My Journey to a Healthy Lifestyle

Hello…I would like to invite you on my journey to a healthy lifestyle, which has led to my first Tour DaVita.  To tell you my story I need to take you back in time…It was August of 2009, turning 39 in September, I was the heaviest I have ever been (253.6), I cannot walk around the block without my legs killing me, being out of breath, I am not a happy person nor am I healthy and I am finally ready to make a change.

Me back in 2009

Me back in 2009

On Sunday, August 31, 2009, I walked into Weight Watchers for the second time, but this time I was going to succeed.  That week I had my yearly physical, knowing what my physician would say, I walked in prepared to make a deal.

As I figured he said I needed to lose weight, my cholesterol was high, borderline diabetic, and if I continued I would have to be on a medicine regimen.  The deal you ask…give me six months to lose some weight…if I don’t, then I will start taking medicine; he agreed.  Now, I have been going to my physician since 1993 and he has watched me go up and down.  I started changing what I ate and walking a little further day by day.

Eventually I was able to walk a 5K, I joined the gym and signed up with a personal trainer after taking off 70 lbs. On August 12, 2012 I ran my first 5k at the DaVita Kidney Rock event in Denver.

On August 26th, 2012 (2 years, 11 months, and 25 days) I reached my lifetime goal after taking off 105 lbs.  I felt great, on top of the world, and was now working with a different trainer who was helping me to tone.

Fast forward to today, I am happy, healthy, now consider myself beautiful inside and out, love to exercise, and look forward to the next great adventure; which leads me to Tour DaVita.  I partly blame my trainer, Richard John, Jr., as he makes me believe I can do anything.  One of our training sessions consisted of boxing.  It was great and when I left that day I knew I was doing Tour DaVita.

August 26, 2013 will be a year at Lifetime Fitness and August 31 will be four years on Weight Watchers.  I love to share my journey and my pictures. I have so many people who support me and I am now able to “Pay it Forward” and support others.

In my biker gear

In my biker gear

At one time I could not walk around the block and now I am going to do a 3-day, 220-mile bike ride.

Melissa O'Connell in Training for Tour DaVita


5 Responses to My Journey to a Healthy Lifestyle

  1. Robert Merrelll says:

    Great story. Inspirational! Can’t wait to meet you at Tour DaVita…

  2. Andrew Dire says:

    Wow, that’s amazing! Congratz, and I look forward to riding with you!

  3. Anna McKeon says:

    You go girl!!

  4. Desiree Whitehead says:

    I am truly proud to call you my friend. Go get ’em Forrest.

  5. Hellyn Mejias says:

    Great Job Melissa! I’m so proud of you and I’ve been your number 1 fan from the start of your journey. You have come a long way!!! CO ROCKS!

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