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

Cool Running & 1st GIVEAWAY!!!!!

I guess the title should actually be freezing cold windy running, but I really like the movie, so I’ll keep “Cool Running.” As you know, one of my goals is to blog about my fitness, especially training for a run during the winter. I haven’t EVER trained for a race during the winter, so this is very new to me. There are so many things you need to think about in the winter compared to training during the summer. Also, I would like to emphasize that I am still a newbie runner, so I’m learning as I go.

In the summer I knew I had to run early in the morning before the heat and humidity hit an unbearable temperature. If I ran in the evening, the temperature would be down, but the humidity from the day would still be hanging around, and you can more or less get away with running in anything. NOW, the winter is a whole different ball game. It is cold ALL THE TIME, running in sunlight is a luxury, and the wind will make you forget any memory of warmth (The wind is what kills me).

Here are some lessons I have learned about running during the colder months:

  1. Layer, layer, layer! Layering is your best friend and your worst enemy. On the positive, when you start running it reminds you that at one point you were toasty warm in the house. On the negative, your body goes through hot flashes whole you’re running; one moment you are overheating, and the next you’re hit with a wintry blast of wind and are freezing again. I find myself zipping and unzipping my jacket as I run and I can’t keep a decent temperature. I hear I should buy quick dry clothes to help with heat insulation, but not sure what to buy. If you have any advice, I would LOVE to hear it! Also, if you know of any great winter socks to run in, please let me know.
  2. Hydrate! As in the summer, hydration is key. If my runs are ten miles or less, I’ll drink water with mint and lemon essential oils before I head out for my run, anything over ten miles, I need to bring something (I’m still trying to figure out if I want to bring: should I get a camelback, a fanny pack, a handheld water holder thingy… I don’t know).
  3. Proper nutrition. I’m learning that I burn more calories running in the cold than I did in the summer, because my body is expending a lot of energy keeping my body warm. I’m learning I have to change my eating habits to accommodate this. A banana before a run just doesn’t cut it anymore, now I’m eating toast and a banana, and this will probably change over time.
  4. When that winter wind hits you, and your skin feels like dried mangoes from Trader Joe’s, you would have wished you had moisturized properly. For my skin, I am a firm believer in organic coconut oil. This stuff is amazing! I dry out in the winter and have always have problems in the past keeping my skin moisturized, but since I’ve started using coconut oil (and yes, I put it on my face too), I haven’t had one dry patch. For my lips, I have made a switch. I have been a try and true Burt’s Bees Pomegranate lip balm girl. This has been my jam for the past five to six years. My only qualm with it recently is it doesn’t keep my lips moisturized during my runs, and I get that gross white tacky grossness (and y’all, this is not attractive, who knows what hot guy I will bump into during my run… I can’t look like that!). WELL, recently a friend of mine gifted me an essential oil lip balm by doTERRA. Since I was such a Burt’s girl, I just added it to my backup stock in case I couldn’t find Burt. It didn’t take long for me to misplace dear Burt… So I found my herbal lip balm, slapped it on, and went for a ten mile run in brutal cold and windy weather (I think it was in the low 30’s this day). FRIENDS… This stuff is AMAZING. I came back MISERABLE and FREEZING from this run, but my lips stayed moist with no white gunky grossness. I’m super sad to be breaking up with Burt, but I found a new love! AND because I love you all so much, my friend Bethany is giving away TWO sets of lip balms (GIVEAWAY INSTRUCTIONS BELOW).
  5. A hat… duh: I currently wear a baseball hat (GO RED SOX) to keep the sun out of my eyes. But I know I’m going to have to switch to a winter hat soon (I don’t wanna). I’m not looking forward to switching my head gear! How do you keep the sun out of your eyes without wearing a baseball hat? Also, I don’t want to wear runner sunglasses, I just don’t want anything on my face. So, if you know of a really good hat or sun shield method, PLEASE let me know!

There is a lot more to learn, and each day is a lesson in winter running. As I said throughout this post, please let me know of anything I should be cautious of as I continue to cry through winter training (crying and running is never a good idea during winter… cause it’s cold).

With Love,

Tifa

GIVEAWAY INSTRUCTIONS: This giveaway is only open to readers in the USA (I’ll try and expand this in the future as I figure out shipping costs abroad). To enter in you must LIKE Bethany’s FaceBook page, FOLLOW to this blog (to subscribe click “Tea Time” button), and COMMENT below on how you survive working out in the winter. We will be choosing TWO winners on February 20, 2017 and will notify you on February 23, 2017 for shipping details. GOOD LUCK!!!!!!!


