Melissa Mouawad was once a shy and retiring young woman, ashamed of her figure and prone to binge eating.
At just 18-years-old, Melissa from Australia weighed 21st 3lbs, and the only clothes available to her were size 24 maternity clothes. At what should have been a carefree time in her life, she felt self-concious and restricted.
Warned by doctors she needed to change her ways for the sake of her health, the Sydney resident went about transforming her lifestyle in an extraordinary and commendable way.
Now 29 and an executive assistant, Melissa is brimming with confidence after dropping 10st 5lbs and an amazing six dress sizes. She now weighs a much healthier 11st, and can slip into size 10 dresses.
Speaking about her weight issues, Melissa has made the following comments, according to The Mirror:
I would have to buy maternity clothes as they were the only pieces that would fit.
They had the big elastic band in the waist. It was the only way I could be comfortable.
It’s embarrassing to think about, but I had no other choice.
She also spoke about the scare which put her on the right track:
I’ve always been obsessed with food and as a child would often sneak treats from the kitchen into my bedroom, so I could eat it later on.
I’d binge on a dozen donuts, fast food, blocks of chocolate and soft drinks each night.
It wasn’t until doctors warned that I could have a heart attack any moment and was on the brink of developing diabetes that I realised I needed to change my ways.
I was so frightened and from that moment I decided to change my lifestyle.
I began working out in the gym and monitoring my diet, from there the weight began falling off.
The journey to her new self has not been easy, and determined Melissa tried out numerous diets and exercise routines before settling into one which worked for her.
Around five years ago, Melissa started tracking the calories she was consuming, and began monitoring her intake of carbohydrate, protein and fat. She now enjoys a nutritious high-protein diet, packed with good fats, and health-enhancing fruits and veg.
According to Melissa:
It was really hard at first. I had absolutely no guidance or knowledge about how to lose weight.
I went to fitness classes wearing my maternity gym clothes and just stayed in the back trying to keep up. I was ashamed of my body but was determined to try my best.
After a while, I gradually moved to the front of the class. Then I moved onto cardio, and eventually weight training.
Her persistence paid off and, on her wedding day last June, she was able to fit into her dream bridal gown.
Melissa has also changed in ways which go way beyond her physical appearance, and is a much more confident person:
I’m fitter than I’ve ever been, and I can’t believe my body can move the way it does now.
My life has completely changed. I feel like a totally different person now to who I was ten years ago.
Not only do I look so different, but my personality has changed so much for the better. I used to be really shy, timid and not want anyone to see me.
But now I have more confidence, I’m outgoing and I’m just happy and loving life.
It felt amazing to throw out all my old maternity clothes. Now I can shop wherever I want and I’m able to have a lot more style and fashion sense than I ever did before.
I think losing the weight gradually has really helped me to keep it off. It’s been far more sustainable.
You have to want it really bad and just stay focused on your goals and happiness.
Melissa’s story just shows how it is possible to turn your life and body image around if you put the work in. Well done Melissa!
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Jules studied English Literature with Creative Writing at Lancaster University before earning her masters in International Relations at Leiden University in The Netherlands (Hoi!). She then trained as a journalist through News Associates in Manchester. Jules has previously worked as a mental health blogger, copywriter and freelancer for various publications.