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My Health & Fitness Journey (Thus Far)

My relationship with food has always been a focus. I remember going on my first diet at the tender age of 10 years old and the person who influenced me the most to do this was in my home. She was someone I looked up to and highly esteemed.

I also remember being told I was overweight by my physician and that my family needed to monitor my eating. They then replaced my after school snacks with healthier options and informed my after school child care faculty this new regimen. Although I’m sure the intent behind their efforts came from a good place (they only wanted me to be healthy) I still remember feeling different from my peers, and even somewhat ostracized. Normally if we finished our milk with our meal we could have a second. Now I could no longer have seconds, but others could.

Middle school was full of dieting. Weight was an issue for the woman who had the greatest influence on me. Then in school I was surrounded by my more slender, caucasian peers. By sixth grade I had developed my first eating disorder. Anorexia. It didn’t start out that way. Like any addiction it was a gradual progression. I watched shows that depicted the women I wanted to look like. I went to school and was surrounded by these types of girls. And then in my home, my petite and lighter-complected influences were a constant reminder that I was not them. I was dark, and “bigger”.

The only thing that brought me out of anorexia before it really complicated my health was my grandmother, my biggest influence. She said, “You have to eat, this isn’t healthy.” Thankfully that’s all it took. I started eating again, but the poor self image and insecurities with my body had already been deeply rooted. My first bout with an eating disorder would not be my last.

Part of the reason this was the case was my own distorted self image. But the other reason was the attention and affirmation I received from outside influences. All of a sudden after losing weight in the 6th grade, the popular boy I had had a crush on was flirting with me. People wanted to be my friend., and I grew in confidence. This all happened from losing weight. The problem was, my confidence was superficial. It was predicated on something as flighty as my physical appearance, not on the internal value I had as a person. But at 11 years old who has that type of deep rooted confidence? Even as an adult we can still struggle…

To make things even more interesting, middle school was socially rough. In elementary school we were all friends, then in junior high people started clicking up. I found myself on the outs and while going through puberty, I was experiencing bullying and rejection. My home life was also a wreck during that time. Reading became my consistent outlet and books were my best friends.

High school was better socially but again I fell into my old habits of feeling that my weight was the precursor for self confidence. My junior year I found myself enthralled within the grasp of another eating disorder, this time it was Bulimia. My family tried to help me, taking me to counseling and talking to me about it. I only lied and said I would stop, but I didn’t. They didn’t realize the seeds were so deeply planted that I could not simply stop because they wanted me to, or even that I wanted to. I was experiencing a sense of control over myself when I couldn’t control my external environment. And again, I was getting a lot of attention. I was now “fly”.

It wasn’t until my college years that I was able to be free from Bulimia. It was a supernatural experience where I didn’t have to go to counseling or through a long drawn out process. It was God. He was showing me my identity and purpose, neither of which had anything to do with my weight. I was finding my worth, and I wanted to treat myself accordingly, so no more vomiting.

I did put on a lot of weight as a result and my highest weight in college was 185lbs (I am 5′ 4″). I was a size 18 but I don’t remember even being too upset about it because I was so in love with God. I was experiencing a happiness I never had before. Nothing else seemed to matter.

Right after college, 2006. (size 16/18)

After college I got my weight down to around 165lbs. I was very active and got into running. I was maintaining a healthy size 12 and I felt that I was the best version of myself. I didn’t want to be extreme anymore. I didn’t want to starve myself. I was learning that our culture tries to depict the normal weight of a woman to be different than what really is. And I was learning that in the black community curves were “in”.

Graduating with my MBA, a healthy size 12.

It wasn’t until my Pastor started teaching a health coaching class that I felt led to eat even healthier. I participated in her detox plan and experienced a change in my perception of food and my desire for it. No longer did I crave sugar; it was too sweet. All of a sudden I wanted to eat food as if it were fuel for my body, not out of pure pleasure. I had developed self control over my eating in a healthier way then I ever had dieting or battling bulimia, and as a result I dropped down to a size 8. I hadn’t been in the single digits since I was a kid! I couldn’t believe that my body could even be that small. That is when I knew that I was manifesting more of who my true eternal self was and not who I thought I was. God was revealing me to me.

2013, right before I started the detox.

I maintained that size 8 for about 7 years with my healthy eating lifestyle but when I started dating I gained about 15lbs. All of a sudden I was fearful because it had been a long time that I was unhappy with my weight. But God met me again. He showed me different ways of eating that would help me lose, but not go overboard. Even though I was experienced with eating healthy there were some changes I needed to make in this new season of my eating journey. In the midst of this I had gotten into strength training. Although after college I had been pretty active, up until 2 years ago I had never done strength. I learned that strength training boosts your metabolism even after you are done working out, unlike cardio where you only burn while you are working out. I learned I need more protein to build and tone the muscle groups I am targeting. I also need to eat more frequently to fuel my body for the workouts I do (I usually eat every 2-3 hrs).

When I gained 15lbs from dating, aka “happy weight”.

