Archive Monthly Archives: May 2017

High Cholesterol Foods

The “C” Word! Should you avoid High Cholesterol Foods?

The “C” word! Now I know you’re saying, “Melissa, if I know ANYTHING about nutrition, I know to stay away from high Cholesterol Foods. Am I right or am I right?

Well, you’re wrong. Some very important foods to your health contain cholesterol…including your very 1st food…breast milk. I don’t think it was put there by accident. Ironically, a serving of breast milk and a serving of butter have about the same amount of cholesterol. An egg has considerably more but read this quote from The Department of Nutritional Sciences at The University of Connecticut:

“Dietary recommendations aimed at restricting egg consumption should not be generalized to include all individuals. We need to add knowledge that diverse healthy populations experience no risk in developing coronary heart disease by increasing their intake of cholesterol but, in contrast, they may have multiple beneficial effects by the inclusion of eggs in the regular diet.”

Hellooooo?!?! Boy, is that not the EXACT opposite of what we heard for decades, right?! Ugh! How are we to know whether to eat High Cholesterol Foods???

Cholesterol comes from 2 sources: You (more specifically your liver) and animal sources. It is actually needed in the body to control digestion and to produce things like hormones and Vitamin D.

I’ll save the breakdown of cholesterol (triglycerides, HDL and LDL) for another blog but if you remember a Doctor by the name of Ancel Keys that I’ve mentioned in the past? He affectionately was given the title of “Father of the Diet-Heart hypothesis.” I’d like to once again bring up his name…for very good reason.

Ancel Keys thoughts on High Cholesterol Foods

Ancel Keys was really the reason our Country becoming fat phobic! He proved, by cherry picking his data, that people who ate saturated fat were at a higher risk for heart disease. BAM! Margarine, fat-free cookies and low fat milk became all the rage.

However, in 1997, Keys was quoted saying this:

“There’s no connection whatsoever between the cholesterol in food and the cholesterol in the blood. And we’ve known that all along. Cholesterol in the diet doesn’t matter at all unless you happen to be a chicken or a rabbit.”

Now again, I’m not giving you permission to have nothing but high cholesterol foods, it can’t just be bacon for breakfast, ribs for lunch and steak for dinner. I really want you to always lead with lots of vegetables in your diet and supplement with some food that, could indeed, contain some saturated fat and cholesterol. This absolutely could mean a 6oz. grass-fed filet for dinner. Apparently, it’s good for you!

The Power of Accountability In Weight Loss Image

The Power of Accountability in Weight Loss

I’m a quiet person who likes to keep herself to herself and makes excuses to avoid many social situations.However, one area where I have found being social is key is when it comes to reaching and maintaining my health and fitness goals. The Power of Accountability in Weight Loss in undeniable.

I’m stubborn, competitive and relentless and can probably reach any goal on my own but I have found that having a social setting to achieving these goals makes it much more enjoyable and faster to reach.

Let me share with you some statistics about the power of accountability in weight loss  and what support from others can do, that just might convince you to not go at this alone.

Stanford University found that just by simply receiving a check in phone call, that asked about your progress every two weeks, increased the amount of exercise someone did by 78% on average.

In this Stanford University study, participants who had received those bi-weekly check in calls were still exercising at the increased level even after 18 months.

The Department of Kinesiology at Indiana University found that couples who worked out separately had A 43% dropout rate, while those who worked together had only a 6.3% dropout rate. So get your husband or wife with you on your journey!!

I read a female only study that found that women who have committed to other women to exercise burn around 236 cal, compared to the 195 cal burned doing it without outside support and accountability.

Have you ever heard of “The Kohler Effect?” To sum it up, it means not wanting to be the “weakest link” in a group. Let me give you an example:

Say you were a part of my online accountability group and I asked everyone in there to videotape themselves holding a plank. Knowing that you wanted to inspire the others (and also knowing that competitive person in you would come out), don’t you think you’d hold that darn plank as long as you possibly could? Yeah, me too!

True story, that actually happened to me in the Los Angeles airport with my good friend Lauren. She challenged me to a plank off and at the 5 minute mark, because we’re both SO incredibly competitive and would have literally died to beat one another, we finally looked at each other and said, “Ready to stop?” We both collapsed to the floor and it hurt our abs all week to laugh (which we did often)!

Ok, I digress! Once again the statistics speak volumes because those that were part of an accountability group held their plank 160% longer than those who would just have done it on their own, by themselves.

