My Bio: The Journey Begins

I graduated in 2003 with a B.A. in English and a minor in Family & Consumer Sciences and am currently working on my Personal Trainer Certification. This blog is a way to meld my past training (writing/grammar and nutrition) with my personal experiences and future education (becoming a personal trainer).

It’s been quite the journey already. In college, I ate according to the food pyramid, worked out 5 days a week and didn’t have to worry about my figure at all. After college, I worked at a Christian camp for two years, where it was 24/7 physical labor. I could literally eat anything I wanted and wouldn’t gain an ounce. And I was in the best shape of my life.

Me at Camp, 2004

But then I moved on to a full-time job at a finance company, first as a researcher and now as an administrative assistant and travel coordinator.  Needless to say, it’s an almost entirely sedentary job. For the first three years of the job, I stayed at my desk and worked hard. The problem was that by the time I got off work, I was so tired that I didn’t feel like doing anything, so I didn’t. Oh, and I also got married to my soulmate, Bryan. Getting “fat and lazy” became more than a catch phrase.

When did this hit me? It was when I was looking at pictures of my sister-in-law’s wedding, which I coordinated. I wore one of my favorite outfits, or at least it used to be. The buttons on the shirt were so tight that I was forced to keep a jacket on and the skirt was so tight I could barely zip it and still breathe. These are my “fat pictures.” I realized then that I was no longer a teenager or just out of college and able to eat anything and not gain an ounce. I had gained 40 pounds since my engagement and it was time to take control back.

Me at My Heaviest, Fall 2008

It was time to get serious. I began tracking my food and exercise on SparkPeople.com. It’s a great free resource with tons of articles, tips, and recipes. Along with the tracking came eating right and exercising. I’ve never been a big runner, but I’m learning to enjoy it, especially on gorgeous spring days! My go-to workouts are the elliptical and any video put out by The Biggest Loser (I just love Bob). I also joined a Pilates Studio for a while to learn some basic exercises. The first couple of weeks were torture, but now Pilates and Yoga are some of my favorite routines! And they’re great for the abs!

But it wasn’t just my waistline that needed to be leaned. It was my whole life. Things had gotten so hectic that I felt like I didn’t have time to breathe. Free time? What’s that?! It was time to start systematically eliminating and prioritizing. Some of this was easy, like not drinking sodas. Other decisions were not so easy, like cutting back on social activities, social websites, and watching TV. It was time to start reading again and exercising my brain. And it was high time I learned what it meant to REST.

I’m now to the point that the thought of fast food makes me sick. In January, we started eating 100% natural and as organic as we possibly can. It’s made a huge difference. I’m also naturally eating within my calorie ranges almost every day. And it’s so much easier to get my fruits and vegetables in than I ever imagined. For the first time in my life, I’ve planted a garden. I’m getting more sleep and taking to time to process each day.

Me in Colorado, October 2009

Other areas that are being evaluated are time management, home management (things like organizing and decorating to create a calm environment), and my spiritual life (making God the #1 priority in my life instead of people, activities, and stuff). I’m learning to live a balanced life, not in a zen kind of way, but in a God-glorifying way. I’m learning to balance my work life and my home life, learning to leave work at work and home at home. I’m learning to enjoy and embrace my talents and interests. I’m playing piano again and developing my mind. I’m even going back to school!

So, it’s a journey, and you’re welcome to tag a long.

My Physical Journey

I started my nutrition journey by monitoring my weight and caloric intake. I joined the free http://www.SparkPeople.com website and started tracking my calories. And I started weighing in weekly. I slowly saw the weight melting away. I’m now half way to my goal weight.

After I lost my first 5 lbs., I bought a new workout outfit.

After I lost 10 lbs., I bought a yoga mat and 2 workout DVDs.

After I lost 15 lbs., I treated myself to Pilates classes.

After hitting a 6 month plateau, I found out I actually needed to increase my daily caloric intake (see Nutrition Category, AMR/BMR post). It’s slowly coming off, and those last 10-15 pounds really are the hardest.

