The Melissa Helms Transformation: Part 1



This is a guest post by Melissa Helms, who in 2009, decided to change her life once in for all. Learn how she tackled obesity and gained back her life.

I’ve always had a weight problem.

At my heaviest, I was 250lbs at 5’1. Like many in my situation, I’ve tried most diets on the market – Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, South Beach, Atkins, Nutrisystem, Medifast, on and on, if it was out there I’ve done it. I remember at one point I was the youngest member of Weight Watchers in my area. I was 12 years old and beyond embarrassed.

These diets would work for a while, then I’d get discouraged and put the weight back on. And then some. Lose 20, gain 50. Doctors put me on various drugs to try and help with weight loss. With Phentermine I lost 8 pounds in as many months and never slept. Meridia was supposed to suppress my appetite but it did nothing.  Xenical had horrendous side effects that are too graphic to get into detail. Glucophage, a diabetic medication, was supposed to help put my body into weight loss mode. No go. Phentermine again…. Racing heart and no weight loss.

I tried every exercise plan under the sun. You name it, I’ve done it. Treadmills, weights, elliptical, stationary bikes, exercise videos. Every January I would join the gym like everyone else, get a personal trainer and give it my all. After 2-4 months I’d wear myself out and decide I needed a break, only to never return to the gym.

The doctors got fed up and told me there is nothing they could do. Somewhere, in the midst of my frustrations, I developed Binge Eating disorder. I got to the point where I couldn’t lose weight no matter what I tried so I just gave up. I’d go on massive binges, then hide the wrappers so no one could see what I’d done. It went on for years; go through the drive through, order a ton of food, eat it on the way home then hide the trash under my seat and pretend it never happened.

I started to hurt all over. The movements of everyday life became excruciating. Going up a flight of stairs exhausted me. I’d have to sit down after walking more than a few feet. All I wanted to do was sleep. 2XL clothing morphed into 3XL. Despite always being told “you have such a gorgeous face” I was ashamed of who I was and didn’t want the world to see me.

I had tried to change so many times, but I never WANTED it. I never demanded it from myself. So it never lasted. I auditioned for The Biggest Loser, I did competitions at my local gym but nothing changed. I never change. I felt hopeless. I was diagnosed as pre-diabetes and was told I wouldn’t be able to have children. My weight was jeopardizing my life in every possible way.

I was only 30 years old but felt fat, tired, and ugly. My health continued to deteriorate as I sunk deeper into the couch, unwilling to face the world. I was at my lowest point when I finally decided to talk to my doctor about weight loss surgery. I knew that if I went through with it, it would be life changing. At first I thought about getting Lap Band surgery since it’s reversible. But my doctor convinced me that if I am going to do this, I should commit to it fully. No turning back, “Have a surgery that will change your life” he said.

That day, I looked into RNY Gastric Bypass. The more I researched it, the more I knew it was a better long-term fit. It also meant more discipline than with the Band. With Lap Band you can “eat around” it – as long as you chew food really well, it goes through the band. With RNY, if you eat any bad foods you get sick. I knew if I was going to do it, I was going to do it right and be disciplined. I applied for insurance approval in June 2009 and by the end of July they were scheduling me.

September 21, 2009 was the day my life changed.

CLICK HERE to read PART 2!

9 Comments

  1. rum_stiffie@yahoo.com'
    Stephanie R.

    Taking charge of your life, the biggest and best decission that you will ever make. And to think you have done it and changed your life. Way to take charge, I can’t wait for next weeks blog to continue reading about your amazing life choices and changes.

    Your amazing

    Stephanie R.

  2. tr.reptar@gmail.com'

    This Is My Aunt And I Love Her So Much.I’m Proud Of You Melissa! You ARE B E A U T I F U L And Don’t Let Anyone Tell You Different. You Have Done And Accomplished So Much! I Love You! Your On Your Way To Inner Fame:)

  3. lkdaugherty@gmail.com'
    Lkdaugherty

    You go girl! I had RNY on 9/2/08 and have never looked back — 318 to 135 and maintaining. When I reading this, it’s like I had written it. Congratulations and best wishes!

  4. lafiestapr@juno.com'

    I want to apologize right up front if the following question offends anyone. I sincerely wish to gain more insight and qwell my ingnorance. While I truly applaude Melissa and her transformation or anyone for that matter who has the courage to take such drastic measures, having read her story and others like it the question that still lingers in my mind is how does one develope such discipline after the surgery that they were unable to develope before the surgery? Regardless of your answers keep up the good work Melissa.

    • nctrembley0613@email.campbell.edu'

      How does one develope such discipline after the surgery that they were unable to develope before the surgery?
      The RNY process gives you a physical restriction, if you overeat, you will not be able to hold it. If you eat white starchy foods and sugary foods, you will get very sick and suffer. The RNY is like a 24 hour hall monitor that never takes a break, you are given a box to live in, aphysicalbox of rules to abide by. The rest is shear drive and willpower to commit to this new way of life. Hunger cues are taken away for almost a year, since the stomach is severely altered, newhabitsare formed out of necessity and protein is your main source of food to stay nourished. The grass is not always greener on the other side, both forms of weight loss (surgical or non surgical) take commitment anddiligenceand planning and a drive to be healthy. This form of weight loss is a tool to help people form new, better, long term habits. People who have had RNY just can’t jump off the “diet” wagon on a whim, the physical makeup forces those who are truly serious to stick to a strict regimin, or suffer seriously (physically – beyond mental guilt) when they eat non friendly foods. Hope this helps. I had RNY 1 year ago and have lost 210lbs.

    • nctrembley0613@email.campbell.edu'

      How does one develope such discipline after the surgery that they were unable to develope before the surgery?
      The RNY process gives you a physical restriction, if you overeat, you will not be able to hold it. If you eat white starchy foods and sugary foods, you will get very sick and suffer. The RNY is like a 24 hour hall monitor that never takes a break, you are given a box to live in, aphysicalbox of rules to abide by. The rest is shear drive and willpower to commit to this new way of life. Hunger cues are taken away for almost a year, since the stomach is severely altered, newhabitsare formed out of necessity and protein is your main source of food to stay nourished. The grass is not always greener on the other side, both forms of weight loss (surgical or non surgical) take commitment anddiligenceand planning and a drive to be healthy. This form of weight loss is a tool to help people form new, better, long term habits. People who have had RNY just can’t jump off the “diet” wagon on a whim, the physical makeup forces those who are truly serious to stick to a strict regimin, or suffer seriously (physically – beyond mental guilt) when they eat non friendly foods. Hope this helps. I had RNY 1 year ago and have lost 210lbs.

  5. lisag80123@yahoo.com'

    I’ll be sure to check back for part 2. I had my gastric bypass surgery on April 19th, 2011. I’m in the midst of all of my changes right now. It’s exciting and the best decision I ever made.

  6. kerdo@verizon.net'

    This story is so much like mine. I had my RNY bypass surgery in December, 2010 and am down 75 lbs. Very happy with the results. I move so much better, don’t fear exercise, actually “like” the feel of the burn I get the day after a good exercise session. Sure I have some loose skin but it’s better loose than what it was filled with before. I can actually go hiking now! And my dog is benefiting, too from all the walking I’m doing. Can’t wait to read your next installment.

  7. Pingback: The Melissa Helms Transformation: Part 2 | Quest Protein Blog

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