Roger Stuck, 75, moved into downtown Mesa’s Fellowship Square in September of 2009 after his kids moved away from the area and his second wife developed dementia and was moved to a California nursing home to be closer to her family.
“I originally retired in Tempe where my three kids were, but they all moved away out of state and are now scattered everywhere. I originally moved here (Fellowship Square) with my wife. I’ve found that this place is great because it gives me people to be around and they are all so nice.”
Things were going good for Stuck, that was until he starting packing on the pounds last year from all the food being cooked for him at Fellowship Square. So on Jan. 1 he began his journey to lose weight and get healthier.
“The doctor told me I was becoming diabetic at 292 pounds and that shot me into action,” he said. “I had already been a lifetime Weight Watchers member because I always have had problems with my weight and the doctor recommended them. So I started it up again and I’ve lost 55 pounds already (since Jan. .1). They say that losing 10 percent of your weight improves your health.”
Stuck said he finds that the weekly meetings help him stay accountable for what he eats and that the support is exactly what he needs to keep going on the program.
“I like family oriented things now since my family is scattered away from me and through the years I’ve learned what works and that’s why I decided to go back to Weight Watchers,” he said. “I need that familiar connection and get that with Weight Watchers.”
Stuck keeps his weekly log of points he eats through the program and the Fellowship Square gym is a place he doesn’t just pass by anymore on his way to and from the dining room and his apartment.
“I’m doing yoga classes there for seniors three to four days a week now and I exercise in the gym for a half hour a day,” Stuck said. “And I’m making better choices. For instance, at lunch today I just couldn’t pass up the macaroni and cheese so instead of a Klondike bar for dessert I grabbed a fruit cup. And when we have birthday parties here I don’t stay for the cake anymore.”
Stuck smiled when he said his most recent accomplishment was fitting into size 46 pants again.
“I can probably live healthy at this weight now, but I’m determined to get to goal,” he said. “I’ve been up and down in my weight all my life so staying at one weight is hard for me. I still have trouble staying on it day by day, but when I have to weigh in once a week that holds me accountable. I still have work to do because the doctor wants me to weigh 185 to 195 pounds.”
Stuck, who has a doctorate in electrical engineering, worked for IBM for 30 years in California and Tucson. When he retired to Tempe in 1995 with his second wife he took a job at the Gap Outlet at Arizona Mills.
“It was interesting, I did a lot of selling and was good at it at the Gap Outlet because I think you have to believe in what you sell to take money for it,” he said. “Once retailers started wanting us to peddle credit cards I decided to quit because you shouldn’t sell to those who can’t afford it. That’s the same feeling I get with the Weight Watchers program, I believe in it.”
It’s those strong values and Christian beliefs that help guide Stuck through life. Interacting with others is important to him now that he lives on his own so being at Fellowship Square and being involved with Weight Watchers gives him extended family along with his friends at First Southern Baptist Church in Mesa.
“I really feel I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t a Christian and didn’t have the supportive people around me.” Stuck said.
And there are many cheering him on to success.
“Roger and other members find what they need to make the healthy changes in their food intake, fitness levels and inner strength at Weight Watchers meetings,” said Deborah Wright, general manager of Weight Watchers of Arizona, Inc. “We are honored to be a part of Roger’s transformation.”
– Kelly Mixer is managing editor of MyNewsMesa.com. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.