This Woman Thought She'd Always Be 'Plus-Sized' Until She Made This Lifestyle Change
Melody Wells is proof that weight loss is all about mind over matter.
At 6-foot-2, Melody Wells is no stranger to standing out in a crowd, but that was before she started struggling with her weight. As a young girl, she believed her body type meant she was supposed to be bigger. Over time, that mental approach caused her to start gaining weight, and she yo-yoed with it for years to come.
"I had lost some weight in 2014 and felt amazing," Wells told SHAPE, "But then I started to feel like I didn't need to go to the gym anymore. By the end of 2015, I had gained all the weight back and then some."
It wasn't until Wells went in for a routine check-up that she got the reality check she really needed. "I usually avoid looking at the scale [in the doctor's office], but I looked down and was horrified by the number," she said. "My parents have diabetes, and I knew if I didn't do something soon I would end up with diabetes too."
"I never thought I'd be able to lose weight," she continues. "I always thought I was meant to be plus-sized. The day I decided my weight would not define me was one of the best days of my life." (Read: Plus-Size Sports Bras That Have Your Back - and Your Front)
While she was determined to become healthier, getting started was easier said than done. "I used to hate working out or doing anything active," she says. But she knew if she was unable to find a program she loved, her progress would be temporary.
"Once I discovered weightlifting, I knew I'd found the perfect program," she said. "Everything I do is self-taught... YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest are super helpful when it comes to finding new and exciting ways to workout."
Today, Wells spends six days at the gym, focusing on different problem areas throughout the week. "Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are leg days, cause I love leg days," she says. "Tuesday's and Thursday's are upper body days and I'll add an ab workout in on any day I have the most time."
On top of resistance training, Wells also swears by a daily dose of cardio. "I do cardio every day," she says. "Whether it's 45 minutes walking on the treadmill at a high incline, 30 minutes on the stairmaster or 20-25 minutes on two different machines." On Sundays, she rests. (Read: 8 Cardio Myths That Are Making You Fat)
After finding what worked for her in the gym, Wells knew her diet also needed some reevaluation. "I watched a video a long time ago and the premise of it was, 'if you can't read it, don't eat it.' I live by that rule now," she says. "I read the ingredients on EVERYTHING. If there's a bunch of words I can't pronounce I won't buy it. So I eat a lot of natural foods-lean meats, fruits, veggies. I eat five to six small meals a day to ensure my body is fueled accordingly. Plus it helps your metabolism."
In just over a year, Wells' lifestyle change has allowed her to lose 122 pounds, and while she's come a long way, she aims to make continued progress. "Sometimes I'll be like, 'I've lost a whole person' and other times I'll be like, 'I still have work to do and I want to see progress right now'," she says. "I am really proud of how far I've come and I'm excited to see where I'll be a year from now or even a month from now!"
Wells continues to set goals for herself, whether it be competing in the Dirty Girl Mud Run for the first time or fitting into a two piece swimsuit by summer. "The old Melody would have never considered doing that," she says. (Read: These Benefits of Weight Loss Will Motivate You to Hit Your Goals)
To those struggling with their weight and are unsure where to start, Wells says this: "You have to find the right reason, and it has to be for you. If you're trying to lose weight for someone else or to impress someone, you won't be able to follow through. The hardest part of any journey is the beginning, and it's okay if you're scared, it's okay to ask for help, and it's okay to fail! I've failed countless times, and I just have to pick myself back up and keep going."
"Start small, and you'll be surprised at how far you'll go! I know it's cliché, but if I can do it, anyone can."
Follow Melody's inspiring journey on Instagram.