Whole30 Days 1 through 7

by Melissa on February 7, 2016

As a registered dietitian, you’re probably wondering why I’m following the Whole30 eating pattern.  Good question!  Let’s start with a few points first :)


I’ve always been a proponent of the 30 day eating pattern as a way to learn more about the foods you’re eating and how they affect you.  In essence, the Whole30 is a 30 day elimination diet. An elimination diet is one that removes typical allergenic foods from your diet for a period of time, and then reintroduces them slowly to see which may affect you. 

The draw of the Whole30 for me personally is that I’m highly aware of how sugar affects my body and my mood, however I love chocolate and almost consider it an essential part of my diet.  While a small piece of chocolate a day isn’t necessarily bad, I also feel like I want to have control over what food I eat vs. feeling as though my food is in charge.

Towards the end of January, Devin and I decided to start our first Whole30. With just 6 weeks until our wedding day, we figured it wouldn’t hurt to reduce the processed foods and focus on produce and organic meats.

The biggest bummer so far is that  I was pretty sick the first few days of the challenge. So, it’s only been since Friday that I’ve been able to evaluate how the program is truly making me feel.  Before we head into my first week thoughts, here’s an overview of what we’ve been eating throughout the day.


I have been loving my Whole30 breakfasts.   I found a great replacement for oatmeal which is bananas, blueberries, and almond butter.  A few mornings I had an egg or two, whether hardboiled or scrambled.  Many who have gone through the Whole30 complain of getting egg burnout, but I’ve probably eaten the same thing for breakfast for the past 3 years (oatmeal).



Lunch and dinner go together because most of the time we had leftovers.  Since I was sick for the first part of the week, I was able to whip up a Whole30 chicken soup with broth, chicken, spinach, onion, and then egg to make it an egg drop soup.  What an easy meal to whip up and get in more vegetables.  


My spiralizer came in handy to make these Thai Meatballs.  I altered this recipe a bit by using coconut aminos instead of soy sauce and then added an extra egg to the turkey meatball recipe.  It was delicious!


Then for our date night dinner, I made a recipe from the Whole30 cookbook of Ginger Citrus Cod with Coconut Cauliflower Rice.  It felt like we were at the beach (not too long until we are!!)


Other meals included salmon, salad, and sweet potatoes.


I wish I would have taken a picture of our Curry Chicken.  It honestly felt like take out and we had cauliflower rice for the first time with this meal.  I will definitely recreate and post later on!

I also made Sweet Potato Fajita Chicken.  This is definitely going to become a household staple, Whole30 or not!   Again, I’ll make it again and repost the recipe.  :)

Week 1 Thoughts

I like this eating pattern so far.  First, it’s only 30 days that I have to be extremely diligent about my diet.  This would be difficult to continue with year round.  The author’s specifically say it’s not a Whole365 for a reason.  I think Devin and I will find it hard to eat out this month only because to find something soy, dairy, grain, and sugar free is difficult.  I challenge you to even find a healthy soup in the supermarket that fits this bill.

Black coffee is a whole new world!  We’re using cinnamon and coconut milk to help cut the bitterness, but I do miss my vanilla creamer. 

This can be an extremely low-carb diet, and I am NOT a proponent of a low-carb diet.  I’m making sure to include plenty of fruit (3 servings) and at least one or two starchy vegetables per day.  Depending on your size and energy needs, you may need more or less.

My sugar cravings spiked around day 5 and 6.  I was dreaming of a Reese’s cup.  But….guess what?  I lived :) And I’m really proud of myself for not giving into the craving.

While my skin is looking really good, I’m still waiting to see if this will last throughout the 30 days.  I’ve always had a bit of an issue with acne and I’m inclined to say that the reason it’s clearing up is the elimination of added sugars and dairy, which I’ve always been affected by. 

Devin has mentioned it’s been an adjustment to not reach for rice or bread (coffee creamer too!), but he likes knowing that we’re eliminating additives and preservatives.  He said it feels great to know that his body is running on whole foods and pure ingredients. 

Also, it’s Superbowl Sunday!  Instagram you are killing me with all the delicious Whole30 Non-Compliant food :-P  But Devin and I have made homemade potato chips, guacamole, and grilled herb wings.  I have felt very satisfied with this fun meal!


Have you ever done a Whole30?  Do you feel like soy, grains, dairy, or sugar affect you?


What Can You Learn During Training?

by Melissa on January 28, 2016

Training for any race, whether a 5K or a marathon, leaves a definite mark on a person.  You learn a few things about yourself.  Sometimes you learn that you’re more equipped to hit the snooze button than you originally thought.  Sometimes you learn that you have a little more to give than you ever knew.  Either way, taking on the opportunity to jump into a training program and work towards that race goal is eye opening and exhilarating. 

