Heart Check: Keeping your emotional heart healthy

Heart disease is a huge problem in America. According to the CDC, approximately 1 in 4 deaths are due to heart disease in the US. That is a lot of people dying from a relatively preventative disease. The majority of heart disease is caused by stress, poor nutrition and lack of physical activity. I also think people never have their heart health checked until they’re extremely ill and need to be put on medication or have extensive surgery. Now, I’m not a physical heart health specialist (I know a lot more about infectious diseases), but I do know a thing or two about the emotional heart. The Bible writes in Proverbs 4:23 (NLT): “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life”.

I quote Proverbs 4:23 all the time, and it’s a reminder for me to check my heart, and continuously making sure I’m guarding it from “disease” (aka negativity). The status of our hearts determines how we interact and treat people. For example, if we carry a lot of bitterness from our past, we can automatically look at the bad in people before we ever see the good. If we carry past hurts from abandonment in our hearts, we may assume everyone is going to leave us, so we either sabotage relationships or keep people at an arm’s length away. On the other side of the coin, a heart full of joy and love tends to poor out joy and love to others in most circumstances (joyous people do have bad days, but it never steals our inner joy). So as I’m preparing to leave for Mozambique, I’m going through an extensive heart check and cleaning out a lot of emotional cobwebs. I want to enter this new season of life a healthy, joyful, loving person.

I’m currently having some major heart surgery in the forgiveness department. I didn’t realize that I was holding unforgiveness over certain people in my past. Biblical forgiveness is technically canceling out someone’s emotional debt to me. In better terms, this means when someone hurts me, I’m holding on to this “hurt debt” that you owe me, and I’m not letting go of this debt until you pay for it (usually through an apology, or me returning the hurt). I realized that there were people in my life I thought I had fully forgiven, but it turned out I only forgave 20% of the hurt that they caused me instead of 100%. You can usually tell if you fully forgive someone by the way you emotionally react to when you see them (on Facebook or in person), when they come up in conversation, or even when you think about them. Does the mere mention of their name make you automatically think of the offense that they caused? Or do you think about them with a clear conscious? When I realized this, it blew my mind. I know I’m not giving the topic enough credit, so to know more I highly advise listening to my friend Brandon’s message on forgiveness (it’s long but good). I could write a whole post on forgiveness, but Brandon says it a lot better!

With this being said, how’s your heart doing? Do you have parts of anger, bitterness, sadness, disappointments, or forgiveness that you need to work on? Leave a comment below. The best part about dealing with it now, is the freedom that comes from a healthy heart. Now that I’m forgiving people 100%, I have more space to love people (this is all I want to do… I know, it sounds a little hippyish, but it’s me).

With love,

Tifa

Starting over: The return to a healthier life

I had set some health goals up for this year which you can read about here. Thus far, it’s been pretty hard to keep up with them because I’ve learned old habits die hard when it’s winter. I am excited to say that I am FINALLY getting back on the wagon by running and eating healthy. If you want to know how, just keep reading J

Marathon training

As stated in my last Health and Wellness post, due to my wonky ankles and the lack of training during the winter months, I will not be running the Rock n’ Roll Marathon next week (sad face). I feel bad because a friend of mine signed up for the half for moral support. I may see how fit I can get and what I can actually run (this is for you Molly!).

Last week I finally found the inspiration to start running again, and have bought the right kind of brace for my ankle (yay no more pain). I did a 5 mile hike on Thursday, and did my first 4 mile run in over a month on Friday. It’s not easy, but I ran twice this week, and am slowly but surely getting back to it. The awesome thing is that DC weather has been cooperating and it’s been absolutely GORGEOUS. Since I’m not running the full marathon, I’m putting all my efforts on getting ready for the trail Ragnar in Richmond in April (I even bought new trail and road shoes)!

Healthy eating

I still don’t like to cook, and it’s been and up and down adventure. My mom and I have decided to try and do a No Processed Sugar March (this includes bread… ugh). Today is March 1st and all I want is a sandwich filled with a cupcake and three cookies and topped with salted caramel gelato (never had this combination before, but I just want sugar). I know I can do this… I know I can do this! We have prepared overnight oats for breakfast, eating a lot of fruits and putting greens in my smoothies, and I’m going to attempt to cook something (I need to meal prep… I really do). I’ll let you know how I feel, but for now it’s pretty optimistic!

