had to go in my busy life.

Over the last 5 years I have dedicated so much time, energy and passion to WW but now it’s time to put that into growing my own business and career. I started set U free fitness with the aim of helping people who don’t feel comfortable in gyms, and helping overcome the barriers to exercise. I put everything I had (physically, emotionally and financially) into creating an inclusive fitness studio where people of all sizes, ages and abilities are welcome. set U free fitness was my vision, many people told me I was crazy but I have already proved them wrong.  I have been fortune to have so many people let me in to their lives, and support them in discovering ways of being active that they love.

Whilst I love my WW coach role, it doesn’t compare to the buzz I get from working alongside people one-to-one, seeing them grow in strength and confidence. Or the excitement I get from leading teams of people to do things they never dreamed possible. I have helped to change lives in direct and meaningful ways. Now I want to help more people through this blog, my YouTube and expanding on the services I offer.

Previous to working in fitness, I completed a PhD in Heritage Management and worked in lecturing, research and consultancy. Whilst I don’t regret giving it up to pursue my dream, I do miss using more of my  academic skills. So I will continue to write for WW magazine on topics relating to health and fitness whilst trying to expand my writing portfolio. As an academic and researcher I continue to learn and grow, and since qualifying as PT, I have gone on to do advanced training in pre and post natal exercise, menopause, obesity and diabetes management. I am already bursting with features and topics I would love to write about, and now I will have time to do it!

 

Finding my own way

The second part of my reason for leaving is personal growth. I want to find my own way with food and with my body. I was just 22 when I joined WW (not for the first time). I have bounced around various other plans, programmes and quick fixes along the years, but WW has always been the comfort blanket I returned to. But now I want to see if I can make it on my own. I want to unlearn everything I have ever been told about nutrition and rediscover the joy of food, and what nourishes my body in ways that are physically and mentally satisfying.

I already have knowledge of nutrition threw my personal trainer, and obesity and diabetes management training. Now I want to expand on that knowledge, read more books, do more research, try different things; see what feels good, and understand what feels good for my body. I am most definitely not looking for another plan to follow, in fact, the complete opposite. I want to live without any rules around food. But mostly I just want to put any and all concept of ‘weight loss’ out of my mind.

In January 2018 I came back from the holiday of a life time, the heaviest I had been in over 8 years, but I simply couldn’t face the idea of ‘getting back on it’. I wasn’t happy in my body, but I just didn’t have the space or energy in my life to try and ‘lose weight’. I decided instead to focus on improving my body confidence, and trying to love myself regardless to my size or weight. And that has been my focus for the last 18 months. I haven’t being following the WW plan. Instead I have just concentrated on eating mindfully whilst respecting my body, and moving it in ways that feel positive and enjoyable. Already I can see huge progress; not in my body but in changing my mind-set and how I feel about my body.

I have desperately tried to avoid the scales, and instead celebrated other victories. But whilst I run WW workshops, and I am in that environment of weighing people, and celebrating weight loss, the temptation is too much. But it’s never the right number, and it only ever makes me doubt myself, and puts me back on my journey. So the only solution (for now) is to take a step back from workshops all together, as a coach and a member.

I want to make my own mistakes, be curious, learn and grow, meet new people and challenge my perspectives and opinions. I want to get to know my body and all its subtle clues of what, if and when it needs feeding rather than rely on a plan. I want to measure my success in everything but the numbers, and really live my own mantra: awesome isn’t measured in pounds.

Maybe I will fail, and return to WW heavier, more confused and more miserable than ever, but that’s the greatest thing about WW- I know that I will be welcomed back with warm and open arms.

So it’s most certainly not farewell. Just a change in scenery and priorities for me, a new chapter of exploration. I will of course be sharing my journey on Instagram this blog and my YouTube, and I hope you will continue to follow me on it.

Jennie x