Success Story: Peggy 25 Pound Loss in 7 Months!

7 mo. 24 days Progress: Lost 25 pounds of body weight, lost 23.25 inches, improved cardiovascular fitness by 39% and improved upper body strength 150%!

January 15, 2019 the day we began and then August 29, 2019

Peggy is a 55 year old full-time chemistry professor, wife and mother of three grown sons who came to me for a combination weight management program and fitness training saying, “I am not in horrible shape but over the past ten years I have watched my weight creep up 3-4 pounds a year and my strength, flexibility and stamina decrease. I appreciate the lifestyle approach to fitness that I have been reading on your website and would like to meet with you to work together on my path to a leaner, stronger and healthier me.”

When we first met she told me about her current exercise which was walking to work only once every 3 weeks, she did not lift weights, enjoyed biking but hadn’t done that regularly and she enjoyed gardening but only did that seasonally.

After discussing it, we decided she would work out twice a week with me, I would teach her a weight training routine she could do at the college gym once a week, she would do cardio at the gym 4 days a week, would make a date with a friend to walk on weekends and she and her husband would plan a biking excursion once a week. In addition she planned on taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work. This didn’t all happen immediately, but with time she was able to attain that schedule and really started seeing the results.

We also met for some nutrition sessions where I reviewed a food journal that she had kept for a week. She noticed that when she didn’t plan ahead that she didn’t eat as healthy as she would like. In our sessions, we targeted her goals and strategies to reach them. So, for instance, she started preplanning menus, took a healthy lunch to work and planned a dedicated lunch break for herself. She and her husband researched and started cooking new healthier recipes together. Throughout her journey, she knew she could ask me questions and we could discuss any barriers she encountered.

Look at the muscles she created in only 7 months! She is enjoying showing off her toned arms instead of covering up her arms!

Today she would tell you that she is more intentional with her activity and  exercise and has reduced her dally calorie intake but doesn’t feel hungry because of the new food choices she is making. She is more interested in choosing the type of calories she eats, plans much better now for healthier lunches and dinners and cooking healthier foods. She prioritizes sessions with me as she continues with one to two sessions per week (she drives 35-60 minutes each way to me) and prioritizes exercising and eating healthy foods. She says she doesn’t feel like she has been “dieting” or giving things up.

In addition to the following measurements, Peggy also improved her blood cholesterol and blood sugar values. Her good cholesterol HDL rose from 27.6 to 63!! An HDL-C level of 60 mg/dL or greater is a negative (protective) risk factor for coronary heart disease. High HDL levels protect against coronary heart disease. So not only has she lost weight, she has improved her health.

7 mo. 24 days Progress Summary

Lost 25 pounds of body weight

Lost 23.25 inches

Improved cardiovascular fitness 39%

Improved upper body strength 150%

Peggy could have accepted her current lifestyle as her fate and her weight would have continued to increase at 3-4 pounds per year and her health and fitness level would have continued to get worse possibly leading to obesity and the conditions that would make her more likely to have heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes, some cancers, gallbladder disease, and osteoarthritis. Instead Peggy made a choice to work towards gaining strength, power, endurance, and function which ultimately will help her live a longer and healthier life.

Peggy’s Review on Google

“Maria Faires is an experienced and extremely knowledgeable personal trainer who focuses on your fitness goals, tailoring each safe and effective workout to your individual needs.  Maria varies each workout to keep it interesting and challenging.  She works alongside you to demonstrate technique and to motivate you.  Maria tells you the “why” for each exercise, which is a nice distraction while you are working hard!  As a Registered Dietitian, Maria guides you to be leaner and more fit, on the inside as well as the outside.  Her clean professional home-studio has a comfortable atmosphere.  The studio is very well-equipped – like going to a gym, but without the intimidation factor!  Maria’s coaching style is always positive and encouraging.  I had questioned whether I could lose weight as a 56 year old female.  Through a program of weight training, cardio, and eating healthy foods, I have lost 25 pounds in under 8 months – and I am keeping it off!  I have also lost 6 inches in my waist and 4 inches in my hips!  I am stronger and have a much better fitness level overall.  When I started working with Maria, I could do 14 pushups, but 8 months later, I can do 35!  My body fat has reduced by 9%.  Maria Faires helped me turn my fitness goals into reality, and she can help you too!”