Essential oils

Now this has been going GREAT. I’ve incorporated essential oils in most of my beauty routine. I use Vetiver in my black castor oil to help bring back my edges, and it’s working. I also use Frankincense and Lavender in a lot of my homemade face products, and my acne scars are fading. This is huge! My acne scars are my biggest insecurity and I’m finally seeing them fade.

One of my favorite aspects of the oils is diffusing them in my room. I have a bedtime mix of Vetiver, Marjoram, and Lavender that knocks me all the way out. It usually takes me a bit of time to get comfortable and fall asleep, but this mixture knocks me out within a half hour. Another mix I love to use when I need a bit of a kick in the pants to get stuff done is Vetiver, Peppermint, and Lemon. When this mix is diffusing in my room, I feel like I can get anything done!

A mini testimony about essential oils comes from my mom. She has restless leg syndrome and has the hardest time falling asleep due to it. For the past couple nights she has been drinking one drop of Marjoram in a bottle of water and rubbing it on her legs before going to sleep. She told me she has not had any issues with restless leg, and she falls asleep immediately (this is AMAZING). So in case you’re wondering, the oils are making me a believer! I’m currently not a distributor, but if you have any questions or suggestions about essential oils, please let me know.

I see brighter days coming down the horizon (now that winter is coming to an end). Let me know how your health and wellness goals are going this year; it’s never too late to jump back on the wagon!

With love,

Tifa

He Makes All Things New – Gracie Faith

My eating disorder is a secret no one knows but my family. I have been too embarrassed and ashamed to share it with anyone. Now I know sharing with others is a part of the healing process and we cannot be afraid of other people’s reactions. God knows our hearts and that is the only thing that matters.  Losing my dad in the first week of high school and not coming to terms with it made gain 30 pounds in the course of 6 months. Instead of dealing with the pain of losing my dad-, I did what I know to do best. I pretending like it never happened.  I never spoke of him and I did mention him- I would make a joke. I internalized my pain with food- it was my comfort and my obsession. When I first started to notice that my clothes no longer fit- I wanted to change that. I read every diet book and magazine out there. I bought all the exercise DVDs out there. Tae bo was the exercise fad at the time and I thought it was the answer to obtaining a fit body.  I tried and failed at every crash diet and I carried the extra weight well into the sophomore year of undergrad.  I was miserable and extremely obsessed with food and weight- it is all I thought about. It was the beginning of a torturous relationship with food.

In the summer of 2005, I was determined to change that.  I wanted to go into my Junior year of college super thin and I would do anything and everything to obtain that.  I started with cutting out all soda and juices. Then breakfast and snacking between meals.  I would walk for exercise because I was never athletic.  The weight was coming off fast and people’s comments about my weight loss fueled my fire.  I started counting calories- I limited them to about 900 calories a day. I don’t know how I kept up that up for the last two years of college, but I did.  My social life became non-existent. I was afraid to go everywhere because I wasn’t sure of how many calories would be in the food that would be served at the social gatherings or restaurants and if those events fell out of my eating schedule- I panicked. By God’s grace, I still managed to graduate college with honors- I still don’t know how I made it. My mind was tortured itself 24/7.   I was down to about 110 pounds, lost my period and I was growing hair all over my body. I come to know now, that it was my body’s way of protecting itself when it’s malnourished.  I would walk for 2 hours a day and drink black coffee to curb my appetite.  My family and friends were very concerned, heck, I was concerned, but I didn’t know how to crawl out of it.  My relationship with God suffered the most- I was saved at the time, but the voice of my eating disorder was louder than God.  I still served in church, read the bible and prayed, but God was so far away from me.

