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Team member is proud of 100-pound weight loss -- but values "changes on the inside" even more

posted on Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Melanie Lynch, "before" and "now"

Melanie Lynch watched and waited. Finally, she knew she was ready.

And once she reached that point, there was no going back.

Melanie, Billing Specialist for WesleyLife, has lost 101 pounds as of this week -- about two months ahead of the goal she had set for herself -- and she's still going strong.

"If you had told me a year ago that I'd be eating the way I am and down to the size I am, I wouldn't have believed you," she said. "I guess it was just my time!"

Melanie, who has found success with the Ketogenic, or Keto, food plan, said she became motivated to lose weight after stepping on the scale and feeling alarmed at the amount she'd gained in the past few years. She also was motivated by watching a co-worker, Kelli Bregar, lose 90 pounds on the high-protein, high-fat, very low-carb, no-sugar plan.

"I watched Kelli do it for a year, and that whole time, I'd sit there and eat my fruit and say, 'I don't know how you can eat like that and still lose weight,'" Melanie said. "But I saw that it worked -- and she was eating beef jerky and bacon and burgers!"

Melanie decided just after New Year's Day 2018 that she was ready -- but she wanted to do her homework first. She visited her physician to ask how the high-fat plan was likely to impact her overall health.

"My doctor said she had never had a patient try Keto, but she was willing to order monthly lab work to see how my insides were being affected," Melanie said. "Right away, as I began losing weight, we just saw my blood work get better and better.* Once that obstacle was removed for me, I went all-in and embraced Keto."

Melanie said surprisingly, it didn't take her long to adapt to a different way of eating. And as the pounds dropped off, she also felt herself changing on the inside.

"I was never someone who hid behind my weight even at my heaviest, but now, when I walk past a mirror, I don't avoid it -- I look in it!" she said with a laugh. "Most importantly, though, my endurance is so much better. I can do 30 minutes on the treadmill with no shortness of breath and no pain. That couldn't have happened before."

Melanie also said she probably wouldn't have experienced the same degree of success if she were not working for an organization that promotes and supports health and well-being.

"Being able to go in the workout room at lunch was important to me," she said. "I always felt like the people around me considered that a good thing and encouraged it."

Melanie's manager, Londa Hartsook, Director of Reimbursement and Cost Analysis for WesleyLife, said she's proud of Melanie's efforts.

"The amazing thing about Melanie has been her dedication to adhering to her plan," Londa said. "She's not tempted by any food that might be around; she doesn't deviate from her goal in any way. To me, that's really impressive."

Shannon Draayer, Director of Health and Well-Being for WesleyLife, said Melanie's success is an encouragement to the entire organization.

"At WesleyLife, we work hard to support team members by making healthy choices easier for them," Shannon said. "The places where we spend our time influence our health and well-being, and we want our environment to help people thrive. Melanie has made all of that work for her, and we're very proud." 

Melanie's official weight-loss start date was April 1, 2018. At the time, she wore size 26 in clothes. Today, she wears a 16 -- and that size is nearly too big. She said she doesn't have a goal number in mind, but will stop when she and her doctor feel she's at a healthy weight.

"It's great to look better -- who wouldn't want that? -- but this is really more about my health and the way I feel," Melanie said. "I had told myself that this was the last time I'd try to lose weight on my own before looking into weight-loss surgery. The fact that it's working has given me a lot of faith in myself, and if I could be an encouragement to others, that would be wonderful."

To learn more about WesleyLife's health and well-being offerings, contact Shannon Draayer at sdraayer@wesleylife.org or (515) 271-6766. 

*WesleyLife does not endorse and is not affiliated with any particular weight-loss plan or method. Before starting any weight-loss or exercise plan, please obtain approval from your healthcare provider. 

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