Health Notes

Finding the Person She Wanted to Be

by Katina Granger on July 26, 2017

“I don’t know if I even recognize her now.”

Glancing through old photos on her phone is somewhat bittersweet for Melissa Renshaw. The images staring back at her are of a girl she barely recognizes.

“I couldn’t look at the girl in the mirror anymore,” Melissa said with a quavering voice. “I felt so bad for what I’d done to her.”

What she’d done was let her weight balloon, and her overall health spiral. She suffered from frequent headaches, escalating blood pressure, and the emotional consequences when she and her husband had trouble conceiving.

“Food was always been one of the things that I felt like I could control when everything else was out of control,” said Melissa. “I thought, ‘I’m an adult, and if I want to eat a box of Cheese-Its, I’m going to sit on this couch and eat this box of Cheese-Its.’ I didn’t think about what was going to happen afterwards.”

But around Christmas of last year, a switch went off in Melissa’s brain. She couldn’t continue to let her health deteriorate.

“Either you’re ready or you’re not,” said Melissa, “and I was ready to lose the weight.”

Melissa, a senior billing representative at Methodist Corporate Offices, applied to participate in the Better Living Program for Methodist employees, led by Methodist women’s health nurse practitioner Brenda L. Herrod, MSN, APRN-BC. The experience changed her life.

“Brenda is the most amazing person I think I have ever met,” said Melissa. “She is so encouraging. She doesn’t judge and it’s just a constant. It’s what I needed when I needed it.”

That life change came just a little over four months ago. Today, she has a new look, and a completely new outlook on life.

“I’ve lost 55 pounds since then,” said Melissa. “My BMI went from being morbidly obese to just overweight. My blood pressure went from 142/88 to 110/62. But beyond that, the biggest moment was when my daughter looked at me and said, ‘I have never been so proud of you in my whole life.’ That means the world. It’s motivated me even more to keep losing.”

So how did she channel that motivation to achieve this change? It came down to partnering up with her husband – who was also ready to make a change – and taking accountability for her own lifestyle.

“We used the My Fitness Pal app to track all of our food,” said Melissa. “I’ve continued to track everything that I eat. I also work out six days a week at Planet Fitness. I love that place.”

Melissa also took her weight loss journey online, posting her struggles and successes on social media.

“I have people telling me they can’t wait to read what I post because I inspire them,” said Melissa. “They tell me they’re proud. I never in a million years thought I’d be recognized for losing weight or being fit. Knowing other people are waiting and watching puts on a little bit of pressure, but I know as much as they want me to work out, I need to be there for myself.”

It’s that personal sense of accountability and self-satisfaction that helps Melissa stay the course on her weight loss journey. She knows it’s not just for now, but for the rest of her life.

If you need help with managing your weight, speak with your Methodist Physicians Clinic primary care provider.

Katina Granger is a blogger and PR/Social Media Specialist for Methodist Health System.
Contact Katina at
Katina Granger


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