By Alyce Collins
MEET THE former binge eater who had a ‘mummy makeover’ and lost SEVEN STONE in just a year after the unexpected arrival of TWINS put all of her diet plans on hold.
Stay-at-home-mum, Melissa Bibeau (33) from California, USA, started struggling with her weight during her teenage years, and her negative reaction to this soon led to yo-yo diets and skipping meals.
During her twenties Melissa’s mental health began to spiral out of control as her severe depression left her feeling hopeless as her binge eating disorder made Melissa deprive herself of food before binge eating, leading her to weigh 16st 7lb and wearing a UK size 22.
The fear of never being able to start a family with her husband, Scott, spurred Melissa on to lose weight in 2014 as she always knew she wanted to be a mother. Melissa immediately began monitoring what she ate and doing more exercise, noticing how quickly she was able to shed the initial pounds.
In December 2014 Melissa found out she was pregnant, not having expected it to happen so quickly. At her 10-week appointment, Melissa received another shock when she found out she would be having twins.
Melissa was nervous to carry twins because she still weighed over 16st, but severe morning sickness throughout her pregnancy stopped her hopes of maintaining her regime.
Six months after delivering Jaxon and Caden, Melissa decided to get back into the diet plan she started two years before, this time doing an hour of cardio every day and watching her calorie intake. Within a year, Melissa lost seven stone and began weight lifting to tone up.
A twin pregnancy coupled with extensive weight loss had drastically damaged Melissa’s body and left her with saggy excess skin. So, after maintaining her weight for a year, Melissa had her excess skin removed through a tummy tuck and a breast lift.
“I come from a large Hispanic family that loves to eat, and I started struggling with my weight in my early teens,” said Melissa.
“When I was about 16, I first attempted to lose weight, but I wasn’t sure how to do it.
“I tried cutting out meals and eating low fat foods without understanding how weight loss works.
“I struggled with my weight most of my adult life, but in my mid-twenties I began to suffer from severe depression. I felt out of control in most aspects of my life, including my weight. I started having panic attacks and feeling hopeless that things would never improve.
“I sought help from a psychologist to cope with these emotions and move forward in a positive way. I learned that I had a binge-eating disorder as I’d go through periods of trying to gain control by restricting food, followed by a binge where I’d lose control and eat everything in sight to the point of feeling sick.
“I’d try to cut out meals or eat healthily, but then I’d drink excessively and eat junk that cancelled out my efforts. It was disheartening to do well several days in a row, only to lose control and end up gaining more weight.
“I met my husband at the age of 18 and we married four years later. After a few years of marriage, we decided we wanted to start a family.
“I had concerns that I wouldn’t be able to have children as I saw others around me struggle with fertility which may have been related to obesity.
“In late 2014 I decided I needed to make a change if we were going to start a family, and I didn’t want to have any issues with pregnancy due to my weight.
“As luck would have it, I had a positive pregnancy test just a couple of weeks later. It was the happiest news after a difficult period for me, and I was ready for that new chapter.
“I was 10 weeks pregnant when we learned we’d be having twins. Both my husband and I were shocked and elated but I was nervous to carry twins, given my weight at the time.
“My belly grew rapidly, and it exploded with stretch marks seemingly overnight in my third trimester. I was nervous about how my body would look after delivery, but I tried to set those emotions aside as I knew every day they grew in my body was beneficial to them.
“At 38 weeks my twins were delivered via c-section. At birth Jaxon weighed 6lb 1oz and Caden 7lb 7oz, both beautiful and healthy.
“I’ll never forget the first time I finally looked in the mirror after delivering the boys. I felt a sense of pride for having carried them but also defeat seeing my large empty hanging belly. I thought that it would never look normal again.
“After delivery I hovered around 17 stone for months, and when the kids hit six months old, I realised the weight wasn’t going to come off by itself. I decided in February 2016 to just do it.
“I didn’t want to complain about the way my body looked anymore. I calorie counted and exercised five days a week, mainly walking with the twins in their pushchair. I was in poor shape so simply pushing them uphill was a huge challenge for me.”
Melissa began going for walks with the twins during the daytime and swapping out fatty foods for leaner options.
Melissa is now 10st and a UK size 6 having had a tummy tuck and breast lift at the start of 2018 to remove the excess skin which was left sagging after shedding the weight.
“Within a year, by January 2017 I had lost over seven stone. I switched to eating several small meals a day as I noticed always having a little something in my stomach kept me from binging,” said Melissa.
“I stuck to my calories and maintained a balanced diet of almost equal parts protein, fat, and carbohydrates. I took a more intuitive approach to what I was eating and avoided foods that kept me coming back for more, like chips. “
“The twin pregnancy coupled with massive weight loss in such a short period of time left me with a lot of excess skin all over my body, especially my tummy and breasts.
“After I maintained my weight loss for a year, I had a ‘mummy makeover’ consisting of a tummy tuck, breast lift and breast augmentation. I was finally free of all that loose saggy skin that was weighing me down emotionally.
“Some days I feel amazing and accomplished, and others I still focus on my imperfections. I’m learning to appreciate my body and the person I am today.
“At my largest, I felt trapped in my body, feeling like the way I looked on the outside didn’t match who I was inside. Looking back, I feel sad for that person I used to be.
“I want women looking to lose weight after kids to know it’s possible to drop the weight, and it’s not just celebrities and people with good genetics who can achieve these results. It takes focus, consistency and sacrifice, but it’s worth it.”
You can follow Melissa’s weight loss journey by visiting @mzmellybee.