Melissa's journey on the Pound for Pound Challenge

Thanks to our very own, Melissa Wajnert Hartzell, for sharing this inspirational story on the blog and for her committment to fighting hunger through personal health goals! Do you have a Pound for Pound (PFP) Challenge story?  Share it with us on the Inter-Faith Food Shuttle's PFP Facebook group by clicking here.

By: Melissa Wajnert Hartzell

So it has been several weeks since I first pledged to lose 25 pounds for the Pound for Pound Challenge.  I have had some success, a few setbacks (snow, sick kids, yummy food in the house) and there is still more work to be done!

Forgiveness & Focusing Beyond Self

The first thing I did is I forgave myself for the weight I had gained and committed to losing weight not just for myself but to help people who are facing food insecurity.  I have struggled with my weight my entire life… now that I am committed to help create solutions for people who are hungry and food insecure… my relationship with food has changed.  I view food less as a comfort and more of a critical resource that all people deserve to have access.  Food directly impacts our health whether we are faced with abundance or food insecurity.  Besides, it is not fair for me to expect more from my children to eat healthy than I do of myself. Bottom line, I can be healthier and that is what I am working so hard to do for my family, for my health, and to raise money and food for those that are food insecure.

New Habits & Get Up and Move

During the week I am doing pretty well with sticking to my new lifestyle…I refuse to use the word diet.  I no longer skip breakfast, grab junk at lunch and then go home to make plenty of comfort food.  Instead I have started new habits…I start my day with a protein smoothie and vitamins, for lunch I have either another smoothie and fruit or salad and then for dinner a well balanced meal.

As difficult as it is to find the time to work out I am enjoying when I do go to the gym especially now that my pants that were once tight are loose and much more comfortable.  If I was to give myself a grade: nutrition solid B+; exercise C.  The good news is I am not failing, I feel better than I have in years, and have a solid foundation to build on.  That bad news is I still struggle to make time for exercise.  If I don’t make it to the gym more than a day or two, I dance with my kids in the living room.  At least it is a start to moving more.

Asking for Support & Celebrating Small Successes

I tell everyone I have a personal relationship with that I am losing weight and I ask for their support.  They keep me in check when they ask how things are going and I feel accountable to people beyond myself.

I celebrate the little successes: Walking by desserts and no longer craving them, losing a pound on the scale, feeling great all day, having my kids reflecting back to me ways to make better choices while we are shopping at the store.  I am grateful for the access I have to healthy food and celebrate that I am helping people in our community have better access to healthy food.


Since January 1st , the good news is I am down a size, lost 15 pounds and raised 15 pounds of food for people who are food insecure in our community.  I feel less sluggish and have more energy.  I am so excited that I am already a 1/3 of the way towards my goal, I decided to challenge myself more and ask my friends and family to help me help others who are food insecure!  Last week on my Facebook page I posted:

“I am pledging to lose 40 pounds by my 40th birthday for Inter-Faith Food Shuttle. Would you please consider making a pledge to donate $1 per pound I lose by June 30th?”  More than 55 people have joined the cause because of me and several have committed to support Inter-Faith Food Shuttle and my weight loss by pledging a $1 for each pound I lose! I am excited that the work I am doing to live healthier is making a difference and serving as a catalyst for others to help.