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My Before and After Story

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Everyone loves a good before and after story so I’m about to lay mine out there. 

It’s about a journey of a few losses and a few gains, with not all of it being about weight OR that glorious transformation picture we all want to be like. Shit, I wanted that image so damn bad. So much so, that it kind of killed me inside in more ways than I’d like to admit.

Heck, I could give you a quick before and after picture and I could make myself look different in each one just by how I hold myself up in the picture…BUT before I do that, let me let you in on a little secret. Before and afters are BULLSHIT!!



Here’s why before and afters are bullshit…

Let me just start out by saying this is MY STORY and MY EXPERIENCE of what my life was like with all of the before and afters. If your story is different, I’m cool with that. I just know I am not the only one who has this type of story so I wanted to be sure to share it with those of you out there who may be in this same struggle I was in.

I took so many before pictures in hopes of seeing something different in the before pictures. The first few times I did see a little difference BUT then it all stopped. I’d take a before picture and work my ass off doing all the things to “LEAN OUT” and “TONE UP” and I’d get up to the end of the 30, 60, 90, or whatever the hell day it was of the latest challenge and I’d take that picture only to be disappointed. No matter what I did, I didn’t notice anything different. Maybe I’d lose an inch or 2 here and there BUT how the heck was I going to promote myself or my services without a visible change?



I mean, that’s what they teach us…RIGHT? Those before and afters sell the shit out of those damn weight loss and fitness programs. Don’t they?

What they don’t tell you is what goes on between the before and afters OR what goes on AFTER the after pictures…as in years after the pictures are taken. I had so many BEFORE pictures but I never felt I made enough progress or transformed enough to be worthy of an after picture.

I get it. People use them as a means to track their progress and some are absolutely great transformations but I want to talk about the MOST IMPORTANT transformation that no before or after picture could ever show you or prepare you for.

This is my story

It took me years to get to this particular AFTER in my life. I call it the AFTER the BS diet mentality. I call it the AFTER of years of yo-yo dieting. I call it the AFTER of years of body shaming. It’s a transformation that no 30, 60, or 90 day challenge could ever teach me nor did this after come from following those types of programs.

This is an after of empowerment. An after of strength and courage. An after that I feel needs to be shared with women in my age group because we’ve pretty much tried it all.

I can tell you I was at the end of my rope. I wanted those after pictures so badly in order to “help” other women in my situation. How the hell was that going to help them if it wasn’t helping me?

Let me take you back in time a bit

I can tell you that at the ripe age of 45 I no longer chase the next damn diet in hopes of getting rock hard abs or a nice lifted ass. As nice as that would be I’m just not willing to obsess over it as I did in the past and miss out on my life. My life isn’t about a tight ass and 6 pack abs.



Friends, I have birthed 3 children by C-Section…there is not much hope for my midsection. See, with each kid…well maybe not my first, I was 18 then…BUT after the other two, it was my goal within 6 weeks of delivering them that I was to get back my “pre-baby body”. Can someone please tell me what the hell that is and why we, as women, try so damn hard to get that back?

I HAD MY STOMACH CUT OPEN and within 6 weeks of surgery, I thought it was okay to start up and work on my abs. Didn’t much care about anything else, just wanted my stomach to be flat. NEWSFLASH… I don’t think my stomach was EVER flat. Never mind I had just gone through surgery and had to heal along with taking care of an infant. Lemme get my Billy Blanks abs video out and work it. (let me tell you, I still love that video and will always love Billy) I’m just not sure why the hell that was my main thought at the time…oh wait, I know…SOCIETY talks about it all the time. In fact, they talk about it too much and I heard it all too often in my head.

There were times when it came easier than others and times where I was totally okay with how I felt and looked…and then I swear it all came crashing down when I entered the “gym life” as in, started working at one as a personal trainer and group exercise instructor.

All those terms came to haunt me as I felt I needed to fit the part. Left and right they would talk about “burning fat” and “leaning out”. Then the “Calorie counting”. It all got to me. I’d research things and try to find out how I could actually lean out and burn more fat.

Restricted myself to ONLY 1200 calories a day. Lost my love handles and a few pounds…THEN, I got noticed!!! “Oh looks like someone is leaning out!” YEP! I felt as though I FINALLY FIT IN!

Somewhere in the middle, the shit hit the fan.

I guess we could call this the “in the middle” if we’re talking before and after. This is where things went South. Shit who, in their right mind, could stick with 1200 calories forever? I sure the hell couldn’t. I guess my body was telling me something, yet I wasn’t listening. I felt hungry more than I was full…AND, of course, I started to eat a little more…just a little here and there AND THEN…I gained weight!

This just wasn’t working for me. I started to hate my body and myself. I felt like a failure and I feared losing clients if I was not “in shape”. What would they think if I gained weight and got “FAT”? No matter what I did, nothing was working for me anymore.

I thought the taking more before pictures and starting the next challenge would work for me and maybe THIS ONE would FINALLY BE THE ONE that would get me back to the size I was before.

I was at a point where I was literally putting my health in jeopardy just to be smaller, leaner, and toned…you all know those magic words.


It took me a while but I finally woke up. I knew something had to change. This “Fitting the part” stuff was not fitting my life. I was afraid to eat this or that because I may gain more weight back.

I got to a point where I accepted ME. I accepted who I was and started a different path. A path without the next quick fix. I needed to work on me and pretty much work on unlearning everything I had learned in the past about diets and weight loss. It was honestly not good for my health. Oh..P.S. Did I mention through all of that I kind of jacked up my thyroid a bit? Yeah, that took a few months to get under control.





My after cannot really be seen in a picture. Well, it can be based on how confident I come across and own ME in a picture but you really can’t measure it. I don’t really judge my transformation by a before or after picture. I look at it as a THEN and NOW of who I was and who I have become.

I’ll be honest, I had to change my old mindset and work on what would work in my life. I worked on my mindset and becoming a healthier version of ME, not a smaller or skinner version. I also worked on some skeletons that were haunting me in my closet.

I still workout but now I do it for strength and to feel like I could kick someone’s ass. I don’t compare myself to anyone but ME. Each day I work on putting one foot in front of the other and take it one day at a time.

There was seriously a recovery stage I had to go through and there are still skeletons that I argue with but I win more than they do now because I took back my power. I no longer let food or exercise rule my life just to change my size or a damn number on the scale.

Some days are easier than others but I push through. I do find myself getting caught up in the diet world every now and then. I think, just for a second or 2, that maybe that new diet out there would work for me.

I can tell you there are days where I’m just not feeling it and I’ll look in the mirror and for a tiny second, I’ll think about another diet or fitting in an extra workout to “firm up” those areas that are bothering me.

Then, I remember how unhappy I really was on the inside and that thought goes away. It took time, a LOT of wasted money, tons of tears, and frustration but I now realize that where I am at right now, is probably the best AFTER I have ever seen. I didn’t need a fancy diet or some pictures to get me there either.

This is MY story and I’m sticking to it.

Empowering Other Women

Now I work with other women who are looking for the AFTER that they can live with. I help them dig deeper than a diet could ever do and find what it is that is really holding them back. Sure, they lose weight, but we don’t obsess over that part of their journey.

It’s a journey of strength and courage. A journey where you become the person you let go of when you fell into the diet world. If you are looking for some great nutrition & exercise tips for lasting weight loss and lifestyle balance… come join us in our FREE FACEBOOK GROUP…This group is specifically for women who want and need a different approach to health.

An approach that starts from the inside, out!


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Hey there, I'm Melanie. I help women DITCH THE DIET MENTALITY and reclaim their health through mindful eating, hormone balancing, stress management, and digestive healing.

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