Thursday, February 9, 2017

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To all of my fitness friends:

As you may have noticed, I an not currently keeping up with this blog.  Right now, life is just keeping me so busy that I just have to take a step back.  You can continue to follow my journey or contact me via
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Coach Melissa

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

September 2016

It has been a while since I have left you with an update.  I actually sat down at the beginning of August to start a post, but I only got a few sentences in before I got called away to other tasks.  I'd like to say that I am far too busy to blog about my progress right now, but that is only partly true.  The other reason is that I just haven't been "feeling it".  I have been completely off of my game on nutrition, and a little lax in my exercise.  I am not seeing ANY results since the beginning of the summer.

I am not really sure where to begin.  Summertime, and the lack of a consistent schedule, left me unmotivated to stay on track.  I was still exercising 3-5 days a week, but my nutrition goals went out the window!  I have been indulging in far too many treats....and yes, they DO add up.  School started back up a month ago, and got me back on a schedule.  I home school my kids, and this year it proving to be a challenge with our schedule and fitting in time with each of my kids for school work.  I think though we have finally found a rhythm that works for us.  Fortunately for me, my daughter is taking a PE course this semester, and is required to do regular exercise (hello motivation).  So, over the past month, I have been on a pretty strict exercise schedule of about 60 minutes a day 6-7 days a week.  That has been a tremendous help in getting my fitness on a good schedule again.  Although 60 minutes a day is more that I am used to, it is working out well.  My daughter and I often do a 30 minute workout video during the day, and then take a 30 minute walk/run in the evening (an excellent activity for you mental health too).  We aren't following a program because her class requires more variety than any one program can provide.  It has been a hodge podge of  workouts, but we are having fun.  We have been enjoying Body Beast (much to her surprise, my daughter loves lifting), Country Heat (the newest Beachbody program...lots of dancing fun), T25, Brazil Butt Lift, Hammer and Chisel, 22 Minute Hard Corps, 3 Week Yoga Retreat (a Beachbody on Demand EXCLUSIVE), Slim in 6, and 21 Day Fix.  I am happy to report some increased muscle definition again, and my endurance is back!

On the nutrition side.... As I have mentioned in previous posts, when I don't stick with a clean eating plan, my body knows!  I get very bloated from intestinal inflammation and swelling, and my digestion is noticeably slower.  I get cramps, and I am gassy, and constipated.  Yup, I know TMI, but it is what it is.  All of the inflammation is caused by foods that kick my autoimmune disease into high gear.  Things that are high in fat, sugar, and even lots of gluten and dairy are problems.  Other foods, like corn and potatoes have negative affects on my digestive system too....however, when I have my eating under control, my body can sometimes tolerate these foods in some forms.  My body attacks my trigger foods as if they are an illness.  You might equate the bloating from a food intolerance to a fever, when you have the flu.  It's the body's natural response to an intruder.  I know all this, and yet I have still been off my game.  I finally made the decision to get strict this week.  I am following the 21 Day Fix meal plan, and in just 3 days, I am seeing FAR LESS bloat!!!  That is HUGE.  It is motivation to keep going.

Something else that I want to touch upon that has been affecting my progress and motivation, is anxiety and depression.  Everyone has struggles with both on occasion, especially when stress levels are high.  For others, it is a more serious problem.  My issues with anxiety and depression ebb and flow.  Most of the time it is very much under control, and simply maintaining a regular exercise routine helps keep everything in check.  However, sometimes, my stress levels kick up and my anxiety and depression (they always seem to come at the same time for me, never just one or the other).  I have been lucky enough to know that changing up my diet, and adding in a special regimen of supplements will help me to get back to normal.  I wanted to bring this up because it is important to recognize that mental health can have a huge affect on one's physical health.  If you are struggling with anxiety and depression, try adding in some regular exercise.  It WILL help.  If you still feel like you are not "getting back to normal", please talk to your doctor!!  Anxiety and depression happen to all of us at one time or another, and it is OK to admit that you need help when it gets out of hand.  It is NOT a sign of weakness, but instead a recognition that your brain chemistry is off.  If you felt your heart rate was off, or if your breathing is off, you would likely get that checked out.  Don't let your brain be any different!!  I would be happy to share what has worked for me, but everyone is different, and your doctor is the best place to start for a plan of action.