Since I’ve started working with distance athletes, both as a nutrition coach and run coach, my athletes learn a lot about themselves – and they help me learn a lot too!  They have big “ah – ha!” moments, and sometimes just little insights.  But either way, once they cross the finish line, they know themselves just a little bit better.

Two of my coaching clients have shared their stories and allowed me to share them with you.  I hope you find them as motivating as I did!

Brandon F.

If you had asked me a year ago if I considered myself a runner I would have laughed in your face! I did not HATE running but it was in no way my first choice of activity. I had been conned into running my first half-marathon in September of 2014 and knew then that a half-marathon was the farthest that anyone was going to get me to run. Fast forward to April of 2015 and my two best friends were pushing hard to get me to run the Marine Corps Marathon with them. The simple answer was NO! I wasn’t ready and did not know if I would ever truly be ready.

As fate would have it, I received a free registration for the 2015 MCM and caved to peer pressure. I was in desperate need of help! I did not know how I was going to survive 26.2 miles of running. Melissa was there, eager to help me and hone her skills as a running coach(really a life coach). She was there every step of the way. She took the time to listen to my fears and reservations. She compiled the data and created attainable goals/milestones. She checked in on me each week(if not more) to see how I felt. She supported me even when I did not complete my running homework! Because of Melissa I was ready to conquer the Marine Corp Marathon. Melissa kept me grounded and helped me realize that it was never about my finish time but about the experience and accomplishing an incredible feat.

I am proud to say that 2 years after enduring 3 long months of chemotherapy for metastatic lung cancer, I ran and FINISHED the Marine Corp Marathon in 5 hours 45 minutes. Running the marathon was by far the most difficult thing I have ever done, but I was prepared. I was prepared because Melissa got me to a place where I believed I could do it. I was prepared because Melissa is amazing and takes the time to care! I was prepared because of Melissa!!

Ask me today and I will tell you confidently that I am a RUNNER!! I love running and I am already planning to conquer the 2016 Chicago Marathon for my 30th Birthday. Yes, I will be using Melissa to get ready for that too!

Erin B.


I got so many things out of using a coach for this seasons training, I can’t thank Melissa enough! What I can truly take away though is the importance of a schedule, variety, and accountability! I ran regularly but I was not strategic in my workouts; I wouldn’t push my self beyond adding an extra mile or so to a long run. When working with a coach I found myself doing and enjoying (?!?!) speed workouts and other challenging runs and I never was too intimidated by them for I knew I had that person who believed in me and that I had to report to. I saw benefits not only in my increased confidence overcoming these goals but I found I was performing better on my typical runs as well.

My favorite piece of training gear was my Garmin Forerunner watch. So easy to use and worked well to track all my workouts. My favorite place to run is the Georgetown Waterfront and my pump up song would have to be Remember the Name by Fort Minor!

Interested in getting started towards your running or endurance goals?  Contact me about nutrition and/or run coaching. 

Want to start with some group motivation and aim for a 5K?  Join me (as your coach) and Spright in February for 2 Run Classes:

Run Your Best 5K

Get into Running

What has been the biggest thing you’ve learned during training?


Winter is Here + A Workout

by Melissa on January 26, 2016

Holy cow!  We’ve almost dug ourselves out of the over 2 feet of snow that got dumped on us this past weekend.  I have to admit it was kind of fun being stuck inside and braving the storm with Devin :)  So many firsts for us this year!

We tried to shovel often to keep up with the accumulations.


The car probably proved the most difficult.  That’s me on a ladder shoveling the snow off the top.  Since Friday, we’ve barely been out of the house (read: we’ve been out of the house once, to walk across the street to Chipotle).  So, shoveling has been our main source of exercise.  Thank goodness Snowzilla came equipped with it’s own workout each day ;)


Because we live in a townhouse development, there’s little room to pile the snow, so we’ve waited patiently for plows to take some of it away.  We’re hoping to go to work tomorrow!


However don’t feel bad for us!  We’ve had lots of fun in the snow and I even decided to try a headstand.  After leveling off a bit snow (just so I could breathe), I made my attempt.  It felt like I would never get my feet in the air.  My boots were so heavy and filled with snow from shoveling.  Then I had a realization that it really wouldn’t hurt if I fell.  Up I went!  The key to headstands: lose the fear!

