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Going Public. Goodbye, Ego!

My friend Catherine has inspired me by making her food log public and sharing her (adorable) “before” pictures as she re-commits to her paleo lifestyle and training schedule.

As you know, I made a big decision not to set concrete goals for myself right now, but I am HIGHLY MOTIVATED to change my body composition now that the life crisis of 2010 is over, my Synthroid dose is worked out, and the indulgence of our trip to Prague has given way to a Whole70, already in progress.

I will get leaner in 2011, but I’m doing it the way Dallas and Moxy-Boss advise: by “chasing performance” with clean eating, hard training, and a solid commitment to rest. (Hello, tinfoil-blackened windows!).

So today, Dave helped me take documentary photos and measurements. I won’t take pics or break out the measuring tape again for 12 weeks (April 3), lest I fall into some kind of sneaky “it’s not working fast enough” trap. The best version of me is just going to live this way and see how it goes. No measurement. No expectations. No making myself miserable. Just living the best way.

These are not the most flattering photos of me ever taken, but they are only meant to be a documentation of where I am right now. This is me on January 9, 2011.

Measurements
Hips: 39″
Waist: 32″ (3″ above belly button)
Chest: 39″
Left Thigh: 21″ (7″ above knee)
Right Thigh: 21″
Left Arm: 13.5″ (5″ above elbow)
Right Arm: 13.25

P.S.
This post was pretty painful to write. It feels like a reckoning: I did not thrive in 2010, and my photos and measurements show it. But life happens – and better days have arrived.

41 Responses to “Going Public. Goodbye, Ego!”

  1. geodesia says:

    But look at the smile! Your courage is showing.

    I've never commented here before, but I want you to know that because of you, my husband and I have embarked on a whole30 for the month. This is the first time he's been willing to entertain a paleo sort of outlook on nutrition and it's critically important to me to keep him at it…and I think 90% of our food has come from your recipes. They're fabulous! If you ever get discouraged with yourself, remember there's a couple of new whole30 converts praising your name down the road in San Marcos.

  2. Catherine Hart Rebholz says:

    YOU GO!!! You are so gorgeous my friend, in every way possible. Thanks for your endless inspiration.

  3. KristinB says:

    Hi Melissa
    Just discovered your blog about a week ago (while researching crossfit performance and sleep) and since then I've bookmarked your blog, been inspired to start my own, seen you were named an ambassador of Whole30 ("hey, I know who that is!") and have decided to commit to doing my own overhaul of my eating and sleeping habits. Thank you for posting what must have been a somewhat uncomfortable post…but you are inspiring people and hopefully knowing that makes it worth it. :) not quite ready to share my link but would love to have your's listed as a reference if that's okay with you!
    Keep kicking ass…I love discovering motivated rockstar women in the CF community!!!
    Kristin

  4. Nom Nom Paleo says:

    You rock. 'Nuff said.

  5. Jennifer K. says:

    You're very brave! I have "before" pictures, but I can't quite get up the nerve to post them online. You're awesome!

  6. Anonymous says:

    Hey – I'm the pheasant thyroid :). Your blog, your ideas, your writing and your recipes are awesome, inspiring and motivating. Also, your back looks super strong- I want a strong back! Keep on the journey and enjoy the experience!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Hi Mel! i have been following you ever since I discovered you on the Whole30 site last summer when I completed my first whole30.

    I love reading your blog because you are so very genuine and always optimistic. Just wanted to thank you for being so creative and providing all of us out here who are trying to do our best to live healthy with so many yummy recipes and wonderful words of encouragement.
    I will beginning my second whole30 in the next few weeks. I know i should start it RIGHT NOW but i am being realistic and honest with myself about my start date.

    looking foward to your next post:)
    sandi

  8. kel says:

    Hey Mel!

    I work out with the lovely Catherine and the lovely Anna, who pointed me your direction when I felt like I was going to commit suicide by sweet potato. Fresh (3 weeks!) onto the paleo bandwagon, and I am so motivated by your post and Catherine's! I can't wait to see the afters!