So what will the rest of 2016 bring for me?  Well, my goal is to drop 15 pounds by the end of the year...yup, even over the holidays.  I want my clothes to feel comfortable all winter long.  Now that I FINALLY have my energy levels under control (thank you vitamin D), I just need to get my mind focused back on keeping the rest of me healthy.          

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Spiritual Journey

I haven't posted in awhile, and I thought I should update.  I have not fallen off my journey, and I am not taking a break from coaching, but I feel like I have been "quieter" than usual.  Something I have been trying really hard to to this year is to stay focused on myself.  I am learning to cut out all the noise, and find my own center of peace.  I am going to touch upon a topic that I never really discuss on social media because it is very personal.  But I feel it is an important part of my journey, and that I should share, so you can better understand my journey.

 I am not a religious person.  Although I grew up in a home and with a family that are Christian, I do not consider myself a follower.  It isn't that I haven't "found God", or that I am a lost soul.  Honestly, I disagree with many of the mixed messages that religion teaches.  Yes, I celebrate Christmas, but I view is at a focus on family, friends, and to celebrate and appreciate those that are important in your life.  It is a chance to be thankful for what you have, and an opportunity to give to others and be selfless.  To me is is a way to make the world better.  I won't get into Easter, but I have a really hard time celebrating that as a holiday because it does not have the same significance as Christmas does to me.  Anyway, I  and not sharing this to start controversy, or to discuss my reasons for my beliefs, but because often times when folks find themselves on the sort of journey I have been following over the past year, they tend to find their inner spirit.  Many of my fellow coaching friends have turned toward their religion to help them reignite their passion and beliefs.  It helps them find a sense of purpose and calmness within their lives. For me, my spiritual journey is more of an internal journey.  I find that focusing inward on myself and my family gives me a sense of purpose.  I find my peace through meditation, reflection, and education.  THAT is what helps me to find my inner spirit.  I feel most calm when I am at one with nature - when I can breathe in fresh air and nourish my body with naturally healthy foods, and when I exercise to make my body feel good, and when I modify those exercise moves that I feel stress my body in the wrong way.  I am learning to listen to my body and to recognize what works well FOR ME.  I am making extra effort to really make quality time with my family, and to make them my priority above all else.  I am embracing my journey to seek out a true balance in my life that leaves me completely fulfilled and happy.  It is funny, it wasn't until this year, when I started to REALLY focus on myself, that I have come so close to finding myself feeling truly at peace with my life.  I truly love this peacefulness. 

I am trying to take you along on my journey as I find the best, and most healthy lifestyle for myself.  However, I am also finding that social media really adds stress to my life.  It seems to be even more difficult this year because it is a presidential election year.  I know what principles I believe in, and what issues are important to me.  I know the candidate that best represents me, and I know who will be getting my vote.  I believe in your right to your opinion, and your right to express your opinion.  However, posting your political opinions all over Facebook, is NOT going to change my beliefs.  It is NOT going to make a point that will override my opinion.  It just makes a statement about who you are and what you believe...and your desire to share it with the world.  You are entitled to do that.  Isn't it great that we live in a country where you can do that?  I'll be honest, I utilize that little "hide" option on Facebook ALL THE TIME!!  Just because your view is different than mine, does not mean you are a bad person.  It just means that different things help us find our own inner peace.  Personally, I don't want to be angry with the world, with our country, with our government, or with people in general.  I don't want to look to blame others for what is wrong in my own life.  I am an adult.  All of the problems I face were cause by decisions that I made, and not because of something that "happened" to me.  Yes, others have made my decisions, or outcomes of my decisions more difficult or complicated, but I MADE THE DECISION to begin with.  On the same note, all of the good things in my life are also a result of a decision that I made.  Sometimes I get it right, and sometimes I get it wrong.  Either way, I am glad to be able to guide my own future.  