You know they always say to surround yourself with the people you most want to be like. Make those that you communicate with on a daily basis the kind of people that encourage you to push yourself more…to “level up!”

In my 18 years of being in the fitness arena, I have witnessed this hundreds of times. It’s why group fitness classes are so popular.

However, I want to take it one step further because if you join a group that gives you more than just one hour of support and accountability… Say like an online group… Then your results will be exponentially more. It’s when you look at an online Challenge group that you really see the Power of Accountability in Weight Loss.

When someone comes to me and says I’ve been going to the gym for years but I can’t lose weight, I get excited to put them in one of my groups because I know the all day culture and camaraderie of that group will help them make the lifestyle changes that they need long term.

Visual Evidence of the Power of Accountability in Weight Loss

Let me share with you some of the results that I’ve personally witnessed from women who, at first, tried to reach their goals alone and then with a supportive group – I think the results speak for themselves:

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Should You Be Using BCAAS Melissa Photo

Should You be Using BCAAs – and what are they?

No, I’m not talking about bra sizes here… LOL! Actually, a very common question I get is should you be using BCAAs – and what are they??? In fact this is one of the most common questions I hear!

Well as always, please allow me to first explain what they are, what they’re used for, if they’re effective and if you should be taking them yourself, before answering the question “Should you be using BCAAs”

BCAA’s stand for Branched Chain Amino Acid’s and they refer to three amino acids called: leucine, isoleucine and valine.

If you’re .000001% of the population that doesn’t eat enough protein, BCAA supplementation would be a very important part of your diet to help promote muscle growth. It also can be used to help prevent fatigue during your workouts. This is definitely how it is marketed to fitness peeps.

Leucine, in particular, plays an important role in muscle protein synthesis (muscle growth), while isoleucine helps get glucose into your cells (use sugar for fuel). Finding the purpose of valine was a bit more difficult. It seems to be the least important of the 3 but I believe having all 3 amino acids makes them work better, together. Kind of like the 3 Stooges or 3 Amigos!

BCAA’s are important to have everyday, but you can get them from many protein sources (such as meat and eggs).

Should you be using BCAAs with the MADE Diet?

However, if you’re following The MADE Diet, I do suggest you supplement with some good quality BCAA’s before and/or during your workout. Remember, the “M” in MADE stands for moderate protein. We really overdue it and that’s hard on the organs.

Caution here though. Many supplemental companies add lots of unnecessary artificial sweeteners and colorings which negates the good BCAA’s do.

And yes, I know you have one more question for me, “Do BCAA’s break your fast?” The answer is no as long as there are zero or very few calories per serving. BCAA’s don’t have calories in and of themselves so they’re coming from somewhere else. Check what the source is.

The ones I recommend taste awful by themselves because they are JUST BCAA’s so I mix it with my pre-workout, Energize, and I can’t tell they’re even in there. You can see all my favorite things here!

So when asked Should you be using BCAAs , I would say if you’re following the MADE Diet – absolutely.

Don’t Stop at Calories and Macros: How to Read Food Labels

Do You Read Nutrition Labels?

Do you read nutrition labels? If you said, “Yes” are you expecting I’m going to whip out my hand to exchange high 5’s?

I really want to pat you on the back because I know most believe  label reading is important to your health but I’m going to beg to differ here, especially since we usually only look at the calories, fat, protein and carb content and completely ignore the actual ingredient list of what it is we’re eating.

When a food has a nutrition label on it, it usually is because it has a laundry list of ingredients…not always, but in most cases. The dyes, preservatives, artificial flavorings and sugars need to be listed as well as the actual food.

In a book I’m reading by Robb Wolf, he mentions an interesting correlation between pornography and our insatiable thirst for hyper palatable foods (like bacon covered maple bars or chili and sea salt chocolate). I know what you’re thinking here (like Melissa had lost it) but stay with me…

A little over a decade ago, scientists found young men in their teens and twenties that were suffering from…well let’s just say suffering from interest in “snuggling” with another human being. What was found is that these young men were taking advantage of all that’s available pornography wise on the World Wide Web and opening and viewing numerous tabs of pictures and videos, quite literally getting overstimulated by what they were seeing. So now, when it comes to “snuggling” with their loved one, it’s blasé…vanilla…boring!

We as humans are VERY interested in both sex and food. They’re both vital to our survival. So here we are making our food ridiculously overstimulating by combining sweet and sour, savory and salty and crunchy and buttery.

