After reaching an alarming weight of 431 lbs. Eric Gonzales decided to enroll on Weight Watchers to take control of his health. However, a family crisis put his life upside down, and he was ready to quit the program. Strangers came to his aid, and now he’s lost more than 150 lbs. And he keeps going.
Eric Gonzales had struggled with his weight since he was a teenager. At 16, he joined Weight Watchers but didn’t go through with it. He quit, and a few years later, tried again.
“I lost 50 pounds but, over the course of 10 years, put it all back on plus another 100,” Gonzales told The OCR. “I was in a general depression about my weight, so would eat more and gain more. It snowballed.”
When he reached 431 pounds, a trip to the doctor out his life on perspective. He was recommended to get a gastric bypass surgery to help with his type 2 diabetes and hypertension diagnosis. But Eric considered that getting surgery would be going down the easy path, and he didn’t want that.
He told People:
“I didn’t want to do any weight loss classes or surgeries. I decided if I did this to myself I was going to reverse it myself. I walked into Weight Watchers after that, and the rest is history.”
With the right mindset, Gonzales weight loss journey was going smoothly; he lost 110 pounds in 15 months. Even after suffering the loss of his grandmother, he kept going with the help and encouragement of the Weight Watchers community, but when his dad was diagnosed with brain cancer in July 2016, Gonzales was devastated.
He had just started a new job, but he quit right before hearing his dad diagnose. “I knew that there was no way I could sit there and train for this new job while he’s sitting in the hospital, so I had to resign immediately,” he said. “I knew it was a decision that I wouldn’t regret and that holds true today.”
Paying for the monthly $45 fee for the program without a steady income would be impossible for Gonzales, so he decided to say goodbye to his friends on the program’s Connect community, explaining his situation and why he couldn’t afford to keep going.
That’s when a few members of the community decided to step in, collecting money and paying for six months’ worth of membership for Gonzales. “The fact that they would do something so kind, for someone that they had never met, blows my mind,” he revealed.
Thanks to their act of kindness, Gonzales was able to maintain his weight loss journey while taking care of his father. A month later, his dad passed away, but not before Gonzales promised him to keep living a healthy and happy life.
Gonzales wanted to honor not only his father but also the people that believed in him and decided to help him in a time of need. Now, after losing 152 lbs, Eric is off his medications and overcame both hypertension and diabetes.
“My life has dramatically changed, and it’s wonderful. I had no self-pride and no self-worth two and a half years ago. That’s completely done a 180. I love my life; I’m happy, and I’m healthy. I’m actually living now, and I’m not just existing, and that’s a huge thing for me.”
The weight loss organization that helped Gonzales is now rebranding to take a wider approach to wellness and offer their clients not only a weight loss alternative but also mental and spiritual health programs.
According to an official statement launched last month, they’ll now be known as WW, and their new slogan is “Wellness that Works.” Mindy Grossman, President, and Chief Executive Officer, said:
"We are becoming the world's partner in wellness. No matter what your goal is – to lose weight, eat healthier, move more, develop a positive mindset, or all of the above – we will deliver science-based solutions that fit into people's lives. This is just the beginning of our journey to become the world's partner in wellness, and I am inspired by the potential for our impact."
The company is also partnering with Headspace, a global leader in meditation and mindfulness, to offer customers guided meditations that will help them enhance their acceptation journey.
As Weight Watchers becomes WW, I believe we will continue to inspire people not only to eat well but to move more, connect with others and continue to experience the joys of a healthy life,” said Oprah Winfrey, one of the leading investors and board members of the company.