‘Fitness’ Category

  1. How I lost all of my baby weight

    February 19, 2016 by Melanie Faris

    During my pregnancy I gained around 35lbs, give or take a few. But even before I got pregnant, I was higher on the scale since I let my diet slide a bit and wasn’t working out as much as I used to before I got married. So overall I was about 45 pounds heavier by the end of my pregnancy than my pre-marriage weight 3 years ago.

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    Before I got married and had a baby, I was exercising on a very regular basis and made the gym my #1 priority. Now meal planning and a strict exercise regimen is just not practical, and that’s okay with me! But yet, here I am today weighing LESS than I did before I got pregnant. So if I didn’t follow a strict diet plan or exercise program after having a baby, how did I do it?

    For those of you who have followed me for a while, you know I love eating healthy. Over the years I have naturally geared more towards the healthier choices than french fries and fast food. I guess you can say I eat healthy for the most part, but don’t get me wrong, I am totally happy to enjoy pizza on the weekend and a nice slice of cheesecake occasionally. I don’t limit myself, and I don’t really diet, but I do enjoy eating healthy most of the time. For me, I know that has helped me make consistent progress. Eating healthy for me no longer means egg whites for breakfast, or counting calories throughout the day. It works for some, just not for me at this point in my life. And it’s certainly not how I lost my baby weight…

    I have never been good at sticking to one thing. It’s going to be difficult for me to tell you EXACTLY what I did to lose my baby weight and the cellulite off my thighs (which I’ve had for a long time, and no longer do). I’m a bit of a squirrel and often start one thing before finishing the last ten things I started. I get distracted and excited about new things all the time, so you won’t find a list of things I did consistently to lose weight. I will give you a general idea of my days postpartum and peek into a “normal day” in the life of Melanie (if there is such a thing), and hopefully that can help you with your goals as well!

    1-3 Months Postpartum

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    Once I had Norah, I didn’t care about getting my pre-baby body back right away. I was more enthralled with this new precious being than I was over what I ate in a day. To be honest, I didn’t have the time, nor the energy to cook. I was happy with take out, something in the freezer, or heck – PB&J would suffice. I didn’t exercise much at all for the first 3 months of Norah’s life. The most exercise I did was a walk around the neighborhood with my new baby, the very occasional run, or grocery shopping (that counts right?). I didn’t care if I held onto those extra pounds for those first few months, I was just loving every moment of being a new mom.

    I had to wait until Norah was 3 months before I could leave her at the gym daycare. Once I could bring her with me, I started going to the gym and doing very light/easy workouts. I did mostly body weight exercises, and it was enough for me! I did very basic exercises and found that I only needed to be there for 30 minutes to get a good workout. Plus I had a very hungry baby who I couldn’t leave much longer than that amount of time.

    I did not do ANY ab exercises for approx 5 or 6 months postpartum. I waited a while so that I didn’t risk having diastasis rectus abdominis (which is basically when your abs stay separated postpartum). I could feel a space between my abs for a while postpartum, so I waited until it was no longer there before doing any crunches.

    Tip #1. Go easy. Don’t rush into an exercise program after having a new baby. Your body needs time to adjust and figure out how to function without having to grow a baby anymore. Besides, you will be so busy with your new little one that exercise isn’t a top priority…not in those first few months at least. Give yourself rest, and try to eat well. Light exercise is fine, but don’t jump into anything too intense at this point.

    4 + Months Postpartum

    Now that I was settled into motherhood and had a bit more flexibility with my days, I was going to the gym more and able to cook most of my meals again. I was doing a Jamie Eason program called “From Flat to All That”  for about a month, which was awesome and got me to the gym on a more regular basis, but that only lasted a short while (told you I’m a squirrel). I sometimes go back and do her workouts, but I haven’t been consistent with them since having a baby to care for.

    At this point, I have been going to the gym or exercising at home around 3 days a week, sometimes 4. There are weeks I don’t go at all, but I do feel a bit sluggish if I skip an entire week.

    Tip #2. You don’t need to follow a program to get results. However, programs will fast-track your results since you have something to work towards and follow. Even if you don’t complete a program, try one out for a while and get yourself back into regular exercising during the week. Try to be consistent and build up your strength again, but don’t feel bad if you miss a workout. Baby’s get sick, Mommy’s get sick, and life throws curve balls. Just go with it and don’t throw the towel in. Pick up where you left off once you are able to.

    9 Months + Postpartum

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    Still not following any special program at this point. I am comfortable at the gym lifting weights again and go 3-4 days/week. Occasionally I will run on the treadmill at home, but it is not something I do on a regular basis.

    A Typical Workout

    Warm-up for 5 minutes on treadmill or elliptical. *If I feel like doing more cardio, I will stay on for 20 minutes.