Overstimulation is everywhere and not going anywhere. Because of this, Mother Nature can’t compete and we need to take responsibility for ourselves and our family. A highly nutritious plate of salmon and asparagus is no match for a plate of ranch covered chili cheese fries. If you’re in the practice of eating the latter, you’ve ruined your tastebuds from ever enjoying a healthy meal that will help prevent disease instead of feed it. When working with people a big hurdle I have to help them overcome is thinking that “healthy” food tastes like cardboard.

Eat Foods that don’t need a nutrition label

Ok, off my soapbox…let me get back to the point I started with. Maybe instead of being a nutrition label reader, why not eat foods that don’t require a label at all? When I think of my own daily diet, nothing that I eat (except for my Shake) has an ingredient “list.” I eat foods with just one ingredient: eggs, spinach, tomatoes, beef, brussels sprouts, etc…

Give it a try for one week…eat food that doesn’t require a label. Repair your palate and I promise those foods you crave now will be too much later and you’ll enjoy real food just as Nature intended!

Plus, eating healthier food will naturally increase that libido and you won’t want to have anything to do with your computer!😉

High Fat Low Carb Melissa

The High Fat Low Carb Made Diet!

Have you heard a lot about High Fat Low Carb diets, ketosis, Gluconeogenesis etc? Where do I stand?

I am not Keto!
I am not Paleo!
I am MADE!

It took years of reading, watching, researching, studying and experimentation on myself, my family and my friends to come up with the BEST scenario of all of these lifestyles combined. The MADE Diet is unique (which is why it’s so effective)!

I do not buy into the fad you need to eat 5 to 6 meals a day, that just keeps your body from EVER burning stored fat. I hope you know it’s those snack companies filling you full of that nonsense (and a bunch of other crap).

I also do not buy into breakfast first thing in the morning as being the most important meal of the day. McDonald’s and Little Debbie have led you to believe that for obvious reasons.

Eating no carbs for extended periods can damage your thyroid. Eating too many carbs can cause insulin resistance and eventually “diabesity.” It can really mess with your mind as to whether you’re eating too many carbs or not enough!

Too much protein wreaks havoc on your kidneys and liver and can essentially turn into sugar and then store as fat. Excess ingested protein could, through a process called gluconeogenesis, produce glucose. Not in line with your goals, I’m sure!

In my humble opinion, trying to get 75-85% of your calories from fat robs you of all the amazing, nutrient dense, vegetables you can enjoy and too many people (in an effort to add variety to their super high fat low carb diets) eat unhealthy fats to try and keep that ratio so high. As yummy as pork rinds, conventional bacon and fried chicken are…eating them should be rarely (or never).

Our body likes a High Fat Low Carb Diet – it has uses for both Fat and Glucose.

Our bodies are like a hybrid car (remember, I’m married to a car guy). It is most efficient when it can run off of alternate sources of fuel. Fat is a premium fuel and should be our main source but there are cells that do need glucose, but not too much. It’s a very fine balance and I believe that I’ve discovered it!

I’ve never tried to achieve high levels of ketosis with The MADE Diet, but I’m always in nutritional ketosis (0.8 millimolar) with this style of eating. It works perfectly for me, and thousands of others I Coach. I constantly receive messages from people in disbelief at how fast they see and feel the positive effects. Not only do you get the benefits of ketones in your bloodstream but you also get ample antioxidants, phytonutrients, polyphenols and “roughage” to keep you looking and feeling young and at your very best! If we take really good care of ourselves starting today, we’ll wear our great grandkids out no problem in 30 years! That’s my goal atleast! 😉

Would you like to get MADE? You can join my next challenge group in June, experience my unique High Fat Low Carb diet and get amazing results. To get involved (purchase required) – send me a facebook message or email me

Will Intermittent Fasting Cause Muscle Loss?

Will Intermittent Fasting Cause Muscle Loss?

Can I just put up a picture of myself here to answer this question?? I kid, I kid! But remember, I’ve been an intermittent faster for going 18 years now. The question I get asked by people- particularly men is Will intermittent fasting cause muscle loss?. The Guys fear that all of their hard work lifting heavy things will go to waste. Let me set your mind at ease!

