Inglewood teacher’s 156-pound weight loss: ‘You should love yourself in every stage of the show’ – Daily Breeze

Weight loss

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Almost eight years ago, teacher Merial Levy’s knee buckled beneath her while walking outside of Inglewood’s Worthington Elementary.
She hobbled her way back inside, and her students had to push her around the class in a wheelchair for the next two years. She was 343 pounds.
Now, at age 52, she has lost 156 pounds, and was invited to join Oprah Winfrey live on stage at the Forum  to share the story of her incredible accomplishment as part of Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour to promote WW (formerly Weight Watchers).
“There are certain people that feel very comfortable in their skin at any size, and at one point, I wasn’t comfortable with myself at the size I was because I couldn’t walk. I felt very old for my age,” said Levy to Winfrey, standing on stage without the aid of a wheelchair.
“Deep down inside, I didn’t love myself, and I had to learn as I do this journey that you should love yourself in every stage of the show.”
During the program which also featured interviews with Jennifer Lopez, and Grammy award-winning gospel singer Tamela Mann, Winfrey asked Levy about how it’s changed her students to see her take on her health and weight.
“I love the fact that my students now talk about beauty on the inside, they talk about the inside of their bodies, and how if they can be healthy on the inside, that takes care of the outside,” responded Levy.
Levy went on to say how excited she is that her students now love reading food labels, and that now her students are actually teaching their parents how to be healthy.
Levy attributes her success to her students and to WW, which she describes as a way of looking at food and learning how to deal with stress. Levy says that she used food as a way of dealing with her emotions.
Levy decided to incorporate her class with her journey to lose weight slowly and in a healthy manner. She began throwing fruit and vegetable parties for her class when she met weight goals. She began walking again, and she began to teach her student about carbs, sugar, metabolism, exercise, and blood pressure, and how to take care of their bodies.
Because of her efforts in the classrooms, Worthington Elementary became a “wellness” school in the district, which is a designated school that has teachers who focus on health and wellness. They were able to secure grants to bring in salad bars to the school, as well as other healthy eating choices and programs, some of which have become district-wide.
Worthington is a Title I school in a low-income area, and Levy says that the programs have had a big impact on her students’ families. According to Levy, many students have become fluent in portion control, and meal planning, encouraging their parents to buy healthy groceries instead of pre-packaged snacks for lunches. In the long term, this has helped parents to save money on food.
Since joining the WW, Levy’s husband and children have also joined. Levy was featured in WW magazine in 2017, and in 2018 was featured in People magazine. She says her goal was never to be in magazines, but to show people that you can be overweight and lose weight without weight loss surgery.
“My favorite part of my story is not quitting — not the weight loss, not the number on the scale. I always tell people when you’re ready to quit, don’t; you’ll thank yourself later. I feel like my success is not giving up, because I’ve had setbacks, I’ve had weight gains along the way, but I refuse to give up. You’ll never know what was going to happen if you stop.”
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