January 4, 2017

Investing in her own health

To date, Melissa Kelley, a night-shift nurse for Kaiser Permanente Georgia, has lost 98 pounds.

Melissa KelleyMelissa Kelley, a night shift RN at the Kaiser Permanente TownPark Comprehensive Medical Center in Georgia, struggled with being overweight, even obese, all of her life. She says she dieted off and on since high school and even considered weight-loss surgery in the past in an effort to manage her weight.

“After the birth of my son in 2011, I ballooned to an all-time highest weight of 270 pounds,” she says. “I had been struggling for a very long time with low self-esteem, a lack of self-confidence, the inability to enjoy physical activity with my son due to my size and fitness level, and the knowledge that I was teaching my son unhealthy eating habits by eating out at every single meal.”

A change Melissa didn’t expect was about to happen. In January 2016, one of the other night shift nurses mentioned that they were considering trying Weight Watchers. “I had never tried Weight Watchers before and without much thought I signed up. I sensed from past experience with other weight-loss programs that this would be temporary and that I would only lose maybe 15 to 20 pounds. I was wrong!”

To date, Melissa has lost 98 pounds, with about 38 more to go before she hits her goal. “I have developed a love for exercise that I never knew I had. I follow the Weight Watchers plan and work out six days a week. I do not feel deprived or that I am on a diet. Instead, I feel empowered by the ability to choose what foods I put into my body. I love that I am now teaching my son healthy eating habits and the importance of physical exercise.”

Another beneficial side effect on Melissa’s drive to lose weight and improve her health is a substantial change in personality. “My self-confidence has grown exponentially and I am finally comfortable in my own skin, and now love my body! Taking the time to put myself first and invest in my own health has made me a better nurse and a better mother.”

Melissa is now convinced that what she’s going through is no longer just a diet, and the victories go way beyond the number on the scale. “This is a new way of life for me and I plan to continue doing this for many years.”

She’s not alone in her quest. “Melissa is not only incorporating Kaiser Permanente's Healthy Living Lifestyle – she is attracting others to follow her passion for living," says Nina Richards, RN, also at TownPark. "There are at least three other ACC/CDU (Advanced Care Center/Clinical Decision Unit) nurses who have adopted healthy eating and exercise routines."

Melissa and her colleagues may have found the key to better health. "We are committed to becoming our best selves through nutrition, exercise, and healthy living. We are THRIVING!”