Let me start by sharing this quote from Dr. Jason Fung, “Muscle is about exercise, and fat is about diet.” People really try to interchange this fact and you just can’t. You are going to either lose muscle or gain muscle from the exercises you do, or don’t do. And you simply cannot eat your way to more muscle. But how does that answer the question Will Intermittent fasting cause muscle loss?.
Of course you have supplement companies that LOAD their products with ungodly amounts of protein because if you consume your bodyweight in protein…you’ll put Arnold Schwarzenegger to shame, right?! This not only isn’t true but too much protein is also bad for your health. Again, these companies put profit over the people…take what they say with a grain of salt. Those muscle bound men get paid to say it’s this protein and that creatine that got them swole…simply not true!
Now I have shared with you in the past the amazing benefits intermittent fasting has on increasing your human growth hormone (HGH). Well, HGH protects muscle tissue. This is why we don’t lose muscle while sleeping (when HGH can be at it’s highest). We also don’t lose it while exercising. Again, HGH increases significantly when we exercise. AND HGH is also elevated during fasting (because of it’s direct relationship to insulin…when insulin is low, HGH is higher). So in answer to Will Intermittent fasting cause muscle loss – the answer is no! HGH will help protect your muscle tissue.
Think about this though. Our bodies store fat for the sole purpose of it being used for energy when fuel isn’t coming in via food. Why on Earth would it break down muscle tissue before this fat when the fat was put there to be used as fuel? Now that’s just common sense!
If you want to lose weight, eat clean food…not too much…not too often. If you want to gain muscle, go lift heavy stuff in the gym but please refrain from moaning and groaning (nobody likes that! 😉 )

Conclusion: Will Intermittent Fasting cause muscle loss?

No it will not! Trust me on this one guys 😉


Sleep For Weight Loss

Sleep When You’re Dead – Not me! – Sleep for Weight Loss

Catching some Zzzzz’s is amazingly important for our health, but do you have enough Sleep for weight loss to occur?

“I’ll sleep when I’m dead” has got to be one of the stupidest sentences ever quoted!

Do you get enough sleep? Bare-bones minimum do you get at least six hours but hopefully closer to eight hours? My guess is going to be No and I’m also going to guess that you also struggle to get and keep weight off.

People STRONGLY underestimate sleep and it’s affect on our weight. It has been proven that sleep deprivation goes hand in hand with sugar cravings. It also causes us to “let our guards down” and be tempted easier. This is why it’s such an effective interrogation technique…take away a man’s sleep and he’ll talk! Take note Ladies 😉

Sleep for weight loss

In fact, according to the Journal Of Sleep Research, children who were not allowed to sleep a full night (they got to stay up 2-3 hours later) consumed significantly more carbs, sugar and calories during the day. Over time, of course, this leads to weight gain and disease!

Plus, have you ever been excited to do your workout when only functioning on a few hours sleep? Of course you haven’t, you’re thinking of nothing but when you can lay down and “rest.”

Now don’t get me wrong, I too used to think that sleep actually made you less productive. Successful people would always brag about how much they could get done on just a few hours of sleep. But I bet if you look at these same people now, they either look 25 years older than they actually are or they have learned the error of their ways and now get a good nights sleep every night.

You will be a much higher functioning and healthier person with a full nights rest. There are hundreds of studies to back up that claim. I personally get eight hours of sleep every single night, between 11 PM and 7 AM, and I attribute that, plus intermittent fasting and a higher fat lifestyle, to staying incredibly lean even into my 40s.

OK, so I’ve convinced you to try to each night get a few more hours of sleep for weight loss. Here are some ways to make that easier for you to do.

1.) According to, keeping your bedroom temperature between 60 and 67°F is optimal for sleep
2.) Select one bedtime and stick to it
3.) If you drink caffeine, stop around 2 PM
4.) Drinking alcohol three hours before bed will make it harder for you to fall asleep
5.) Try not to exercise four hours before bedtime
6.) Go outside and get 15 minutes of sunlight every day

And last but not least…you knew this was coming…try not to be on your phone, a computer or have the TV on right before you go to bed. Instead, have a nice conversation with your loved one or read a real book that piques your interest. Might I suggest a certain ebook cleverly named The M.A.D.E. Diet. Hopefully it doesn’t put you to sleep TOO fast!

Make sure you get your 6-8 hours of sleep for weight loss tonight!

Don't Exercise to Lose weight

Don’t Exercise to Lose Weight! It Won’t Work!

If anyone can help you lose weight, it’s Jillian Michaels, right?! I mean she’ll get in your face and make you workout SO HARD, the pounds will just drip off…literally! It’s so simple do more exercise to lose weight – so they say – right?? Isn’t that what we’re always told? Don’t people say you need to workout more? Shouldn’t you go to the gym?

