Woman Loses 96 Pounds by Walking and Cooking at Home
Melissa Paluch reveals the simple ways she dropped almost 100 pounds and reversed diabetes.
One of the easiest ways to motivate yourself to lose weight? Find inspirational stories of others who have dropped pounds and improved their health and overall life. Melissa Paluch's weight loss journey is one of the latest viral success stories sweeping the internet. The 44-year-old recently lost almost 100 pounds in just a year after making a decision to transform her life one day at a time. Find out what inspired her to get into the best shape of her life, what she did to do it, and how her life has improved.
Melissa told Today that in July 2022, she took control of her life. She hadn't been to the doctor in three years, and when she finally saw him, she weighed 275 pounds, had diabetes, high blood pressure, borderline high cholesterol, and a genetic marker for heart disease.
She was scheduled for a hysterectomy, but they couldn't complete the surgery because she stopped breathing, and severe sleep apnea was added to her list of health issues.
"I was sobbing because I had all these new diagnoses, and now I have sleep apnea. I told myself, 'This is enough. I need to do something, and clearly, weight is an issue. I'm done feeling unhealthy. I'm done having no energy. I need to finally get on board,'" she tells Today.
Her father died less than two months earlier. "He struggled with a lot of health issues because of his weight, and he had asked me several times throughout the year to try to get healthy. I promised him that I would. He didn't want me to have the same health issues," she says. Now, just a year later, she is down 96 pounds and her health has improved. "Honestly, it started off as a weight-loss journey and then turned into so much more than that," she says. Here is what she did to lose the weight.
One thing Melissa did was she tracked her progress with non-scale victories. Instead of weighing herself three to four times a day, she opted for once-a-week weigh-ins. "Hiding the scale was the best decision I ever made," she says.
She made a list of non-scale victories she wanted to achieve, not putting a time frame on them.
–She no longer needs a CPAP to control sleep apnea.
–She's on track to stop taking medications for blood pressure, diabetes and cholesterol in September.
–She's sleeping better, and that's giving her more energy.
–She can sit with her legs crossed, which she hadn't been able to do in about ten years.
–She can walk up the three or four flights of stairs to her favorite restaurant without stopping at the top of every flight to catch her breath.
–She can walk three miles in less than an hour.
–She's looking forward to her next trip to Disney, where she'll be able to ride the rides without feeling the safety bar pressing into her body.
Melissa had been ordering food five or six times a week, and she cut that back to once a week, saving money and investing it into a family vacation fund. "When I looked at how much money I saved from not ordering, it blew my mind," she says.
After trying lots of fad diets, Melissa now eats what she wants, but less of it. "They didn't allow me to eat what I wanted to eat. I had to cut out so many things. I want to eat what I like and still see progress," she says. With the help of her doctor, she went on a 1,300 to 1,400-calorie-per-day diet, which was hard at first.
"I went cold turkey on July 1. There was no in-between. I had moments when I didn't want to do it anymore. My body wasn't used to it, I was getting headaches, and I never felt full — I felt like I still wanted something. It took about 30 or 45 days to get used to it."
Melissa plans her meal once a week. "Dinner has always been where I really have to focus. It's my favorite meal of the day, and that's where I was really packing on the calories. I'd have three or four helpings of something because it was so good," she says. She plans dinners for the week on Sundays, eating lasagna, chicken cutlets, burgers and hot dogs and even bread and pasta. "I won't cut that stuff out of my diet. I grew up with it. But I do control my portions," she says.
Then, she calculates how many calories she can have for breakfast and lunch. "It probably took two months to get out of the mindset of calling Domino's and ordering a pizza. Now I make my own healthier pizza at home," she says.
She also drinks 100 ounces of water a day. "I was never a huge water drinker, so adding a lot more water into my diet was a big change," she says.
Melissa walks every day, sometimes with her son. "The first time, I literally only made it a half-mile. I couldn't catch my breath, and I was so embarrassed. I went home, he finished his walk, and I told him I was going to do this every single day. My goal was to get to a mile," she says. She has worked her way up to three miles per day.
Melissa manages her mental health without turning to food. After having her kids, she suffered from postpartum depression, which was triggered in periods of stress. "My coping mechanism was always to eat, and I couldn't eat like I used to," she says. "Now, instead of turning to food, I'm finding myself going for a walk. I talk to myself on my walks, and I talk to my dad, who's in heaven. I don't have to turn to food. The walks are my therapy."
Melissa connects with online support with the help of a Facebook group. When she started walking, she started sharing her own posts. "I got over 1,000 likes and comments. Everyone was saying, 'You can do this' and 'We believe in you.' Every time I hit some kind of milestone, I would post, and people were so encouraging," she says. "This group of strangers has become like a family. They're so kind and supportive."