My Kitchen Journey

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of me sitting on the kitchen counter, helping my mother stir ingredients together while sipping from her coffee mug. We would taste test each item and ponder the perfect combination of herbs and spices to make every meal homemade and delicious. As I grew older, my passion for the kitchen was not deterred. I went on to receive a Bachelor of Arts in English with a minor in Family and Consumer Sciences (though I will always say I learned more from my mother and grandmother than from any class I took). Still, I am determined to utilize the education I received and combine English and Cooking. The Art of Cooking must not be lost, so I write, in an attempt to keep it alive for my family, if for no one else. Cooking is not only an art form; it is a soul-lifting, restorative process that teaches one to rise from the failures and continue creating masterpieces for enjoyment by family and friends.

I started a kitchen blog in December of 2009, but I’m slowly transferring everything over from that blog to this one, so everything’s all together.

My Spiritual Journey

I’ll be honest. There was a point in my life that I struggled with discouragement. I maintained a good front during the day in front of friends and coworkers, but at home, I sat on the couch watching hours of TV every night and eating whatever was easiest. It was a horrible existence. I thought God didn’t care about me and that nothing really mattered. Fortunately, my husband loved me enough to have some “truth in love” conversations with me and helped me realize that God did care about me and that I was choosing to be selfish. I had to retrain my mind and convince my heart that I was lying to myself. God loved me so much He sent His Son to die for me and my sins. And He rose again that I might have life in Him and be dead to sin.

I was dry spiritually. I was busy with “spiritual activities” but I was like a wrung out sponge. I felt like I was too busy to read my Bible, so I wasn’t refreshing myself in the water of the Word of God. The truth of the matter is I needed to re-prioritize my life and put my inner world at the top. It didn’t matter if my external life appeared that I had it all together. It was just a big lie. I had to be honest with myself, evaluate my life, and then make the appropriate changes, the first of which was to dust off my Bible and start preaching the gospel to myself again. I needed to claim the power of the Christ in order to change my life.

My Time Management Journey

Time Management: “Systematic, priority-based structuring of time allocation and distribution among competing demands. Since time cannot be stored, and its availability can neither be increased beyond near decreased from the 24 hours, the term ‘time budgeting’ is said to be the more appropriate one” (2009, BusinessDictionary.com).

I read Ordering Your Private World, by Gordon MacDonald, and am currently reading Shopping For Time: How To Do It All and Not Be Overwhelmed by Carolyn Mahaney, Nicole Whitacre, Kristin Chesemore, and Janelle Bradshaw. Both have been inspirational!

Practical Steps: I still watch some TV, but not nearly as much as I used to. And there was a period of about a year and a half when I eliminated TV entirely. The truth is I really didn’t miss it. In fact, I’ll probably go back to that when school starts up in May. If all people want to talk to you about is TV, they don’t really care about you. It’s just something to talk about: “water cooler chatter.” If they really care, they’ll realize you don’t join in on TV talk and they’ll come up with other topics of conversation that are common interests. Without TV, I had so much time to exercise, read, and participate in hobbies I enjoy. I started cooking more healthful, homemade meals for my family and even started my own jewelry business (The Artisan Honeybee).

My Interests:

My Husband Bryan, God, Yoga, Pilates, Homemaking (especially as it pertains to the kitchen), Organic, Jewelry, Photography, Event Planning, Personal Trainer, and Music: Classical, Easy Listening, Opera, Christian, and anything else that inspires.

16 responses to “My Bio: The Journey Begins

  1. adventuresinuncooking

    Thank you for posting this, it’s inspirational and as a reader I’m flattered that you shared these honest thoughts with us. It’s exciting that you have a garden now. What a great use of that big yard! Looking forward to keeping up with your posts of your journey.

