Melanie Buck weighed 318 pounds when she hit her breaking point. She told Women's Health how she got moving on a weight loss journey that led her to reach a goal weight of 150 pounds! Read her story below:
I’ve been overweight to some degree my entire life. Growing up, I was always an active kid, and despite being heavier I enjoyed playing sports. However, when I began college, I stopped exercising. Not being part of a team created a major disconnect between physical activity and myself. I hated going to the gym and continued eating whatever I felt like, so, naturally, I gained even more weight.
When I moved to New York City after graduating college, things took a really sharp turn. I began eating anything and everything with zero regard for how it made me feel. I was gaining weight but completely dissociated myself from what was going on with my body. I tried every diet out there more than once—fat camp, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig. Plus, I saw a nutritionist and a hypnotist. While many of them worked temporarily, I’d often lose 40 pounds and gain 60 back. These diets were never sustainable for me because I wanted a quick fix, not a lifestyle change.
However, during this time I was far from miserable. I had a normal life, a great job, and lots of friends. I just couldn’t recognize how terrible my habits were.
In early May 2014, I began to feel how unhealthy and overweight I was. There was no big ‘aha’ moment, but rather, little moments that built upon one another. One day I suddenly realized how difficult it was to walk up a flight of stairs from the subway, another I couldn’t sit comfortably when I flew on a plane. These everyday activities were becoming impossible and painful for me. I had no idea what to do. The weight felt beyond my control.
To learn how Melanie lost the weight, just start the slideshow for her fitness and food plans!
That fall, I decided to have weight loss surgery and I scheduled it for February of 2015. At first, the weight flew off post-surgery, since I was eating on an all-liquid diet for two weeks and then transitioned into a high-protein eating plan. But after about six months, losing weight became something I had to work at. After I lost the first 85 pounds those six months, I began to plateau. At that point, I weighed 230 pounds, and was not ready to stop losing weight.
About seven months after getting weight loss surgery, I met my friend Katie. She and all her friends seemed so mentally, physically, and spiritually strong and aligned. All I could think was, whatever they’re doing, I want to do it too. It turned out, they’d all met through the spin studio, SWERVE, where the bikes are divided into three teams competing against one another in sprints, hills, and upper body workouts. After my first class that October, I was hooked.
Before finding SWERVE, I was exercising but hadn’t found any workout that I connected with. I started working out two months post-surgery.
Despite the quality of the workouts at that point not being very intense, I was consistently working out a few times a week. I used the cardio machines, like the elliptical or treadmill at the gym or went to a dance cardio class.
When I started SWERVE, I knew I loved it right away, but I started out slowly by going once or twice a week via ClassPass. With time, I started seeing small results—a pound lost, a won sprint, a better score—and that’s what got me addicted. A year after my weight-loss surgery, I had begun pushing past my plateau and was riding almost every day. Around the same time as starting SWERVE, I began lifting with my trainer (who’s also an instructor at SWERVE) once a week and taking a dance cardio class called Intensati through ClassPass once or twice a week
Between February to October, I lost 80 pounds and reached my goal of 150 pounds.
SWERVE is by far my favorite workout. In general, I still ride every day. I had skin removal surgery seven weeks ago, which kept me from being able to stand on the bike or go all out in sprints, so I’m building back up to riding as hard as I used to. My newest goal is to improve my flexibility and balance in my yoga classes.
It’s crazy to have gone from barely working out a few years ago to where I am now, working out every day. I manage it by scheduling my fitness the same way I do everything else. Like my job and class, it’s a commitment.
Before the surgery, I had to go to a nutritionist to learn a new way of eating for about five months. At that point, I had zero concept of what healthy eating was—there, I learned the real differences between carbs, fat, protein, and sugar and what healthy portions really look like. As I mentioned earlier, I was on liquids for about two weeks before shifting to a high-protein diet of lean meat like chicken and fish with a small amount of fruits and vegetables and minimal grains.
After I had my surgery, it was initially hard to eat enough and get the proper amount of nutrients because my stomach was so small; it could barely handle the food I needed. I'd have a chicken breast and feel full almost the entire day. But as the weeks went on, I was able to eat more and more each day. When trying to lose weight, and even today, I think of my meals as protein first, and then I incorporate brown rice, veggies, and fruit. I began consuming more non-protein foods once there was room in my stomach, after about three months.
I’d say my diet was and is healthy 80 percent of the time. I'm eating the same way now as I did when I was trying to lose weight, I'm just able to consume more of my meals now than I was in the beginning. For breakfast, I usually have egg whites with veggies and a piece of whole-wheat toast. A small change is that now, sometimes I add cheese to my eggs depending on where my body is. I fluctuate between 150 and 155 pounds, so if I’m at the top of that range, I tighten the reins. Lunch is usually a salad with chicken, turkey, or falafel. For dinner, I’ll have fish with a salad, veggies, rice, or quinoa. My snacks are usually nut-based—peanuts, almonds, or an apple with peanut butter. Occasionally, I’ll have a post-workout smoothie. I absolutely eat sugar and was eating it throughout my weight loss, but I eat way less than I ever did before. If I’m having a treat, it’s usually ice cream or frozen yogurt.
Want to know how Melanie kept the weight off and get her best piece of advice? Check out the original story on Women's Health.