Guest Post: “My Life Newly Lived”

Posted: March 1, 2014 in General Interest, Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger Melinda Christine Johnson is a daughter, sister, aunt, Church of Christ member, independent MakeUp Artist, poetry writer, juicer, goal setter, lover of love who is on the best journey of her life. Here is her story:

imageI have spent a great deal of time running from my image in any mirror.  Especially the one in my bathroom.  When I moved to and from the shower, I wouldn’t allow my eyes to view my naked body.  One day, January 2013, while drying off I decided to look.  As I continued to dry the water from my skin I noticed the water falling from my eyes.  I wondered how did I get here? Why did I let it go this far?  Many answers whirled around in my mind but I didn’t focus on just one.  I knew something had to change.  I decided to join my good friends, Sheila and Jeff, on their healthy journey.  They had started during the summer of 2013.

January 7, 2013 was the day that I started working out.  I would walk from work to the gym and mentally dedicate 20 minutes on the treadmill but my arthritic knees had a much different agenda. I would get frustrated with myself for not doing the 20 minutes on the treadmill.  Due to knee pain and inflammation, I generally lasted 10 minutes.  I tried to make up the difference on the bike but that too would be painful.  So I would walk back to work feeling defeated, not giving myself credit for walking to and from the gym in pain but doing SOMETHING at the gym. It was much more activity than I was doing prior to.  I also started working out with my friends Pam and Crystal at a bootcamp that they attended.  I would go with them every Friday.

In February, I  joined an amazing group called Run This Town (RTT). It is a group of professionals and aspiring professionals who network and workout together twice a week.  My good friend, Shawn Blanchard is the co-founder and Jeff had been attending since the summer.  Originally, I would work out in the back because there were so many of the moves that I couldn’t do, but eventually worked my way up to working out in the center, then close to the front.  This group has been an important part of my journey.  The people are beyond supportive.  Where can you workout, get your sweat on and have fun, all for free?  Nowhere but with RTT.  With Run This Town, I saw a change in my figure and my energy.

My workouts were limited because of knee pain, so I sought out help from an orthopedic surgeon.  He sent me for x-rays and after viewing the results, told me that I would need surgery.  The first surgery would include  removing debris from my knee and seeing what type of damage there was to repair. I informed him my limitations with working out, and the constant knee pain I experienced at night that affected my sleep for a few weeks.  He gave me a shot in my knee and scheduled me for surgery.  The date was to be December 17, 2013.

In the latter part of October, I reached out to a local trainer, Aaron Scott and he would bring me to another level.  I started personal training with him once a week.  Not only did he give me a serious workout, he instructed me to change my eating habits.  He introduced me to the world of Paleo, which I am currently practicing.  He put me on a 45-day Paleo challenge, and a 21-day challenge after that.  Now I must admit that I went kicking and screaming.  The challenge was to start on November 1.  My mind was racing.  He told me I had to give up: alcohol, dairy, wheat, pasta and bread. Now before the challenge, I would drink coffee every morning with flavored creamer in my cup. Hell it was more creamer than coffee. I didn’t know how to process all this but I knew I had to do it.  For two reasons, I have seen the results of his work , and I was paying for his services.  He informed me that dairy causes inflammation and that was most of the problem with my knee.  So off started our journey.  A journey that would prove to be very challenging and rewarding.

I followed Paleo to the letter. Paleo forced me to come out of my “food box” and explore so many other things. Not only did I watch my waistline get smaller I also noticed the decrease in my knee pain. The decrease was so major that I cancelled my knee surgery. Now before canceling I consulted with the ortho surgeon about my weight loss and new eating habits and he gladly cancelled my surgery.  To date, my knee pain has been very minimal.  I can do more things that I have ever done.  One of the things that I can do now  that I simply love, is purchase clothes at Flo Boutique.  I have been shopping at Flo’s for accessories for about a year or two but I could not really fit the clothes.  Now I get ultra excited when I walk in and I am greeted by Sheila or Felicia and they are showing me new things to try on.  I find so much love and encouragement from other patrons as well: Sharon, Kizzie and Donna.

Over the last two months I have added some additional challenges.  My first challenge started with the wonderful ladies of Go!Smoothies, the website is  here, and I partnered with a good girlfriend, Diviniti, on this journey.  Today we are on day 28 of the juice cleanse.  Go!Smoothies provides fresh coldpressed juices that are not only full of nutrients and goodness but they taste delicious. For the month of February I started a Vegan challenge: 28 days vegan.  This is truly a challenge because I want to incorporate paleo as well.   Vegans, eat some sugars, bread and pasta. Those have been a no no for me.  I started my journey at 278 and currently I am 239.  My goal weight is between 180 and 150 so I have a ways to go.  But I know that I have come a long way as well.  I am truly excited about this journey and all that it has brought me.  I have been gifted many things: money, a book on paleo, a juicer, a one month membership and an abundance of support. I am truly living in a happy place.

  1. Sheila says:

    Congratulations on your first blog post Melinda…So far 2014 has been a year of “firsts” for you. And that’s fantastic and amazing (at the same time)…You keep me encouraged and I am so proud of you. LET THE JOURNEY CONTINUE…


    • Lawrence Harris says:

      I love you Melinda and I support you and your efforts 300%! I am aware that you have made some amazing strides both physically and mentally. You are growing daily and truly a success story that must be shared. God bless you! Stay focused, stay positive and true!


  2. Heather Johnson says:

    What a beautiful touching story about a journey to self love inside and out! Lovely picture you painted and what a beautiful picture of you!


  3. Vicki Green says:



  4. Chris Troup says:

    Congratulations “Melinda”! 🙂 I look forward to seeing you attain each and every one of your goals. Let me know of any ways at all I may be of assistance.


  5. marshamusic says:

    I am SO proud of you and you are inspiring ME. Thanks for all the great information about your journey. Keep on sharing.


  6. Mary B. Solomon says:

    Wow! Words alone don’t describe how pleased with and proud of you I am. We’ve been on life’s journey together since we were 5 years old. We’ve shared many firsts..this us by far the most happy I’ve seen you. I am so fond of your resilience, transparency, and honesty, not only with self, but with the world! I am your friend, your sister, your support! Stay focused and blessed. I know God plays a major part! Love you much!!;-)


  7. Mary B. Solomon says:

    Wow! We’ve been on life’s journey since we were 5 years old. We’ve shared many firsts..this is truly the happiest I’ve seen you. I applaud your resilience, transparency, and honesty. I am your friend, your sister, and your support. Stay focused, stay true! Blessings..


  8. katrina says:

    Mocha u r so inspirational. I love your journey I have many challenges and obstacle to cover but reading this and viewing pictures ad well as knowing you from where you’ve been to where your going I’m willing g to travel this journey with u. I have a lot on my plate at this moment moving and getting my children settled but ad soon as I get this task at hand complete you’ll have a new RTT buddy looking forward to making some indefinite change as well # the struggle is real
    Love u Darling


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