Our new feature, Makeover Diaries, tells the stories of women's real-life beauty transformations. This week, Meka Jones, a PhD student and mom of two from Alabama, gained 50 pounds before she vowed to take control of her weight -- and her life.

Photos: Courtesy of Meka L. Jones

I used to pride myself on my appearance. Family, friends, and even strangers would often tell me how how attractive I was. But after I married my husband, my busy life changed. Cooking breakfast replaced morning workouts, and washing dishes after dinner took the place of evening softball games.

Soon I became pregnant with our son, David Reese, and packed on about 50 pounds. I lost 11 pounds by the time he was 15 months old. Then I learned I was pregnant again, with our daughter, Avery Grace. I tried to eat well, but I didn't pay much attention to portion sizes. And with a baby that didn't sleep through the night until she was a year old and the required coursework I was completing to earn my master's degree (in physical education, of all things), I didn't have the time or energy to exercise. My life became about those that I love, and taking care of their wants and needs.

One night in bed, my husband tried to politely point out that I was gaining back the weight I had lost. He didn't say anything like this, but what I heard was that he no longer found me attractive and didn't love me unconditionally. I felt insulted and embarrassed, and as I lay there next to him, I thought, "I have had two children with this man. What is this bozo thinking, complaining about my weight?!"

Once I calmed down, I realized he was right. I vowed to lose the pounds for good. I joined Weight Watchers in March 2009, and attended meetings every Saturday morning. I followed the program, counted my points, and ended up losing 54 pounds.

I liked the change so much that I decided to go shopping. I went to Maurices, where I bought a pair of black pants and a solid white button-down shirt to add essentials to my closet. I I avoided shirts that drew attention to my large chest. I infused color into my new wardrobe by forcing myself to purchase pieces in shades that complemented my skin tone. I bought new minimizing bras at Belk that made my bust appear smaller, which made me feel more comfortable.

I visited my hairstylist, John Walls at Dwight Cox and Associates in Florence, Alabama, who straightened my unruly, curly hair with a retexturizer. I even added a few highlights. I ordered Chaz Dean's Wen hair care products to achieve the long flowing locks I once had. Perhaps most noticeably, I began to wear makeup again. I bought a complete set of Bare Escentuals medium-tone mineral makeup, a new tube of Maybelline Lash Stiletto mascara, and a small container of C.O. Bigelow Apothecaries mentha lip tint from Bath and Body Works.

Now, my weight is down, and I try to take time to look presentable when I leave the house to run errands. People once again look at me, instead of past me, and family and friends have all noticed the change. I never anticipated that I would allow my body and health to change quite so drastically, but what's important is that I managed to regain control.

Finally, I look like my old self again.

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