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

Perseverance

As most of you know I am training for a marathon in March and a trail Ragnar in April. This means a lot of running! This week alone I had the pleasure (said with all sarcasm) of running five miles in the freezing cold rain on Tuesday (I was splashed head to toe by a bus and stepped in several puddles), and running 10 miles on Friday in the freezing cold, miserable and windy DC weather (I DO NOT LIKE WINTER). Every moment of both runs was miserable, but I had to do it. I’m currently on a marathon training plan, no matter what the weather, I have to persevere and run through it all. There are days I would rather sit on my butt, drink hot tea and eat cake while binge watching old episodes of Gossip Girl on Netflix; but I can’t because I made a commitment to this race and have to go out running. Besides the cold, the part that really sucks is that I haven’t even lost a pound (ugh, so frustrating)! SO, the one thing that helps me continue to train is the fact that I paid money to run this race and I’m instagraming every step of the way!

In Romans 8:25 is states “But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.” So for me, in the realm of running, I don’t see the “fruits of my labor” just yet, but I know I’m working hard, and not only will I see a new fit me, but I’ll also finish this dang marathon. And also in Romans 5:3-5 it states that “tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character; and character, hope. Now hope does not disappoint…” To me anything can be considered tribulation, for training it’s the pain I feel right after I run (no one wants constant ankle pains). I’ve learned to persevere through it with the help of an awesome ankle brace. This is building my character to think more about my health and listening to my body, and my hope is that I’ll be a lot healthier come race day, and be able to finish my first marathon!

On a more serious note, I think there are difficulties that we face in our daily lives, and the question becomes are we going to press through the pain and opposition, or are we going to fold and give up. This can be in the realm of our work, relationships, health, finances, school, you name it. Are you doing what you are called to do, and are you persevering towards it no matter how much resistance there is. It won’t be easy, but nothing in life is!

To personally help me, I’ll start blogging about my health journey and be honest with you guys how it’s going (this will help keep me accountable). What have you been persevering through in this current season, and what has helped you to keep going? I look forward to hearing from you.

With love,

Tifa

Just Breathe

For almost two years, I practiced Bikram Yoga all the time. This was my way of de-stressing, working out, and becoming quite flexible (now I’m stiff as a board… ugh). I had to hang up my yogi mattress and sweaty towel due to lack of time (I have a horrid work commute). The good thing about doing yoga for so long is learning how to breathe. I am currently signed up to run a trail Ragnar and a marathon (every day I ask myself why I did this… like seriously, why?). I prefer to suffer through my runs without music so I can concentrate on my breathing. By listening to my breathing, I know when I should slow down (if I’m putting in too much effort) or if I can exert more energy and speed up. The most helpful tip I’ve learned from yoga and running is to breathe through difficulties, be it a posture or a giant steep hill.

I know that life is not a bunch of downhill runs or Shavasanas (yoga term for laying down like a motionless corpse on a mat). Life brings a lot a tough situations and obstacles that we all have to walk through. The question is, will you just sit down and give up, or will you power through and not be overcome by life? When I feel overwhelmed with life (and trust me, life can be overwhelming), I try and take the time to stop and breathe. This allows me to really adjust my perspective with what I’m going through. At face value it can seem like heartbreak hill in the Boston Marathon, but when I put it into perspective, it’s only a hill (I don’t have to run it, I can take my time walking it, this offers an opportunity to meet a new buddy and enjoy the scenery around me).

An example of this would be getting laid off my last job in 2014. I was told in October that funding would end for my position at the end of December (welcome to the world of development). Funny thing was, I had a feeling it was going to happen, but was told “We always need Program Assistants, we’ll never get rid of your position” (never say never, another post for another day). I could have totally panicked at the thought of being unemployed, but I took it nice and steady and “breathed” through the whole process. The funny thing about this whole experience is God gave me peace about the whole thing! Within a few weeks of finding out, I had applied for a handful of jobs, and received two job offers! I was able to take an extended winter break (have to use up the rest of that vacation time), and was ready to start my current job in the New Year.

Breathing through hard times is definitely something I’m still working through today. There are times I still panic, want to give up, and curl up in a ball under my covers watching random Youtubers as I eat gummy bears and jalapeño chips (don’t judge…that is a recipe for an epic Friday night!). Instead of going into cocoon mode, I’ll take five deep breaths while meditating on my current favorite verse (Jeremiah 29:11). This usually helps me calm down and puts life into perspective. So the next time we encounter difficult situation, let’s try stopping and breathing because God is still in control.

Let me know techniques you use to keep you calm during stressful situations.

With love,

Tifa

p.s. Please let me know if you want to see posts about my marathon training. Most of them will probably be about me sitting in my house, eating chips, wondering why I signed up for the race… Like really, why did I sign up!