    3 sets of 10-15 repetitions of each: squats, machine chest press, tricep-dips, shoulder press, dumbell bicep curls, lat pull-down machine & calf raises. (Sometimes I will add in abs in-between or at the end).

    Tip #3. Weight lifting is what helped me to tighten up and bounce back quickly. Before I got pregnant I did mostly weight lifting over cardio – always! If you don’t know what the heck to do for weight lifting, please follow a program or go to the gym with a friend who can help you. I highly suggest trying a Jamie Eason programs (it’s free!). You will not get a “toned” look by running on the treadmill. You MUST lift weights. However, listen to your body and start off with very light weights, or even body weight exercises. Ease your way into it and then increase your weights as you go. I am so glad that I had a good muscle base before I got pregnant. I believe it is one of the reasons I was able to bounce back quickly. However, even if you didn’t do much weight lifting before having a baby, it’s never too late to start. It will be the best way to lose any extra weight you are holding onto.

    A day in the life of Melanie

    *I am not suggesting you follow this to lose weight. I am also not recommending the ingestion or use essential oils for weight loss. This is meant for a reference of my daily routine. Please do your own research before using essential oils.

    Breakfast – 2 eggs, 2 slices of rye toast with butter, 1/4 avocado + berries.

    Coffee with 2 milks 1 sugar. Yum! I like to read a bit of my Bible if Norah is napping and enjoy my coffee.

    Fill up a bottle of water with 1-2 drops of essential oil. I add one drop of peppermint oil in my water during my workouts or if I want to feel refreshed and energized. During the day I like to drink citrus fresh, tangerine, lemon, grapefruit and orange essential oils in my water. *I will only ingest pure, organic therapeutic grade essential oils. See bottom of post for more info.

    I apply peppermint essential oil to my body before exercising, and recently have been rubbing my thighs and belly with grapefruit or citrus oils. I also use a DIY coffee scrub with citrus oils in the shower occasionally. My skin and body loves the oils! They have enhanced my life dramatically!

    I get to the gym before noon and do a workout similar to what’s posted above. I sometimes stay home and run on my treadmill if I can’t get to the gym.

    Snack – usually a banana or something quick. I love snacking on “Aussie Bites” from Costco lately too.

    Lunch – whole grain sandwich or wrap with chicken lunch meat. Usually something easy. I like adding a bit of Caesar dressing to my wraps (told you I’m not counting calories). I also like adding hot sauce, a slice of cheese, lettuce and whatever else I can fit in. Sometimes I will just make a big salad and throw everything in it. If I eat a salad for lunch, I will probably have more snacks during the day. I love snacks. I love food. Who am I kidding.

    Snack 2 – large handful of healthy crackers with guacamole/hummus. I usually have another coffee here too. I will drink more water and fill up the bottle I used before.

    Dinner – I love making salmon or white fish or chicken breast + rice with tamari soy sauce (we love  organic white basmati) and a steamed vegetable with a bit of butter. I like to swap out rice for sweet potatoes, quinoa or couscous too! If I have time, I will make brown rice instead of white rice.

    Later snack – vanilla or plain greek yogurt with berries and sliced almonds (my favourite snack!). Sometimes Thomas and I eat popcorn while watching a movie or tv show. I also love snacking on grapes!! I usually only have one snack at night, plus a big cup of herbal tea.

    I always go to bed with a full belly. There is a lot of controversy over eating late at night. I have always had a bedtime snack and do not stop eating past a certain time because it will cause me to gain weight. Even when I was at my smallest weight, I had a late night snack. When you are weight lifting, you need to fuel your body. You get hungry more often as well. If you are not exercising regularly, a late night snack would not be a great idea. For me, I love my late snacks and it has never affected me negatively! I actually think it helps my metabolism and sustains my muscle mass. I certainly don’t eat chips every night, but greek yogurt, cottage cheese, or occasionally eating popcorn is something that I enjoy and will continue to do!

    So there you have it. A typical day in my life. I also clean, do laundry and hold a crying baby for a lot of my day. But I don’t think you all want to hear about those details. hehe!!

    If you are interested in using Young Living Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils,  click here to start right now or you can contact me for more info.