Peggy’s Fitness Progress

Date 1-5-19 8-29-19 Change  
Height 5’3
Weight 147.6 122.6 25 pounds
Age 55 56
Neck 13.75 12.75 – 1
Arm 13.25 11 – 2.25
Waist 33 27 – 6
Abdomen 35.25 28.5 – 6.75
Hips 41.5 37.5 – 4
Thigh 24.5 22 -2.5
Calf 14.75 14 -.75
Cardio Fitness 25.9 36.1 +39%
Pushups 14 35 +150%
Body Fat 33.2% 24.5% -8.7%
Cholesterol 228 195
HDL (Good) 27.6 63
LDL (Bad) 160 121
HemA1C 5.7 to 5.6







Preparing for Shoulder Surgery: The Essential Guide for Comfortable Recovery

Celebrating 5 weeks post surgery!

Having your arm in a sling can make it hard to get dressed, sleep at night, or even just be comfortable throughout the day. Any of these conditions can limit how you get through the day!

✔️ Broken Arm

✔️ Fractured Bone

✔️ Subluxation

✔️ Post Surgery Recovery

✔️ Rotator Cuff Injury

✔️ Shoulder Dislocation

✔️ Arm Immobility

Video Blogs of My Recovery

Having rotator cuff shoulder surgery means being without the use of an arm for several weeks. Preparing ahead of time can make life easier. I produced several videos in which  I detailed my recovery at week one, 11 days and 18 days post surgery. I emphasize information that will be helpful to you as you prepare for your surgery so that you will know more about what to expect at home and what to purchase and do ahead of time to make your life easier.

Part 1:

Part 2:

Part 3:

Here is the link to nutritious, easy to prep and minimal prep meal ideas that I refer to in the videos:

Recommended Products for Post Rotator Cuff Surgery

After having rotator cuff surgery, I discovered the products that make my one-armed life easier. I have put together a list for you of items you might consider. To save you time and effort, I researched the best products on selected Amazon Choice or Top Sellers where I could.

I have also a list of resources that I found helpful so I have linked them below under the shopping items.

Foam Wedge to incline your upper body can help you get in a comfortable resting and sleeeping position.

This shoulder pulley will be used in your physical therapy at home to improve the range of motion for your shoulder.

Slip-on shoes. I have several but found these easiest to get on alone.

An easy to slip on elastic bodice sun dress makes it easier to get dressed. This one is highly rated and comes in a variety of colors.

Foaming Shower Soap is easy to rinse quickly

Long Handled Shower Brush to wash hard to reach areas.

This laptop pillow desk is #1 on Amazon and for a reason! It is adjustable to 8 different angles for easy use.

This shirt for ladies has been my favorite comfortable, functional and attractive top. Getting dressed in regular shirts is difficult. To make it easier, wear over sized tops. I spent most of my time in my son’s t-shirts and this top.

This is an awesome post shoulder surgery shirt for both men and women. The snaps open up the shirt to allow for easy on and off.

I kept this medical bedside table beside my bed or recliner stocked with meds, snacks, water, pen, and paper. It slid easily under my bed so I could get some work or reading done using the tilting table.

This pressure cane is to work out tight areas in the back and shoulders and will be used for range of motion in physical therapy.

I happened to have had this travel pillow before surgery and am so glad I did. It contorts into different shapes defending on where I needed it.

I practically lived in these elastic waist, loose fitting, no waist tie Under Armour pant.

My physical therapist uses these ice packs. It is flexible and you can conform it around your shoulder. Put it inside a pillow case before use. Choose the large or smaller size.