    -kel

  9. Trixie says:

    Thank you soo much for sharing Mel! This post has really helped me be okay with myself too. Realized that I've put on 2 pounds since my wedding in August. I know most people think..oh 2 pounds no biggie.. but for me it is. I've kept off a large amount of weight for quite a while and never have been this heavy. It's hard to take. I also don't want to make diet my main focus either. Trying to find balance is the tough part. Also learning to love me even with the extra weight. How have you dealt with this??

  10. Chrissy (The New Me) says:

    Good luck on your transformation! I think you're pretty rocking as is, but I look forward to seeing how much more awesome you will become!

  11. AllieNic says:

    Thanks for sharing your pseudo goals for 2011! It takes so much courage to post "before" pictures of yourself online! We're all rooting for you, lady! You can do it! I love that you're so motivated! Your motivation DEFINITELY motivates me!

  12. AllieNic says:

    Also, congrats on your Whole9 Envoyship! That's pretty cool!

  13. girlblake says:

    Mel, your courage, strength and beauty inside and out are a constant source of inspiration. Thank you for daring to do what most of us only dream about!

  14. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    geodesia –> Congratulations on your Whole30. That is so awesome! How's it going so far… feeling good? If you hit a slump, shoot me an email and we'll get your fired up! Glad to know my recipes are helping.

    Catherine –> You too good to me. Thanks for always being an excellent partner in crime.

    KristinB –> Yay for starting your own blog… and new eating/sleeping habits. When you're ready to share your blog, I'd love to read it! And yes, those aren't my favorite photos of myself… and not my favorite measurements, either. But I'm proud of my body and what it can do, so posting the photos wasn't TOO bad. Just washed my pride down with a big gulp of water ;-)

    Nom Nom Paleo –> THANK YOU!

    Jennifer K –> It's actually really liberating to strip away any embarrassment or self judgment associated with measurements (just numbers) and photos (that's me!). I mean, this is how I look. If we went swimming together, y'all would see me in my suit… so I had to get real with myself and ask why I was hesitant to post numbers and photos. When I realized I was being kinda judge-y of myself, I went to work on getting over it. Give it a shot!

    Anonymous (aka pheasant thyroid) –> You're so nice to say that about my back. My shoulders and back are pretty broad, and I try to remember that's a good thing.

    Sandi –> Thank you for your super kind words about my blog — I'm glad you're part of my little online crew. Because you know what's involved in a Whole30, I think it's wise to wait until you can wholeheartedly commit. One word of caution: try not to fall into "last meal" mentality between now and when you start… I've made myself feel pretty terrible by thinking, "My last cookies… my last tortilla chips… I'll just have pizza now 'cause I won't have it for a long time," etc.

    Kel –> "Suicide by sweet potato" = awesomely funny. Congratulations on three weeks of paleo. And between us friends, I can't wait to see my 'afters,' too!

    Trixie –> Two pounds isn't a significant gain, but I understand being uncomfortable with any weight gain — it's hard work to get it off! The way I deal with it is two-fold: 1) I think about what my body can DO: my workouts are going really well… I'm stronger than ever and working really hard in my CrossFit classes. 2) I'm focused on just doing the behaviors I need to do to get my body where I want it. No self-recrimination. No fretting. No whining. No beating myself up. I have clean food to eat and workouts to do and sleep to enjoy… and that's where my energy and self-talk is going.

    Chrissy –> Thank you for referring to me as "rocking" — love that!

    AllieNic –> Glad to know I can help you with motivation. Can't wait to see what we all accomplish this year! And yes, the Whole9 Envoy program is really awesome. I'm so glad to be part of it!

    Blake –> Hello, lovely. I love knowing I can always find you in my corner. You want to see daring? Wait 'til my body fat % drops, and I bust out a skimpier bathing suit! ;-)

  15. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    geodesia –> Congratulations on your Whole30. That is so awesome! How's it going so far… feeling good? If you hit a slump, shoot me an email and we'll get your fired up! Glad to know my recipes are helping.

    Catherine –> You too good to me. Thanks for always being an excellent partner in crime.

    KristinB –> Yay for starting your own blog… and new eating/sleeping habits. When you're ready to share your blog, I'd love to read it! And yes, those aren't my favorite photos of myself… and not my favorite measurements, either. But I'm proud of my body and what it can do, so posting the photos wasn't TOO bad. Just washed my pride down with a big gulp of water ;-)

    Nom Nom Paleo –> THANK YOU!