One of the biggest decisions that I have made this year is to try to spend less time on Facebook.  I don't like scrolling through my news feed and reading so many opinions of things that people have no control over.  You have every right to form an opinion.  I have every right to ignore your opinion.  However, it is hard to scroll past things you see on Facebook...and I can't "unread" things.  Even though I use that wonderful little "hide" option, I still get tired of all of the drama.  My journey is telling me that I need to avoid that drama in order to find my inner peace.  I am not leaving behind social media.  I am just making sure that it is not working against my goals.  I am committed to helping others to reach their fitness goals, and I do most of my work through Facebook.  However, you may find that connection with me through social media might be a little less frequent (except in my Facebook support groups).  

Thank you to everyone that takes the time to follow my journey.  I hope that in some small way, my journey is helping you to find your own path to health and happiness.  ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

It is what it is

If you are just starting to follow my journey, you may be wondering why I am going about my nutrition and exercise so meticulously.  I really don't want to be, but the truth is that I have been on quite a journey over the past 2 years, and I am finally starting to find progress again...and I just don't want to lose that.  Here's a little background.....

In 2012 was going through a very stressful time in my life, and in my marriage.  My husband, Jeff,  had jumped into his own business venture, and he was busy ALL THE TIME.  It put a real strain on our marriage and our family.  I started focusing on my health and fitness.  For 2 years, I worked hard to get fit.  In May of 2014 I was in the best shape of my adult life.  I lost 60+ pounds.  I slimmed and toned my body.  For the first time since I was in high school, I felt confident in who I was, and was not self conscious about my weight and my appearance.  I was also coaching others on their journey.  Fast forward to the fall of 2014....I started gaining weight, despite the fact that I was still eating right and exercising.  It didn't seem to matter what I did, I could not lose the weight again.  My efforts seemed to pause the weight gain, but would not reverse it.  I was also VERY tired, and never seemed to have enough energy.  I became more frustrated and self conscious.  In spring of 2015, I finally made my way to the doctor.  I was certain I was having thyroid issues.  Hypothyroidism runs in my family, and I thought for sure it was finally hitting me.  After a handful of blood tests, it turns out I have Epstein-Barr Virus...and my numbers were HIGH.  I decided to slow down and try not to stress my body anymore that necessary.  I did for awhile, but when you are into regular exercise, it can be REALLY HARD to stop.  I was continuing to exercise, and still not seeing progress...nothing on the scale, no inches lost, no change in progress pics.  This created more stress.  I was doing the things I needed to do for my EBV, and trying to keep my numbers down.  The energy was increasing, but I was jumping full speed into intense workouts, and spending all of that energy as quickly as I could create it.  The fall of 2015 was tough.  I kept exercising, and not seeing much progress.  I was still holding steady.  However, whenever I took a break, I gained weight...weight that I could not lose back.  Finally by January of 2016, I found myself 30 pounds heavier...even though I was trying to eat right, and I was exercising regularly.  Jeff and I started into the Master's Hammer and Chisel program (which I love).  We completed the full 2 months of the program.  I did not expect to lose weight with the program because it is about building muscle and toning the body.  However, I did not lose many inches wither.  My arms and shoulders looked amazing, but my midsection just was not changing at all.  I was ready to jump into the 22 Minute Hard Corps program, in March.  Unfortunately, we had a spell of really warm weather, and my allergies (asthma) hit me hard.  I had to stop working out.  It was a total wake up call for me.   I started to research and focus on my nutrition.  I have been learning a lot about organic food, and GMO's and how they affect the body.  I stopped stepping on the scale, and instead trying to focus on my health and how I was feeling.  My energy was low again, and I was having some issues with my Mirena birth control.  After I had it removed, my hormones were WAY out of whack.  I spent all of March and April, NOT exercising, and just focusing on my nutrition in order to reset my hormones.  I was feeling a little better, but I couldn't seem to shake the fatigue.  I called up my doctor again and made another appointment.  THIS TIME, I insisted on the full panel of thyroid tests.  Well, those all came out perfectly normal.  I can officially rule out my thyroid.  It turns out my vitamin D was low, and my EVB was flaring up a bit.  A week before my doctor's appointment, I made the decision to purchase the Ultimate Reset program (it was on sale).  I had done the reset before and had excellent results.  However, it was a tough program, and I was intimidated about doing it again.   However, the timing was perfect.  I KNEW it was a sign that I needed this program RIGHT NOW, to help reset my body.  So I took the leap.  You can scroll back my last few posts to see my reset journey.  What is important from that program is that I FEEL BETTER.  My energy is up, and I feel like I can move back into working out again.  Also, for the first time in 2 years, the scale is working in my favor.  Slowly but surely, I am seeing progress.

