Name: Melissa “Mel” Joulwan
Before weight: 192
How I gained it: My family owned a diner when I was growing up, so food is really a big thing with us. I like to eat! And I can eat a lot, especially bread, pasta and rice. I exercised fairly regularly, but not enough to overcome my indulgent eating habits. I also had a consistency problem: I’d go like gangbusters for a while, then “fall off the wagon.”
Breaking point: A friend took a photo of me at a picnic. I looked puffy and uncomfortable and very unhappy. That was it for me. I couldn’t bear the thought of spending the rest of my life hating my body and wishing to be different. I used the year leading up to my 40th birthday to change my habits and transform myself.
How I lost it: I did everything I could think of that made sense to me, and I was relentless about it — and I still am. The work doesn’t end when you get to goal weight. I do Weight Watchers and the Zone together, keep a food/exercise log every day, and I do CrossFit workouts and run five to six times per week. I also write a blog that holds me accountable to my readers, so there’s no cheating!
After weight: 145
Mel has maintained her weight loss since November 2008.