Sherrie Harris, a network educator with Optima Health, has dieted many, many times.

“I remember my first one at age 11,” says the 41-year-old mom of three. “In October 2006, I watched my doctor write ‘morbidly obese’ on my chart. I was 298 pounds. I didn’t think a diet would work. I asked for gastric bypass surgery, and I was told ‘no.’”

Sherrie Harris

Sherrie Harris, a network educator at Optima Health, lost 178 pounds with the help of Weight Watchers at Work.

Sherrie’s doctor encouraged her to try a healthy program like Weight Watchers, and coincidentally, Sherrie received an email about Weight Watchers at Work that same week.

“Weight Watchers was good for me before,” Sherri says. “The problem was, I would get too busy to go to meetings, and I would stop. But with it being offered at work, I knew it would be more convenient.”

And convenient it was: Sherrie ended up losing 178 pounds.

She attended meetings regularly during her lunch time, and when roadblocks popped up, she found a way around them:

“In 2007, I was out of work for three months recovering from back surgery. The receptionist (the woman in charge of weigh-ins) at my meetings came to my house to share information and track my weight loss.”

Sherrie also credits her then-teenage daughter with helping. She would call every day after school and ask Mom what she would like for dinner – and then she’d cook it. The focus was always on a lean protein and vegetables, and everyone benefitted. Sherrie’s daughter shed 65 pounds; her one son, 50, and the other, 25.

The key: Take it slow and steady.

Sherrie decided to not exercise for the first three months of the program and instead concentrated on learning about nutrition and balance. She went from pouring a whole bowl of cereal to scooping out just three cups. “Think portion control” became a motto.

Sherri Harris is pictured before her weight loss journey began.

Sherrie Harris is pictured in 2006 before her weight loss journey began.

As of August 2008, less than two years after starting Weight Watchers at Work, Sherrie had shed 156 pounds. In 2010, she lost another 22 pounds. She keeps it off by tracking what food she eats, staying active (she prefers that wording over the boring-sounding “exercising!”) and helping others.

“I’d like to become a personal trainer and a motivational speaker,” Sherrie says. “I’m a leader for Weight Watchers now and love to help people focus on a lifestyle change, not a diet.”

That healthy attitude is why Good Housekeeping recently featured Sherrie in its pages and why Terrina Thomas, director of health and preventive services for Sentara Healthcare and Optima Health, is proud to offer Weight Watchers at Work:

“Both Sentara Healthcare and Weight Watchers have mutual values about the healthy way to lose weight and keep it off,” says Terrina. “We are happy to be able to offer 14 Weight Watchers at Work programs at various locations. Our programs are continuously offered. In addition, our employees may take advantage of the online program offered by Weight Watchers.”