    Jennifer K –> It's actually really liberating to strip away any embarrassment or self judgment associated with measurements (just numbers) and photos (that's me!). I mean, this is how I look. If we went swimming together, y'all would see me in my suit… so I had to get real with myself and ask why I was hesitant to post numbers and photos. When I realized I was being kinda judge-y of myself, I went to work on getting over it. Give it a shot!

    Anonymous (aka pheasant thyroid) –> You're so nice to say that about my back. My shoulders and back are pretty broad, and I try to remember that's a good thing.

    Sandi –> Thank you for your super kind words about my blog — I'm glad you're part of my little online crew. Because you know what's involved in a Whole30, I think it's wise to wait until you can wholeheartedly commit. One word of caution: try not to fall into "last meal" mentality between now and when you start… I've made myself feel pretty terrible by thinking, "My last cookies… my last tortilla chips… I'll just have pizza now 'cause I won't have it for a long time," etc.

    Kel –> "Suicide by sweet potato" = awesomely funny. Congratulations on three weeks of paleo. And between us friends, I can't wait to see my 'afters,' too!

  16. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    geodesia –> Congratulations on your Whole30. That is so awesome! How's it going so far… feeling good? If you hit a slump, shoot me an email and we'll get your fired up! Glad to know my recipes are helping.

    Catherine –> You too good to me. Thanks for always being an excellent partner in crime.

    KristinB –> Yay for starting your own blog… and new eating/sleeping habits. When you're ready to share your blog, I'd love to read it! And yes, those aren't my favorite photos of myself… and not my favorite measurements, either. But I'm proud of my body and what it can do, so posting the photos wasn't TOO bad. Just washed my pride down with a big gulp of water ;-)

    Nom Nom Paleo –> THANK YOU!

  17. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Jennifer K –> It's actually really liberating to strip away any embarrassment or self judgment associated with measurements (just numbers) and photos (that's me!). I mean, this is how I look. If we went swimming together, y'all would see me in my suit… so I had to get real with myself and ask why I was hesitant to post numbers and photos. When I realized I was being kinda judge-y of myself, I went to work on getting over it. Give it a shot!

    Anonymous (aka pheasant thyroid) –> You're so nice to say that about my back. My shoulders and back are pretty broad, and I try to remember that's a good thing.

    Sandi –> Thank you for your super kind words about my blog — I'm glad you're part of my little online crew. Because you know what's involved in a Whole30, I think it's wise to wait until you can wholeheartedly commit. One word of caution: try not to fall into "last meal" mentality between now and when you start… I've made myself feel pretty terrible by thinking, "My last cookies… my last tortilla chips… I'll just have pizza now 'cause I won't have it for a long time," etc.

  18. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Kel –> "Suicide by sweet potato" = awesomely funny. Congratulations on three weeks of paleo. And between us friends, I can't wait to see my 'afters,' too!

    Trixie –> Two pounds isn't a significant gain, but I understand being uncomfortable with any weight gain — it's hard work to get it off! The way I deal with it is two-fold: 1) I think about what my body can DO: my workouts are going really well… I'm stronger than ever and working really hard in my CrossFit classes. 2) I'm focused on just doing the behaviors I need to do to get my body where I want it. No self-recrimination. No fretting. No whining. No beating myself up. I have clean food to eat and workouts to do and sleep to enjoy… and that's where my energy and self-talk is going.

  19. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Chrissy –> Thank you for referring to me as "rocking" — love that!

    AllieNic –> Glad to know I can help you with motivation. Can't wait to see what we all accomplish this year! And yes, the Whole9 Envoy program is really awesome. I'm so glad to be part of it!

    Blake –> Hello, lovely. I love knowing I can always find you in my corner. You want to see daring? Wait 'til my body fat % drops, and I bust out a skimpier bathing suit! ;-)

  20. Anonymous says:

    Kuddos to you for being so brave and courageous! You and your blog are a constant inspiration and saved dinner countless times! I am also 9 days in my Whole 30 and because of your documented previous experience I know it is possible!
    It was lovely to meet you in person Saturday in Houston. Keep up the good work and good luck!
    Valerie

  21. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Valerie! It was great to meet you this weekend,too. Thanks for the support… and I'm glad to know my recipes are helping with your Whole30! We're about to hit the "cruise control" part of the 30 days where everything really starts clicking. Congratulations on Day 9!

