Success in the Making - Melissa

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January 2003 - I’ve been overweight all my life. If you’re reading this, you can relate on some level, so I’ll spare you all the gory details. Just like you, I tried and failed on many diets (which is why I failed, I now know, they were diets). I had some successes, but many more failures, which is why I eventually ended up as the Before picture you see below.

In 1996 I lost 102 pounds in nine months on my own, dropping from 283 to 181. I tried to eat healthy and limited myself to around 1,500 calories a day. I exercised every day and felt like I could take on the world. That fall I started dating the man whom I would marry two years later. I let myself fall back into old habits, insanely thinking that now that I had a boyfriend, there’s no way I would let my guard down on my new eating habits. Slowly but surely, the old habits and food crept back in. I consciously headed back into that abyss, thinking my internal alarms would eventually stop me if I went too far.

In 1998 I married my husband, and I weighed around 220 pounds – I think. I never weighed myself. I semi-seriously tried to lose weight before my wedding, but in the end I just gave it up, bought a plus-size wedding gown and had a lovely wedding. Funny, but I loved my wedding pictures. I still think I looked great.

After the wedding I let myself go. I gained weight, headed back into clothing sizes in the 20s and just didn’t care. The wedding was over and I had a man who loved me for me. What more did I want?

In spring 2002 I went on my dream vacation – a 10-day trip to London. We had a wonderful time, but I was constantly sore and tired from all the walking, walking I wanted to do, but couldn’t enjoy. My feet were already killing me and I was always out of breath and sweaty. I saw London. I loved London, but I didn’t love myself.

My joints hurt. I was always exhausted and my heart was starting to beat irregularly. I was worried about having a heart attack or contracting Type II Diabetes. I was desperately unhappy, and for only the second time in my life, no food could excite me, calm me, or make me happy. I was at the bottom.

On April 16, 2002 I walked into a Weight Watchers meeting and received my all-time-high recorded weight, 283 pounds. I knew the program: I had worked the 1-2-3 program for four months in 2000, but after my scale stalled I just gave it up one weekend out of frustration.

So how did I lose my weight? Simple: I did what they told me to do. I knew the program and just did what WW advised. There’s that old saying, “If you kind of work the program, you kind of lose weight. If you really work the program, you really lose weight.”

So here I am, now 82 pounds lighter, about 30 to 40 pounds away from goal (I’m not sure what my ultimate goal will be yet). I’m still a work in progress.

Folks ask me what the difference is this time. That’s easy: I never give up. My scale stalls on occasion, but I persevere. If it’s not moving, I examine what I’m doing wrong (not what is wrong with the program). I go to DWLZ every day to learn new ideas and copy the success of others. Sometimes I’m not doing anything wrong, I just have to wait for my body to catch up with incredible changes afoot.

I have challenges and temptations, but I stick with the program. You have to believe in this program and believe in yourself. Trust the program, trust yourself and the weight will come off. As my leader says, “There’s no way you can honestly work this program and not lose weight.”

I could go on and on about this, but I’ll conclude with the quote in my signature line from the DWLZ Message Board: “Never, never, never give up.” – Winston Churchill. You can do it.

Update 7/29/03 - Today I'm 6 pounds from goal. Since I dropped below 200 pounds, I've found my losing patterns have really slowed. However, I've also found that by exercising and strength training, I've lost a couple more sizes. It's true what everyone says: It's not just the scale! I've found that since the scale started moving more slowly - despite staying OP - I've had to stick to my "Never, never, never give up" mantra now more than ever. I have to have faith in the program and faith in myself to see my way to goal and lifetime.

In March I started training for a huge goal - running a 5K. I began a run/walk program in September 2002, running indoors on a treadmill. In March I started running outside to prepare for my race in May. What an amazing day that was! I finished in 35 minutes and have never been more proud of myself. I looked back at my WW WI card from May 2002 and was stunned to see one year earlier, I weighed in the 270s. One short year later, I was running races. I've found that setting exercise or other non-scale goals has kept me motivated and striving, even when the numbers aren't moving as quickly as I like.

Training for and completing a 5K was an amazing step for me for one reason: The old me started a lot of projects, the new me finishes them. I hope to be able to update this soon to let you know I finished the ultimate project - reaching goal!

UPDATE: I made Lifetime!!!

Melissa (emmay on the Message Boards)


Photos - L-R: Here I am at the start of my Journey, 283 lbs, April 2002; I am 82 lbs down in the
middle photo and the far right photo was taken in April 2003. As of July 2003 I am 181 lbs.

Melissa's Email

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