FFFC: Please introduce yourself to our readers (i.e. your name, occupation, hobbies, etc.).
MT: My name is Melisa “Melu 2.0” Tate. I work for Girl Scouts as an Outreach Specialist. My passions are helping people in their transformation process and event planning. My hobbies are swimming, running, & trying fun workout classes!
FFFC: What sparked your weight-loss journey?
MT: 2014 was a year of transformation for me. Not only did I reclaim my body back but I gained a new sense of self-worth and inner strength. Since 2011 I had privately dealt with depression after dealing with a series of personal setbacks & life changes. Newly married and living hundreds of miles away from family & loved ones, suffering a miscarriage & subsequent infertility, financial struggles, health scares….. You name it. I dealt with it. As a result, I sought comfort in food, self-pity, & seclusion. It took coaxing from one of my best friends and seeing a picture of myself to finally make a decision to change what I didn’t like & learn to love myself in my current state. The latter part was hard! I had allowed shame & the opinions of others to cloud my perception of how I viewed myself. On February 1, 2014 I made my first bold step of joining a crazy intense gym called 9Rounds! It was all or nothing. I told myself that if I was going to commit to making a lifestyle change that I might as well jump in the deep end. I started by working out every day after work for at least 30mins. 17 months later I am 60 pounds down and still going strong! During this early part of my journey I told God in prayer that I’d share my testimony AFTER I reached my goal of being 150lbs. Almost instantly He responded with “Where’s the faith in that?”. Keep in mind that I had only lost a couple of pounds at that point. I was so afraid of being thrown off by naysayers & comments like “Dang girl! I didn’t know that you had gotten so big!” Putting myself out there was a test. With or without the support of others this journey was mine. It wasn’t perfect but it was my story of complete restoration. My initial goal was to get back to “my old self” however it became so much more than that. I now live everyday wanting to be a better version of myself. I’m not so much concerned with being thin as I am being of sound mind, spirit, & body. If the weight-loss portion of my journey were to stop today I would be satisfied because I know without a shadow of a doubt that I am whole & more than enough. My worth is bigger than my dress size.
FFFC: What were your beginning and current weight and/or measurements?
MT: I started my journey on 2/1/2014 at 235lbs and I am now 174lbs.
FFFC: How long did it take for your weight-loss transformation from beginning to end?
MT: It’s been 17 months and I am 60 pounds lighter and still going strong! I have 25 more pounds to go till I reach my ideal weight of 150lbs.
FFFC: What physical activities did you do during your journey?
MT: I started off by working out for 30mins a day at a kickboxing gym called 9Rounds. Once I was able to lose my first 20lbs and build my stamina I took on other activities such as running with a group called Black Girls Run. I went from not being able to jog for ¼ of a mile to completing their 5K training program and successfully completing it. I completed a major feat for 2015 by training with a program called Tri It For Life and competed in a sprint Triathlon this year. I spent five months preparing my body to swim, cycle, & run! Currently I’m training for a 10K. Hopefully I’ll have a half marathon in my near future.
FFFC: How did your eating habits change?
MT: In addition to incorporating exercise into my daily lifestyle I also did a 180 change in my relationship with food. I had to stop self-medicating myself with food whenever I was feeling down. That meant no more late night milkshake runs & other fatty foods. I try to limit my calorie intake to 1500-1800 calories a day, and keep a diet mainly consisting of fruits, veggies, & lean meats. While I do still enjoy my sweets, pasta, & dairy I try to keep it to a minimum.
FFFC: What do you typically eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
MT: B: Steel cut oatmeal with fruit, 2 scrambled eggs, a protein such as turkey links.
L: Large jug of green smoothie drink (mix of spinach & kale, strawberries, banana, blueberries, ground flaxseed, & water), a variety of snacks to keep me satisfied throughout the day (ex: apples, almonds, carrots, cucumbers, etc.)
D: Veggies of my choice, roasted chicken or tilapia, & quinoa along with a Caesar salad
I also drink LOTS of water! At least 75 ounces a day. It’s a must for weight loss.
