It wasn’t an easy task for our NEM panel to come up with ONE overall winner, but somehow, Melissa Padilla’s story of courage, strength, faith and persistence captured our hearts and spirits. She hails from Stockton, CA and is led by her local leader Christina Arroyo. She is a true example of a “no excuse mom” and has inspired women in her community to follow her positive path towards health. Congrats Melissa, you just won $4,465!
I haven’t had the easiest road in life.
I am 28 and a single mom of a beautiful 9 and 2 year old. I didn’t have the greatest childhood, and as a result I became addicted to drugs as a teen. I wanted something better so I stopped using at 17 years old, and have been clean for 11 years. At 18 I became pregnant and married right away. I thought I would have a “happy ever after” story, but I was wrong. My husband used drugs, and I lived with domestic violence. My daughter was 3 months old when he went to prison for 6 years for domestic violence against me. I did the best I could working from job to job for 7 years.
In 2012 along came beautiful baby #2. She was a surprise child and unfortunately her father didn’t want to play a role in her life. From that point forward I took on the responsibility for being mom/dad to both of my daughters. I felt defeated and broken. I joined a church and for the last 2 ½ years God has been healing and changing me. I was accepted into low-income housing in the beginning of my pregnancy. During this time I have been a stay at home mom. Somewhere along the way of being mom, cooking, cleaning, and everything else that comes along with it, I forgot about myself. Food became my new friend and comfort. I knew that I was gaining weight but it was like I was blinded or in denial. I thought I would lose weight but I didn’t, I kept gaining. I went from a size 5/7 to 14/16. I would donate all my clothes and have to keep raiding my mother’s closet to find clothes that fit. Family and friends would post pictures of me, and I felt horrified – it was like looking at a stranger!
When I heard about the No Excuse group I was a little skeptical that I would lose weight. After going through the group online and locally, I decided to take a step and join the challenge. I felt completely lost at first, it was like stepping into a whole new world. I would spend 60% of my day going through posts feeling inspired and gaining knowledge from other women. I had to learn that not every day was going to be a fantastic win, and that was ok as long as I made progress. I began seeing success in my progress pictures and changes in my body! My clothes that fit snuggly, started to feel loose. I became daring in how much I could push my body. I surprised myself with exercises I never knew I would be able to do. I realized that unlike past experiences in my life, this is the one thing I have control over. I don’t make excuses I make efforts. I have shared laughs and gained new friends. This is not the end for me, but the beginning. Thank you!