Saturday, September 18, 2010

Mel's Success Story

I had the pleasure of meeting Mel (@GeminiMel02) through twitter and she has been gracious enough to share her story with me and all of you. I think alot of us can relate to what Mel has been through. She truly proves that anyone and everyone can do this, its all up to YOU!

Success stories like this keep me going, they keep me fighting! I hope you enjoy Mel's story.

When I first started out on this journey, my goal was simply to lose weight by any means necessary to be like everyone else. Any diet you can think of, I’ve probably tried. I’ve been on and off diets for as long as I can remember, going back to the age of eight. And, no matter what, as my age increased, so did the number on the scale. I played basketball throughout practically my entire scholastic career - until college that is. And, though I’d always been pretty significantly overweight, it was in college where I “blossomed” into the obese category. Without basketball, my daily activity consisted of walking to and from the dorms, my classes, and the dining hall. We ordered pizzas at 11 at night at least three times a week. My freshman 15 turned into the sophomore 20, the junior 50… I think you get where this is headed by now. The bigger I got, the more I ate, and the more I wanted to be small. Somewhere down the lines, I was obviously quite confused. I would get so upset over being overweight that I’d say forget it all and overeat. Add in a few very conflicted relationships and this was the exact recipe for disaster.
One morning in November of 2008, I woke up to my own loud snoring and made the decision that enough was enough and it was time to end my life as it currently existed. I began each morning by waking up at 5am, heading to the gym and walking on the treadmill for an hour. Within two weeks I was walking for two hours. It was as simple as just taking that first step and believing that 1) weight loss is something possible for someone who isn’t on TV and doesn’t have an unlimited supply of finances and 2) I was more than worth the change.
After I started walking, the weight began to drop off – talk about encouragement and motivation. Then I decided to do a complete revamp of my diet. I cut out fast food, soda and even juice. I cut back significantly on salt and sugar and even just my overall unnecessary intake of processed foods. Later on down the line, I fell madly in love with Crossfit (shout out to the team at, a combination of strength and cardiovascular training using Olympic lifts and calisthenics amongst other unconventional things and ideas.
The more weight I seemed to lose, the happier I got and the harder it became to continue losing this weight. By February of 2010, I’d lost 83lbs. There would be weeks my weight would fluctuate a few pounds and it seemed like I’d be stuck at that point forever. I even felt as though I looked exactly the same – as though I still hadn’t lost a substantial enough amount of weight. I was still stuck seeing myself as who I used to be that I couldn’t even see who I had become. I looked to others who were going through similar struggles for suggestions on how to overcome the plateau and barrier. I took another good look at my diet, bought a heart rate monitor and started pushing myself to new levels.
As of September 2010, I have lost 105lbs. The most amazing moment of my journey was going into a normal department store and being able to buy a pair of jeans and a shirt - something I am sure many people have taken for granted. And, I’m sure to many it doesn’t really seem like that big of a deal. But, when you’re used to shopping in Big and Tall and having to order all of your clothing online at twice the price, it’s pretty huge. 
Ultimately, what I have found to be the most inspirational and poignant part of my journey are all of the people that I have met and the lives that I have touched and changed forever. I have inspired coworkers, friends, family, associates and even acquaintances with one simple phrase, “I thought it was impossible…it isn’t.” I still have another 40 lbs to go but, I’m sure I’ll be at the finish line in no time. My weight is no longer my barrier. Now, this 10k I’m preparing to do, that’s another story.
I could go on for days about how important fitness is. I could also say that losing weight is as easy as calories in and calories out. But, I won’t. The most important thing I’ve learned is that until I dealt with all my emotional issues and I was truly ready to make a change, change was impossible. No matter what anyone has told you and no matter what you’ve even told your self, change is possible and there for the taking if you really want it. Despite what I thought (and I’m sure many others have thought) it was never my size, my weight, my parents, fast food, or even my parents getting in my way to success. The power for change was always mine – I just had to make the decision on what to do with it.
Change your thinking and you will change your life – I’m living proof.


Patrick Rodgers said...

I completely understand the joy of entering a normal department store and being able to purchase clothes there for the first time in the better part of a decade. I have lost 171 pounds and my wife took me clothes shopping as part of a fathers day gift this year and for the first time in at least 8 years I was able to shop in the normal stores (sure I still skewed towards the larger sides of the normal scale 2x shirts and 42 pants). I think this is something a lot of normal people take for granted.

Clothes shopping happened once a year for me and that was it because I had to order online or drive 3 and half hours each way to get clothes. Now lately I have been buying $5 tshirts at target, old navy, khols. I have more t-shirts and clothes now then I have had in the last 3-4 years because I can just walk into a normal store and buy a cheap t-shirt, what a great joy and wonderful thing.

merchmonkey said...

I am proud to say that I know Mel in real life and have seen her undergo these life changes with utmost dedication and determination. From starting small, like saying "no" to pizza and all the sweets that magically appear around the office, to completing her first 10k this Saturday (a trail run through the Oakland Hills nonetheless) I would like to say that the Mel I know and love has been re-born into a brand new and improved version of herself. She's even inspired others in our workplace to make the change for themselves!

PROPS to everyone who ever has or ever will take on this journey for themselves. It takes an amazing person to see it through and I hope that with each new journey, there are two more inspired!

AthleteComes said...

Very inspirational.

NeNe said...

I have known Mel for over 10 years and she has not been happier and as comfortable in her skin as she is today. This journey has given her the confidence I knew she always had in her. Mel is always the one motivating me during lunch time work-outs and constantly pushing me to go my hardest.