     


  2. 3 Steps to Turn your Workouts into Results

    June 14, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    My Balanced Approach to Weight Loss – Step 4

     

    Today I woke up at 4:45 am for an in-home personal training session at 6 am. Some may find that a bit early to open their eyes, but I’m a morning person so I don’t mind :). I actually feel most energized in the mornings, even if I don’t feel like getting up at first…

    After training today, I came home to discover the kale chips I attempted to make, which turned out perfectly crispy in my new Excalibur Dehydrator. Did I mention Thomas surprised me with one for my birthday? I LOVE it. Isn’t it fun when you get something new?! I have experimented with dehydrating fruits mostly, but now I know that kale chips will be a big part of my future. I have made them in the oven before to take with me to the movie theater to avoid buying popcorn. Good idea huh? I thought it was a great idea, but was sadly mistaken when I took a bite. The delicious crisp I was excited to have was more like a soggy chew. I guess you need to eat them hot out of the oven if they are going to stay crispy. I’m hoping the dehydrator is the answer to my kale problems. So far I ate half of my batch, and that was by 9 am. The real test is when I eat the other half stored in my cupboard later tonight or tomorrow :).

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    Yesterday morning I went for a 5km run. About half way through, I suddenly felt like I was in an episode of Baywatch when the clouds decided to relieve themselves on me. I was drenched. But – it was a necessary run since I am going to be doing my first 5km race next Saturday. I could have easily sat under a tree and waited out the rain, but I knew I couldn’t stop since I had a goal to finish my 5km without stopping. If you know me, you already know how much I like goal setting (check out my balanced approach to weight loss – step three). During my run, I was picking mini-workout goals, and it was the only thing that kept me from knocking on a stranger’s door and asking for a towel and a seat on their dry couch.

    I don’t want to overload you with information today, so I am going to keep this simple and give you three easy steps. The 4th step in my balanced approach to weight loss is about turning your workouts into results. Whether you are at the gym lifting weights, or doing squats with a baby at home, this tip can help you make the most out of your workouts.

    I can’t tell you how many times I have gone to the gym and left without having a good workout. I have learned over time that if I don’t have a focus or a goal, I will not have a good workout – which means I won’t get the results I really want. Too many times I have talked myself off of the treadmill 5, 10, or 15 minutes earlier than I originally planned. I tell myself I am too tired or have more important things to do at home.

    The truth of the matter is this:

    Without a plan, you are planning to fail

    In order to make this as straight forward as possible, I have listed easy steps below for you to turn your workout into results. Follow these simple steps to plan for a successful workout.

     

    3 Steps to Turn your Workout into Results

     

    Step 1: Make an appointment

     

    You need to make an appointment to exercise. Book it one day at a time or add it to your full month’s calendar. This is not something you can say, “Maybe I will do it tomorrow.” You won’t! You MUST book an appointment and treat it like any other appointment in your schedule. You wouldn’t miss your doctor’s appointment or hair appointment because you didn’t feel like going. This is absolutely no different and just as important as anything else in your calendar.

     

    Step 2: Know what you are doing before you start

     

    Don’t go in blind. You need some sort of plan. Whether that means you have each exercise printed off beforehand, or you simply pick the muscles groups you are prepared to work. Do what you feel most comfortable with. You need some sort of plan. Before I walk out the door, I like to pick the muscle groups I want to exercise that day. Since I am very familiar with most exercises, I don’t need to take anything with me. Or if I am running outside, I know exactly where I plan to run so I don’t turn around too early. I don’t always need to know every detail for my workout, the most important part is to have a focus before you start.

     

    Step 3: Set mini-workout goals

     

    This tip is like my little secret weapon. It is the thing that pushes me those extra 2 or 3 reps that ultimately will get me the results I want. Before you start an exercise, pick a short goal that seems easily attainable. For example, I am at the gym ready to do squats. Ultimately, I want to do 20 repetitions. This is my big goal, which sounds a bit scary and difficult to attain. BUT, I do know that I can easily do 5 repetitions. So in my mind, I tell myself to do only 5 repetitions. Once I reach my first mini-goal of 5 reps, without stopping I say, “Okay Melanie, let’s do another 5.” Before I know it, I have made it to my big goal of 20 repetitions! You can do this with any exercise. I use this same secret weapon for running. Try picking the nearest stop sign as your goal instead of seeing how far you have left to run. Reach that stop sign then pick your next mini goal. This will make it interesting, fun, and help you to keep going when you otherwise would stop. To me, this makes it MUCH easier to hit my big goal by setting some mini-goals. Make it sound easy to attain so you can’t fail.

     

    That’s it. I will leave you with it. Time to finally turn your workouts into results – the simplest way possible. Now get to work! 🙂

    Love,

    Melanie.

    Click here to see the first 3 steps in my balanced approach to weight loss.

     


  3. My Balanced Approach to Weight Loss – Step 3

    June 5, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    Today I want to talk about something that is very important when it comes to weight loss, but often overlooked. It’s something people talk about doing, yet very seldom take the time to do properly. This is quite possibly the most important step to successful weight loss. Without doing this, you will be spinning in circles with no clear direction of where to go and what to do.

