Personal – The Shrinking Jeans of Mel


January 14, 2011 By Mel

First of all, I just want to express my sincere thanks to the editors and fellow writers here for inviting me into their fold. It’s amazing just how much these people have come to mean to me and the multitude of ways they’ve impacted my life since I stumbled across and joined the site. To be able to give back to a community that has helped me so much is truly an honor.

I know many of you know me already. For those who don’t, I thought I would do a bit of an introduction for my first blog post here at Shrinking Jeans. For those of you who do know me already, I hope you’ll keep reading because you might learn some new things about me, too.

I’m a 40-something born & raised Tennessee girl who has been living in southern California for the past 14 years. I’m divorced with no children, but recently adopted my beautiful rescue kitty, Brandi. She’s a tabby/Bengal mix and has definitely wormed her way irrevocably into my heart.

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I work full-time as an IT manager in the aerospace industry. I also made the decision in the fall of 2009 to go back to school to continue my education. I’m currently enrolled as a full-time student pursuing a degree in Information Technology before entering an MBA program with an emphasis on IT Management. When I’m not working or studying, I enjoy doing needlework (cross-stitching and needlepoint), reading on my Kindle, and playing Angry Birds or Bejeweled on my iPhone. In case you missed it, yeah, I’m a total geek and gadget freak. I would might sell my left arm for an iPad. Ok, maybe not, but it would be tempting!

I never really had that much of an issue with my weight until college. Since then though, I struggled with it most of my adult life. I kept telling myself that “someday” I would lose the weight, but you know how that goes. I had a massive wake-up call several years ago that jolted me into action. My mom (who is a Weight Watchers Lifetime member and Type II diabetic) had a heart attack at the age of 58!! She ended up having a quadruple bypass a few days later. When I called to ask my dad how the bypass surgery went, he let me know that he had just found out that he had also developed Type II diabetes. With two diabetic parents and a history of heart disease in my family, I knew I HAD to do something and do it fast!

I spent the next couple of weeks looking at various diet plan options, talking with my doctor, etc. I ultimately decided to go the same route my mom chose back in the early ’70s. I went to Weight Watchers. Over the next 2.5 years, I went on to lose a total of 138 pounds. I was looking good and feeling even better! My self-confidence soared. My energy levels were off the charts. Life was good. Unfortunately, said life then dealt me a series of really bad turns. I learned my husband at the time had repeated cheated on me which resulted in a very long, drawn out, bitter divorce. Even though I had amazing support from my friends, I still gave in to some an assload (literally) of stress eating.

After a couple of very difficult years, I finally turned the corner and the divorce was final. I thought I could get myself back on track and lose the 25-30 pounds I gained during the divorce. Unfortunately, as is often the case, life once again had other plans. I began having severe back issues and learned that I had a degenerative spinal condition. I went on disability from work and spend several months pretty much confined to home other than going to doctor and/or physical therapy appointments. After many months of treatment and conditions getting worse instead of better, I finally underwent a multi-level spinal fusion with the hope of correcting my spinal issues. It worked! Within about 5 months following my surgery, I was back at work and life was good again. Unfortunately, the same could not be said for the scale. I put on nearly 60 pounds during that time which was on top of the 25-30 pounds I put on during the divorce.

Since then, I gave a lot of lip service about losing the weight again. I would even go and sign up at Weight Watchers every now and again, but would usually only last a few meetings before once again disappearing. I’m not sure why I couldn’t wrap my head around wanting to lose weight again, but I couldn’t.

Fast forward to August 2009. I was traipsing around the internet as I normally do when I stumbled across a link to Shrinking Jeans. I don’t remember who posted the link, but I really wish I could remember so I could thank them! I spent a few hours that first day just going back and reading through old posts and seeing all of the amazing support people were giving one another through the comments (this was before The ‘Hood came into existence). It wasn’t long before I got brave enough to start leaving comments (I posted as TheDailyMel back then) and even signed up to join my first challenge. Before you know it, I had completed the inaugural Sisterhood Virtual 5k, won a couple of great giveaways, written a product review guest post, and even went on to be part of the original Team Shrinking Jeans.

Even though I was clearly a very active part of this site, I still wasn’t committed to my journey. I would lose weight in each challenge only to put it right back on as soon as the challenge ended. It wasn’t until the Shrinkvivor challenge that things really turned around for me. I went back and rejoined Weight Watchers for what I plan to be my LAST time! I started working on what was going on between my ears as well as controlling what was on my fork. It’s been the key for me! I finally feel totally committed to doing whatever it takes to make my health & weight loss efforts a priority in my life. For the first time in YEARS, I actually lost weight over the holidays. GO ME!

So, that’s me in a nutshell. I’m looking forward to be part of the Shrinking Jeans writing team. I’ll be posting on this blog from time to time, especially when we’re doing challenges and such. In addition to blogging here, I also blog about my weight loss journey here and about my stitching hobby here. You can also find me on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

Ok, if you’ve made it all the way to the end of this post, kudos! I promise I won’t write novellas in the future. LOL

Until next time …