Melissa said she has struggled with her weight since childhood and was always the heavier one of all of my friends but the Mayo woman didnt feel the harsh burden of being overweight until she was in college.
Binging on huge portions of chips an curries, mindlessly snacking on chocolate or crisps, combined with alcohol and the take-away that naturally follows saw Melissa reach her heaviest weight of 14 stone. Standing at a petite 5ft 2in Melissa, was wearing a size 18 to 20.
That first year in DCU my weight skyrocketed, it started to have a real impact on my health. I was so unhappy about how I looked but I was caught in a vicious cycle of comfort eating, then feeling bad, and then comfort eating because I felt bad about myself, said Mellisa to RSVP.
I was so out of breath, I couldnt walk anywhere far without my legs chafing, it was debilitating. I wasnt even 21 and to be struggling like that was so embarrassing.
The moment it clicked for me was our summer ball. I just felt like the weight had held back, I couldnt wear what I wanted, I didnt have a good night, I just felt s**t about myself. I remember coming home that night and just bawling my eyes out crying and I said that is it, I am done.
Take a look at Melissa's incredible transformation
Afterward, Melissa made the decision to take control of her health. Too intimidated to face the gym on campus Melissa joined a local gym when she went home to Mayo for the summer and slowly started to see the weight fall off.
With her new-found confidence Melissas healthy journey continued once she was back to her schooling and soon the communications student enrolled to get her personal training certificate.
I had tried every feckin diet that was going and I wanted something sustainable that would create healthier habits in the long run, she explained.
Melissia is now five stone down since 2013, but the journey hasnt been without its challenges. The 27-year-old regained two stone of the weight when her mother passed away in 2015.
Life circumstances will always have an impact on your emotional and physical health but once I got back on track the weight came off again, she said.
Today, Melissa's diet is much more structured and filled with lots of healthy meals, veg and protein to sustain her five workouts a week. While her appearance has changed significantly, the biggest difference Melissa says shes experience has been on her mental health and overall outlook on life.
I dont think people realise when you are that overweight Its not just physical. How youre treated as an overweight individual and the stigma attached to it can cause huge psychological damage to you.
I did my thesis on the link between depression and obesity between 18-25 year olds and a lot of people have very negative self image and negative outlook on life in general because of their weight. Iit just really holds you back.
If youre struggling with your weight and want to make a lifestyle change but not sure where to start, Melissa says before you get overwhelmed at the thought of joining a gym or dropping weight fast, start with some small changes.
1. Sleep. Sleep is so important. I know everybody raves about it but its crucial, the more you sleep the more control you have over your appetite the next day.
2. Set small goals. When I started off I didnt aim to lose five stone. It was more like, this week Im going to try to drink more water, next week Im going to try to go for a walk. Micro steps really help.
3. Plan your meals. Having nice nutritious food waiting for you when youre hungry will make sure youre not tempted by anything else.
You can follow Melissa's motivational journey here.
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Overweight college student who shed 5 stone and became a personal trainer shares her secrets to weight loss - RSVP Live