FFFC: What is your favorite fitness activity?
MT: Swimming & Soca Fitness. Swimming is a full body workout. Not only does it make you lean but it gives you crazy endurance. Soca Fit is an awesome cardio dance class set to island music. Whinin’ to Caribbean jams gives me life!!!
FFFC: What do you do now to maintain your physique?
MT: I still keep a pretty active workout regimen as I am still working my way back to my ideal weight. In addition to working out I also do the following:
– Dress Challenges. Instead of using a scale to measure my success (I do monthly scale check-ins), I purchase a dress one size too small and work my way into it by exercising. Once I’ve successfully “rocked” the dress I purchase another one and repeat. This concept took me from a size 18 dress size to a size 10!
– I found physical activities that appealed to me. In my triathlon journey I’ve discovered a love for swimming.
– I participate in activities that challenge me. Results come by being uncomfortable. My involvement in Black Girls Run is a perfect example. Their training programs are intense and push me to my limits.
FFFC: How did you develop and sustain the willpower to avoid the bad stuff (i.e. junk food, bad drinks, lack of activity, etc.)?
MT: I’m not going to lie- avoiding the bad stuff & inactivity is a constant struggle. I found that creating a Healthy Lifestyle vision board is what helped me. The board is the first thing that I see when I wake up and is a constant reminder of what I’m trying to attain- It’s a countdown to my ideal weight along with quotes & pictures that motivate me to stay on track.
When it comes to food I find healthy alternatives for not so healthy dishes and I’ve learned to broaden my taste palate for different foods that I’ve never tried before.
FFFC: What advice do you have for someone starting out on their weight-loss journey but unsure of how to begin?
MT: First piece of advice- figure out what your “why” is. Once you know why you’re on this journey keep that at the forefront of your mind at ALL times. When you’re feeling discouraged? Remember your “why.” When you don’t see the pounds coming off? Remember your “why.” When temptation creeps in (because it will)? Remember your “why.”
Next, commit to 30 minutes of working out every day for 30 days. That’s just 2% of your day. Why every day? Because 30 minutes a day for 30 days will get you on track to forming a habit of healthy living. It doesn’t matter what you do as long as it’s a physical activity that causes you to raise your heart rate, breathe faster and sweat! Even if you miss a day- dust yourself off and keep going! Don’t allow one missed day to throw you off course. Once your body becomes conditioned to the routine the results will start to show.
Lastly, don’t cancel out all your hard work by poor eating! Use apps such as FitnessPal and Fooducate to help you make smart choices in the kitchen.
FFFC: What do you think is the biggest misconception about this journey?
MT: The biggest misconception is that false starts & setbacks are a reason to give up. Chances are that you are going to fall off course at some point and time. You’re human so don’t beat yourself up & fall back into old habits. If you find yourself continuously messing up along the way link up with an accountability partner who pushes you to keep your commitment.
FFFC: Do you have any fitness inspirations? Who are they?
MT: I pull a lot of my inspiration from random every day women I’ve connected with through groups such as Black Girls Run. It’s amazing what you can learn from folks while running alongside them! A lot of these women have amazing testimonies of how they started their journeys. Women who were tired of being sick, tired of being overweight, & simply tired of being stuck in a rut. Their stories of what brought them to the pavement inspired me to share my own story. As a result, God’s given me an ability to be painfully transparent so that I can challenge people to step out and make changes in their own lives. Transformation isn’t easy nor is it perfect but it’s necessary.
FFFC: How can readers learn more about your transformation online (i.e. blog, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, etc.)?
MT: You can follow my transformation on the Facebook page “Three-Sixty Fine Movement”. The Three-Sixty Fine Movement’s mission is to live life to the fullest physically, emotionally, & spiritually 365 days of the year! It’s specifically for women who are ready to do a “360” and dedicate their lives to healthy living. I’m appealing to women such as myself who are on a journey of self-improvement and in need some extra encouragement & accountability. Regardless of the starting point in your own journey everyone needs supportive people in their corner to help them stay focused on their goals.