    Instead of thinking about where you are today, you need to think about the future you and what steps you need to take to move towards your goals. Today’s focus is goal setting. Before you close this page, let me warn you now…

    If you skip this step, I can almost guarantee that your weight loss goals will not become a reality.

    For a moment, I want you to think about your ideal physical body . How do you envision yourself as the “perfect you”? Close your eyes and picture yourself. Seriously. Stop reading this and do it.

    Have you got a picture in your mind? Take a good hard look at the future you.  How do you look? How do you feel about yourself? How do you live your life in your ideal body? What do you eat on a regular basis? How often do you exercise? Ask yourself this:

    What did you do to have the body of your dreams?

    Grab a pen or open up a blank document of your computer. If you are serious about this, you can’t skip this step. Writing this down is what will take you from today to the future. Trust me.

    I want you to write some quick notes about the future you, just like I have done below for myself…

    When I see the future me, I am…

    • Dedicated to my exercise routine, even when I don’t feel like exercising.
    • I have self-control with food (I stop eating when I am full. I don’t indulge in late-night snacks…etc)
    • I walk around confidently in my body. I even wear shorts to the gym (which I don’t do now)
    • I enjoy eating healthy and do so everyday, not just some of the time.

     

    Once you have a few general ideas jotted down, you need to get specific. Don’t be unrealistic.

    Be realistically specific.

    If you see yourself 30 lbs lighter in your ideal body, do not give yourself a measly 4 weeks to get there. Give yourself some room for “balance” in your lifestyle. Losing 1-2 lbs a week is healthy. Losing 5 lbs is not practical and definitely not healthy. You want to pick a goal that you can happily maintain. You may not need to exercise at the same intensity as you do now, or eat a perfect diet, but you will need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Who wants to go back to square one once you reach your goal? Not me! I want to keep my goal body for the long haul. So let’s be realistic.

    Your specific goals are what you are going to use to create your goal card. You may be tempted to turn off your computer now, or just “read” instead of “do” this part. But I can’t say this enough – do this, no matter how silly this seems to you now. One day you will look at your goal card and realize “Hey! I am living this NOW. I reached my goal!!”

    The purpose of your goal card is simple: remind yourself of what you really want each day. This is something you will read once or twice a day, not only once in a while. I keep mine on my night table so I can read it first thing in the morning and before I go to sleep at night. On days when you don’t feel like working out or eating healthy, you will read your card and go, “AHA! I needed that extra push.” Every single day makes a difference, so start doing this today. Here’s how…

     

    Goal Card Writing 101

     

    Three simple-specific steps to help you move from today to your future body…

    Step #1:

     

    Begin with the date. When exactly do you see yourself with your ideal body? Write it at the top of your page.

     

    Specific Step #2:

     

    What is your measurable goal? This could be your future weight, pant size, or measurements…etc.) Write down something specific you can track and see.

    *Do NOT put what weight you are today on your goal card. Today does not matter. The future you is what we are focusing on. Write down your current weight or other tracking measurements somewhere else other than your goal card.

     

    Specific Step #3:

     

    Looking backwards from your goal date, what did you have to do to get there? Break this down into 3 sections: monthly, weekly and daily. How did you honestly, realistically and specifically get there?

     

    Check a sample goal card I wrote below for myself. I like to “super-charge” my goal card by including my faith in my goals. I would highly recommend doing this too if you want to use “super” gas instead of “regular” to fill up your motivation gas tank. I don’t believe my goals are achievable without the strength, focus and peace I receive from God. With Him by my side, I know I can do ALL things. So here is what I read everyday to myself:

     

    Melanie Faris

    Goal Date: July 1st, 2014

    Weight: 120 lbs

    8-10 pounds total weight loss in one month. In order to lose this weight, I have focus and dedication daily to my health and fitness. I will successfully lose 1-2 lbs each week in 4 weeks time. Today I have the strength to say no to the things that tempt me. Today I will push myself even when I don’t feel like it. Today is a day that matters to my future. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13). For it is God who works in me to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. (Philippians 2:13)

     

    See?! Not so hard at all! Now simply read and repeat your own personalized goal card daily, and as often as possible! Watch how powerful it is to remind yourself of what you truly want on a regular basis.

    I will be posting my own personal transformation pictures in July for you all to see. Stay tuned for more steps to a balanced approach to weight loss and to follow me on this journey.

    Love always,

    Melanie Faris.

