A New World

Melissa After
Melissa Before
 If I can do this so can you. No matter how much weight you have to lose you must simply begin. Take it one step at a time and never give up. 
*People following the Weight Watchers plan can expect to lose 1-2 pounds per week.
Melissa lost weight with a prior Weight Watchers program

Plagued by a serious weight issue, Melissa grew up in an unfair and intolerant world. Finding feelings of self-worth would change her forever, and make this cancer survivor reach out to help the morbidly obese.

In my generation there wasn’t an obesity epidemic. I grew up as one of only two overweight children in my classroom. We were endlessly taunted by both children and adults alike and made to feel worthless and small at every turn. A thick layer of low self-esteem, guilt and self-pity became a part of my everyday attire.

First go-round
My first true attempt at weight loss was before marrying my high school sweetheart. I starved myself and got a good amount of weight off, but couldn’t maintain it and watched it pile back on. With the birth of our first child soon thereafter, the weight gain continued. I found myself at over 300 pounds and remained there for the next 20 years of my life. I was alive, but didn’t have much of a life.

I hated to go anywhere with my family. Not only was I ashamed at how big I had gotten, but I feared I wouldn’t be able to go where they went. If we were going out to eat I worried if I would fit in the booths, at a ball game I might not be able to climb the bleachers. Much of the time I opted to stay home and offered some excuse as to why I couldn’t go. I was my own worst enemy.

Ready for change
At the age of 41 I finally did something. I decided to join Weight Watchers meetings and started following the POINTS® Weight-Loss System. I wasn’t sure I was truly ready to lose weight, but I knew I needed to do something. After just two weeks on the plan I began thinking about my past. I realized that I could never conquer my own demons if I didn’t start loving the person I was fighting for.

At that moment, a new me was born and a different world opened up for me to live in. Then and there I began to learn to love myself and to treat myself with respect, honor and gratitude. I knew it would be a battle to lose all of the excess weight I was carrying. Thinking that I wanted to lose nearly 200 pounds overwhelmed me completely. I put a new eating plan in order then grabbed my loyal Golden Retriever and headed out for a walk. We started out with one block. The next week we went two. After my first hill I threw up!

Slow and steady
Little by little the weight started coming off. I am not one of those success stories who dropped 200 pounds in two years. Mine has been a battle every step of the way. After losing about 100 pounds I discovered that I had uterine cancer. My doctor told me that she was nearly certain that it was a direct result of the obesity. Thankfully a complete hysterectomy was the cure and I have been cancer-free ever since.

Today I have a few more pounds I would like to lose. Having lost over 100 pounds, 20 of the pounds I carry are from excess skin. I have been working closely with my insurance company to help me with the cost of having the skin removed. Just recently they consented and I am thrilled. For anyone out there who may have the same excess skin issues, it has been my experience that insurance carriers will require careful documentation of any skin rashes that occur from the excess skin.

The message that I hope anyone who reads this comes away with is that if I can do this so can you. No matter how much weight you have to lose you must simply begin. Take it one step at a time and never give up.

Melissa’s tips
  • Learn to love yourself for who you are today.
  • Think only positive thoughts about yourself.
  • Picture yourself the way you want to look at the end of your journey before going to sleep each night.
  • Exercise! Never consider it an option, but rather a requirement. It doesn’t take that much time and the payoff is awesome.
  • Don’t look at the big picture, instead make mini goals. I broke my goals down to 10 pounds at a time.
  • Celebrate! You work hard and you deserve it. I make sure I celebrate once a week after weigh in and after every 10 pounds lost. My husband joined my team a long time ago and rewards me with $100 every time I lose 10 pounds. Incentive can be sweeter than chocolate.
  • Read Success Stories. Reading about others whose weight-loss goals are similar to yours can help with motivation.
  • Relax. This is not a race, so don’t put yourself under some crazy time limit of losing 40 pounds in 30 days. It’s just one day at a time.