The Mr. & Mrs. Behind it All
Written by: Amy Mulligan Schiripo
In a way, Fairburn it Off has been in the making since the day David & Elyse first became friends…
David and Elyse each grew up in the same northern Massachusetts town and attended high school together, but the two were not high school sweethearts! In fact, they were not even really friends! That is until they had some classes together (thanks to AP U.S. History), and became inseparable. The following five years would prove to be an adventure!
Now, David will admit that he realized he had stronger feelings for Elyse from the beginning. Elyse also confides that the thought of dating David crossed her mind from time to time, but they both enjoyed the friendship that they had, which stranded them in the “Friend Zone.” That strong friendship was able to endure, despite change and distance, through their sophomore year of college, which is when things got interesting: David finally decided to ask Elyse out on a date, and she said “yes”… a month later! Sadly, the sparks only flew for one of the pair (can you guess who?), and they did what many people do in such a predicament; they pushed each other away. Two years passed before Elyse realized how much she missed David. This time around, she took the leap and asked him on a date. Fortunately, David’s feelings had not changed, and two years later they were married!
Although their romance worked out, life was still full of challenges for the Fairburns. After graduating college, moving in with one another, and becoming adjusted to full-time work schedules, David and Elyse began putting their health on hold. The pair had always been active growing up, but fitness took a backseat. Although their activity level changed, the couple’s eating habits still reflected their childhood and college days, which was unhealthy to say the least! Evenings of stuffing down pizzas were followed by days so frantic that a bowl of cereal might be the only food they ate!
As a result, Elyse and David began to learn to cook, but processed food remained a significant part of their diet, and Elyse packed on over 20 pounds in under two months, which made her very unhappy with her body and her health. This lead to Elyse trying every diet in the book, losing a dangerous amount of weight in a short period of time, packing the weight back on again, and just going through an unhealthy cycle. David on the other hand was having a hard time gaining weight. After all, being skinny is not an indicator of health! As a result, he just started eating more and more, but it was more processed foods. It was around this time that David and Elyse became sick and tired (literally and figuratively), and decided to make a real change. Through their ups and downs, they realized that their health was not about looking thin in clothes, losing a ton of weight, or seeing a certain number on the scale. Rather, it was about feeling confident, being fit, happy and eating foods that made them feel great.
It all started with a cup of coffee…
David and Elyse slowly began encouraging one another to keep up with working out and eating better. Truth be told, it all started with a cup of coffee. At first, the couple both drank coffee with extra cream and extra sugar! David decided that they needed to cut the crap out, and their normally milky-white drinks were soon served plain and black. Many people consider this a crazy change, but, while Elyse admits the first few days were a tough adjustment, she was used to the difference within a week. In fact, a few weeks after switching to black coffee, Elyse tried a sip of coffee with a bit of cream and sugar, and she gagged. “It was disgusting!” She now exclaims, “I couldn’t believe how quickly I went from loving all of that extra stuff in my coffee to being a black coffee snob!” They understand that not everyone will want to make a change like this, but even just trying one thing at a time is better than nothing. “Even the smallest change is huge” says David. “That small change can end up catapulting you down a path of wanting to make more changes and getting you excited about eating healthy and working out.”
Six years have now passed since the Fairburns began with the small changes that started their own health journey, and now they are more motivated than ever to help others do the same. They know what it is like to have bad days, low self-esteem, and to just feel like there is no time. However, the two attribute their success to stopping all of the crazy diets, incorporating different forms of exercise into their lives, and to keeping one another accountable, which they want to help others do too.
“Women tend to be intimidated by what people may consider to be a “man’s” workout, but once I got out of my own head and just started doing the things that I enjoyed, I realized that I am strong and capable, and I love working out with my husband! We push each other in ways that I would have never expected. We actually love having our Friday night “date-night” at our local spinning studio! That’s right boys, my husband spins with me!”
Ironically, David also feels a certain sense of intimidation when working out with his wife. “She makes me look bad! I see her crawl out of bed in the morning and drag out her yoga mat to do an exercise routine, and I’m like, ‘okay, I guess I can make time to work out too’. I also had to get over the fact that people may view certain types of workouts as being more ‘girly’ or ‘manly.’ I mean, who cares? If it gets you moving and makes you happy, then do it! Besides, you shouldn’t only lift or you shouldn’t only do cardio. It’s best to always be changing it up and keeping your body guessing. I know I will never be this big bodybuilder, but for my goals [of running marathons and triathlons], I do what works. I am an average guy who just wants to be fit and put things into my body that I know are clean and healthy.”
In many ways, Fairburn It Off has been in the making since the day David and Elyse first met in high school! Now they want to encourage both men and women to get out there and get active at any level. Can’t do a pull-up? No problem: neither can Elyse (she’s working on it)! Can’t hang in ‘downward dog’ for very long? David feels your pain (literally!). David and Elyse complement one another with their workouts and push each other to stay committed to health, and they want to help you do the same. Oh, and worry not, it’s okay to indulge a little too: Elyse loves her wine, and David has a weakness for M&M cookies! They are real people, who each understand what it feels like to be a bit awkward, or uncomfortable; they know what it’s like to not be a top runner, or the most flexible yogi.
The Fairburns have learned (sometimes the hard way!) how to actually enjoy a healthy lifestyle without feeling deprived, and Fairburn It Off is their way to help you avoid the pitfalls, and take the steps you need to feel confident and enjoy fitting health into everyday!
Author’s Note: In addition to freelance writing, I am a massage therapist and have dedicated my professional life to health and wellness. But, sometimes it’s hardest to take care of your own well-being. This lesson especially hit home when I became a mom. Now, there never seems to be enough time in the day! However, I’ve always encouraged clients to tend to their own health so they can be dedicated to others without becoming stressed, sick, and depleted. So, when I found out that my fit, health-conscious friend Elyse was considering creating a clean-eating meal plan with her husband, I begged-err-encouraged her to make it happen. I knew Elyse enjoyed creating tasty meals with fresh, real-food ingredients. I needed a way to commit to eliminating processed, hard-to-digest elements from my family’s diet, while eating meals we could actually enjoy. So, I was beyond thrilled to find Fairburn It Off could give me the perfect jumpstart!