     

    If you want to catch up on my previous weight loss tips, check them out below:

    My balanced approach to weight loss – step 1

    My balanced approach to weight loss – step 2

     

     


  4. My Balanced Approach to Weight Loss – Step 2

    May 24, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    This is one of those days I just want to sit on my cozy couch, cuddle up in a blanket and find something inspiring to write about. So here I am, sitting on my couch with my laptop & a pillow on my lap, pondering on what to share with you today. First things first, it just hit me that the word laptop literally means LAP-TOP. A.K.A- to sit on your lap. Ha! Silly me, I have been using this as a “tabletop” for far too long. Now I have a good reason to do my work from the couch. =).
    Okay, so now that I’m cozy and ready to write, I find myself going to my favourite place for inspiration: The Word. I love opening my Bible or typing in “daily verse” on the web to see what comes up. Looks like God has food on his mind too. Here is what popped up:

    “Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.” Revelation 3:20 NIV

    Looks like God is hungry too. Phew, I’m not the only one! But seriously, it’s too funny that this verse popped up right as I am ready to type about my 2nd step to my balanced approach to weight loss. I love when that happens!

    Find more on this verse under Food for Thought near the bottom of this post…

    Step #1 Recap…

     

    In Step #1, we discovered the importance of loving ourselves today, imperfections and all. It’s not about reaching a goal in order to be happy with our body –  it’s about being happy with who we are now so we can love our self along the journey.

    Our next step…

     

    Remember that diet you stuck to 100%? How good did you feel about yourself? Awesome I bet! We all feel so fantastic when we stick to our diet, but usually it is pretty short-lived. When you decide to go on a diet vacation (when you are sick of dieting), you find yourself swimming in a pool of guilt wondering how to get back on track again and find your focus.

    You go through seasons of highs and lows, but seldom do you find a happy medium when you are on a diet

    Too many times we are on a yo-yo diet that takes us no where. Actually, I think it does take us somewhere: one step ahead and then two steps behind. We go on these diets and do so well, but then we fall so hard (with good intentions of course). No one goes on a diet with a hope to fail miserably when all is done and dandy. Some of us make it through 30 days, and others pack it in and call it quits after the first week. So what’s the point if it’s not going to bring us to our goal of being happy in our own body (for longer than a few weeks)?

    I have been on far too many diets. I am the type of person who likes to have a plan and stick to it. I will print out my meal plan and follow it to a “T.” Unfortunately, when my diet is over, I also un-fall from it to a “T.” I like diets – when I am on them and doing well that is. It’s the coming off of them part that I don’t like. Some people have been blessed with more self control than me, but I for one do not plan on sticking to a diet for the rest of my life. I want my waffle cone on a hot sunny day…but I also want a hot summer body. So what is a girl to do?!

    I’m not going to tell you to keep your eating habits the same as always if you are looking to change your body. Diet is the most important key in transformation! I’m just telling you to stop dieting. That’s right, you heard me…

    Step #2: It’s time to stop dieting

    For me, going on a diet means: I feel restricted, I am counting everything I eat, cutting out the food I love, not filling my plate, feeling sorry for myself and digging a hole far in the ground so I can hide myself from everyone and everything…seriously, try going to a dinner party on a “diet.” It sucks. That hole in the ground sounds a lot better to me! I mean, common, no one feels happy on a diet…am I right?! At least that is the case for me. The only time I feel happy is when I see the diet is working and begin to think, “the end is near!!”…

    We can’t possibly think that a diet is our lifelong strategy to weight loss and staying fit. Sure, a diet can certainly be helpful, especially for short term results, but I don’t think it is practical if it is something you want to maintain long-term. I’m not knockin’ em – I’ve done my fair share of diets. But today, I’m ready to have, pursue, and KEEP the body I feel best in. Who’s with me?

    So you’re probably wondering,

    If I’m not dieting, how am I going to transform?

    Back to my first concept of this approach…you have heard me say it before, but I’m going to say it anyways:

    Balance & Harmony

    Let’s be realistic here. If you can’t possibly live without chocolate for the rest of your life, eat your darn chocolate. I do! I have chocolate almost every day of my life. I break off a piece of my 85% dark chocolate after dinner and enjoy every last bit. Sure, it’s only a small piece, but I look forward to it and I have no guilt when eating it. Here’s why: I have allowed this food to be part of my lifestyle.

    Allow the food you can’t see your future without to be part of your lifestyle

    If you want to be happy, you can’t possibly remove all of the things you love & enjoy. Now obviously there are things we shouldn’t be eating every day. Forget the donuts, McDonald’s, and even those waffle cones. Those probably aren’t the healthiest daily treat. You need to make some changes if you want to see change, but you don’t need to restrict yourself entirely. If you are serious about loving your body, the emotional and physical aspect, you need to develop a healthy relationship with food and eat your un-healthy food occasionally.

    *Side note – If you ENJOY eating healthy 100% of the time, kudos to you! That is seriously awesome – keep it up. I will be the girl at that dinner party wishing I had the same self control while I taste a bit of everything on the table. I just can’t help myself.