I have learned a lot through my journey. My biggest lesson is that you have to REALLY learn to listen to your body.  Working harder and being more strict with your eating is NOT ALWAYS THE WAY TO SEE PROGRESS.  Sometimes, doing those things can make things worse!!  If you are working hard and not seeing results, then try taking a step back.  Allow your body to HEAL.  Don't end up in my situation where I was working so hard to see progress that I was over stressing my body, and hindering my ability to have results.    

If you are struggling, and need some help, please reach out to me.  I have BEEN THERE!  I know how frustrating and stressful it is, and how that stress can really work against your progress.  If you can trust the process, I can help you reverse it.  It won't happen over night, but it WILL happen.          


Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Ultimate Reset - Week 3...and results

I am sorry for the delay in sharing my Ultimate Reset week 3 experience, and final results.  As many of you know, it is nearing the end of the school year, and things are CRAZY in our house!!  Nevertheless, I am here now, sharing with you :).

OK, so week 3 was a little harder that weeks 1 and 2.  During week 3, in addition to the vegan eating plan, I removed grains from my diet.  My daily breakfast consisted of a plate of fresh fruit...I didn't take daily pics of my breakfast.  Lunch was usually a salad, sometimes accompanied with soup.  Dinner varied from roasted veggies, to soup, to stir fried veggies.  This last week was the ONLY week, I really found myself having cravings.  They were not big cravings (I wasn't feeling deprived), but just missing some foods.  I REALLY started to miss my coffee.  Victories for the week - I took my son and his friends out to dinner at Steak 'N Shake and a movie, to celebrate his birthday...and I DID NOT EAT A THING!  I had my Shakeology before we went to dinner, and had all of my dinner food prepped and ready to go for when I got back home.  Then on my LAST day, we were invited to a friend's house for dinner.  I brought my own food with me!  My friends are super understanding about my commitment to my health and completing the reset.  They were not at offended.

Ultimate Reset RESULTS:  I am down a total of 10.4 pounds, 3.5 inches off my waist, 2 inches off my hips, 2 inches off my chest, and 3 inches off each of my thighs!  My before and after pics do not show a huge change to me, because my brain focuses on my problem areas, and I don't SEE a lot of change there.  HOWEVER, you can definitely see the difference in my face.  I feel great.  I have lots of energy, and I am sleeping well, and waking very well rested.  

What I have learned after completing the reset....  

  • I can do ANYTHING for 3 weeks.
  • There are more ways to eat vegetables than steaming them and having as a side dish
  • I don't NEED meat (although I do enjoy it, and have no plans to give it up)
  • I am not eating enough healthy fats in my diet
  • My food digests better when I do not drink water (or any other beverage) within 15 minutes BEFORE and 30 minutes AFTER eating.  Seriously, this was a HUGE thing.  When you drink during a meal, it dilutes the stomach acids, which hinders your body's ability to digest food properly.  Give it a try, and you will notice a big difference.
  • I need more meditation and calmness in my life.  I really have this need to just be one with nature. 
  • I have a true appreciation of how my environment affects my health.
  • I LOVE baked sweet potatoes.  
  • I LOVE beets.
  • coffee is an important part of my life.
  • I miss my workouts.  I am ready to start lifting again.  
  • My family needs to eat more of these veggie dishes
What now?   So coming out of the reset, I am taking my time.  I do not want to undo all of my hard work.  I also want to avoid the inflammation of unfamiliar foods in my diet (specifically with foods that I typically eat, but have taken out of my diet for the past 3 weeks).  I am slowly reintroducing foods back into my diet.  This week, my goal is to increase my calories, and add grains and legumes back into my plan.  Next week, I will be adding in meat.  I am going to continue to avoid dairy, and processed carbs, and I plan to keep the sweets and treat low.  I will also continue drinking my Shakeology.  Once I am back up to eating enough calories to sustain my workouts, I am going to do another round of Hammer and Chisel.  Now that my body is prepped and ready to go,  I am ready to build muscle and sculpt my body. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

Ultimate Reset - Week 2 DONE!

