It took a lot of consideration to be vulnerable in sharing my story. I was back and forth about wanting everyone to know the struggles I went through and my personal story but I figured if it helps one person to get off the couch and change their life then I helped in changing someone’s life.That means more to me then anything else so here it goes.

I struggled with my weight all of my life. I never knew why I couldn’t keep the weight off or why my motivation would just go away. As I look back now I realized that the number one thing is I had to get my mind right before I got my body right. This clicked about 2.5 years ago after a relationship ended. I always had a low self esteem and confidence but during this relationship it was at it’s all time low. I gained approx. 25 lbs in this relationship and my anxiety was at it’s highest. I was depressed, didn’t want to work out or even go out of the house. I didn’t get any support or encouragement and with trying to be nice let’s just say I got the complete opposite. I hit rock bottom and ended up in the hospital after an anxiety attack when I didn’t sleep for a whole week. I knew something was wrong and I needed to get it right. I was seeing doctors, having tests done and just wanted to be normal again. I turned to food for comfort and the scale just kept going up and up. There was a time I couldn’t even walk on a treadmill because the minute my heart accelerated I would think I was having a heart attack which would turn into a panic attack. I didn’t think I would ever get better. I started off slow, read books, educated myself on anxiety, depression and started looking at my life and figuring out what was wrong. As much as I knew the relationship I was in just wasn’t right I didn’t want to look like a failure or get out of my comfort zone. Well he ended it in Feb 2011 and in April 2011 I decided this is it, I want my life and happiness back. I started seeing my doctor on a weekly basis and I told him that I don’t want medication, I need to learn to deal with the anxiety without pills. I joined a running clinic with my friend Isaac. I was scared but I knew I had to change my life. I started off slow, I couldn’t run for 30 seconds without needing to stop. I kept at it though, my running coach was awesome. It was a 0 to 5K in 12 weeks and at the 9 week mark we were running in our 1st 5K race. I couldn’t believe that just months before I couldn’t walk on a treadmill and now I’m running in a race. When I crossed that finish line all of my bad memories the year and half prior just played through my head and all I can think of is, I’m getting Melissa back.

One thing that has stuck in my mind all this time was some mutual friends that met me during that relationship and have been by my side since one day said to me “you’re a totally different person” They were trying to figure out who the real me was. Was it the girl they met or the girl now? I said “This is the real Melissa” happy, energetic and loving life. They said “We like this Melissa a lot better” Those comments always stick in my head. I wasn’t me before and I never want to go back to that girl. I look back and remember those feelings and emotions and I just want to cry knowing how depressed I was and didn’t realize it at the time.

My friends and I created a group called the running cult. We would meet for runs and just encourage each other. Honestly I couldn’t have done it without their support. We joined 5K races, fun runs and just enjoyed hanging around each other. During the first couple of months I lost about 15lbs. The problem was I wasn’t losing anymore. I was up and down 3-4 lbs for a year but still working out and eating healthy so I thought I needed to change it up a little.

One day my friend Issac told me about personal training and how him and his wife go and love it. I turned him down a couple times because I knew I just couldn’t afford it and I was scared. Within a couple weeks of him mentioning it I went to a Gala and won 10 free personal training sessions at a different gym. I said this it, this is a sign.

I went and did those sessions but decided the place wasn’t for me. I did lose another 5lbs which was great but I just didn’t feel comfortable. I approached Isaac again just to see what his gym had to offer. In November 2012 I had a meeting with the trainer Jonathan and that was the day my life changed.

I told him my back story and what I wanted to do. He listened to me and basically told me what I need to do. I trained with him 2 times a week for the first month and was addicted to it. It was still a struggle with being able to afford the training but the one thing that stuck in my head was that this is my health, my life. If I’m not happy then nothing else matters. I remember a conversation I had with my friend Jessica and that was the confirmation I needed. She said “Melissa this is something you always wanted to do. Now is the time, you’re not married, don’t have kids and young. Just do it” I said “you’re right” I called my mom and told her that I didn’t want a Christmas present or bday present just money to put towards training. I cut back on eating out and drinking 2 bottles of wine each weekend which probably saved me like $60/week. I gave myself 6 months, started training 3 times a week and I decided to give it my all. I was going to listen to everything Jonathan told me and do it. The one thing I didn’t want to do is waste my money and let myself down.

I worked out for about a month then Jonathan approached me about a challenge they were doing. It started Jan. 2013 and was for 12 weeks. He said it would be great for me and may be just what I need. I said “Let’s do it” I was so excited to start this challenge. I’m a competitive person and I knew this was the push I needed. Those 12 weeks were hard. I weighed in every week and worked out about 6 times a week (3 with the trainer and 3 on my own). I wanted to prove to myself and all those voices in my head that I can do it. Near the end of the challenge I was working out twice a day but looking back now every workout was worth it and I wouldn’t change a thing because I lost 21 lbs in the challenge and came in 1st place. I not only won $1000 but I won my self confidence and self esteem back. I was a happy, strong and healthy woman and the skinniest I’ve been since I can remember.

In Feb 2011 I was a sad, depressed woman @ 187 lbs, today Sept. 2013 I’m a happy, strong, motivated and a changed woman @ 138 lbs and still going. I can see muscles 🙂 I owe everything to my boyfriend at the time (now husband), my friends and family that stuck by me and supported me in every way. My trainer Jonathan who not only trained me but became my friend and helped me fight my anxiety and the voices in my head that said I couldn’t do it.

Jonathan cares about you and makes you feel comfortable. Every session is a “personal” session and he’s passionate about you losing weight and feeling great just as much as you are. It was the best thing I did in my life and I will never forget this experience.

If you’re thinking about it and going back and forth about spending the money I’ll say this:

You’re worth it. If you cut back on eating out and drinking, you’ll save money there. When you spend the money on training you’re not going to want to waste your money. In my head I said ok I’m going to spend this money and not regret it. The last thing I wanted to do was spend this money and not lose weight. I took it week by week and never looked back. It was the best money I’ve ever spent on myself. I don’t regret one penny.

Today in 2014 I still workout with Jonathan and can’t imagine my life without him. Since my journey started I got married and became a mother in August 2014. I worked out with Jonathan throughout my whole pregnancy. He encourged me and kept me on track. I believe I had such a good experience with the labour part because I stayed active. Now 8 weeks after I had my son I’m back at it ready to lose the weight and be in the best shape of my life. The journey never ends and I can’t wait to see others get started. You won’t regret it!