IMG959058The other part of our secret sauce to surviving the blizzard?  Making delicious comfort food.  We stocked up on lots of soup, but there just came a time when we needed something to warm us up and fill our bellies.  At my bridal shower last weekend, I received a cast iron skillet.  It helped to make a perfect batch of baked beef and black bean nachos.  YUM!!!

Since we didn’t leave the house much, Devin and I relied on shoveling and our TRX to keep us fit.  I’m so thankful for this simple piece of equipment!  It’s great to travel with and it’s easy to store at your home if you have limited space. 

Got a TRX?  Want to try our home workout from Snowzilla 2016?

TRX Snow Burner Workout

Have you been on the east coast with this blizzard?  How did you survive being inside?


Looking to run your first or best 5K this year?  Join me in February with Spright for two 5K run challenges:




2015 In Review

by Melissa on December 30, 2015

What a whirlwind year!  It feels like it was just 2014 to me!

There is one word that can summarize my entire 2015:   Change.

Overwhelming, exciting, joyous change!  As I take these few days to reflect, I can see in the end, God always has the best plans. Smile

Devin and started to talk about moving in with each other at the beginning of the year.  After a wonderful Christmas in paradise, it helped us to decided that next big step in our relationship.  We started looking for townhomes to make our first home. 

Potter Lane

I spent a cold January weekend in Clearwater Florida with my very bestest of friends.  We ran our first half marathon together and just enjoyed being able to spend a few days together.

2015-01-18 21.11.33

Then in the midst of one of the coldest February’s on record, Devin popped the question post run – on Valentine’s Day.  Read the full story here Smile  Remember our house hunt?  We found out we were approved for our rental the day of our engagement.  Meant to be!

engaged on the run

March went full swing into wedding planning, moving, and also getting my RRCA certification.  Interested in training with me?  Send me a message!


I was able to enjoy one of the prettiest Cherry Blossom 10 milers with peak blossoms!  Definitely a treat living in the DC area. 

cherry blossom

Travel was a big part of 2015 as well.  New Orleans, Boston, Florida, Chicago, and Seattle were crossed off the list. 


…beignets for days – NOLA style

boston marathon line

visiting the iconic finish line

seattle food

enjoying all the healthy eats in Seattle


the most perfect Chicago summer day

Travel also included wedding planning at Jekyll and bachelorette party fun.

wedding planning


For my workouts??  As the year progressed, I took a bit of a hiatus from racing and focused on strength and HIIT training.  My 5am workout game became must stronger thanks to Devin!  I’ve also enjoyed seeing my body change as I’ve built strength.


2015 has been a fun and life changing year with many ups and downs.  I’m so thankful for all the challenges that taught me to be stronger and the beautiful moments that gave me such joy Smile


80 days from today I will marry the love of my life and then who knows what the rest of 2016 will bring. I can’t wait to find out!

How was your 2015?


A Warm Winter Weekend

December 13, 2015

It’s been in the 60s and 70s all weekend and I couldn’t feel more blessed to have the windows open while still enjoying the Christmas lights.  After last year’s artic winter, it’s nice to think this year might be just a bit more mild. (Fingers crossed) Devin and I started our weekend off with a […]

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Run Coaching

October 11, 2015

Last spring I took the RRCA Run Coach certification course.  It was a weekend long intensive.  Between the running fundamentals I learned that weekend and the tools I have from being a registered dietitian and group fitness instructor, I knew that I would love working with individuals towards reaching their running goals. Therefore, I’m excited […]

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My Favorite Books of 2015

October 8, 2015

One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2015 was to read 1 book per month.  Guess what number I’m on?  5 Ok, so I’m a little behind.  But, I’m not upset.  I’m reading a lot more this year than I was last and I think that’s the whole point of resolutions – improvement.  Maybe next […]

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Running in the Dark

October 6, 2015

Here in the DC area, we’ve been dealing with a lot of weather change.  This past weekend brought Hurricane Joaquin.  Then the temperatures dropped to the 40s (it was just in the 80s I swear!), and now it’s dawning on me that it’s pitch black out until almost 7am When you prefer to run outside, […]

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Grilled Caesar Salad

September 22, 2015

Fall is here. Half of you probably have your hands in the air saying “Amen”, while the other half are dodging everyone else and their pumpkin spice lattes. I love Fall, but I also love Spring, and Summer too.  So Fall presents this weird “I love you, but I also know that you bring something […]

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Stair Workout

September 9, 2015

So you know I love to run…right? But when I’m at the gym, the treadmill looks like a torture device.  I’d much rather see scenery passing me by than stare at a TV screen.  So when I’m there, I will either choose the elliptical or stairclimber (not a fan of the elliptical either – try […]

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