Time to Chat with EWL’s Super Mom – Melissa!

We deal with a lot of really tough issues on Extreme Weight Loss, and last night’s episode with Melissa was no exception. After losing her husband Mike to Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Melissa had to pick up the pieces and continue to raise their 4 kids alone. Talk about a real rock star – Melissa is one indeed. She not only carried a heavy load of raising a family, but she also managed to pay it forward along the way, something you didn’t get to see on camera! Melissa has become her community go-to for fitness, nutrition, and overall healthy living tips, and let’s not forget, thanks to her, I was able to unexpectedly deal with the pain of my father’s passing. Having Melissa’s support during this time was something I will forever be thankful for. Funny how the teacher becomes the student, huh?

The journey with Melissa was full of ups and downs, good and bad. This was the first time for me to take the reins from Chris and step up to really take charge, which was both scary and amazing. 🙂 Working with Melissa (and swapping motherhood tips!) was a true honor. Time for the good stuff…words straight from Melissa’s mouth!

Heidi: Mama Melissa! What was your favorite part about being on the show? 

Melissa: My favorite part of being on the show is that I got to be a hero to my boys. And that I got my life back. My youngest son Cody said I found my  smile, which is priceless! And now that I’ve lost my weight, Eli, my 16 year old, isn’t embarrassed to be seen with me anymore. He takes me cruising in his car and we listen to his stereo!

H: I love those boys. 🙂 You’ve raised them well. I’m curious to know what you feel was the hardest part of this last year.

M: The hardest part for me was being away from my kids. I missed them so much! I was so worried that something bad would happen while I was gone and that I would lose someone else I loved. But we all grew from the experience. My son Cody, who has a terrible fear of losing me, realized that I was coming back. We made it through the year, and it was extremely hard, but doing the show really added to our quality of life!

H: Boy, you did a great job handling everything! You’ve been through a lot in your life. What is the biggest lesson you learned this past year?

M: Since Mike passed, I have been through some really hard times. Today I feel like I have been able to close  that “GUILT” chapter of my life, and I am able to let things go and have faith. Just because I lost him doesn’t mean I am going to lose everyone else I love. A year ago I hated walking in “my shoes,” but today I wouldn’t trade them for anything. I love walking in “my shoes” now.

H: Do you have any advice for anyone going through similar battles like you’ve endured with Mike?

M: My advice to anyone going through what I did is don’t accept an “I’m fine” when you ask your loved one, who is suffering from PTSD, how they are doing. Push for treatment, push for support, and take care of yourself too. Realize that there is help out there, hang in there, and ask for help.

H: So, what’s next for Melissa? Where do you see yourself in 5 years?

M: In 5 years I would like to be an addictions counselor. I want to help people understand their addiction to food. I also see myself leading a healthy lifestyle and enjoying every minute of my life.

H: Everyone wants to know what your favorite exercise is and why.

M: My favorite exercise is my ab workouts because before my journey started, I had had 6 stomach surgeries and could not do one sit-up, and now I can do them by the hundreds!

H: Amen! Do you have a favorite recipe or healthy snack you could share? 

M: My favorite healthy snack is my MIO-popsicles. I LIVE on these! They are so refreshing after a hard workout.

H: Wow – that’s such a good idea! Love it! I might steal it. 😉 Now for my fave question: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Chris?

M: The first thing that comes to mind when I think of Chris is Dad. I had a very tumultuous relationship with my dad. He didn’t like me much. I always tried to get his approval, but he didn’t give it to me. He started a new family and forgot about me. Chris’ approval means EVERYTHING to me. I know he works with thousands of people, and I have been blessed to be one of them. I just want him to know that I may not be his favorite, but he is mine. Now the first thing that comes to mind about you is Wonder Woman! I do not know how you do it! I am a multi-tasker, and I thought I was good at it, but you put me to shame. When I talk to you, I know it is coming from the heart. Getting to know you this year has been a blessing in so many ways. You went to bat for me – how can you ever thank someone for helping you become your children’s hero?

H: Melissa, I love you. 🙂 Thank you. Now for everyone else’s fave question. What is something you know about me and Chris that you don’t think very many people would know?