  2. I was encouraged by a recent email I got from a coworker I met in our corporate gym. She’s just starting her journey to lean. I told her about SparkPeople.com and my blog. Here’s what she had to say:

    Good Morning! Good to meet you too, little did I know that I was going to be blown away with your blog, all I can say was Wow and thank you for sharing all that.
    I truly admire you, your story and your blog have really inspired me, thank you for sharing.
    Not many people would share their personal story like that, I am on a mission thanks to you, little would I have imagined that you lost all that weight, so you know the struggle mentally and physically. I too buy as much organic as I can, it can be expensive, but worth it. I truly enjoyed your blog, I could not stop reading that’s how interesting it was. :)

  3. Here’s another encouraging note from my friend Elaine:

    Hey Melissa,

    I just wanted to let you know that I really love your blog. … I lost weight after college and was really healthy–yoga/pilates on a regular basis, training for races, etc. But then about a year and a half ago, I moved to NC, took a different job which involves a TON of travel…and you can probably imagine the results! :)

    My biggest challenge has been healthy diet. That’s where your blog has really been so awesome for me. I’ve read that agave and quinoa are healthy…you’ve motivated me to actually purchase and try them. :) I’ve been off and on organic…now I’m much more conscious of that. I enjoy your recipes and ideas and you keep me motivated to stay healthy and get back on track if I’ve slipped a bit.

    I’ve been reading your blog and your updates for a while and it has all been a great encouragement to me…so thank YOU for helping ME on a journey to lean. ;)

    Elaine

  4. Got another encouraging comment on FB from my friend Trista:

    “Can I just tell you that your bio on your blog has been an inspiration to me? I just read it this past week, and I was encouraged by what you are doing and how alive and vibrant your life in Christ is. Thanks for blogging!” ~Trista

    Thanks, Trista! It’s my pleasure! Glad it’s an encouragement to others. :)

  5. Amy Alexander

    GO MELISSA!!!! :)

  6. Melissa,
    I have been working with you now for a couple of weeks and I feel my life slowly turning around. I am excited and motivated about my own journey to lean! I have learned so much from you already and I am excited to continue to grow…and SHRINK!! You are a great motivator and a good example!

  7. wow, what an inspiring journey… I wish you all the best and will be following you on it for sure :) I have recently become obsessed with diet since I saw a personal trainer who taught me all about PH balance and the toxins we put in out bodies…very interesting stuff!

  8. I have really enjoyed your blog. I’m not sure if we met at college much, but we have some mutual acquaintances. Looking forward to reading more from your encouraging posts. I am beginning to work for some similar goals as I want to hit the big 3-0 strong! Take care.

  9. So inspirational. Keep on going!

  10. Hey Melissa! Great blog – proud of you for your work on each of these areas.

  11. Hi Melissa,

    I came across your blog when someone sent me one of the graphics you posted for Administrative Professionals Day. I have read your bio and I now know it wasn’t an accident that I happened upon your site.

    I work full-time while also working towards a degree in Creative Writing at NYU. I am also married and a Christian. I must confess that my Bible has dust on it. The spring semester ends on May 9th. I have gained back about 15 of the 30 pounds I had lost (the last three semesters have been real doozies). I now have at least 70 pound to lose. I’m not taking any classes this summer and have made it a priority to renew my body, mind, spirit, and relationships with God and my husband during my time off. I need to get back in touch with me.

    I have signed up to follow your blog and look forward to reading your posts.

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    • Always happy to hear of people that randomly come across my blog and start their own journey! Sounds like you have a good plan. Just stick with it and enjoy it. :) And praise God for a supportive husband in your journey. :)

  12. Hey Melissa!

    Chrissy here :) so glad you told me about your blog. I love your story and find it very inspiring. I have started my journey so many times and always seem to give up. Didn’t seem to have my priorities in order. I think I finally figured it out! I’m going back to church, working on my spiritual health as well as my physical and mental health. I am also getting into the whole organic way of living and have even became a marketing executive for an all organic company. Since using their products, I feel so much better and so much healthier. It’s amazing how much better we feel when we give our bodies the proper nutrition they need instead of all this pasteurized, chemical crap. :) I have subscribed to your blog and will follow along with you and your journey!

  13. Woman at the Well

    Hey, another pilgrim here. I remember being a young Christian and finding to my astonishment that conversion is not a once-and-for-all deal, but a lifelong process of learning ‘this thought, this habit, this choice” does not glorify Him. Disciples keep learning….your site gives good testimony to that…

    Cheers!

    M

  14. Thanks for sharing these things, Melissa! It was an encouragement. So glad to hear how God has worked, and it is very motivating to see someone’s successes in areas that I’m pondering in my own life.

    Thanks!

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