Friday, May 20, 2011

Have you met my friend Mellisa?

It is amazing the things that the 'average' woman can accomplish, down right inspiring.  Let me introduce you to my friend Mellisa, who is actually anything but average!  Her journey to get fit excites me and her updates empower me.  I don't know many women that would walk into an Anti-Gravity Yoga class as a newbie to the gym and just go for it!  I don't know many women that after a 15 year? hiatus from volleyball would join an intermal league and take a ball slam to the face and LOVE IT!  This is my friend Mellisa, enjoy!

Can you tell us a little about yourself?
A little about me ... hmm.  What's to tell?  I am a 37 years old.  Married.  No children (not by choice) but 3 fur-babies to call my own..  I work in an elementary school as an Educational Assistant --- a job I love very much.   By today's standard, I guess I have been 'plus size' all of my adult life and throughout my teens  (although really.  size 12.  5'9" .... is that really a PLUS size?  C'mon fashion world.) but didn't start packing on the pounds until I was 19.  You surely know the story.  High school is over.  No more sports.  College starts.  Study sessions always seem to take place in pubs or restaurants with the star attraction being some kind of edible goodness.  Of course, on top of your college load, you dont live at home so you have to work 30 hours a week around your studies to pay the bills ... and at KFC no less.  Oh wait.  Yes.  There is the relationship factor.  Started dating/a relationship when I was 18 (supper followed by a ginormous tub of buttery popcorn, please) and so my tale began.

What you do, hobbies, etc.
The only real hobby I have is scrapbooking, I would say.  Not just scrapbooking but variations of it.  I discovered mixed media a few years back and absolutely love it.

Tell us a little about your past working out/weight loss/get healthy endeavours?  Many of us have a few false starts before we get the 'click'.
Weight Watchers.  Weight Watchers.  Weight Watchers.  And threw a little Herbal Magic in there too, please.  I was always successful in these programs but, for varying reasons, I would always stop at the end of the session (money, I can do it myself, pregnancy, etc).  Of course, old habits didn't have to travel far to return.  Exercise was always a chore.  Down 20, up 40.  Down 50, up 35.  Viscous cycle.

Do you feel like you have gotten the 'click'?  If so what is different this time around? If not, what do you think you 'need' to get there?
I have finally gotten it.  It clicked ... and it ways I never dreamed possible.  I absolutely love going to the gym.  I love working out.  I love feeling the burn and actually find some satisfaction to the pain I may feel the next day regardless of how hard it is to sit down to pee.  While I feel that I have finally gotten it, I still need to focus more on the healthier eating.  It's not even that I am not eating healthy, it's more like there is no rhyme or reason to my habits so they are not the most effective.  At the end of the day, the only thing I 'need' to get there is me.  A little help from my friends .... that's just a wonderful bonus.

Tell us a bit about how your current workout regime started? What prompted you too make those first steps towards getting fit?
After making the decision that this was it and enough was enough, I gathered two friends from work and we began doing aquafit 2 nights a week.  Because of the distance we travel to workout, we always did double classes which mean 1.5 hours in the glorious water - stretching, moving and sweating.  I lost some weight quickly and but then it just stopped and I was plateaued for about a month.  My friends and I had started talking laps (or lane swims) and I have to say, I was skeptical but willing to give it a try.  I had no idea I would fall in love with it like I did. Unfortunately though ... it only worked for a few more pounds.  That's when I decided that I needed more, and despite my past inhibitions, I joined a gym.  Now, I could live there and doing so many different things. 

Tell us about your current workout regime?
Right now my workout regime involves some cardio on the treadmill or bike (I'm working towards actually being able to jog ... not because I want to do it as a sport but because I just want to be able to do it.) followed by a water activity (laps or fit classes)

I for one am in awe of your ability to swim as long and as hard as you do.  Have you had the 'hey I feel like an athlete' moment? 
Thank you.  I think that there are really two times where I truly feel like an athlete.  One is when it's been a while since I have been in the pool.  The water feels clean and crisp around me as I glide through.  The other time is when I swim a lap faster than I normally do without even realizing that I am moving faster.

Swimming is something foreign to me, tell me what goes through your head as you complete your laps back and forth?  Are you focused on the stroke, the counting, the swim...or does your mind wander?  And how do you keep count?
As a person who has a mind that is constantly on the run, it is often a struggle to enjoy lane swimming, as much as I love to be in the water, especially if I am dealing with any stresses.  I work out to rid myself of this and can't when there are no distractions. At first I could swim an hour and a half with ease where as I am now pushing myself.  "15 minutes.  Its nothing .... 10 minutes.  In 10 minutes it'll be one hour.  i can do this!"  Nothing like your own personal pep talk.  lol.  I've used many methods of counting but have since purchased a lap counter.  It's a great little run that counts my laps, times each lap length and let me know how long I've been swimming for.  It's been great for my accuracy but not so great for keeping my mind occupied.  Next purchase ... waterproof MP3 player.

