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Melissa Lost 50 Pounds Through Better Eating

An unflattering comment and clothing that no longer fit were Melissa's wake-up calls. Dropping 10 pounds by cutting out pizza and fries were the first steps to adopting her new, healthy lifestyle.

Melissa Sledge was one of those lucky teenagers with a fast-moving metabolism. She was a rail-thin athlete and could eat anything she wanted without gaining an ounce of fat. Unfortunately, that led her to develop some unhealthy eating habits that carried over into her adult years. Daily fast food and pizza several times a week began to add up as Melissa aged. As her metabolism slowed, she gained weight.

The problem worsened when Melissa moved from an outside sales job to an office job. Her activity level plunged, and it showed in her waistline. For three years, her weight continued to climb, until an embarrassing visit with family showed Melissa how badly she needed to change.

Starting with small dietary changes, Melissa worked her way toward a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Three years later, she's 50 pounds lighter and feeling better than ever.

This is Melissa's story.

Before
Before 175 lbs.
After
After 125 lbs.
Age: 30
Height: 5'6"
Weight: 175 lbs.
Body Fat: 35%
Age: 33
Height: 5'6"
Weight: 125 lbs.
Body Fat: 19%

What was your diet like before you transformed?

As a teen, I was thin and athletic, and I could eat terribly without consequences. I was eating fast food 3-4 times a day and ordering pizza three times a week. On any given day, I'd have McDonald's for breakfast, Taco Bell for lunch, and a Little Caesar's Hot-N-Ready Pizza for dinner. And yes, I would eat the entire pizza by myself. Then I'd have ice cream or cake for dessert.

What was your wakeup call?

In November 2013, I went home to visit my family for Thanksgiving. During my stay, my father confronted me about my weight gain. By then, I had gained 50 pounds. I knew deep down I had to lose weight, but I still forced that thought back into the recesses of my mind. Actual change came a few months later.

I was starting a new job, and while picking out my outfit for the first day of work, I determined I was not going to continue buying larger clothes. At the time, I was a size 12/14 and did not want to continue to ignore the problem. I knew that I had to take control to lose weight. Prior to that moment, food was controlling me. I had to tackle the real issue contributing to my weight gain.



What was the first step you took?

I started small and gave up the two foods I knew would be the most challenging: pizza and french fries. I continued to eat anything else I wanted, excluding those two foods. After 90 days, I lost 10 pounds. After I lost the first 10 pounds, I started prepping my meals for the week to take the "thinking" out of eating. I selected lean meats, vegetables, and fruits. I tried to stay away from processed foods, and if I did eat them, I was careful to read the ingredient labels. If I couldn't figure out the ingredients without research, I did not eat it. Losing the first 10 pounds was motivation enough to continue to reflect on my eating habits and stick with the new lifestyle.

How did losing those first 10 pounds motivate you to keep going?

Giving up pizza and french fries for 90 days and losing the first 10 pounds confirmed to me that I could be successful if I took control of my emotional eating. I knew I still needed to lose more weight, but taking that small step helped me mentally prepare for the journey.



What does your meal plan look like now?

Meal 1

Oatmeal 1 cup


Egg whites 3 oz.


Chicken sausage 3 oz.


Meal 2

Apple 1 cup



Meal 3

Salmon 4 oz.


Spinach 3/4 cup


Brown rice 1/2 cup


Meal 4

Tuna 3 oz.


Rice cakes 2


Meal 5

Chicken 4 oz.


Broccoli 1 cup


Baked sweet potato 4 oz.



How did you create your workout plan?

I started out just spending 30 minutes jumping rope 3-4 days a week. Then I discovered Bodybuilding.com, and everything changed. I dove into the workout programs on the site, starting with Jamie Eason's LiveFit Trainer. I've done her program a few times now.

Why do you love that trainer specifically?

What's not to love about Jamie Eason? She's amazing in every way! I enjoy the LiveFit Trainer because the difficulty level progresses so gradually. It's the perfect program for a beginner or someone getting back into the routine of lifting weights.

What does your training regimen look like now?

Day 1: Back and cardio
1
Wide-Grip Pull-Up Wide-Grip Pull-Up

Superset
2

Bent-Over Barbell Row

3 sets of 8 reps
Bent Over Barbell Row Bent Over Barbell Row

Seated Cable Row

3 sets of 8 reps
Seated Cable Rows Seated Cable Rows

3

Wide-Grip Lat Pull-down

3 sets of 10 reps
Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown Wide-Grip Lat Pulldown

4

One-Arm Dumbbell Row

3 sets of 8 reps
One-Arm Dumbbell Row One-Arm Dumbbell Row

5

Leverage High Row

3 sets of 10 reps
Leverage High Row Leverage High Row

6

Hyperextension

3 sets of 8 reps
Hyperextensions (Back Extensions) Hyperextensions (Back Extensions)

7

Elliptical

30 min.
Elliptical Trainer Elliptical Trainer


Day 2: Chest, abs and cardio
1
Wide-Grip Barbell Bench Press Wide-Grip Barbell Bench Press

2

Wide-Stance Push-up

3 sets of 15 reps
Pushups (Close and Wide Hand Positions) Pushups (Close and Wide Hand Positions)

3

Cable Cross-over

3 sets of 10 reps
Cable Crossover Cable Crossover

4
Smith Machine Incline Bench Press Smith Machine Incline Bench Press

5

Side-To-Side Push-Up

3 sets of 10 reps
Side To Side Push-Up Side To Side Push-Up

Superset
6

Toe Touchers

3 sets of 20 reps
Toe Touchers Toe Touchers

Crunches (perform with legs straight in air)

