Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Normally you see Chris Powell's smiling face and passion for helping people reach their goals every week, but this time is different. It's his wife Heidi who takes the lead in helping Melissa, who reached out to Heidi specifically because she can relate to her as a mom.
Heidi's the one who tells Melissa she is chosen and does most of the work in this year-long journey, but Chris is still there to assist. It's obvious, however, that Melissa chose the right trainer, since Heidi sees more in her than Chris does. Chris does come around, but Heidi is the one who believes in Melissa from the beginning.
Melissa has been through a lot in the past few years. Her husband Mike came home from serving our country and had a difficult time adjusting after everything he witnessed in Afghanistan. He had post-traumatic stress disorder, and it took him to such a dark place that he took his own life in an even more horrific fashion than most people who commit suicide do.(I don't even want to write the words to describe what he did...it's too terrifying to even picture.) This left Melissa to take care of the kids, with one of them also being diagnosed with PTSD.
She had gained over 100 pounds since her husband's death, and when she started this journey with Heidi she weighed 301 pounds. There were a lot of ups and downs, including Melissa wanting to quit on the first day of boot camp. But with love and support she persevered. She even organized a special 10 mile run in honor of her husband, which she finished with flying colors. It was amazing to see her town (making me proud to be an Ohioan!) lift her up and support her through everything, including the race.
Heidi and Chris planed a vacation halfway through the year in New Zealand for Melissa and her kids, and while they were there Heidi and Melissa jumped from a building - after running the stairs all the way to the top. I don't think I could have been brave enough to leap off of a building, especially after the run to the top. But Melissa rocked it! And so did Heidi...not long after giving birth to her fourth child. No wonder Melissa looks up to her - she is amazing!
Before the year was up, Melissa had met a man and started dating. He seems very supportive of her and her family, and just as proud of her as Heidi and Chris are. Melissa qualified for and had the skin removal surgery, and kept moving toward her goal.
At the final weigh-in, Melissa surpassed her goal of 164, making it to 159 and losing 142 pounds in a year. Words that Chris said earlier to her (and truer words were never spoken) came back to me - "The more you want something, the more life will test you."
Melissa had been severely tested over and over again, but she wanted to reach her goal so badly that she did what she had to in order to keep going - and she got there, looking gorgeous on the outside but feeling even better on the inside.
I appreciate how difficult all of this was for her, and she inspires me to get past my fears and struggles to get to my goals. Thank you Melissa - you, along with Heidi, are now and will always be one of my "She-roes"!