Lose weight for yourself

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Melanie Grosz gets emotional when discussing what ultimately helped her lose 60 pounds and transform not only her body but also her life.

What was the key to unlocking her new reality?

“Loving myself for one of the first times,” she tearfully tells Sun Media in a phone interview from her home near North Bay, Ont. “I had been unhappy for a long time.”

Her journey began Dec. 20, 2010.

That’s the fateful day Grosz stepped on her bathroom scale and “saw the bright red number 188 blinking up at me, in a seemingly mocking way.”

Grosz, who stands 5-foot-6, recalls hating the person she had let herself become.

In her own words, she writes: “Seven years of marriage and motherhood had caused me to stop taking care of myself and had turned me into the kind of person I had promised myself I would never be: miserable, depressed and ashamed.”

But that self-hate soon turned to self-love when she decided she had to take charge of her health and life.

Grosz, who was thin in high school but never fit, logged onto Bodybuilding.com to start gleaning some weight-training and nutrition know-how.

Then she put that knowledge into action. She revamped her diet and signed up for a membership at GoodLife Fitness in North Bay.

The first week, she lost 12 pounds.

“I felt so good,” she says. “And then when people started noticing, that’s when I started really to focus on it.”

After “one year and 15 days,” Grosz hit her goal weight of 128 pounds.

The total loss — 60 pounds — wasn’t earth-shattering by her own admission.

But Grosz, who worked with personal trainer Sophie Morin to shed the last stubborn 20 pounds, says shaping up has been personally beneficial in more ways than she ever imagined. Among the most important benefits, she notes, it has reinvigorated her marriage. Her new healthy habits have rubbed off on her husband and their 10-year-old daughter.

The many benefits, of course, outweigh the “many downs” encountered along the journey.

“There were some rocky times when you just want to munch on chips, or whatever fast food there is,” she admits. “But I just said, ‘It’s not worth the thousand calories. I’m going to have the enjoyment for five minutes and then I’m going to feel like crap.’ ”

That’s to be expected. But there were other low points that weren’t anticipated.

Grosz says she lost “a lot” of friends — or people she thought were her friends — en route to her new body.

“I was always the fat girl and they were the fitter people,” she explains. “And when I got smaller than them, then they started putting me down. … And they’re like, ‘Well, why are you following a meal plan and why are you doing this and why are you doing that?’ ”

They just didn’t understand. So Grosz let them go.

“But I’ve made a heckuva lot more friends, and better friends,” she adds.

These days, the 31-year-old inspiration weighs a toned 134.

She’s now a role model to countless women — many of whom she met through Facebook — and she’s currently helping nearly two dozen ladies with their meal plans and workout regimens.

And for the first time in almost a decade, Grosz is truly happy.

“Because I lived so unhappy for so many years, I think that’s why I get so emotional. I went from so low to so high,” she explains. “I see myself as a completely different person.

I love my life now.”

Melanie’s fitness tips

• The No. 1 thing is you have to eat healthy and you have to eat enough. (She eats six healthy meals a day.)

• Exercise has to become a priority. If I don’t have 45 minutes for myself in a day, there’s a problem.

• You can accomplish whatever you want as long as you’ve got the right mindset: I’m going to do everything I can to get there.

• Do it for yourself. If you’re doing everything for everybody else, which most people do all the time, in the end, are you really happy?