The 2nd phase of the Ultimate Reset is called Release.  The idea is that in this week, is that you release all of those toxins from your body.  During this week, many folks may experience fatigue, body aches, even acne.  It is all because the toxins that have been hiding deep in the body are trying to make their way out.  Fortunately, I only had a bit of fatigue (not as bad as last week).  I did however, suffer from some bloating and constipation.  I know TMI.  But, I have to be REAL, and let's face it, going to the bathroom is part of healthy digestion.  OK, so , this week, all dairy and meat were eliminated from my diet.  I was still able to enjoy plenty of veggies, healthy fats, and some whole grains (rice, quinoa, millet).  In addition, a detox (high fiber) drink was added to my supplements before each meal.  One would think that such a drink would cause more"release" rather than constipation, but this particular detox drink is designed to slow things down just a bit, so the intestines are better able to absorb the nutrients from the food I am eating.  So, now all of my cells are getting some high quality nutrients from REAL food, and those nutrients are helping to create new, healthy cells in my body (because you truly are what you eat), that will work hard to help my entire body function better.  My gut is healing from the stress of working so hard to digest foods that were not pure nutrition.  I just can't express to you how much better I FEEL.

There is something about doing something extraordinarily HEALTHY for your body, that just makes you FEEL amazing.  I think a lot of that can be attributed to the body's ability to function better.  Imagine that you are a person that wears glasses.  Now imagine that junk food and processed foods are like trying to look at the world without your glasses on.  You can kind of see things, but stuff isn't very clear, and the details may be too hard to make out.  Now, when you put your glasses on, everything is much clearer.  You can make out the details, and probably see things that you didn't notice before.  Putting those glasses on, is similar to how the body responds to healthy REAL food.  What do I mean by REAL food?  I mean the stuff that nature made.  When you go to the store and buy a box of something that is labeled healthy, that is not REAL food.  REAL foods are your fruits, veggies, healthy fats, whole grains, even lean meats.  It is the stuff that people ate BEFORE the invention of factories.  It is the stuff that you buy fresh, and will not keep as long in your refrigerator.

I embarked on this program as part of my journey because my body NEEDED to be reminded that food is a means to fuel my body and help it function as efficiently as possible.  Although I enjoy the taste of sweets and treats, this REAL food can also be made to taste AMAZING.  I had forgotten that some of the meals in this program are so delicious...and not at all difficult to incorporate into my daily eating.  My biggest struggle is that I don't like to cook.  I know how to cook, and I can make amazing dishes, but I just don't enjoy taking the time to do it.  The beauty of a program like this is that you have to take time to prepare your food.  For someone like me, it gets me into the habit of prepping ahead of time.  That is something I am not very good at.  However, it is something I need to practice more.      

I know you are waiting to hear my week 2 results.....

This week, I lost 2.5 inches in my waist, and I am down ANOTHER 4 pounds!!!  Wow!!  That is 8 pounds total in 2 weeks.  I never really expected to be dropping the pounds this quickly.  There are folks posting in my support groups that have lost 10 pounds in a week.  My body has never really worked like that.  Typically, I lose VERY slowly, and only about every other week.  FYI - I DO NOT weigh myself daily.  I have only been stepping on the scale once a week for my Reset.

