EAST TEXAS (KYTX) -- Melanie Howie is a mom to a 4-year-old boy with spina bifida. In April 2009, she was at the playground with him when she realized she was too big to care for him the way she wanted.
"We were going up and down the slides," Howie said. "I'm close to 200 pounds and I can't do it. That day, I sat down at the end of the slide and just bawled."
That same day, Howie decided to start Weight Watchers. She wanted to lose 60 pounds.
"The most important part is the tracking part of it," she said. "It changes your thinking about how you are going to eat and then you start thinking of food more like fuel instead of not thinking at all and scarfing it down."
Howie also started taking baby steps and exercising once or twice a week. She said it wasn't easy with the extra weight.
"My feet were stuck to the Earth," she said. "It was kind of what it felt like. I couldn't get up and move. I wasn't nimble or fast at all."
But by April of 2010, a year into her regiment, Howie decided to run a half marathon.
"I stumbled across the White Rock and I found out it raised money for Scottish Rite, where my son is treated," she said. "So I said, "okay, I am going to give this a shot.'"
Howie started training by walking a minute then running a minute, for 30 minutes. Soon, she was able to run 30 minutes straight and eventually made it to 12 miles.
That's when she knew, she could handle the half marathon.
"I'm not fast but I am a runner," she said. "I never thought I could do it."
But she didn't have to lose the weight alone. Her husband, Tim, also joined Weight Watchers and lost 130 pounds.
"You know I started doing this for my son, but you can only do something for someone else for so long," he said. "Then it finally became for me."
Howie said caring for her special needs son is so much easier now that she's not overweight. She said she can even go down that slide with him.
Melanie has now completed three half marathons and just finished White Rock Dec. 4.