Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My Weight Loss Journey

I didn't have a blog during the time I was actively losing weight. But I have enjoyed reading all your inspiring stories and would love to add mine to the mix.

I was overweight my entire life. I remember being in Grade 1 and feeling fat. Looking back, I wasn't actually that big but it shows I had body image issues from a very early age. Since being the big girl was all I knew, I came to terms with it and was generally a fairly happy person. Sure I was on a permanent diet, always watching what I ate (or at least feeling guilty about it), but overall I accepted and loved myself. I was confident in myself and was actually pretty fit - I ran 3 half-marathons before I lost any weight! Here are some pictures of me at my largest (about 215 lbs) in the summer of 2007.

2007 - enjoying a margarita on the patio

I remember feeling pretty in this photo - I liked this shirt!

Me with my Mom

 I'm not quite sure what the trigger was that made me decide enough was enough. I had been gaining weight fairly steadily for the past couple years and I think I just discovered one stretch mark too many. I decided to make a serious effort to do what I could to lose weigh. I committed myself to counting calories and was fairly successful! Over the course of several months I lost 30 lbs, which I maintained for almost 3 years.

Shortly after I had gotten down to 185 lbs by calorie counting on my own

I was around 180 lbs when I got married in the summer of 2008 to my wonderful husband.

Thank goodness for professional photographers! Even though I was still big on my wedding day I felt fabulous and feel the pictures turned out well.

After getting married my weight fluctuated a little bit up and down. Although I recommitted time and again to counting calories or following the Weight Watchers program on my own (I had the booklets on how to count points from a friend) I couldn't lose any more on my own. I was stuck.

Me the week before I joined Weight Watchers

In June, 2010 I saw a flyer in the lunch room at work advertising an At-Work Weight Watchers meeting that was going to start next month and I took it as a personal sign that this was my opportunity. What did I have to lose? I had tried on my own and gotten so far, but couldn't make any more progress.

Weight Watchers was a fantastic program for me. Even though I knew what I should do (eat less, move more), I needed the framework and accountability that WW offered. The program motivated me to consistently make healthy, conscious choices. I tracked my food, weighed in every week, and lost weight at a fairly steady average of 1.5 lbs per week. I learned how to make better choices so I didn't deprive myself (I refuse to be hungry or miss out on the things I really love!).

My husband and I one month after I started WW. I was down 7 lbs.

4 months after starting with WW. Down about 25 lbs

After 5 months with WW - down about 30 lbs

6 months in - down 35 lbs
In January, 2011 I hit my goal weight of 148 lbs for the first time. And then immediately left for a vacation to Mexico where I rewarded myself with my very first bikini!

Woo hoo bikini!
Leaving for my trip. At my lowest weight of 145 lbs

When I returned from my trip (and got back to goal after 1 week of eating off-plan) I maintained my weight and became a lifetime member on March 3, 2011. Here I am with my awesome WW leader Jenn the moment it became official! Overall I lost 70 lbs, 30 lbs on my own and then 40 lbs with the WW program.
Me and my WW leader the day I became a Lifetime Member (thanks Roz for the great picture!)
Since then I have successful maintained and weighed in each month "at goal". My weight does fluctuate a bit but overall I am happy with the lifestyle changes I have implemented. Although it is not overly hard it does still require thought and dedication. I like to eat. I'm sure I'll always battle self-control and food issues, but at least now I have tools to help me manage them. I am happy at this weight. I like the way I look and feel and have so much more self-confidence in my appearance than I used to. Sometimes I wish I had done this earlier but there is not much point going down that route of regret. Who knows - maybe I wouldn't have been ready earlier. Maybe my story would have had a very different ending. Rather, I try to focus on being thankful that I didn't wait any longer to seek out the resources I needed to succeed in this weight loss journey.

Us at a wedding Summer, 2011

My husband and I the day I defended my PhD (Nov, 2011)

Weight Loss Summary - Before and after photos:
Kind of a fun comparison! Summer 2007 (left) and Fall 2011 (right)

Same chick, just 70 lbs smaller!


  1. Wow melisa - these pictures are fantastic. As I scrolled down the page, it looked to me you looked pretty good in the before pictures but the after ones are amazing, as is the fact you have kept the weight off. I feel I am at the point of needed a size still and want to lose more to be where I want to be. Your pictures really prove it to me, goal is a very different place and I want to get there. It great to meet you - I am doing a PhD now, and I'm a perfectionist ( which can be a bit of a curse at times)
    I shall be following your blog and really look forward to more
    Dawn x

  2. Thanks so much Dawn! It's great to meet you and have you along. You have made amazing progress in the last year and I have no doubt you will achieve whatever goals you set!

  3. Whoever took that photo of you and your WW leader has an AMAZING eye!! HA!!! Joking aside, LOVE this post Melisa. You have come a long way, are a true inspiration in every sense, and I feel very lucky to call you my friend!!!!

  4. I think you were beautiful at 215 pounds. But your before and after photos show that it is possible to be a better version of yourself, which I think it what most weight loss bloggers are after. Honestly, I am no longer attached to a number, but rather want to be the best version of me I can be, where ever that may be.

  5. These photos are amazing, Melisa. Helen is right, you were stunning regardless of your weight, but I can sympathize with the need to make some changes. I'm excited to see the beginning stages of your new blog - an official WELCOME to the community is in order :) So glad to have you as part of it, and I hope to get to know you better (especially now that you're not a lurker anymore) lol

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