The food continues to be delicious.  I am getting a little tired of salads, but at least the plan is mixing them up a bit.  I didn't take as many food pic this week because, many of the meals are similar to last week, but I will still share.  My FAVORITE meal of the reset is the Mediterranean roasted beets.  They are good hot or cold, by themselves, or topping a salad!  YUM!!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Ultimate Reset - Week 1 DONE

This is not my first time doing the Ultimate Reset.  I did it in February of 2014.  While I really loved the recipes, and the experience, I did feel that it was extremely rigid.  I had great results, and learned a lot, but all of that strictness with the timing of supplements, and food just had me stressed out.  I am sure that is what has prevented me from repeating this program again.  This time around, the experience is VERY different.  Over the past few months, I have been trying to do something similar with my eating all on my own.  It just wasn't working out for me.  I needed to be on a plan that would keep me focused and really steer me away from cheating.  I am so glad I decided to do the reset!  This is EXACTLY what I needed, EXACTLY when I needed it.

I am 1 full week in (and a few days), and I am surprisingly down 4.6 pounds.  It is sorta funny because I have hardly lost any fact, I have gained a little in the inch department.  THAT NEVER HAPPENS to me when I start a program.  It's all good though.  It is all part of the process.  The first week, Phase 1:Reclaim, is sort of a prep week.  During this week, you are starting to change your eating over to a vegan diet.  You phase out meat and dairy, and by the end of the week, you will be eating all vegan.  This is also the phase where folks will experience some detox side effects,  caffeine withdrawal (if you are a regular coffee or soda drinker) ...YUP, I experienced that one!  Going strong with NO COFFEE for 9 days now! Along with the headache, I had some crazy nausea.  As with any detox, your body will go through changes. The purpose of the Ultimate Reset is to do just that, "Reset" your body.  Part of that process involves getting all of the toxins out of the way, so your body can run more efficiently.  It isn't just a physical detox either.  Often times individuals will feel an emotional detox too.  For me, I am just feeling very zen about the whole program.  I don't know that zen is the right term, but I just feel a sense of calm.  I am embracing this program and seeking that change in my body and my mind.  I think with all that I have learned about food and what my body really needs to run smoothly (and get me healthy), that I just needed this program to set the tone.  I don't see having to cook two meals (one for myself, and one for my family) as a hassle or an inconvenience.  Typically, I would, but I am really enjoying my meals, and I am actually enjoying cooking for my family too (don't tell them that).  as strange as it sounds, I am NOT feeling at all deprived.  Although the food that I am eating is fairly low in calories (between 1200-1400 calories per day), it is super nutritious.  Besides a salad that starts with 3 cups of lettuce, is no small salad!  One of the best parts of this program that I truly enjoy (and also enjoyed when I completed it a few years ago), is the quality of my sleep.  I truly sleep like a baby.  I feel so relaxed, and wake up feeling like I truly got a good nights rest.  Even with the great sleep, I have been plagued by fatigue during this week.  It's not the 'I'm sleepy' sort of fatigue, but the 'my body is so tired that I can't seem to make it move across the room' sort of fatigue - on a side note, I went to my Doc last week, and she is testing me to see if my Epstein-Barr is having a flare up, among a bunch of other blood tests.  The fatigue is much better this week.

OK, So I know you are wondering what kind of food is on this plan.  Well, no need to worry...I took pictures!  This plan is set up with 3 meals per day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), and an optional snack.  Shakeology is allowed on this program, but is recommended that you only have it a few times a week.  Since I committed to 366 days of Shakeology at the beginning of this year, I am making the program work for me, so I don't lose sight of my commitment and goals. Sometimes I have my Shakeology for Breakfast or an afternoon snack, using the special recipes provided for the program.  Other days, I have my Shakeology for an evening snack, using only 1/2 a serving and mixing with only water. That is not part of the plan, but one thing I have learned throughout my journey is that plans have to be adaptable to your specific situation.  Every plan will be different for every person that tries it.  Just because you follow it to a T, does not mean you will get the same results as your best friend that did the program with you.  Our bodies are super complex, and respond to things differently.  So, you have to be flexible when it comes to your plan.

With no further adieu, here are some food pics :)

This certainly was not ALL of my meals for 7 days, but it gives you a great idea of what delicious things are in this plan.  Best guess work.  The Ultimate Reset comes with shopping lists, and the recipes for how to make each meal!