In 2008, I started bingeing because my body could not take the starvation anymore. I put on a lot of weight fast.  Of course, people started commenting on my weight gain. It left me crushed and I was determined to learn how to have a relationship with food and be at a healthy weight.  Again, I did not know how and I was too proud to get help. I thought there was nobody who would be able to help me with what I was going through and I felt isolated and strange.  I remained at this new weight for the next years until 2014, but I was living in torture. I was always confused with what to eat, how much to eat, and I avoided a laundry list of foods pretending that I didn’t like them just so I didn’t have to eat them. That backfired even more because the more you restrict, the more you binge.  2011 was my worst year in my eating disorder. I avoided all foods and then I would crash and binge on them. I was scared and alone. Slowly in 2012 I started reintroducing foods into my diet, I was tired of being scared, but I still had some ways to go. I was still obsessing and confused, but I was willing to take more chances. I prayed more earnestly, I sought God every morning and night, praying for healing. I still felt like he wasn’t there.  The following year I got reconnected with friends and made new ones: I also became a vegetarian because I never really liked the taste of meat. Thank God going vegetarian was never a decision based on weight loss- it was something I was passionate about, but little did I know, you could still unhealthy as a vegetarian.

In 2014 I reached my breaking point. I broke down.  Thoughts of food kept me up at night. I was always confused with what to eat and it tortured me- I was switching foods around and trying new things, but it consumed my mind and left me in a state of panic.  At that time, I also doubted my salvation. I went for a week without sleeping and it sent me to the hospital. I knew I needed help there- I was crying to God on the floor of the hospital to rescue me from the pit I was in. My sleep needed mending, my relationship with food-needed mending. Most of all, my relationship with Christ needed the most mending.  I took some time off work and I spent my days sobbing for no reason. My friends came to see me, but I never fully let them into my world. I was too ashamed.  My mom pushed me to get professional help and I thank her so much for it. God put someone in my life who knew what I was going through and I finally felt understood. Now, I had sleep to add to my list of problems, but this time I was willing to open up and let people and God in.

I felt the weight of my eating disorder finally lifted in a small group at my church. I was sharing what was going on in my week and then I just started sharing my experience. I sobbed like a baby, but I felt free. I went home with a lot of clarity and soon I felt God more nearer to me than ever.  Out of nowhere, I was no longer confused as I was before about food. I exercised in a healthy way that I loved and a beautiful friend prophesied to me that I am did God’s daughter. Which surprised me because she knew nothing about my struggle.

Today, I am new. I feel God’s presence more than ever. I can hear Him clearly speak to me more than I ever could before. Sometimes it is not instant, but I know the answer will come.  His deepest desire is for us to be one with Him. I still have my moments with food and weight, but I am not the person I was twelve years ago. I eat to nourish my body and no food is off limits. I just balance healthy food with indulgences. It is so freeing to live that way.  My sleep is still a work in progress, but I know healing for that will come with time.  If not, I will be healed in Heaven.  God works everything for our good and He makes all things new.

Gracie-Faith

AND… Nope!

In case you haven’t had the chance, there is still time to enter the GIVEAWAY from last week, the deadline to enter is February 20th.

In my first Health and Wellness post I said there are three categories I’m working on this year. I wanted to give you an update on where I am in my marathon training (or lack thereof), healthy eating, and using essential oils.

Marathon training

This year one of my goals was to train for the Rock n Roll Marathon in March. Due to ankle issues, I had decided to train for the half. Well, this has officially changed. Due to traveling, pure laziness and the fact that I hate winter training (aka the wind), I have decided not to run at all (funny thing is the weather has been quite nice in the DC area this week). I did feel really guilty about not running a race that I paid for, but after talking to a fellow running friend, I realized it’s okay to back down. This wasn’t an easy decision, because I don’t like giving up, but hey, sometimes it’s nope!

On another note, I’m still registered to run the trail Ragnar in April; so this means I still have to train for something (I have to slap on my lip balm and go out into the elements). I need words of encouragement, cause it is not happening.

Healthy eating

On the whole healthy eating adventure, let’s just say I traveled a lot in January (just recently returned from California). I did eat a couple salads while in California, which is more than usual when I’m traveling. Also my CSA application is now open for this coming up year, so there are vegetables in my future. More or less I will get on the ball one day, but that day is not today (I currently see pizza in my near future)! I am excited to report that I am taking my vitamins daily, and I see my nails growing like crazy (constantly cutting them).

