I was so honoured to be asked to be part of the Weight Watchers 'The Life You Want' event which took place in the South Court Hotel in Limerick last weekend. I didn't really know what to expect in terms of how the day was going to play out but honestly, it was just brilliant. The day was cram-packed with cooking demos, incredible motivating talks and talks from loads of interesting people thrown in to the mix.
I arrived at about 9:30am and walked straight into Verette, an incredible WW leader from Limerick who I have been following online for ages! Not only is she a mega-WW-leader, she also runs her own cooking classes just outside Limerick (check out her website: www.abetterme.ie). I also met Catherine who is the fantastic Gort/Ennistymon leader. After a quick run down of how the day was going to play out, the room filled up with the 100+ attendees and Maura Derrane stepped out on stage and does what she does best... hosted the day!
With Verette (left), Michael & Mary (top centre), Hilary (top right) before kick-off
I was up first, so I hopped up on stage and had a 15 minute chat with Maura. She was lovely and asked the kind of questions I had forgotten about myself such as 'What motivated you to get started?' and 'How did you lose 7st?'. I answered every question as honestly as I could. Sometimes I forget to credit myself along the way but I really do think my breaking point was Croagh Patrick. Weight Watchers gave me the tools and means to control and measure what I was eating. Running came afterwards but I do think that has been key to overhauling my life.
On stage with Maura
Up next was a guy called Michael O'Doherty, a bio-energy healer who absolutely blew my mind. I was hanging on his every word as he spoke about the interdependencies of the body and energy and the power of the mind. As I sat there listening to him, he said something that I honestly think will stick with me forever... He spoke about how the pathway to success requires three things from the mind:
1: Belief - 2: Commit - 3: Sacrifice
I have honestly never considered the 'sacrifice' part of any mind/goal-setting exercise before but it totally makes sense. I had never considered sacrifice as part the equation before but as he spoke, it was like a hundred light-bulbs went off simultaneously in my head. You can't do everything and everything you do takes from the time you could be spending doing something else. Running takes from your couch time, Sleeping in takes from your food-preparation time. I'll definitely be keeping an eye out for any future workshops he is doing. His website is www.michaelodoherty.com.
Michael O'Doherty (Pic from RSVP - Link)
Up next we had Verette who was an absolute star in her make-shift stage kitchen. She was funny, articulate, confident and informative all at the same time. I'd really love to be in one of her WW classes, I can't see how anyone could leave one of her classes other than pumped and ready for the week ahead. I also really need to get myself to one of her cookery classes. She made everything look so easy. She even kept one of her Pecan Muffins to one side for me. She also whipped up an incredible smelling Pasta Bake but I figured I'd let others sample that seen as I knew she was making Brownies next (and had penciled myself in for one!).
Verette from Verette's Kitchen (Pic from RSVP - Link)
The afternoon continued with on-stage chats with Dr. Jamie O'Sullivan, a Clinical Psychologist who spoke about relationships & Aisling O'Loughlin from Xpose who spoke about motherhood and its pressures. Mark Rodgers (from Benefit) gave a make-up tutorial so now I know how to contour if anyone needs any tips. Maura then interviewed Roisin Meeney (Author) who recounted how she changed her life from school teacher to published (No. 1 Best-selling) author. The afternoon was so engaging listening to other people give advice and speak from experience about how they changed their lives.
Mark (Pic from RSVP - Link)
Another massive highlight was the two fashion shows - not because I wanted a gawk at the latest fashions, but rather I could see people step outside their comfort zone and model clothes on stage in front of a room full of people. Their confidence has come from their weight-loss but really I know it was buried inside them all along. I lost count of the 'Total Stones Lost' as each people came out on stage radiating! Weight Watchers has changed my life and given me so many opportunities I'd never have even considered previously - it's amazing to see people grab opportunities their new lease of life has given them...
The afternoon was wrapped up with a talk by Mary Kerin (Nutritional Therapist) & Colm O'Brien (Life Coach). Mary spoke about nutrition and the importance of getting variety & minerals in your diet. She said something which I'm still thinking about now: When you go to bed at night, make sure you've eaten something from every colour of the rainbow. She also has me thinking about how I can incorporate seaweed into my diet! Her website is: www.marykerin.net
Colm O'Brien is a failed businessman, turned successful businessman, turned Life Coach who went through a number of exercises with us about goal setting and focusing on what you want to be. I have to say, I really enjoyed his talk and already have downloaded his audio book (it's free, check it out here: www.feedingjohnny.com).
The event wrapped up with a glass of Prosecco shortly before 5pm and I have to say, it was a truly wonderful day. I have to hand it to Weight Watchers, it was a brilliant event and a brave move to see an event like this being held outside Dublin. I think a lot of companies (in general) forget about the rest of Ireland outside Dublin so to see an event like this being run close to home was an absolute delight. I really hope to see more events of this kind over the coming year.
The event was advertised as a 'Live the Life you Want' event and it really delivered. It was so different to what we hear at a regular WW class yet every speaker said something that you could apply to personal goals, weight loss and work towards improving your quality of life. In the end, we are only responsible for our own successes - I always strive to learn from my mistakes and try to be a better person. Isn't that all everyone wants? Regardless of how long it takes, what matters is that we keep moving forward, keep an eye on our goals and have wonderful experiences along the way... Saturday in the South Court Hotel was most definitely one of those experiences I will never forget.