    This brings me to my next and final point. We are all at different phases of health. Remember hearing this before? This is a journey. YOUR journey. It’s not about what other people are doing to achieve their own results. Stop comparing yourself. I’m not going to criticize how everyone else eats, because honestly, that’s a personal choice and we are all at different places when it comes to how we live and eat. You are unique – what she does or he does does not apply to you. You need to figure it out for yourself. Even if you need to have a “structured diet” to get a kick start, go for it. I’m just saying, be realistic and honest with yourself.

    I want everyone to pause and ask yourself these three questions:

    1. Am I on a diet? Be honest with yourself. *You probably ARE if you think like this when you eat: A- I just had a successful snack or meal. B-That meal/snack was a fail and I need to work that off later.

    2. Do I enjoy when I eat healthy? (If you don’t, this needs to change! Otherwise, you will do something that you will regret – like eating that entire bag of chips in the cupboard…). Then starts the guilt and your bright idea to cut everything you crave out of your diet the next day. It’s a vicious cycle!  *Tip –  Start small and introduce things slowly. I used to drink cream and sugar in my coffee every day. I now LOVE my coffee with almond milk and coconut sugar. Over time, this was a personal change I decided to make, and now I am healthier because of it. If you simply can’t give up your cream and sugar, then don’t…or don’t for now at least :).

    3. Can I reach and maintain my “body goal” with what I am currently doing?

    This week I want you to think about those questions. Wrestle with them and really see where you are at. Be honest with yourself and make simple changes you want to make! It’s not a race, it’s a journey. Enjoy it too, whoever you are, whatever you do. =)

    For those who want a little extra “food for thought”, scroll down and you will find a little more…if you have had enough reading for one day, no prob! Enjoy your weekend and I’m excited to share with you the 3rd step next week. So come back ya hear?

    Love always,

    ♥Melanie.

     

    Food for Thought

     

    Here is an interesting thought…What would you do if Jesus was coming for dinner? For me, I’d probably start by cleaning the entire house so there wasn’t even a crumb on the floor that a mouse would find. Next, I would make sure I had the best ingredients and use one of my favourite recipes I am confident in making. It would be the most exciting day in my house. Want to know something funny though? He IS coming for dinner. He is also with you at breakfast. He is your passenger as you drive to work, your lunch buddy, your gym partner & your guest at every moment of every day.

    Isn’t it funny how we forget? Or maybe you didn’t realize this at all! But I can tell you this – He certainly wouldn’t care how dirty your house is, especially since He has seen it in every state. He’d also be happy with a boring dinner, as long as you can hang out, have a good chat and enjoy each other’s company. If only we would take the time to answer the door more often when we hear a little knock, because then we would we realize:

    He hasn’t just come for dinner. He has come to be part of our home.

     

     


  5. My Balanced Approach to Weight Loss – Step 1

    May 19, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    I’m sitting outside on my front porch with a glass of red wine enjoying the last hours of sunshine. What a beautiful long weekend it has been. I have enjoyed lots of food, unhealthy treats, great memories and much needed relaxation! Sitting here, I feel overwhelmed with gratitude for all of you who read my posts and share in my health journey. Thank you so much! What a blessing you are to me.

    front porch

    Cheers to you my friends and a great weekend!

     

    If you haven’t seen my last post, you may want to check it out before moving on to get caught up…

    For those of you who are up-to-date and have already read my previous post, you already know about me at 108 lbs and what it took for me to get there. It was pure dedication and focus on my diet and exercise routine. I was exercising on average 6 days a week, counting my calories and macro-nutrients (protein, carbs and fat) on my plate with every meal. You BET I got results. You also bet I could not live this way forever…

    Over the past year, a lot has changed in my life. I got married at the age of 21. It was exciting to have a kitchen of my own and to start making meals for two. I changed my career path and decided to be a health focused personal home cook/chef this year, (although I’m not sure if “chef” is the technical term since I am self-taught…). All I know is I LOVE food and cooking. I realized that food was my main passion when I stopped watching tv shows and only watched The Food Network. It is very important to know where the best food trucks are located….or at least that was my excuse for watching Eat St. I’m a foodie, what can I say?! I seriously enjoy watching food and people eating food. There is nothing better on tv – except for Downton Abbey. This show takes the cake.

    Pause. If you haven’t starting watching this series, turn on Netflix and start now. You won’t be able to stop.

    Play.

