SUCCESS STORY / Melissa Donovan, 45: From 213 pounds to 178 pounds
Former weight: 213 pounds
Current weight: 178 pounds
Pounds lost: 35 pounds
Height: 5 foot 6 inches
Age: 45 years
How long she’s kept it off: She started in July 2017 and reached her current weight in November.
Personal life: “I live in Johns Creek. I’m an IBCLC lactation consultant. I’m also a mother-baby charge nurse, Cub Scout leader and small group leader for Northpoint Community Church for eighth-grade girls,” said Donovan, who is a registered nurse with Emory Johns Creek Hospital. “I have two boys that are active in sports and Scouts.”
Turning point: “It just kind of had gotten to the point that I was going to be a plus-sized person,” she said. “When I saw the doctor was doing a trial, I thought, ‘Why not? I’ve tried everything else.’ ” Donovan was the first participant in a clinical study at Emory University School of Medicine where an interventional radiologist performed a procedure to freeze her vagus nerve, the nerve that carries hunger signals to the brain. For more information about the study: https://news.emory.edu/stories/2018/03/ejch_prologo_hunger_nerve/index.html.
“Basically, they freeze the vagus nerve, you go under with twilight sleep, they do a CT scan and the procedure takes less than 30 minutes. There’s no pain, just a Band-Aid over the puncture site,” Donovan said. “Immediately, you do not feel hunger. … Right away, you feel like you could take it or leave it with food. … I thought it was make-believe at first — you will forget to eat.” Before the procedure, Donovan said she never forgot to eat.
Diet plan: Breakfast is coffee with a protein bar or a protein shake. Lunch and dinner are a salad or veggies with meat.
Exercise routine: “I exercise five days a week at Crossfit Johns Creek,” she said. “… I just find I am a much better mother if I prioritize my workouts. … I can go and put more into my kids.”
Biggest challenge: “I would get very frustrated because I would lose 10 pounds and gain it right back. Even when I was trying to stick to a certain plan, I could never get past that 10 pounds,” Donovan said. “… Now, I can run faster, I can lift heavier weights, I’m just better.”
How life has changed: “Honestly, it’s being such a good example for the kids. I am so glad I’m able to show them a healthier, active lifestyle. They see Mommy eating right. I don’t ever sit still, and they don’t sit still. They see me at Crossfit and they say, ‘My mom is so strong.’ That wasn’t me two years ago,” she said. “… I am 45, and my blood pressure is like a 20-year-old. My cholesterol is low. My doctor called me after my annual physical and said, ‘What are you doing different?’ Healthwise, I am so much better than I was 10 years ago.”
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