This article exists as part of the online archive for HuffPost Canada, which closed in 2021.

Weight Lost: How One Toronto Woman Dropped 130 Pounds

" I wanted to finally be happy and look at myself with love."

Who: Melissa Kesselring

Occupation: Office manager

City: Toronto

Age: 37

By The Numbers: 285 pounds at my heaviest, currently at 155 pounds, for a total weight loss of 130 pounds.

The Weight Gain: I have been struggling with my weight since I was a child. My grandmother used to tell me I was just big-boned, trying to make me feel better.

My weight starting getting out of control as a teenager. I didn’t eat proper meals throughout the day and instead snacked on junk food. My lunch would consist of a bag of chips and a couple of chocolate bars. By the time I reached my teens, I had a very low opinion of myself and I was probably depressed. I turned to food and ate to fill a hole.

I tried a few diets in my twenties and thirties, including Weight Watchers and the 14-Day Fix. I also tried joining a gym, but I would go a few times and then stop.

Final Straw: I started my journey in the fall of 2013, after hitting bottom that summer. By that point I was used to hating the way I looked. I was miserable and I didn’t want to go out or be seen at all.

"The hardest adjustment was learning how to fuel my body instead of eating to feed my emotions."

That summer, I went on vacation and got very mad at my friend for taking a picture of me in a swimsuit. At the grocery store, I heard a child ask his mom why my stomach was so big. I knew I had to do something because life had to be better. I wanted to finally be happy and look at myself with love.

I wrote the following that summer, describing my state of mind before I started:

I look in the mirror and I don’t see beauty

I look in the mirror and I don’t see me

I look in the mirror into the piercing green eyes of a stranger

I hope to myself that one day I will see beauty

That I will see me

That I will see love in those green eyes that no longer belong to a stranger

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