    Being married and being a food lover, I was obviously excited to start cooking for my new Husband. I was not about to make tilapia and tuna sandwiches everyday. I wanted to impress my man and make sure he was excited to come home to a nice cooked dinner after a long day of work. I can confidently say that he was very pleased with my many experiments in the kitchen and was happy to have a home cooked meal to come home to. Although still healthy, not all of my cooking was “fitness model friendly” like it was before I got married. I decided to have a bit more fun with occasional cheese, higher fat foods and delicious snacks and treats. I enjoyed eating everything I cooked in my home. On top of changing my diet when I got married, I slowly slipped away from my usual gym routine. It took around 5 months for me to notice my pants were suddenly a tad too tight and there was a roll forming around my belly button. What the heck?!

    So here I am today, almost a year after the wedding, wondering what steps to take next.

    Pause again…I want my wedding body back! But I do distinctly remember thinking back then that I did not have the body I wanted on my wedding day. What the heck was I thinking?!

    View More: http://one2photography.pass.us/melanie-thomas View More: http://one2photography.pass.us/melanie-thomas

    View more of our wedding photos here by One2Photography.

    Yes, I still feel and eat healthy, but I also know that my love for food has probably gone a little too far. I certainly have had my many ups and downs with my eating patterns.Don’t get me wrong, I do feel great and love my body (this is very important!). I’m not overly concerned with losing weight, but I know that I would like to set some new goals and find motivation again to get fit and toned for summer. With these new goals, I plan on not feeling guilty about eating avocados or whole eggs like I would have before. I’m going to take a new approach to “weight-loss”…

    Balance & Harmony

    With summer on the way, I know that it is time to take action and finally get my bum back in gear. I want to feel good without feeling deprived. I want to be realistic – not something for today and gone tomorrow. I’m tired of going from one extreme to the other. You know what I mean?

    I have never been one to weigh myself. I don’t step on the scale often because I would rather go by “how I feel” than a number on the scale. I often think the scale is not an accurate measure to follow, especially when strength training. I also know that my exercise has decreased a lot over the past year so any weight gain would not be caused by muscle gain… After “assessing my feelings” for the past while and not feeling so great, I finally decided to step on that nasty piece of metal at the gym to see where I am at. Keep in mind, my exercise has gone from primarily strength training to now: exercising at a lower intensity, focusing on primarily cardio instead of strength training, and not paying close attention to portion control & cheat meals. I was at 130 lbs today. I finally realized that I need to make some changes. My comfortable/average weight is around 120, but 130 is bridging the stage of “do I go out and by new clothes?”… Again, it’s not about a number. I’m only using this as one form/measurement to track my progress from where I am now to where I will be in a month or so.

    I have decided to openly post about my struggles. I am human, far from perfect and one who often makes mistakes. Yes, you will find me occasionally at the local ice cream shop ordering a scoop of rolo ice cream and moose tracks. Yes, you will see me out at a restaurant diving into the shared appetizer platter (probably going for the piece of cheesiest garlic bread on the table). I often sneak into the fridge at night, even if I know I’m not really hungry but just want something to munch on. I am far from the ideal health-food eater. As many mistakes as I make with my diet, I also can see the many healthy choices I do make each and every day. Instead of focusing on the many mistakes I make, it is more important to focus on the good decisions I make. You really need to start doing this too! No one is perfect, so don’t let them fool you. Don’t feel so bad about your mistakes. I for one am not perfect and never will be. It’s time to get out of this vicious thought cycle and start a new approach…

    The first step in my balanced weight loss approach is:

     

    I will love myself today, imperfections and all.

    This is extremely important. I can’t stress this enough. Even at 108 lbs, I was not happy with my body. Even on my wedding day, I saw the flaws in my body and didn’t feel small enough. We all do a great job of convincing ourselves saying, “if only I were skinnier, I would be really happy.” Or, “if only I had more money, then I could eat healthier…” Or, “If only I had more time, then I could exercise more.” The list goes on…

    Let me tell you, this negative mindset does not change once you reach your goal. I still saw cellulite on my thighs and skinny arms in the mirror at 108 lbs. I was still not happy with me. Unfortunately, I still suffer with a negative mindset – but I’m working on it! Starting today, I am going to be so HAPPY with the person I see in the mirror, along with every great decision that I make each and every day. I’m going to be so dang happy with me that there will be no room for my old negative mindset. It’s time to stop beating ourselves up. Remember, if you don’t start today, right now, you will never be truly happy with yourself. If you see yourself as “fat” or “ugly” now, nothing will change, even when you make progress.

    First you need a diet for the MIND before a diet for the BODY.

    If you have made it this far on my post, you are probably on the same boat as me. You may struggle with loving yourself today or feeling comfortable in your own skin. Please know this before you close the window…you are loved. You are precious. You are worthy to be and feel BEAUTIFUL. You are! Don’t you know that? It doesn’t matter if you weigh 100lbs or 300lbs, know that God does not love you any less or any more either way, so why should you? The creator of the universe and everything on this earth sees you as PERFECT just the way you are, so stop criticizing his amazing craftsmanship. He does not make mistakes.