If you have links to delicious, healthy, fast recipes, please share. I still can’t stand cooking, but I need to motivate myself somehow!

Essential oils

This is the one thing I am incorporating into my daily routine (besides flossing daily) and seeing results. The biggest difference is how my skin is doing; I’m not breaking out as much and I’m finally seeing my acne scars starting to fade away. I will include that I do get by-monthly facials from Faye which is also helping. I also have not been sick this year (except a bout of food poisoning) which is HUGE. I’m someone who gets sick every year and so far I am good. This is incredible because I am hanging around more kids (I love kids, but they are incubators of disease and germs), and have been guarded from EVERYTHING!!!! So yeah, I will continue to use them, and keep you in the loop on how it’s going.

If you have oils you love or diffuser combinations I should try, please let me know.

With love,

Tifa

STOP!

I hope you all enjoyed the blog post last week by my friend Mikkee. She is beautiful,  selfless, talented woman who loves people in whatever season they are in. If you didn’t have the opportunity to read it, you can find it here.

If you grew up in the 90’s then you may remember Susan Powter. If not, she was a fitness guru with platinum buzz cut hair who would yell “Stop the insanity”. I think her message was about stop treating your body bad (who knows, I was too young to know/care about what she was yelling about). As an adult, I think she has a point that it’s insane that we continue to do harm to oneself. I do believe this message goes beyond the food we ingest and I’ll explain how.

As some of you know one of my goals this year is to listen to my body more. This includes knowing what foods and products work for me. I will say, it is not easy to listen to your body after years of ignoring it, and it’s a work in progress. I do believe there is one thing more difficult than listening to ones body about food; it is listening to what our soul and spirit need for nourishment.  There are specific relationships, media, places, and situations that are toxic to our being, but insanely enough, we continue to allow it in.

A personal example would have to be the music I listen to while I drive. Now, I will begin with saying that living and commuting in the DC area will make anyone angry. Drivers here just have the special ability (especially on the 495 Beltway) to get on my laaaast nerve. As in the nerve that is holding the rest of me together, and these drivers are coming after it with a sharp pair of scissors, poking and cutting at it. THIS MY FRIENDS is what it is like driving in the DC region (even thinking about driving is irritating me). Anywho, back to my point! I used to listen to anything that was playing on the radio when I drove. I love music, and have to listen to it when I’m in the car. I began to notice that certain types of music were affecting my attitude and emotions while I drove (as a word of caution, listening to Ludacris’ Move song while driving is never a good idea). At first I ignored it because part of me has a love for super ratchet music (I don’t care who you are, there is a ratchet song that you love), but eventually I made the switch to listening to either WGTS 91.9 or the Christian music on my iPod (cause you can’t curse someone out while singing about Jesus… like, you can’t). I will not lie, this has changed my attitude towards DC and Maryland drivers (people from Virginia can’t drive, it’s a fact).

This only represents one example of how I’m trying to listen to my body and what it needs and doesn’t need. One positive lesson I’ve learned is when you take one thing out, you get to fill that space with something new and nourishing (goodbye cheddar, hello goat cheese).

Let me know if you’re on this journey too, and how you are listening to your body’s needs.

With love,

Tifa

#NewYearNewMe

I’ve seen the hashtag above trending quite a bit this year, and it had me thinking. I actually really like who I am, so I don’t want a new me, but maybe just an upgrade, like Tifa 2.0! As you may have read here, I am on a health and wellness journey. I am a few days into the New Year and so far and it is definitely a journey full of delays, cancellations, and layovers.

I will be honest, I finally ran on Monday for the first time in 2017 in Nashville. The main reason is it’s just too stinken cold and I hate the winter (and of course I’m lazy). Run on a treadmill you suggest? Well, that bores the living daylights out of me (but I think I’m going to have to do it eventually, I have a race around the corner). I did talk to one of my bestfriend’s step-dad a few days ago, and he gave me the motivation I need to get back at it after the snow melts (I’m in Nashville for a few days, and it snowed… so nope on the running). One thing I do need to take up is weight training which I will start when I get back to the DMV (DC, Maryland, Virginia).