  22. Danni says:

    You are brave! Just try not to fixate on physical results too much — you know better than anyone that this puts the cart before the horse and has great potential to make you feel bad and less awesome than you are. For me I struggle with wanting to be leaner and wanting to be sane — the dance involved in balancing these sometimes competing and sometimes connected objectives is difficult — I wish you luck in your 2011 and I hope it makes you wholly better in mind and body both.

  23. Marcy says:

    I had a heck of a time sending my 'befores' in to my coach for a competition. You are so brave sharing them with the world, but really none of us should be embarassed of our bodies. We are so much harder on ourselves than is reasonable. Once again you are a great role model about accepting our bodies while working to get healthier and stronger! I admit though, I'm waiting for the 'after' in March before I share my before photos publicly.

  24. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Marcy –> I thought long and hard about posting my photos because it does feel really personal… but then I realized that I don't want myself or anyone else to feel ashamed of the shape, size, and condition of their bodies.

    Having said that, it *is* personal, so I if you feel more comfortable posting photos in March or NEVER, that is 100% up to you. The photos are for YOU anyway.

    Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts!

  25. QR says:

    You're pretty hot. :)

  26. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    And you, QR, are a sweet talker. Thanks!

  27. Lauren {Stylized Existence} says:

    You have some killer calves… JEALOUS! I think it's badass that you posted your pics for us all to see. I took pics on in August, Sept, Oct, Dec(forgot in Nov!) to judge my transformation. I haven't looked at them closely because I am waiting for my 6 month crossfit anniversary (beginning of March) and I am excited to see progress

  28. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Lauren –> You are so sweet to say that… thanks!

    How exciting that you've almost been CrossFitting for six months — I bet you're going to see a huge difference when you take a look at your pics… and then you should share them ;-)

  29. Matt F says:

    Mel you totally ROCK! I'm going to be talking about you and your blog at the Paloe speech for our box tomorrow. Hope your hit count goes up!

  30. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Thanks, Matt! Good luck with your meeting tomorrow — and hooray for you for getting your peeps on-board with the clean eating!

  31. Mer says:

    Mel,

    You are such an inspiration to me. Your dedication and punk rock attitude combined with your enthusiasm and seriousness about health and wellness make your blog so fun to read. I got into Paleo because of you and my performance on the track has improved SO much since doing so. Keep being the amazing, beautiful person you are. :)

    XOXO

  32. Mer says:

    Oh, and, I freaking LOVE your Paleo Sheperd's Pie recipe. Delish!

  33. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Mer –> I'm so excited for you. My only regret in my post-derby life is that I wasn't doing CrossFit and clean eating when I was playing Derby. So I'm living vicariously through you now! I can't wait to see you skate at your new venue!

    Oh, and I'm glad you like the paleo shepherd's pie. Derby fuel, right?!

  34. Anonymous says:

    Rock on with your badass self! Devon

  35. thegetinshapegirl says:

    Once you confront the issue head on instead of pretending it' not there, is when you will conquer it! I wish you the best of luck & look forward to hearing about your progress.

  36. Anonymous says:

    I'm so sad to say that your blog is one of my CF/Paleo blogs that have been blocked (by the internet police) at work, so I'm catching up on your posts at home. You are such an inspiration to all, and I have now turned my husband on to your blog, especially your recipes. CF & Paleo are the way to go, and I have set similar soft goals, in an attempt to be the best I can be. Thank you for the encouragement!! ~Karyn M.

  37. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    thegetinshapegirl –> Thanks for the support!

    Karyn M –> Darn those internet police! Glad to hear your hubby is part of our little crew now… AWESOME! Wishing you a kickass 2011.

  38. erikajeanne says:

    i heart you so.

  39. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Erika! I love you back, sister.

  40. Anonymous says:

    Very brave. Look at it this way – if you'd have thrived in 2010 your posts wouldn't have have meant as much to those of us who also struggled through the year. Good luck with 2011.

  41. Melissa 'Melicious' Joulwan says:

    Anonymous –> Thank you SO much for your comment. I'm fighting hard to stay positive and not mourn too much the struggles of 2010. I'm on track to make 2011 my best year yet.

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