Laura Is Finding Motivation in Her ‘Why’

This article is part of our Healthier 2021 series, in which we follow three members of the WebMD team as they strive to improve their health this year. You can follow their travels here.

By Laura J. Downey

I’m not perfect. As much as I love to cross every T and dot every I, so much I make mistakes. And last week, I made some food choices that I classify as BIG mistakes. So now I feel bad for the choices I made. That’s because when I weighed in at my regular WW (formerly Weight Watchers) meeting last Saturday (which I’ve been attending regularly since losing over 20 pounds a few years ago), I took 1.6 pounds. Yes, although you all cheer me on, I didn’t do what I told myself I was going to do – stick to my plan to add more veggies and water to my diet and reduce refined sugars. Although I added a few veg, didn’t drink enough water, ate a delicious bar of white chocolate, and devoured nachos for dinner with a friend one night.


I was about to enter a downward spiral (eating a hearty breakfast – oatmeal with cheese, bacon, and extra scrambled eggs! – at one of my favorite restaurants), but I then contacted a WW trainer for help. I walked past the restaurant and went to the grocery store to pick up strawberries for a morning smoothie instead. The coach told me that I had made the right decision by opting for a smoothie. She encouraged me to take what I know from last week and turn it into positive future results. Then something clicked.

I remembered my “why”. Why I embarked on this path to wellness. You see, my father’s parents died of a heart attack in their sixties. My mother’s mother died of diabetes and my mother’s father died of a heart attack; both were in their late sixties. And my sister, a 6 foot beauty, has struggled to choose the best foods for herself over the past few years. I could blame my overeating on my family, but we all have choices to make.

At Saturday’s WW reunion, someone said, “I have decided that I am no longer looking for excuses.” It struck me. Sometimes I find excuses to be able to fend for myself. Other times, I find excuses because it allows me to be lazy. For example, I can grab a bag of my favorite hot corn instead of taking 30 minutes out of my day to cook a healthy dinner.

Either way, a lot of it is mental. The WW coach told me, “Sometimes we need bad results to see how we can get the right results.” Well I really needed these bad results. I will try another time this week. There’s also a part of me that internally panics because it’s the week I go back to school. I am working on a second masters which means there are a lot of books to read and several articles to write. Translation: I’m going to want to snack while reading and writing. But the plan is to take it one day at a time. In fact, if I’m being honest here, I’ll have to do everything one choice at once.

The day after eating these nachos, I told my colleague Bill Kimm, who is traveling with me. He said, “No guilt – well, maybe for a split second!” So now that I have confessed, I move on. Getting back to working to be a better me, letting go of excuses and negative mindset, and remembering my “why.”

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