How do you feel after your workout?  If you could bottle up that feeling and sell it how would you market it?
Most days I feel really good after working out although it is often for varying reasons.  Typically it is just because I had a good work out but sometimes it's because I completed a workout on a day where I just didn't want to go to the gym.  If I could bottle it up and market it, now so sure but the ingredient list would definitely consist of mental health, physical health, improved heart/lung stamina and some pounds lost with a whole lot of self satisfaction, pride and sheer happiness for goals made and obtained regardless of what they are.

Tell us more about how 'healthy living' has changed your day to day life?  Has your idea of fun changed?  Do you find yourself making choices you would not have before etc?
Has my idea of fun changed - - OH YA!  I am fortunate enough to go to the gym but unfortunate that it is so far away from me.  With a 40 minute drive each way and these gas prices, I have to plan carefully when I go.  Because it is open 24 hours, I will always try to slip in a workout outside of my regular routine.  For example ... I went to Lone Star with some friends a few weeks back.  It was a great night with lots of fun that ended around 11:30 pm after a crazy non-stop day at work.  Everyone went home exhausted.  I went to the gym.  Another example ... I was at National Scrapbook Day and, after a 2am bedtime, I woke up and hit the gym at 7:15 so I could get a workout in before the days activities.  Going to the gym is especially fun when I have a buddy.

What challenges do you face in getting your workout in?  How have you overcome them? or do you still struggle?
The biggest challenge I have in getting my workout in is kilometers.  I live about 40 minutes away from the gym and work just as far away too.  The fact that I drive a big SUV and that it costs me about $25-$30 round trip doesn't help.  Sometimes it is a factor but, at the end of the day, it is my health and how to you put a price on that?

I think you deserve to do some bragging here!  Share your firsts, your bests, I can't believe I did that's,  the things that have changed for you.  I hear you have tried hanging upside down even?
Oy.  Bragging.  Not so fun.  haha.  I've tried a few different things that my club offers.  One is Zumba ... LOVE IT.  I love to dance and the energy there is incredible.  Anti gravity Strength and Cardio was interesting but it was way out of my league.  I signed up thinking it was anti-gravity yoga.  I did a lot of the moves but the inverted stuff I wasn't able to do ... yet.  My biggest accomplishment was actually something so simple for most but difficult for me.  I jogged.  I mean really, really jogged.   I havent done that since I was in high school.  Granted, it was only for a few minutes but, for a person who couldn't do more than 5 steps in the fall, 2.5 minutes was HUGE.

Tell us about your cheerleaders and supporters? Does having similar minded friends help?
My family and husband are great cheerleaders but my biggest cheerleader is Katie/you.  I am always getting reminders of "where's your daily mile update?" or questions asking "i noticed you havent worked out in a few days ... everything okay?"   The words of encouragement are priceless and are really fundamental in my motivation.  As I said before, I am lucky to have great supports but when someone who knows the struggle that goes on physically and mentally and has broken those barriers themselves, that support and encouragement and invaluable.

Have you had any embarrassing moments at the gym?  Its me you know I had to look for a funny story :)
Only one.  I was doing hot yoga with a friend and she farted right in the middle of a pose.  (okay .. I wasn't embarrased but i just had to share.  lol)  Fortunately, no.  Thank gawd!  

What goal are working on right now?  Can share with us how your working to achieve this? or what you plan on doing?
My immediate goal is just to get back into a routine with the gym.  Between being sick, Easter, death in the family and being with only 1 vehicle for 3 weeks, I've barely been and I miss it.  My long term goal is to run a 5k marathon in the fall.  I am skeptical about it and have my doubt but am going to give it my 100% and make it happen.  I can do this!

Lastly, imagine the woman you were before you started to move and get fit.  What would you tell that girl now to help get to where you are today?
Hey.  Do you hear that?  The sound of your heart beating out of your chest as it races to support your body walking up the stairs?  Oh.  You can't hear that over the sound of your heavy breathing as your lungs scream for oxygen.  Ok.  Well.  Why are you going up the stairs slowly?  Ah.  You're knees creek with each step.  Hmm.  That can't be fun.  Well guess what, former self?  It can change.  It doesn't have to be that way.  And really, it starts out like hard work but it isn't always going to be hard work.  With commitment and dedication, it will become part of who you are and what your body craves.  And you will feel so much better.  SO MUCH BETTER.  And the clothes.  Oh the clothes.  You can shop at more places and the places you couldn't shop before will become a possibility.  All you have to do it believe.  Trust and believe.  You are ready for this journey and will do it.  I know you can.


  1. Wow! Melly is awesome. Thanks for sharing her story here. :)

  2. Love your interview Snugs, so inspiring and thank you Katie for posting the interview! Big hugs for both of you :)

  3. Wow! very nice and inspiring! You rock girls, thumbs up! Keep up the good work!

  4. WHAT AN AMAZING READ!!!!! WTG my friends ... especially you Mellisa! You have come so far and are going to continue to go far! Behind you 100%!

    R :)

  5. Wow! That<s fantastic and so inspiring!

  6. What a great interview, beautiful and inspiring!!! Way the go ladies!