Radiologic Technologist, First In Family: Melissa Kent


I now have a healthier relationship with food. I don't feel guilty for eating a cookie or eating too many carbs. In fact, I have learned my body likes carbs! I don't worry that I ate the wrong thing because I now know what works for my body.”

Tell us a little bit about yourself... ​

My name is Melissa.

I’m 38 years old and from Boston, MA.

I’m a radiologic technologist and work in the cardiac cath lab and have been doing so for the past 5 years. It can be a very stressful job that involves many hours on my feet, sick patients, and being on call.

I live with my partner, Chris, and we just bought our first house in December. We have a very special cat named Marceline that was a former stray.

I love lifting weights and go to an awesome strength and conditioning gym. 

What brought you to the First In Family initially?

I initially heard about First In from a friend that, like me, had struggled with his weight his entire life.

We had both been vegan, then paleo, done Crossfit and continued to struggle with our weight, but this time was different. He was seeing results and he was eating all the foods he enjoyed.

Plus, he had a lot of support from the coaches and the rest of the family.

All of these things are what made me choose First In.

Tell us a little bit about your background and history with food.

My struggle with weight started at 5 years old. It was like one day I woke up and was chubby. This struggle continued through high school and into my 20s and 30s.

I remember feeling helpless and powerless as a kid.

I was overweight no matter what I did which made me want to eat more. My weight was often a topic of conversation with my family and what they could do to incentivize me to lose it.

Meanwhile. my dad struggled with his weight and would yo-yo diet. He, unfortunately, died of cardiac arrest at age 40.

I started high school and gained more weight during this time. Getting to my heaviest weight during my junior year. I had an emotional relationship with food, was sad about my weight, and ate more despite wanting to stop.

I was diagnosed with hypoglycemia when I was 19 which prompted me to see a nutritionist. I started trying to eat “healthy” and pay attention to what I ate. I also started grouping foods into good and bad foods.

I gained and lost weight in my 20’s and 30’s. I was vegetarian, vegan, and then paleo. I started doing Crossfit in my late 20’s but still wasn’t getting the results I wanted. Continuing to struggle with body composition and image. I felt very lost and struggled to make progress despite doing what I thought was right.

What was the turning point in your life when you realized you needed to make a change?

Things got tough for me when I was diagnosed with a congenital heart condition at age 35 which required urgent surgery. I had a anamoly with one of my coronary arteries which can cause sudden death.

I had to stop exercising immediately. I went almost a year without exercising. I gained 20lbs during this time.

I tried going back to Crossfit and couldn’t back into it. I tried several different gyms and struggled to loose the weight I gained after my surgery. I realized  it was a time for a change at this point.

I had been through a lot, my body had been through a lot, and it was time to invest in myself. I owed it to myself.

What was the journey like and what changes did you make?

The journey has been a learning experience.

I used to think that I needed to snack all the time to keep my blood sugar up. But I have actually learned that I feel better eating three meals a day with one snack at the end of the day.

I can go longer without eating and rarely have a hypoglycemic episode.

I also started eating what I wanted and stopped labeling foods bad or good. If I want cereal and it fits, I eat cereal. If I want ice cream and it fits, I eat ice cream.

It’s so freeing!

How do you feel after making those changes?

I now have a healthier relationship with food.

I don’t feel guilty for eating a cookie or eating too many carbs. In fact, I have learned my body likes carbs!

I don’t worry that I ate the wrong thing because I now know what works for my body. 

What did your friends/family think of your transformation?

I have had a pretty dramatic transformation which prompted a lot of comments from co workers. Things like: “I hope you’re not going to lose anymore weight.” “You’re really skinny.”

Luckily, friends and family have been supportive.

There were times when it was tough on my relationship since my partner and I don’t have similar goals but we were able to talk and come to an understanding. 

Were you active or did you workout during your journey?

I love working out! It has always been priority to me.

I am currently in the best shape of my life and can lift as much weight as I did when I was 30lbs heavier. Actually I might even be able to lift more weight!

Either way, I make sure to lift weights three times a week and have always done so during my journey. 

What does being First In mean to you?

First In to me means accountability.

It’s about getting better everyday and knowing that you have the support to do so.

It’s knowing you have the power to make a change and you’re in control of sticking to it.

What was the biggest challenge or change when you started with First In and how did you overcome it?

Weighing and measuring was new to me when I started First In. I thought it was going to be such a hassle but it has just become a part of my daily life.

I thought tracking was overwhelming. I was consumed with knowing that everything was exact. But then I realized that nothing in life is perfect and same goes with tracking.

It’s all about being consistent and doing the best you can.

What’s next for you and where do you see this journey taking you in the future? ​

I’m continuing to work on body composition and get stronger.

I want to see where this journey takes me and what I can do to be the best version of myself.

What are your top 5 "secrets" for success?

1- Consistency is key. Find what works for you. For me, it’s planning ahead and copying and pasting meals in My Fitness Pal. This might not work for you but I know it works for me!

2- Be patient. Change will happen! It might not be as fast as you want but it will happen.

3- Trust the process. There is a method to the madness and it works!

4- Use the First In Family and Facebook page as a resource. It’s a good forum to ask questions, get advice, make friends, and get food ideas!

5- Never hesitate to ask your coach questions and be open about what’s going on in your life. They are always there for you.


any advice for someone thinking about getting started?

Do it! You won’t regret it! It’s the best decision you will ever make for yourself


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    Testimonials were given freely and service members did not receive any preferential treatment, discount, or other benefit due to the nature of their service, rank, or position and in no way are the views or beliefs of any branch of the armed forces or uniformed services.