I Lost Weight: After Being Denied Health Insurance Because Of Her Weight, Melissa Hairston Lost 140 Pounds

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Name: Melissa Hairston
Age: 29
Height: 5'3"
Before Weight: 300 pounds

How I Gained It: I have always been overweight. As a child, I was always the "fat friend." It was uncomfortable, but as a child I never thought it was a big deal. As a young child, I was molested by someone I thought I could trust. I was always told not to say a word or I would get in trouble. It went on for about a year. With so much pain, I would sit and eat, still hiding what had happened to me for the fear of still getting in trouble. I bottled it in for years. I told close friends in high school but never my family.

One day I was fighting with my mom and I just broke and it came out. I remember telling her it was all her fault I was the way I was. I married my best friend. We had our own house and a growing family, but I still didn't love myself. I still was hung up on everything that had happened to me as a child. I had forgiven my mom by now but not myself. I became a stay-at-home mom in 2008 and it just got worse. I had all the time in the world to sit there and feel sorry for myself and blame myself and that's what I did. I hid every feeling with food, never telling my husband or mom how it had hurt me just to get it out. I didn't care how I looked or what others thought of me. Most didn't know my story, so why should they judge me?

I finally came to terms with the fact that it wasn't my fault. But I still didn't stop eating. I couldn't -- I didn't know how to.

Breaking Point: I started to have health issues in 2010. I lived with the problems for a long time, since we had no insurance. We moved in 2011 and it just kept getting worse. The pain I was in was unbearable at times. A week before Christmas, my husband took me to urgent care. We had to spend $200 that could have been for Christmas. In January 2012, I started looking for health insurance for myself so if I had more problems I would be covered. I went though five different insurance companies and answered all the questions. Every form came back denied due to my weight. I never knew insurance can deny you because of weight. I was so upset, and I now knew I had to do something to change.

How I Lost It: The first thing I did when we got our tax refund back in February 2012 was buy a treadmill. The first thing my husband said is, "I brought this upstairs, it better not become a clothes hanger or a dust collector!" I told him not to worry. We put it together two days later, and I used it the same day. I gave myself a goal of reaching 250 pounds first. I would be happy to see that number again. I started to walk at two miles per hour. I felt like I was going to die. I couldn't even do a mile without losing my breath. I worked myself up every week to a new speed and walking a little longer. I started watching my calories, and the weight started to come off.

A great friend from high school added me to a Facebook group of ladies trying to loss weight just like me. I started with the group at 281 pounds. They introduced me to the app MyFitnessPal. I've been using it ever since. I hit my goal of 250 pounds, but I still wasn't happy. I set a new goal of 180 pounds. I hadn't weighed that since I met my husband in 2002. I hit that goal by December 2012.

I'm able to do things I never could before. I can walk up a hill or the stairs without feeling like I might pass out. I look at food completely differently. Foods I used to like, I don't really care for anymore. Foods I didn't like, I really love now. I eat fruit like crazy. Instead of sitting on the couch eating a whole bag of chips, I pick up an apple and eat that or I workout. I cook healthier meals for my family, and I know they really like it. My husband says I make food that doesn't taste like healthy food. I do more with my kids now, like swimming and running around with them at the park. I feel more comfortable going out with my husband, and I no longer feel like he's ashamed of me.

I think of how far I've come and I know I don't want to be there again. I'm not going to let myself. I'm smaller now then I was in high school, and that blows my mind. I never thought that would happen. I want to be healthy and that's what I am and will continue to be. My husband and the wonderful ladies on Facebook are my biggest support. They push me to do more. I can't thank any of them enough. My journey is not over and I can't wait to finish it and become more confident and happy with myself. My new goal is 140 pounds. I know I can do it.

Current Weight: 160 pounds
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