When Melissa McAllister was born, she was told she would never be able to walk. A survivor of Agent Orange, she was born with severe birth defects in both her feet. 45 years later, she is not only walking, but exercising every single day and inspiring thousands of others by proving that you can do anything you truly set your mind to! Today, Melissa is an online health and fitness coach and lover of all things fitness and nutrition related. She is constantly educating herself so that she can share her knowledge with others. Her business is centered around online communities that help women find a mindset and lifestyle that makes being at their peak health an enjoyable journey. Read on to see why her story inspired us and to find out some true gems of wisdom from this woman who defied the odds.
Your passion for inspiring others to live their best lives is evident from the way you talk in your posts. Have you always played the role of mentor for others?
I discovered my passion for mentoring other women during my very 1st time teaching a group exercise class. I had never experienced the feeling one could get just by seeing the energy, excitement and pure determination of others who have decided to change their lifestyle and make it the best that they could. Being able to inspire others in my class to push past their limits and know that they could do anything is when my passion first came to life. I felt that fire in my belly to lead by example and encourage others to keep pushing because they were worth it and needed to know that as well.
Nutrition is clearly a huge part of your life. What is your personal dietary mantra?
Oh my gosh, careful asking me about nutrition...you might get me on my soapbox! I’m addicted to learning about how food (good and bad) affects the body. There is so much misguided information out there coming from the big food companies and social media, I truly want to just help clear the fog. I do not believe we need to complicate our diets. The ideas of timed nutrition, carb cycling, scheduling cheat days and blocking out complete food groups is unnecessary and makes “living healthy” just too hard.
Tell us more about your book -- The MADE Diet.
The M.A.D.E Diet is an acronym (acronyms got me through school...lol) that stands for Moderate protein (I think many of us eat a bit too much of it thinking it will help us lose weight), Adequate fat (thanks to some seriously wrong information, we’ve learned to fear fat and that it is bad), Decreased carbs (again, because of the wrong information put out there, we’ve increased our carbs too much wreaking havoc on our hormones) and Eight hour window because I strongly believe in the power of daily intermittent fasting.
Many of our readers are curious about Intermittent Fasting. Why do you feel this is such an important thing to do?
I do not believe that we were meant to eat from sunup to sundown nor were we ever supposed to eat 5 to 6 meals a day. When you are constantly keeping your body full of food, you never allow it to do what it was designed to do which is use our body fat for fuel too. If you don’t give your body a break from eating and digesting...you never let it tap into the stored fat to be used for energy. We have many hormones associated with eating and fasting and when we don't allow our ourselves to trigger these hormones (like ghrelin for hunger or leptin for satiety), they get out of whack and we never feel satisfied or truly hungry like we should feel. Eating becomes a hobby and we get nothing but mixed messages from our bodies.
You post a lot of inspiring life-coaching commentary on your social media. How important do you see state of mind in overall physical wellness?
Mindset is everything. Let’s face it, we all know deep down inside what to do to stay lean and healthy…eat less from the factory and more from the farm and get some activity in every day. However, we are still failing to be healthy ourselves and raise healthy children. That’s where getting your mind right comes into play. The goal here is to help you feel empowered, and not punished, by the decisions you make! In my humble opinion, this comes from education. When you know, for instance, that sugar not only causes tooth decay and weight gain but also premature aging of the skin...you will WANT to avoid it because let’s face it, wrinkles suck!
Let’s talk collagen. What is it about collagen that you love so much?
Ahhh collagen! I love this stuff! So my research has confirmed how incredibly good it is for your hair, skin, nails and gut but I can also speak from a personal opinion. I’m 45 years old and since incorporating my collagen into my shake everyday for over a year now, I’ve seen a tremendous positive shift in the quality of my appearance. I swear I’m aging in reverse!
How do LonoLife products fit into your life?
I discovered LonoLife when I was on the hunt for a good bone broth. I was having trouble finding one with a taste I actually enjoyed. LonoLife’s was seriously the ONLY one I could find. Plus, with their high quality standards, I was sold because I’m a stickler for where ingredients come from. The bone broth is my afternoon snack everyday and the Vanilla Collagen goes in my post workout shake every morning and bonus...it makes it creamier!
If our customers are reading this and wondering how they can transform their life to be healthier, more inspired, and more active, what would be the one piece of advice you’d give them to get started?
My advice to anyone looking to really transform their life is to find a mentor and a community. It has been proven that when we try to set goals that no one knows about, it is too easy to quit without second thought. However, if others know and are right alongside you trying to accomplish the same goals, we push a little harder and don’t quit near as fast because we don’t want to disappoint others! Creating a healthy lifestyle has its ups and downs for sure, don’t go at it alone. As the saying goes, “Shared joy is a double joy; Shared sorrow is half a sorrow.”