The breaking point for overweight Melanie Osman came one morning when she dropped off her middle child at preschool. Here were these other young, attractive mothers dressed in stylish attire. But at 5 feet, 5 inches, weighing 260 pounds, Osman opted for her everyday black sweat pants.
“I was sick of being fat, sick of looking at the closet with nothing to wear. Sick of being depressed,” said Osman, who lives in the San Diego suburb of Chula Vista. “I wore nothing but black stretch pants. I said, ‘I’m done. I’m done with this.’”
That was September 2012. Less than four years later, Osman is physically less than half the woman she once was. She weighs 128 pounds and brags, “My husband can’t keep his hands off me.”
And last month, the 35-year-old showed off that new body in front of thousands of runners when she participated in the Suja Rock ‘n’ Roll San Diego Marathon last year. For Osman, who has run four half marathons since Dec. 28, running has enabled her to rediscover the athlete within. She swam competitively during her childhood; at Clairemont High, she participated in track, soccer and tennis. Living in San Diego, she surfed and skateboarded. She also ran two marathons in 1999.
But then came motherhood, and Osman gave birth to three children in 3 years. Aiden is 5 and daughters Sydney and Taylor are 4 and 2. Pregnant far more often than she was not during those three years, Osman gained weight, had increased stress levels and ate poorly. She also discovered during that span that she was diabetic.
“I didn’t have a lot of time to recoup my body weight,” she said. “And the diabetes never went away.”
To first attack her weight-loss goals, Osman hired a personal trainer and changed her eating habits. In one year, she lost 40 pounds. But still at 220 pounds, she still felt fat. In January 2014 she underwent a gastric sleeve surgery, which makes the stomach smaller, requiring less food to feel full. In another year, Osman dropped 92 pounds, down to 128. A friend told her, “You look amazing.”
In June 2014, Osman wanted to see if she could run for 5 minutes on a treadmill. “I can do this,” she told herself. Five minutes turned into seven, then eight. “I really can do this,” she muttered to herself.
The 5-minute jog morphed into 15 minutes with a smiling Osman stepping off the treadmill, barely able to contain her happiness.
“I ran the entire time,” she said. “Didn’t stop. I can’t tell you how liberating it felt.”
The next month she joined a twice-a-week mothers jogging club. She ran a 5K in October, a half marathon in late December, then joined a training program for the San Diego event in January. She ran twice a week with the group, trained twice a week with the marathon program, and worked out twice a week with her personal trainer to prepare for the race.
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“I’m extremely proud of her,” said Osman’s husband, T.J. “She put herself on hold [with the children]. Now, she takes more time for herself. I’m definitely happy. The kids are happy. Everyone’s happy.”
In addition to losing weight, Osman ditched some now-t00-big pieces of clothing as well–but purchasing new apparel at a department store every week can be expensive. Because she was losing weight so rapidly, Osman shopped at Goodwill for a while. And one day, she celebrated an emotional parting with her black stretchy sweat pants.
“Thank you,” Osman said to the pants, crying as she retells the story. “You got me through it. But I don’t need you anymore. Now they’re gone, gone, gone.”
In its place, she purchased skinny jeans and black heels. “My friends call me a little diva,” she said.
Before ditching the weight, she didn’t like the attention she received at the gym. Today, people still eye her, but she senses the stares are for different reasons. And on May 31, the once-260-pound woman took off early in the morning in Balboa Park, not stopping until she jogged into Petco Park 26.2 miles later, knocking off her first marathon in 16 years and finishing in 4:53:49.
“I feel great and kind of sexy,” said Osman. ”I’m happy. I’m in the prime of my life. I feel like the ‘Comeback Momma.’”