Student’s Transformation Puts Her In The National Spotlight

OCC student Samantha Sutton (left) is pictured with Oprah Winfrey (right) in Winfrey’s California home. After losing 50 pounds with the help of Weight Watchers, Sutton spent five days with Winfrey shooting photos and videos for a national advertising campaign.

Imagine waking up one morning and deciding it’s time to transform your life. Imagine your transformation going so well you wind up spending five days at Oprah Winfrey’s California mansion. While you are there you are filmed with one of the world’s most famous people as part of a national advertising campaign which you are prominently featured in. That’s what happened to Onondaga Community College student Samantha Sutton. “I still can’t believe it all happened. It was such an ‘aha moment’ in my life.”

Sutton achieved another milestone in her transformation Thursday, March 28. On the night of her 34th birthday she was sworn-in to the college’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa thanks to her perfect 4.0 grade point average in the Human Services major. “It was such an honor. I was so happy and excited to be invited.”

Sutton’s life wasn’t always as magical as it appears to be today. While growing up in Adel, Georgia in the 1990’s and early 2000’s she struggled with her weight. After graduating from Cook High School in 2003, she went to work and started her family. Her struggle with her weight continued. Three years ago she promised herself she would change her life once and for all. “I had always been overweight. Down south we love you with food! I had three boys and decided I needed to get healthy. My jeans were tight and I was tired of it.”

Samantha Sutton as a high school graduate (left) and after her successful weight loss (right).

Weight Watchers provided Sutton with the winning formula. She committed to their program and lost 50 pounds. “It was life changing for me.” One year later she was sitting in front of a camera with Oprah Winfrey, being filmed and photographed for Weight Watchers’ national advertising campaign. You can view the commercial by clicking on this link. “I have a folder on my phone with pictures and videos from there. Sometimes it doesn’t seem real! Oprah was such a nice person and she was really funny. It was good to see. Sometimes when you meet people you’ve always admired you can walk away disappointed. It wasn’t that way with her.”

Sutton decided to give college a try and enrolled at OCC for the fall 2018 semester. She wanted to set an example for her sons (ages 12, 10 and 6) and wound up starting a friendly competition at home on their refrigerator doors where they post their school work. “We all bring our grades home and say ‘look at my grades!’ They’re motivated to bring home A’s and show me their great grades. We’re constantly cleaning off space on the refrigerator so we can fit more good grades.” The end of this semester will mark the end of Sutton’s stay at OCC and she’s enjoyed her time here. “I like the diversity on campus and I’ve had a great experience. The class sizes are awesome and I’ve had great professors.”

Her weight loss experience has sparked career inspiration. She works for Weight Watchers and plans to transfer to Syracuse University where she will major in Nutrition Science. As someone who spent much of her life struggling with her weight she offers advice to those going through similar struggles. “When you are losing weight make lifetime choices not temporary choices. Lose the weight in a style and manner you can maintain. Don’t lose the weight by only eating lettuce. Can you only eat lettuce for the rest of your life? Be realistic with your goals, what you’re eating and be honest. You can lie to yourself but you can’t lie to the scale.”

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