Friday Feature: Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed

FridayFeatures3In our weekly Friday Feature, we share a 5-question interview with one of the fantastic members of Take the time to get to know your co-members, pick up tips and tricks, blogging know-how, and recommendations from your fellow bloggers. If you’re an HLB member and haven’t gotten your interview email yet, don’t worry, you will in time! We’re working our way through a list of 2,000+ members’ blogs at random.

What’s your name, blog name, and how did you create your blog title?

My name is Melissa Joulwan, and my blog *used* to be called The Clothes Make The Girl, because I thought that was a funny riff on the Mark Twain quote, “The clothes make the man.” But as the subject of my blog evolved from writing about my life to being more focused on recipes, I decided to change the name to Melissa Joulwan’s Well Fed—which means I can share recipes AND the other things that contribute to a well-fed mind.

What can a new visitor expect to find from your blog?

My blog is a mix of all the things I enjoy: first and foremost, healthy, delicious food—but also great books, travel, and the other things I find inspiring. A reader told me once that she came for the recipes and stayed for the writing.

What is one lesson you’ve learned about blogging since you first started your website?

Rather than trying to guess what my readers want and engineer the whole experience, I write about the things that inspire and interest me—things I find so exciting, I can’t help but share them. I think my enthusiasm is infectious, and that’s much more meaningful than trying to write something that’s favorable to search engines.

Do you ever experience days when you don’t want to make healthy choices? How do you motivate yourself when you really need it?

EVERYONE has days when their motivation to do the work is low. For me, I rarely have a day when I don’t want to work out—but I have the opposite problem: It’s really challenging for me to realize when I need to rest or so something restorative like yoga. It’s much easier for me to bash myself around at the gym.

I try to remember that my underlying motivation for all of it—healthy eating, exercise, rest, recovery, meditation—is that I want to be the healthiest, happiest version of me that i can… and that means giving my body what it needs, when it needs it.

I’ve also built my exercise and eating habits into my daily routine—and I find that moving first thing in the morning works the best for me because then nothing can prevent me from doing it. So the first thing I do most mornings is exercise: a run, the gym, a walk, yoga in the living room. WHAT I do changes each day, but that time slot dedicated to movement is there every weekday morning. Saturdays are usually fun activity days: a hike, a run in a park—and then Sunday, I’m usually a sloth, on the couch with a book. Knowing that Sloth Day is coming supports my commitment to activity on the other days of the week.

What is your favorite way to get moving, burn calories and energy, and get your exercise-on?

I really love going to the gym and hitting the heavy bag, then some jump rope, and lifting barbells in the weight room. But now that it’s summer, I’m also spending more time in the mornings running around the parks—and I try to do some living room yoga at least twice a week. I’m really into a routine called Peaceful Warrior from Yoga with Adriene right now.

What is your favorite site to visit to find motivation in your healthy living journey?

I really love the ‘Weightless’ blog by Margarita Tartakovsky. She tackles the all-important relationship we have with ourselves—offering guidance and thoughtful tips for managing body image so we an enjoy our whole lives. Even though my work focuses on healthy eating—primarily paleo recipes—I am not a dieting advocate.

And I love the approach of self compassion that permeates Margarita’s blog posts. I also think that Steph Gaudreau’s work is top-notch. She tackles the self-love angle from another perspective, encouraging women to be their strongest, best selves—in every sense of the word strong.

Taken together, these two women provide awesome ways to approach living a healthy, happy life.

Tell us about your favorite SOMETHING.

This is fun! Some of my favorite things: The ‘What Should I Read Next? Podcast‘ with Anne Bogel is smart, entertaining, and always has great ideas for books to add to your TBR pile; it’s a must-listen for me. My favorite book of all time is ‘Jane Eyre‘ by Charlotte Brontë because it explores big, important themes—self worth, integrity, loyalty, love, family—in a gripping, sweeping story. And the two best modern books I’ve read recently are ‘Less: A Novel‘ by Andrew Sean Greer and A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles, both of which made me happy to be a messy, complicated, but loving human. Finally, I love the movie ‘Pitch Perfect’ because it’s just exuberant fun, and you can’t go wrong listening to The Clash really loudly.

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