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I entered the preschool orientation and saw a crowd of moms and one person whom I could not quite place. Was she a slightly older mom or a young grandma? Her heavyset frame said "Grandma," but her unlined face said "Mom." What I didn't know about her was that she was:

1. Younger than I
2. Destined to become a friend whom I admire tremendously

Michelle Clemovich, one of Fredericksburg Parent's most beloved bloggers, was the mom in question, and back in 2009 she did look a good deal older than her real age. Excessive weight will do that. The cuter clothes are usually off-limits, movements are laborious and the resulting look is generally best described as "matronly."

Though Michelle had a warm smile, gorgeous blue eyes, and was clearly a committed and active member of the preschool, she was held back from fully enjoying her life by her size and had incipient health conditions, such as asthma and sleep apnea, that her physician suggested to her were not going to improve until she lost weight.

So her journey began. Atkins Diet, Weight Watchers and Jazzercize — she put forth every effort. But the pounds stubbornly clung on until she decided to take drastic action and undergo gastric bypass surgery. I didn't know any of this until I saw a status update on Facebook in November 2012. Surgery? Michelle? I saw a wonderful opportunity to help support her and also to allow her to support others by sharing her story via a Fredericksburg Parent blog.

Voila! Our tremendously popular blog, Weigh In was born. Michelle has held nothing back from her writing. From her renewed vitality —running 5Ks — and cute outfits — thanks to fashion expert and fellow Fredericksburg Parent blogger, Michelle LeDrew — to the emergency hospitalizations and loss of her bust line, she's been candid about her journey from the plus size department to the domain of the chic and trendy.

weigh-to-pretty

Challenges lie ahead and she knows that weight can creep back on more easily than it was ever lost and that maintaining a healthy size will take Michelle's careful vigilance for the rest of her life. But, she set her mind to something that was hard, really hard, and she did it!

Whether your goal is to lose several dress sizes like Michelle, find a new job or just find the time to clean out the kids' closets, go for it! Dream big or small, but make a plan and do it! Oh yes, and let us know how you're doing...maybe you will be our next blogger!

Seriously, we can't wait to hear from you!

Write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. if you think you have a story to tell and/or a blog to write.

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Pouches' Community Corner

Bikers Against Child Abuse, Inc. (BACA) exists to create a safer environment for abused children by empowering children to not feel afraid of their world. Imagine how an abused child feels when a group of large bikers rides up to their house, inducts them into their club and then escorts them to court to testify against their abuser.

Pouches bike

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