Weight Loss Success Story: Melissa L.
I'm honored to share Melissa's (aka: Healthy Mel) weight loss success story with you. Caring for a baby girl born without a functioning immune system took a tremendous toll on Melissa's wellbeing. But after a serious wake up call she came to understand that self-care isn't selfish and completely turned her life around....
Tell Us A Little Bit About Your Weight Struggle
Growing up, and in my young adult life, I maintained a very active lifestyle. I was a competitive gymnast, cheerleader, and even a personal trainer.
My life took a turn after my daughter was born. I didn't start my pregnancy off at my healthiest weight ever, but nothing could prepare me for what was to come post pregnancy.
At one week old, my daughter was diagnosed with a life-threatening, rare disease called Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID) - more commonly known as the Bubble Baby Disease. This meant that my baby was born without a functioning immune system—no way to fight off any infection. Something as simple as the common cold could have taken her life.
Still recovering from a c-section, we were told to keep our baby protected from the outside world. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends—no one was allowed around her and we had to live in strict isolation to keep her healthy, to keep her alive.
Life quickly became extremely sedentary. The mental and physical toll that my daughter's diagnosis took is indescribable. On top of the pregnancy weight I had yet to lose, I quickly gained an additional 40 lbs.
My only concern was protecting my daughter—she relied on me to keep her protected. The last thing on my mind was caring for myself and I learned the hard way that to be the best caregiver to my daughter - I NEED to care for myself.
What Was Your Wake-Up Call Or "A-Ha Moment" That Caused You To Really Commit Yourself To Succeeding?
At 1 year old - after one whole year in protective isolation - my daughter received a life-saving stem cell transplant. Things were looking up and we were so hopeful for the future.
However, I was at my heaviest, in the unhealthiest state, mentally and physically. As my daughter was still recovering from chemotherapy and her transplant - still in isolation - I had to leave her for the first time to go to the emergency room. I was in crippling pain and had to leave her in the care of someone else for the first time ever and it was SCARY.
It turns out that I had developed gallstones, my liver was enlarged, and my doctor wanted to test me for pre-diabetes. I was shocked at the state I let myself get to and I haven't looked back since that day. That same day, I returned home and immediately began to change things.
How Have Your Eating Habits Changed Since Beginning Your Journey? What Did You Eat Before And What Are You Eating Now?
I started with changing my diet. I cut out fast food, fried food, processed foods and refined sugar. I started sticking to a balanced diet of whole, natural, nutrient dense foods and started going on daily walks.
Over 9 months of clean eating and walking, I lost my first 57 lbs.
What Is The Difference In Your Fitness Before You Started And Now?
As my daughter has grown an immune system and continues to recover, it has been nearly 2 years and I have lost a total of 90 lbs!
I am now back in the gym 4-5x a week doing a mix of cardio and weight lifting and maintain the same natural foods based diet!
A drastic difference from where my life was at after pregnancy and the beginning of my daughter's diagnosis and throughout her treatment. We are BOTH living much healthier lives now!
What Has Been The Biggest Change/Payoff For You So Far?
Being able to keep up with my now 3-year-old! I was always out of breath just trying to get her in and out of the car.
My mind is clearer, I have more energy, and am more focused throughout the day. I am all around a better wife and mother because I know understand that self-care isn't selfish. It is vital to be able to care for the ones you love to the best of your ability and the way that they deserve!
How Much Weight Have You Lost? How Long Did It Take You To Lose It?
I've lost 90 pounds over a year-and-a-half.
Any Advice and/or Words of Wisdom for Others Who Are Struggling?
Take it one day at a time. This isn't a race. It takes hard work, but it will be worth it. Remember everything that you have to be thankful and realize and understand that YOU ARE WORTHY of living your best life, of becoming the best version of yourself!
Watch Mel on Today: Mother Shares Wake-Up Call That Led To Her 90-Pound Weight Loss
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