There are several sizes. I am small and feel that the 11 x 14 that I bought is a bit large.

Keep these non-perishable snacks handy to eat when you take your medication. They do not need refrigeration so they are perfect for keeping on your bedside table for middle of the night meds.

Use Aquaphor to aid healing and prevent scarring. The first line of defense is to keep the wound clean, moist, and covered in the early days and weeks of healing. Keep the wound hydrated with Aquaphor, as this promotes faster healing. Apply three times daily for 1 to 3 weeks to maintain wound bed moisture.


The sling I was sent home with from the hospital was crummy. This one is so much better. the first one has a waist belt, the second does not. The third an abduction pad. Ask your doctor which one is best for you and the surgery you had. Another tip, choose one with a thin waist belt. The one I was sent home from the hospital was thick and bothered me as I layed on it.

My doctor wanted me to take a combo of Oxycodone, Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen  after my rotator cuff surgery. This a great price for Ibuprofen and acetaminophen.

Laxative. Being on pain pills can lengthen the amount of time it takes stool to pass through your gastrointestinal system. After three days the prescription laxative was not working so my doctor recommended the addition of Senna for natural relief.

Ladies! An epilator is a must! It is difficult to shave your legs with only one arm but easy to do with an epilator. I have been using one for years and love mine.


Helpful Resources

This page explains what not to do after surgery and also has a short video of rotator cuff surgery:

This talks about how to prevent a failed surgery:

This page gives directions for some of the physical therapy exercises you might be prescribed:

Physical Therapy First Six Weeks (be sure to do what YOUR Physical Therapist says)

Physical therapy video of some 7-12 week Phase 2 exercises:




Peel and Eat Brined Grilled Garlic Lemon Shrimp

Peel and Eat Brined Grilled Garlic Lemon Shrimp

Brining is the secret to preparing moist grilled shrimp. Brining keeps the shrimp moist, tender yet firm.

Thread the shrimp on 12 inch flat skewers so they don’t twirl on the skewer.

If you prefer no peel, go ahead and peel the shrimp before you brine.


1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons finely chopped Italian parsley
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flake, or more for spicier

20 jumbo shrimp peeled or unpeeled and deveined (about 1 1/4 lb.) I use Wild Patagonia 16-20 raw, easy peel, shell-on, deveined I purchase at QFC

General Shrimp Brining Directions:

  1. Make the brining solution. For each pound of shrimp, combine 4 cups water, 1/3 cup Diamond Crystal Kosher Salt and 1/3 cup sugar in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together
  2. Soak the shrimp. Place the peeled and deveined shrimp in the brine solution, and allow them to sit untouched for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  3. Drain, dry and cook. Drain the shrimp in a colander and gently pat them dry with paper towels. Proceed with your favorite recipe: pan-fry, grill or saute. The shrimp always turn out moist and delicious.

TO MAKE THE MARINADE: In a medium bowl whisk together the marinade ingredients.

Place the shrimp in a large, resealable plastic bag and pour in the marinade. Press the air out of the bag and seal tightly. Turn the bag to distribute the marinade around all the shrimp, place the bag in a bowl and refrigerate for 30 to 45 minutes.

Remove the shrimp from the bag and discard the marinade. Thread the shrimp closely together as shown above onto flat skewers. Grill over *direct medium heat until just opaque in the center and firm to the touch, 4 to 6 minutes, turning the skewers once halfway through grilling time. Remove from the grill and place on a clean plate. Serve warm.

These plates would work perfectly for serving. The skewers at 12 inches and the plates are 14 inches long.

*If you do not have a thermometer, use this method of estimating the heat: Hold your hand about 3 inches above the grill, or at the point where the food will be cooking. Keep your hand there as long as you can and count. If you have to move your hand in less than 4-5 seconds: the fire is medium heat, or about 350°F.

Serving Suggestion: Sweet Chili Brussels Sprouts