For eating healthy, it’s a process. I’m currently on vacation, and Nashville has really tasty food; IT’S HARD! PLUS, you can’t say no to Chick-fil-a on a road trip… you just can’t! I think my approach will be working on gradually eliminating foods I know that are bad for me (ex. corn, wheat, refined sugar and cow dairy). So for the rest of January, I will try not to do dairy (I’m lactose intolerant, I shouldn’t be eating cheese… it doesn’t love me like I love it). I find that eliminating foods one at a time is easier than going cold turkey. With this being said, I need to cook more; I don’t like cooking, and if I do it’s for survival reasons only.

I am enjoying using the essential oils. I am currently incorporating them into my beauty routine and loving the results (I’m starting to see my acne scars fade). My other favorite is diffusing them in my room at night (mainly a blend of Frankincense, lavender, and Breathe by DoTerra). I’m still learning about them, so the jury is still out, and I’ll keep you posted!

I will say this, being healthy and listening to your body is not easy! If you are on a health journey, let me know how it is going (as I’m typing this, all I want is sugar)!

With love,

Tifa

End of year fitness blues!

If you’ve been reading my Weekly Revelations or follow me on Instagram, you know that I am training for a marathon. I’m using the Higdon Marathon training plan (Novice 1) to help keep me on track. I was super motivated until I hit December and it got super cold, windy, rainy, and gross. As of now I am two whole weeks behind on my training  (As in I haven’t moved). I blame it on cold weather, Christmas cookies, jalapeño chips, and Gossip Girl on Netflix. There is just something about the holiday season that tends to put my workouts in a slump (please let me know if you agree). One thing I have learned during this slump is browsing fitness pins and healthy recipes on Pinterest does not equate to healthy living.

Last Thursday, December 22nd I finally mustered up the courage and went out running. In my naïve mind I thought I could bust out a quick six miles after two weeks of inactivity; well I was wrong! I huffed and puffed my way through three miles (THREE MILES PEOPLE… two weeks prior I was running ten). I can’t believe I did this to myself, and I will try my best to remain active because this was no fun. My legs felt like lead (probably from the cookie pounds I have gained) and my butt found its jiggle back (I worked so hard to get some resemblance of firmness). It’s crazy how it takes so long to get to a certain level of fitness, but then take TWO WEEKS OFF and your body goes into negative fitness (rolling my eyes). But do not despair, January 1st is around the corner!

With this all being said, I would like you all to come with my on a lifestyle change adventure (I feel diets are temporary). For the Health and Wellness posts, I will be writing about:

  1. My marathon training (or the lack there of): I’ll let you know what’s working and what’s not working for me as I train throughout the winter with a wonky ankle (I hate winter).
  2. Attempts to healthy eating (good thing the white fudge Oreos are a seasonal treat, and even though I ate five boxes, I’m still craving them): For those who know me well, I don’t like cooking. This part will take every ounce of courage because I can’t stand being in the kitchen (unless I’m eating).
  3. Implementing essential oils into my routine (I used to work at LUSH, which introduced me to natual body products, and want to move towards more natural products and DIYs): I’ve heard of people who swear by essential oils as a remedies, and I’m not a huge fan of pharmaceuticals and chemical filled beauty products (except NyQuil, Zyrtec and Benedryl, these are also great for long international flights… goodnight), and I’m trying to be more cautious about what I put on and in my body. My goal is to be able to make what I use (I can’t wait to make my own deodorant). As a disclaimer, if you are sick, or need open heart surgery, please see a doctor; I wouldn’t advise rubbing lavender on your heart and feeling better.

So if you’re suffering from the end of year fitness blues as I am, don’t worry, I do not think you are alone (cause I’m suffering too). Any messages of encouragement, tips, and/or tricks are highly appreciated. Let the fund of a new year begin (le sigh).

With love,

Tifa