I've known Melissa for almost 6 years now. At first I didn't really care for her...we just didn't click. Or so I thought. One day at work, we got to talking and I realized I had more in common with her than I knew, especially our disdain for mashed potatoes and gravy!
From then on, we became fast friends, and she is someone that I can count on for anything. A gripe session, shopping, lunch, but most of all...just being a great friend. Great friends are hard to come by, so I'm thankful that we met, and I'm even more thankful that we clicked on that day at work.
When I first was getting to know Melissa she was frumpy (it's okay, I'm not being mean, and she knows what I'm writing). She wore no make-up, didn't do much with her hair, and had frumpy-ish glasses. She acted older than she really was. I knew why...she was overweight and had all but given up. To her, make-up and style didn't matter because all she saw looking back at her was a fat person.
To my surprise, Melissa had not always been fat. In fact, she was pretty svelte all through school. I was astonished one day when she brought pictures to work from her senior year. She was gorgeous and thin. When I saw those pictures, I knew that was the real Melissa. There was a light in her eye, and lift in her smile that I didn't see in the Melissa I became friends with. I always knew there was something missing with Melissa, and I didn't know what it was until I saw those pictures. I asked her how she got to be the way she was...she said she just started to not care. She moved out on her own, and $1 Whoppers were a lot easier to grab and a lot cheaper for a starving student to afford than eating healthy. She said eventually it just got to be too much and the weight piled on and she changed. She became fat, not just physically but mentally too, and stayed that way through out her 20's.
One day she said something just clicked and she started on her weight loss journey 6 years ago. She has hit plateaus and fallen off the wagon, given up, gotten mad and started over. Although she had setbacks along the way, she stayed determined. At one point she weighed over 250 pounds and was a size 24. Today she is 120 pounds and a size 4. SHE LOOKS AMAZING. I am SO PROUD of her. I struggle with weight as well, but I know anything is possible when I look at Melissa. I'm so proud of her because she did this WITHOUT ANY pills, fad diets, or surgery. She did it by eating right, counting calories, exercising, and with blood, sweat and tears. I haven't heard of many people who have lost massive amounts of weight without a gimmick tied to it.
I wanted to share Melissa's story so that it might give other people hope. To know that it's never too late, and that if you put your mind to it, you can achieve great things.
With her permission, Melissa has allowed me to show her "before" pictures. This last weekend we went out on a photo shoot to capture the real Melissa. She's beautiful, confident, and inspirational.
Melissa-thank you for always being my cheerleader when I'm not confident. I am beyond proud of you, and I'm so thankful we are friends. You are so beautiful on the inside and out. I hope you enjoy your pictures! Thank you for trusting me and allowing me capture you this way.
Melissa on her wedding day, and with her sisters.