M: I think the thing that people would be surprised to learn about you two is that Chris is very cerebral, and you can be very vulnerable. First, Chris. I come from a family of very educated people. When you start talking with Chris, he blows you away with the amount of knowledge he has in that handsome head! I don’t think I have ever met anyone who knows so much about so much. He is so well-rounded, and almost nerdy in his amount of knowledge. It makes me love him even more. Now, to you. I saw what it did to you when you were being judged after having Ruby. People were judging your parenting, your lifestyle, and your body. I remember having a heart-to-heart with you, and you were hurt by the negative comments, which were totally unfounded, by the way. I wanted to single out everyone of those people who had a negative comment and beat the s&*t out of them. You help people save their lives, and nothing is more honorable than that. 

There are so many facets to my experience this year that I could write a book. But to sum it up, with your and Chris’ help, I was able to turn a horrific tragedy into a beautiful victory.

H: How can I not respond to that answer? Melissa, I can’t tell you how much I appreciated your support throughout the year. I am human and have feelings, but I do try my hardest to not let stuff get to me. I try to remember something that I know you always keep in mind too: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” Mama Melissa, you are one strong woman! Love you!


  1. Darlene - July 8, 2014

    LOVE your show–thank you for exactly the inspiration I need! I only have 30lbs to lose and spending my Tuesday nights with you helps so much! I exercise during the show and am inspired by the different types of workouts you take these beautiful ‘losers’ through. I’m happy to be a ‘loser’, too!!! Thank you, Chris and Heidi!

  2. Sherri - July 4, 2014

    I had never watched Extreme Makeover until this season. I had just started a workout regiment, and I thought I’d watch to see if I could get any ideas/motivation. I LOVE the show! Heidi, you and Chris are amazing. I don’t have as much to lose as the people on your show, but when you have 50-75 pounds to lose, it feels like 100s. I’ve lost 25 and have some more to go to I feel like I’m where I need to be. Thank you so much for your inspiration and motivation. You guys make me feel like I can do anything!!! Wish I had that kind of guidance in my actual life!!! God bless you and your beautiful family and the work you do!!!

  3. Marie - July 3, 2014

    What was the excerise or what was the best excerise u did to tighten and loose the belly and hanging belly fat

  4. Joy Underwood - July 3, 2014

    Heidi (and Melissa)’

    Melissa’s comment about the negative comments Heidi received while pregnant and after giving birth to Ruby when Melissa said she felt like beating the @$&@ out of each one of those negative, judgmental people…THAT is exactly how I felt… I hurt for you as a person in the public eye and for getting attacked on a personal level. I wanted to reach out and encourage you! Now that we have moved on from that, I know it it hard but keep trying to let those negative comments fuel your workouts when you need to get your aggression out and know that for every negative comment said, there are a hundred that are positive and even more “likes” so never be discouraged! And Melissa, a YOU ROCK! I need to lose 30 pounds and I am in awe of what you accomplished! You inspire me! Keep living the healthy life! I look forward to getting there too!

  5. Jo-Ann - July 3, 2014

    I was blessed to watch this show! What an amazing Journey…. My husband suffers from depression. You are amazing an beautiful and I know your family is proud of you. You took the journey and you are healthy now. You Two are changing peoples lives everyday and I hope to some day lose 150 pounds too. You both and Melissa give me hope that I can.

  6. Laura - July 3, 2014

    Hi Heidi,

    You know, anybody who made negative comments about you is obviously JEALOUS. You are smart, beautiful, sweet, and have a loving husband and family. On a side note, some people just don’t understand that some women can bounce back to their “normal” body size very soon after having a baby. Keep up the great work….

  7. Sally - July 3, 2014

    I’m just wondering about Melissa’s daughter. She was mentioned once when the kids pictures were shown but she never spoke of her after that. Only the boys. I remember seeing her in the crowd once. And I don’t know why I need to know that mother and daughter are ok. Maybe because I have a daughter and 2 sons of my own. I wondered about her thru the entire episode.

    • Linda - July 5, 2014

      I was wondering also. It says here she has 4 kids, did they choose not to be on the show?

  8. Jen Ratke - July 3, 2014

    Chris and Heidi,

    Words can not express how wonderful you are. I am going to try the carb cycling. I quit smoking 1 1/2 years ago and gained 50 lbs and had like 40lbs to loose before that. It is very hard when you are a working mom. Stress is a big part of my weight and the loss of my dad 3 years ago. I am trying real hard to be motivated but I am trying.

    Thanks for being caring and just wonderful.