    Even though we all make mistakes and mess things up, it’s time to start seeing these “mess-ups” as opportunities to grow instead of opportunities to feel bad about ourselves. Common people, let’s do this together!

    Stay tuned for Step #2 in my balanced approach to weight loss….

    Love always,

    Melanie Faris.

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  6. Get Your Summer Bod with Circuit Training

    May 13, 2014 by Melanie Faris

    Back August 18, 2011

    This was me back in the summer of 2011. I was at my lowest weight of 108 lbs. My life was consumed by fitness & clean eating. I went to the gym 5-6 days a week, and at home I would do crunches, lunges and push-ups at any given opportunity. Looking back now, I see that my focus and dedication was to the extreme. It was all I thought about. When I wasn’t at the gym, I was batch cooking my meals and reading about fitness models like it was my job. I just loved it.

    As I got a bit older, my priorities changed and I began to see other things as more important to me than the number on the scale and the grams of protein on my plate. I wanted to enjoy simple things like fruit without feeling guilty. YES, I hardly ate fruit (which sounds crazy to me now). I now enjoy having more than egg whites for breakfast or chicken and fish for lunch and dinner. I no longer keep track of my meals on a diet tracker or stock my fridge with low-fat dairy. My whole perspective on health has changed since then.

    When I look back at the “fitter me”, I see an 18 year old girl with passion, focus and determination. It took this experience for me the realize that this is not something I want to do forever. It’s just not realistic or worth it to me now, not to mention, it’s not worth sacrificing my health.

    It was healthy for me at the time, but not healthy for me now.

    Let me explain…

    Our life journey brings different phases of health. You become healthier when you stop drinking pop and opt for juice instead. In another month, you may stop drinking juice and only drink water to be even healthier. That is the story of my life. I am constantly learning about health and changing my lifestyle. Each decision and step forward that you take is making you healthier, (or hopefully it is at least).

    No one has reached the finish line of the health race. We are all learning what health means every day.

    Although I don’t see my “egg white” clean eating lifestyle as healthy now, it certainly was a big step ahead from the lifestyle I was living before. I can vividly remember walking to Sobeys every week for lunch in high school. I would eat a Chicken Caesar wrap with extra Caesar dressing squeezed inside. Boy did it taste good, but boy was my body suffering. I also loved Subway sandwiches (pizza sub was my fave), driving to Wendy’s and drinking big milkshakes from the convenience store. I sometimes ordered whole grain bread – I was very health-conscious. Not. Clearly I have come a long way since then. Even though egg whites aren’t my breakfast of choice now, I can see that I was in a transition phase and doing what I thought was best at the time. I was learning, growing, and becoming healthier.

    I certainly don’t plan on eating the same way I did before, and I really have no interest in measuring everything I eat.  I would love to have my summer 2011 body again, but I will not go to the same extremes as before to get it back. I would rather go out for breakfast with my husband and enjoy whole eggs with a slice or two of rye bread without thinking of how to get rid of it at the gym while I’m eating it. I am going to take a different approach this time – unlimited fruits, more plant based proteins and no dairy. I am still not eating much meat, so I am curious to see how my body responds to weight lifting without as much animal protein. Mind you – plant-based protein is actually easier for your body to use anyway! I should have no problem toning up for the summer.

    Diet aside, a great way to make the most of your time at the gym is to add some circuit training to your routine. Weight lifting is the best thing to do if you want to tone up for your summer bikini. For those of us who really don’t want to be at the gym every day for over an hour every time, full body circuits are perfect! A full body circuit will hit every muscle group in a shorter period of time. You can add some cardio at the end of your workout if you want, but I often feel that circuit training is enough, especially if you put 100% into it.

    Check out my full-body circuit below. Print it off and bring it with you to your next workout. If you aren’t sure of an exercise, be sure the look at the helpful links below before you attempt it. It is really important to make sure you have proper form and feel confident doing each exercise!

    Click the Links below for the FREE circuit (gym & home version):

    Circuit Training Workout – Gym Version

    Circuit Training Workout – At Home Version

     

    Helpful Links:

    Walking Lunges: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7KaRcUTQeE

    21’s: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zTPso5wTS8E

    Bench Dips: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0326dy_-CzM

    Lat Pulldown: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XZbJ8912hQU

    Dumbbell Row: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jglY7g7wzp4

    Shoulder Press: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B-aVuyhvLHU

    Push Ups: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zF0jbubK_jU

    Plank: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pSHjTRCQxIw

     

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