Melissa Dixon wrote this fitness story, "my story, where to start… well I was always the fat girl. I have fought my weight my entire life. Chubby, overweight, obese, buxom, you name it, I’ve been it, which is except for skinny! First, a little back story to explain how my journey started…

In May of 2007 I was on top of the world. I was about to graduate with my masters in nursing as a Family Nurse Practitioner and I had landed my dream job at Mercy Hospital.

I went in for a routine check-up when a problem was found, a big problem. My liver was sick. After several vials of blood, an ultrasound and a biopsy we found an answer. I was diagnosed with a fairly rare autoimmune disorder called Auto-Immune Hepatitis, and it was fairly aggressive, I will require lifelong treatment. I got started on steroids and immune-suppression; luckily I went into remission fairly quickly.

Nine weeks into diagnosis and treatment I was given another positive test result… I was pregnant!

Despite a complicated (but easy) pregnancy dealing with my liver and gestational diabetes on January 15, 2008 I gave birth to a perfectly healthy baby girl. I weighed 210 pounds the day I had her, only gaining 18 through my pregnancy. I was able to lose the 18 pounds rather quickly but then my weight stalled.

I learned about Clean Eating and started reading magazines like Oxygen and Fitness RX for Women but struggled with how to put it all together.

I wanted to reverse my family medical history which is riddled with diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and bad cholesterol. I wanted to be a healthy role model for my daughter. It would take until 2011 before changes would start to occur…

In 2011, I was divorced after almost eight years of marriage. I had lost myself during that time in trying to be and do everything everyone else wanted me to. With the divorce I took back my life. I cleaned up my diet and started eating at home more. I joined a gym and started taking Zumba, strength, yoga and spin classes. The jeans started fitting a little looser.

In the fall of 2011 I met a wonderful man, Andrew, who I now share my life with!

In 2012 we started working out together to keep each other motivated and accountable. By the summer of 2012 my weight was in the 160’s but I still was not happy with my body. I prayed about what I needed to do and God started opening doors!

In July 2012 I started working online with Rita Catalino, Tosca Reno’s trainer (The author of the Eat Clean Diet series). I worked with her for 6 weeks and started to see changes. Financial reasons kept me from working with her longer, but she lit a fire in me! I continued on trying to eat healthy and training five days a week at the gym.

I felt great but the scale was not budging… In 2013 I started Jamie Eason’s Live Fit program on Bodybuilding.com and completed the 12 week program, the workouts not the diet that is. I gained strength and my measurements improved but I was still struggling with the scale and how my body looked.

I needed a goal and I needed a trainer…I wanted to compete in a bikini competition! A Google search gave me a list of possibilities. Top of the list was a site run by twin IFBB pro’s called Twin Fitness. I filled out some information and was met with a quick response…”let’s talk!”

In late April of 2013 I started training online with Twin Fitness Elite Coaching with Michelle Trasey-Hutton as my coach. I check in weekly with her giving a list of questions, measurements, weight and pictures. They key to success this time was my nutrition! It truly is 80% nutrition, 10% training and 10% genetics!

My initial goal was to get to 130 pounds and compete in a show. Since 2008, I have lost over 80 pounds.

On October 26, 2013 I graced the stage at the NPC All-Star Championships and placed 5th in Bikini Masters Class A. That fire in me is now raging and I have set my next competition date and have set new goals for my body! I feel the best I have ever felt and am the fittest I have ever been! I plan on competing through 2014 and depending on how I do (mentally and physically) will determine if I continue to compete in 2015. An IFBB Pro card would be nice…!!

I also plan on getting my personal training certification as well as a nutrition certification from Precision Nutrition.

I want to help others aspire to get healthy and do it in a sustainable fashion! I want to inspire others just as I have been inspired.

I am currently 8 weeks out from my next competition, the 2014 NPC Midwest Championships in Saint Louis. I started a FB page called The FIT NP this past fall that I use to blog about my journey, share motivation, diet and training tips!

Melissa Dixon

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Melissa Dixon Before 2nd attempt Melissa Dixon After