  9. Cari - July 3, 2014

    I’m always emotional when I watch EWL. This episode was amazing. Heidi you did an excellent job. I love your workout tips. A couple years ago I realized how important fitness and nutrion are and I’m loving it!! I even became a Zumba instructor and have my own class. I wish there was a way to inspire people to be fit and eat healthy. People always look at me like I’m crazy when I say that. Before exercising regularly and eating healthy I felt lousy and my blood sugar levels were off the hook! Now I feel great but wish I could pass this on to people. Any suggestions?

    • Team Powell - July 3, 2014

      It sounds like you’re doing great and you’re already helping others to reach their goals! Keep doing what you’re doing. 🙂

  10. Kymberly "Kaptain" Morgan - July 3, 2014

    Great chat, Heidi and Melissa! I had a blast tweeting with Chris, Heidi, and EWL fans on the night of your episode, and even made some new friends!

    I could really relate to your story, Melissa. I’m not a widow, but instead, an “AngelMom.” I lost my youngest daughter to Cerebral Palsy complications when she was 13. I died that day. My heart broke into a trillion little pieces. Severe depression, anxiety, blame, and lack of self-worth has stolen my life since then.

    I gained well over 100+ pounds since her passing. My heaviest was in the high 270’s, and I’m only 5’3! My daughter went to be with the Lord over 12 years ago. I will be 45 years old one month from this Sunday. It’s time to take my life back, just like you took yours back.

    One thing that sticks out in my head in your episode, was when you said that if your husband could see you at your final weigh-in/transformation, he would tell you that he was “happy you were happy.” I believe my daughter would tell me the same thing if she could be here for my transformation!

    You and Heidi make such a great team! Although I still adore Chris, too! Since watching this EWL episode as well as tweeting with Heidi and Chris, I feel a renewed sense of self-worth and commitment. Thank you, to the 3 of you for being such a huge influence on me and so many others.


    Kymberly “Kaptain” Morgan

  11. Kymberly "Kaptain Morgan - July 3, 2014

    *Kaptain, not “Kaprain”…. Lol!

  12. Mechelle - July 3, 2014

    Your dress that you wore for the reveal!! Beautiful! What brand is it? If you don’t mind me asking .

  13. Pepp - July 3, 2014

    I loved you Heidi. Who makes the blue sweat shirt and jeans you were wearing? Thanks

  14. Jennifer C - July 3, 2014

    Sorry but it irks me to know people say negative things about you or Chris. Y’all are out there giving it your all, changing lives and inspiring multitudes. It’s easy for me to say “Rock on with your awesome self” when I’m not the one being criticized. I’m glad you had Melissa’s support in the midst of that. You’re awesome Heidi and I appreciate you and Chris so much! Without fail on every episode I start crying at “I choose you” and don’t stop until the end. Thanks for all the motivation and everything y’all do!
    As for the show it was great to see Melissa get her life back. I’m truly happy for her and her family.

  15. Emily H - July 3, 2014

    Heidi and Chris, I am so impressed with your kindness and compassion for the people in your life, strangers and friends alike. Where does that come from? It’s extarordinary.

  16. Kelli - July 3, 2014

    Last night’s episode blew me away – Heidi did a great job of leading Melissa AND not letting her quit! Mamas know how hard it is for Mamas to be away from their babies and she made it work for her. Bravo to all of you for making that work. I also have to say that I had a knot in my stomach during the entire episode because my husband suffers from PTSD and all I could do was put myself in Melissa’s shoes and that was an unbelievably scary feeling.
    XOXO to all!

  17. monicasommersell - July 3, 2014

    you go heidi this eas your season and i see chris not on the stage and heidi you go girl

  18. Ida - July 3, 2014

    Hello Heidi,

    I didn’t know where to write you coz I wanted to ask for your help. I’m a paraplegia due to vehicular accident in 1996. I use the wheelchair full time because my lower limbs are paralyzed. Lately it’s been very difficult for me to lose weight ever since I had the myoma removed due to the hormones injected to mimic menopause. It has been 2 years now and I’m having yo-yo diet.

    I do my gait exercise regularly to perspire. I think eat moderately too but I give in to occasional indulgences. Please help me. I honestly feel frustrated because this has been a cycle now.

    Thank you and kind regards,

    • Team Powell - July 3, 2014

      I’d suggest discussing Heidi and Chris’ carb cycling program (in their book, “Choose More, Lose More for Life”) with your healthcare team to see what modifications need to be made to work around your health issues. We want to keep you safe and healthy so you can reach your goals! Learn about the nutrition basics here: https://heidipowell.net/2713/carb-cycling-101/.

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