Well I hate to burst your bubble, but its not true. If you exercise to lose weight, it is NOT going to work! Shows like The Biggest Loser showcase these participants working out HARD but what is really making the pounds drop is their very low calorie diets. I have a friend who was a contestant and winner on that show and he shared with me just how little they ate.

Don’t get me wrong though, it is incredibly beneficial to your health to exercise but to do it solely to lose weight will be an uphill battle and I hate to run uphill, don’t you?!

All too often we think we can “outrun” our forks and that’s just not the case. Let’s say you did a dance class for an hour and burned around 500 calories, good right?! Well, if you hadn’t exercised and just stood at your desk for that hour, you would have burned about 120 calories. So really, you only burned an additional 380 calories which could be zeroed out with just one cafe mocha.

Or you thought that maybe if you were just consistent with your exercise, say 4 days a week for 60 minutes, you’d lose weight. Guess what, you absolutely would…about 3-4 pounds a month. Does that sound motivating? I didn’t think so, especially if you’re choosing an exercise you don’t enjoy doing (did I mention I don’t like running???).

Remember though, no matter how little working out impacts your waistline, it does your body and mind so much good. It reduces your blood pressure, the triglycerides in your blood, the risk of Type II Diabetes, stroke, heart attack and provides beautiful muscle definition once you reach your goal weight. So why work to lose all that weight and get into a bikini if you’re going to look like skin over bones or your ticker is going to give out. Exercise IS important.

Why do we Exercise To Lose Weight?

Why do we believe that exercising will help us get lean and mean? It all comes down to profit…again! The government, the American Heart Association and the Big Food Companies all tell us to exercise more. They fail to mention that what it’s really going to take is better food choices because those less than better choices (like Pepsi, Sara Lee and Nabisco) are telling Americans the reason for our obesity epidemic is lack of exercise (not the sugar and wheat in their nutrition-less products).

Losing weight is going to come from your meal timing and meal planning. You have to choose to not eat all hours of the day and you have to be careful not to eat too many carbs (especially the processed kind). Do as your grandparents did and eat 3 square meals a day, 3 meals that come from the farm and not the factory. Your body wants to be at a healthy weight and if you feed it “just enough of the right stuff,” it will have no problem releasing the excess weight.

Now go take that dance class for fun…just promise you will not exercise to lose weight! 🙂

Intermittent Fasting Image

Will Intermittent Fasting Help Me Lose Weight?

Well let me ask you this, does a pig love slop? The answer to both of these is a resounding YES!

Do you desperately want to shed some extra pounds and feel like you’ve tried everything and failed? Have you ever tried intermittent fasting and if so were you consistent with it (because that is key)?

Society is no help. They are telling you that you need to exercise more, eat more often and add more low-fat products to your diet. That is terrible advice and it never works… are you aware of the obesity epidemic we are battling right now?

Intermittent fasting is about meal timing which allows the many hormones you have in your body to work simultaneously to help you feel in control of your eating and also burn the excess fat resting in your body just waiting to be used for fuel.

I have been practicing intermittent fasting for 18 years now and all I essentially do is delay my breakfast every morning about four hours.

Alongside that, I have also lowered my carbohydrate intake to mostly come from fresh vegetables, consume all of my calories in just three meals a day and I’ve increased my fat intake to be about 50% of my calories.

It sounds unconventional in today’s standards of dieting but it actually follows the pattern of our ancestors who never had a problem with excess weight.

Let me give you an example of what my day looks like:

I wake up around 7 AM and have black coffee. Around 8:30 AM, I will drink my pre-workout. At 9 AM I do 30 minutes of exercise in my home and drink some BCAA’s as I do so. My first meal will come around 11 AM, which is usually a veggie omelette. I wait to have my second meal until around 3 PM and it’s most likely a big old salad. My last meal is around 7 PM and it’s most likely a little bit of meat and a very large portion of vegetables cooked in olive oil and topped with a pat of butter… Yum!

Intermittent fasting may sound scary at first because your first thought is you won’t be eating when you’re hungry but that couldn’t be further from the truth. With this pattern of eating and the types of food that you do eat within that eight hour period… You always feel satisfied and food just isn’t constantly in your forethought anymore like it is when you eat all day with plenty of carbs.

You’ve got to give it a try, it’s literally both time AND life saving!

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