It happened slowly. Each year after college, Sharon seemed to put on an extra 5 pounds. Add more extra pounds left over from a pregnancy, and, she says, she ballooned to the size of a "football linebacker."
Her motivation for losing weight was to get fit and healthy, once and for all. But she had another agenda. Sharon did not want to transfer her body issues to her then 2-year-old daughter.
"I don't want my daughter to grow up with a fat mom and be embarrassed of me with her friends," Sharon says. "If she adopts my food and body issues, it will affect her and I want to be a good role model, not a bad one."
At 5 feet 8 inches and 209 pounds, Sharon also realized that the extra weight was going to pose a challenge in keeping up with her toddler. The time had come to lose the weight.
The San Jose, Calif., resident started the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic program in October 2003. Within a year, she had lost 40 pounds on her 1,790 calorie eating plan -- which she tweaked only once during that time.
"What a thrill to go from size 20 to size 14!" Sharon exclaims.
Her Favorite Things
An avid cook, Sharon says the WLC helped her learn new and healthier ways to prepare meals (her husband lost weight without even trying, just by enjoying her cooking).
The fact that she could continue to enjoy her favorite foods helped her stick with the program. To keep from getting too hungry, she made sure to have a healthy snack every few hours.
"I anticipated when I would need a boost and worked a snack into my plan about three hours after a meal," she says.
Her very favorite part of the program, she says, is the WLC community: "Getting an almost instant response from friends and moderators made the weight loss easy.
"I recommend the program to everyone because being on the WWLC [program] has been the best weight loss experience I have ever had," she says. "I have learned how to cook healthier, make better choices, and control my portions -- which are skills I will have for a lifetime."
A Baby Boy
Sharon, who works as a civil engineer, is due to give birth to her second child -- a boy -- this summer.
She was thrilled that her pre-pregnancy weight was much lower the second time around. And she was able to apply some of the knowledge she had gained from WLC to make sure her second pregnancy was a healthy one.
"With what I have learned at WWLC, I know that I will be able to lose the weight from my pregnancy," she says, "but if not, I always know where I can go to get the support I need to get the weight off!"
Lost: 40 pounds on the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic program