After a scary medical diagnosis, Melissa took control of her life and her food addiction.
Hear about her experience with a controversial weight-loss option, and what she’s changed to maintain over 200 pounds lost.
“I knew I could do it, so I did it.”
Weight Gain Background and Contributing Factors
Melissa has seven siblings and was always the biggest of them. She recalls sneaking food away in her childhood, and hiding in another room to eat the food alone.
“As far back as I can remember, I had a food addiction.”
When with family, Melissa ate like everyone else, and in regular portion sizes. It was later, when no one could see what she was doing, that she would sneak away other things – candy, candy bars, soda.
Some of these behaviors persisted into adulthood. She tried Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, and even “fen-phen.”
“I did them all and nothing worked.”
Melissa reached a peak weight of 549 pounds. (249.5 kg)
How Being Overweight Impacted Melissa’s Life
Melissa shares about bullying she dealt with during childhood, and how much it hurt her. She didn’t talk to anyone about it back then, and recalls feeling upset that she couldn’t do things that “other, healthy kids could.”
“I didn’talk to anybody about it… If I had a bad day at school, I would go home and eat some food and hid. It was my comfort.”
In 2010, Melissa began experiencing health issues. She had gone from 300+ to 500+ pounds (136-227 kg) over the previous decade, and found herself with high blood pressure and “horrible” blood work results.
The Turning Point
It was one sobering visit to her doctor that helped to finally shake Melissa awake. She learned that something was wrong with her liver.
“I knew you only have one liver.”
Thinking of her two daughters and three grandchildren, she suddenly realized what was at stake and thought:
“I thought to myself, ‘I have to fix this. I’m going to die’ and it scared me.”
Melissa cried all the way home from the doctor’s office that day, absorbing the gravity of what might happen if she continued down her current path.
“I left that office embarrassed, depressed, ashamed… When I came home, I cried the whole day. I just cried.”
After the initial shock, Melissa began to notice just how much her weight affected everything in her life. She tried walking on the treadmill and discovered she could hardly walk for 5 minutes before getting winded.
Starting The Weight Loss Journey
Melissa chose to try a program that included taking HCG. She had seen a television commercial about it, discussed with her fiancée (now husband), and decided to try it.
The protocol involved restricting herself to eating only 500 calories daily, only small amounts of certain foods, and taking the HCG.
Her doctor didn’t approve of the route Melissa chose, but looking back now, she feels that it’s what she needed to “kick start” her weight loss, so she could make more changes eventually.
Over the course of two years, Melissa lost 265 pounds (120.5 kg), and began the work of changing her lifestyle habits.
“I chose to say ‘I’m not going to die anymore. I want to live.’ “
Because the HCG protocol does not allow you to exercise, Melissa eventually discontinued it as part of her transition to an overall healthier lifestyle. She recalls her excitement at being able to exercise:
“It was awesome!”
As she began doing more, her confidence grew, and she grew optimistic about setting goals and doing more and more.
Melissa began pushing herself to do more every day, even having mini-competitions with herself.
However, she admits that she still struggles to control her eating sometimes and experiences “bingeing days.”
What Melissa Learned About Food, Exercise, and Herself
“I thought food controlled my life. I didn’t realize that it was me feeding me…no one forces you to put something in your mouth. You do it on your own.”
More than anything else, Melissa has gained confidence in herself, and the knowledge that, with determination and discipline, she “can do anything… whatever I want to do now. There’s no stopping.”
She has worked hard to avoid sugar, salt and starch. She also avoids fast food.
“I haven’t been to a McDonald’s or Burger King or any of those in years and nor do I want to.”
Melissa plans ahead for grocery trips and situations that will challenge her discipline.
She has also fallen in love with exercise and how she feels when she’s active and eating to fuel her exercise.
Melissa’s Advice For Your Journey
- Find healthy alternatives for the high-calorie foods you crave (Examples: frozen yogurt instead of ice cream, sea salt popcorn instead of potato chips, etc.)
- Avoid salt, sugar and starch.
- Remember that:
“You can do it. Just stick to it. It’s hard, but look where it’s going to get you.”
Resources Discussed In This Podcast
On Melissa’s Workout Playlist
(Please note: TipsOfTheScale does not endorse or recommend HCG as a weight-loss option. This interview is presented for education and to share Mrs. Sanchez’ experience. “Studies refuting the HCG diet have been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, both concluding that HCG is neither safe nor effective as a weight-loss aid. The scientific consensus is that any weight loss reported by individuals on an “HCG diet” may be attributed entirely to the fact that such diets prescribe calorie intake of between 500 and 1,000 calories per day, substantially below recommended levels for an adult, to the point that this may risk health effects associated with malnutrition.” –Wikipedia)