3 sets of 20 reps
Crunches Crunches

7

Hanging Leg Raise

3 sets of 10 reps
Hanging Leg Raise Hanging Leg Raise

8

Cable Crunch

3 sets of 10 reps
Cable Crunch Cable Crunch

9

Elliptical

30 min.
Elliptical Trainer Elliptical Trainer


Day 3: Legs
1

Leg Extensions

2 warm-up sets with lighter weight for 30 reps
Leg Extensions Leg Extensions

2

Wide-Stance Barbell Squat

2 lighter sets of 15 reps, 2 heavier sets to failure
Wide-Stance Barbell Squat Wide-Stance Barbell Squat

3

Leg Press

4 sets of 8 reps
Leg Press Leg Press

4

Barbell Walking Lunge

3 sets of 20 reps
Barbell Walking Lunge Barbell Walking Lunge

5

Barbell Step-Up

3 sets of 10 reps
Barbell Step Ups Barbell Step Ups

6

Plie Dumbbell Squat

3 sets of 15 reps
Plie Dumbbell Squat Plie Dumbbell Squat

7

Standing Calf Raise

3 sets of 20 reps, last set to failure
Standing Calf Raises Standing Calf Raises

8

Donkey Calf Raise (or leg press calf raise)

3 sets of 20 reps, last set to failure
Donkey Calf Raises Donkey Calf Raises


Day 4: Arms, abs and cardio
1

Barbell Curl

3 sets of 10 reps
Barbell Curl Barbell Curl

Superset
2

Overhead Cable Curl

3 sets of 10 reps
Overhead Cable Curl Overhead Cable Curl
Cable Hammer Curls - Rope Attachment Cable Hammer Curls - Rope Attachment

3

Alternating Hammer Curl

3 sets of 10 reps
Alternate Hammer Curl Alternate Hammer Curl

4

Dip (bench or parallel bars)

3 sets of 15 reps
Bench Dips Bench Dips

5

Skullcrusher

3 sets of 10 reps
Lying Triceps Press Lying Triceps Press

6

Seated Triceps Press

3 sets of 10 reps
Seated Triceps Press Seated Triceps Press

7
Triceps Pushdown - Rope Attachment Triceps Pushdown - Rope Attachment

8

Air Bike

3 sets of 25 reps
Air Bike Air Bike

9

Jackknife Sit-Up

3 sets of 10 reps
Jackknife Sit-Up Jackknife Sit-Up

10

Hanging Leg Raise

3 sets of 10 reps
Hanging Leg Raise Hanging Leg Raise

11

Elliptical

30 min.
Elliptical Trainer Elliptical Trainer


Day 5: Shoulders and cardio
1

Smith Machine Military Press

1 warm-up set, 3 sets of 10 reps
Smith Machine Overhead Shoulder Press Smith Machine Overhead Shoulder Press

Superset
2
Standing Dumbbell Upright Row Standing Dumbbell Upright Row
Standing Dumbbell Press Standing Dumbbell Press

3
Lying Rear Delt Raise Lying Rear Delt Raise

4

Cable Rear Delt Fly

3 sets of 10 reps
Cable Rear Delt Fly Cable Rear Delt Fly

5

Lateral Raise

3 sets of 10 reps (last set is a dropset)
Side Lateral Raise Side Lateral Raise

6

Rear-Delt Raise

3 sets of 10 reps (last set is a dropset)
Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise Seated Bent-Over Rear Delt Raise

7

Elliptical

30 min.
Elliptical Trainer Elliptical Trainer


Day 6: Legs
Superset
1

Seated Leg Curl

3 sets of 10 reps
Seated Leg Curl Seated Leg Curl

Leg Extensions

3 sets of 10 reps
Leg Extensions Leg Extensions

Superset
2

Barbell Lunge (long stride)

3 sets of 20 reps
Barbell Lunge Barbell Lunge

Abductor Machine

3 sets of 20 reps
Thigh Abductor Thigh Abductor

Superset
3

Lying Leg Curls

xxxsetsrepsxxx
Lying Leg Curls Lying Leg Curls

Adductor Machine

3 sets of 15 reps
Thigh Adductor Thigh Adductor

4

Stiff-Legged Deadlift

3 sets of 10 reps
Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift Stiff-Legged Barbell Deadlift

5

Single-Leg Barbell Squat

3 sets of 10 reps
One Leg Barbell Squat One Leg Barbell Squat

6

Wide-Stance Leg Press

1 giant dropset to failure
Wide-Stance Leg Press Wide-Stance Leg Press

7

Seated Calf Raise

3 sets of 20 reps
Seated Calf Raise Seated Calf Raise

8

Standing Calf Raise

3 sets of 20 reps
Standing Calf Raises Standing Calf Raises


Day 7: Rest

How else did Bodybuilding.com help you?

I mostly read nutrition articles and really enjoyed high-protein recipes available on the site. I learned how to eat out but still hit my macros. Planning really is key to maintaining social obligations and your fitness goals.



What are your future plans?

I'm competing in my first bikini competition in July of this year. I've decided to compete this year because it is a new mental and physical challenge. I've already demonstrated I have the strength to change my behavior and lifestyle, and competing is just a new personal development goal. I am working with the experienced team at Pro Physique in Gilbert, Arizona, to prepare for my competition.