Hi everyone, I am Melissa O’Grady and I am 40 years old, married to my husband Matt and mother of two children, Jackson, who is 14 and Katelyn who is 8. We live in a suburb of Buffalo, NY with our 6 cats!
I have always struggled with my weight. I can remember being slightly chubby from around the age of 5, but everything got worse when at the age of 8 we moved from the city to another local suburb. I struggled to make new friends, and began to be picked on. Like so many others, I found comfort in food. This lead to my highest weight of about 225 pounds by the time I was 20. On my small 5’1″ frame it looked worse.
I fell for the low fat trap in the 90’s and would frequently eat Snackwells cookies, Mac and Cheese and, my personal favorite, Liption Chicken flavor noodle mixes!!! It doesn’t surprise me that shortly after getting married to my ex-husband I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes! I went to the doctor for a checkup after having a miscarriage, and I walked out of the office with 6 prescriptions for pills, meter, strips, and not really knowing what Diabetes even was.
While I realize now my low/no carb approach was unsustainable for me, I did lower my A1c, lose 50 pounds and get pregnant with my son! But after my first pregnancy I struggled. I would yo-yo with both my weight, losing the same 20 pounds over and over again, but also with my diabetes. My A1c was all over the place, anywhere from 11 to 5.1! I tried so many different diets, shakes, extreme workouts, pink drinks, pills, etc, and nothing worked longer that a few weeks or months. Of course they didn’t, I didn’t really change the problem, I just tried covering it up with drinks and expensive, unnecessary pills and products!
A couple years ago I was struggling badly again. The metformin that I had been on for years was no longer agreeing with me or helping. I returned to the doctors office and REQUESTED insulin! BIG MISTAKE!!! I asked for insulin because “There are no side effects from insulin,” how naive that was. When I was put on insulin in 2016 I started at just 3 units a day. In less than 8 months I was up to 70+ units a day and had gained 30 pounds. I was back at 200 pounds, the first time in 15 years I had gotten to that number.
Not only was the insulin making me gain weight and just not working for long before I needed more, but I allowed my doctor to talk me into trying Victoza. Ever see a Victoza commercial? During the many scary side effects they mention that you shouldn’t take if there is a history of thyroid cancer in your family. And if a lump or swelling in your neck occurs discontinue using it.
Yep, I got a lump in my neck! It was so big it was pushing into my jaw and I couldn’t open it. When I stopped using Victoza it went away after just 2 days!!! Around the same time I also experienced knee inflammation. I have an old knee injury and some arthritis from it, but now my knee was the size of a grapefruit, for no reason!
I couldn’t walk for a month. I was stuck on the couch, peeing in a garbage can! My husband was transitioning from his day job to a higher paying evening job, so he would get the kids on the bus, leave all day, come home for an hour, feed and bath our daughter, and then leave all night. My butt went numb from sitting and laying. I had tennis elbow from lifting myself, and then carpal tunnel in both wrists from switching to them. I was at ROCK BOTTOM!
This was when I knew I had to make a complete change. This just wasn’t working. Everyday I felt like I was slowly dying instead of living and thriving. We had watched Forks Over Knives, Hungry For Change, Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead 1 & 2, Food Matters, and so many other documentaries before but just never did anything. Now we were ready! We tried one day, a Saturday, eating a 100% WFPB diet. And we weren’t starving or feeling deprived. We continued that Sunday as well. And instead of waiting for the first of the month, we just stayed on it. We didn’t experience detox, we didn’t struggle, after all I spent my whole life struggling, this was different. This was rebirth!
Immediately I noticed changes. I had to start lowering my insulin because I was having lows and waking up in the 50’s. I was sleeping better. I had energy. I was losing weight. And my knee was straight and normal after just 2 weeks. After 4 weeks I was completely OFF insulin! For the first time in my life I felt like I was living instead of dying. This is why I don’t cheat or why I haven’t “fallen off the wagon” Because no junk food is better than how I feel everyday! I have since lost a total of 82 pounds since switching to a WFPB lifestyle (or 107 pounds if you go off my highest weight of 225)!
From the start I made videos on my YouTube Channel and created my Facebook page: Plant Based Melissa. I’ve been reading book after book and just recently received my Certification in Holistic Nutrition. Food is powerful and can truly help so many ailments and diseases. It’s about embracing your “why,” educating yourself on this lifestyle and never looking back.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge and skills to succeed and stop struggling once and for all.