After losing the 15lbs I had gained, I was satisfied that my body was where it was supposed to be. After all I was comfortably back in my size 8’s and at a strong 158lbs, (which is where I had been for years). Then more recently I found out I had unexpectedly lost 4lbs. How did I lose 4lbs without trying? I wondered. I have been very “in tune” with my body for several years and just believed I was where I was supposed to be without being extreme and staying active. Yet God is showing me again that my body is changing and it is a new season. Now I am intrigued as to where my body can go given my new regimen of strength training and a higher protein diet. I am excited!

Me flexing in the mirror LOL

I am so grateful by the Father teaching me the best diet and exercise regimen for me. I have received the affirmation and attention I did when I was younger and smaller but now my confidence is not superficially based on that. It is based on knowing who I am to Him. My value to Him. And His love for me.

I know many struggle with their weight and women have so much pressure to be a certain size just like men are pressured to be a certain height. I can share that my experience is that we can overcome our weaknesses and be free from addictions, however it is rarely an overnight occurrence, and it truly does not happen without discipline and intentionality (although I did randomly lose that 4lbs, LOL).

The unique thing for me is that I know my discipline and desire for fitness comes from Him. The self control I have is His fruit and I can taken no credit.

My health and fitness is truly a byproduct of me manifesting my true identity in Him and I’m glad He has revealed such an important concept, especially when as a youth my view was distorted.

He does great things.

And loves giving us the desires of our hearts.

The new Me.

Come thru abs! LOL

SHALOM

2 Years Later

It’s been 2 years but it feels more like one.  Every day I think about you and since that day life hasn’t been the same.  Things moved swiftly foreword yet at the same time stood still.  So many days I thought the pain would never end.

It hasn’t ended but it’s dimmed.

I see you at the store, on tv, while running errands. You are everywhere and anything can trigger a memory; a time when we were together in the physical.  I realize how quickly my childhood passed and how you and gramma were the bulk of it. 

And its over.

Somehow God saw fit to surround me with so many who are not blood related but who love me just as fiercely.  Sisters who are steadfast, spiritual parents who fill the gap, brothers who care…  I still yearn for my own but I so appreciate that they are there.  I never would have made it if they weren’t there.

Just a few moments this past year…

I moved.  And moving was bitter sweet.  I laid in your bed for as long as I could before I had to pack it and relocate.  I kept the mattress. It’s like laying in your arms.  And literally this home is hugging me with its warmth and comfort.

God is the best comforter.

He comforted me these last 2 years for sure.  Using people and circumstances and financial blessings.  I have been so blessed.  But there has been so much emptiness and loss.  It feels like the holes are just now being filled.

And now we are struggling with a virus.  The whole world is struggling.  They call it a pandemic.  And it’s kind of crazy to me its a virus that is related to the illness that you yourself battled some 20 something years.  Those last few days were horrible.  I don’t even like to think about them.  And some would say you lost the battle, but I know better.

You won.

I saw you in your glorified body in a dream I had right before your passing.  I had no idea what was to come, but the dream has been one of many comforts.

Thank you for being great.  I would not be who I am without you.  I wouldn’t have made it this far.  I’m so grateful for your sacrifices and how you poured out your life for me.  Even when things were rough between us, you were always for me.  I appreciate that now.  I didn’t know our time would be so short and the only regret is that I didn’t know.

But even in the not knowing we knew.  And spent those last few months together.  And I will forever treasure them.  It is a gift of the Father who knows when we don’t know.  Who sees when we don’t see.  And who is always for us.

Thank You Father for providing these 2 years.  For keeping my mind and teaching me mental strength. For being with me even when I felt alone.  For being the net when I jumped by faith.  For catching me when I fell.  Over and over again.

Your love is miraculous.  And it is that love I pray that somehow others will experience in the midst of such uncertainty.  Such difficult things happen in this life and yet You are the hope.

You are the light in the midst of darkness.

And now we are the light.

Forever and always Alayna Miller, you are loved.

SHALOM

Thoughts of An Introvert

I am sitting in my living room on an overstuffed cream chair with a cup of green tea and a book on grief. The crackle of the candle on the window sill is almost drowned out by the ocean wave sounds coming from my speaker. I can smell the scent of pumpkin roll coming from said candle and wish once again that it would never run out. It’s the perfect setting to wind down to.

I had a networking event today of which another introvert called me out on being introverted. She voiced my inner thoughts on being grateful that I had made it out and yet I was simultaneously looking forward to when I would leave.

I did get involved in a few good conversations on travel and such and was encouraged enough that I only left a half hour early. But then, so also did the host…

I am becoming very aware of my introverted ways particularly when I compare myself to my more extroverted friends. When I receive lengthy texts flooding my phone with information I get overwhelmed. When I am invited to several events at once I feel the same. I even do not scroll often on social media because taking in so much information on a variety of people (most of which I never talk to in person) is too much for me. Normally I post. I post about me and the people in my direct sphere. I can handle that. But anything more, feels too much.

Still I love connecting. Usually it happens in small groups like this past weekend when I hosted a friend to share on Mary Kay products. I was able to offer appetizers and a warm and cozy space. I love hosting. Especially in this house which perfectly fits me.

This house has been such a comfort. It is cozy and warm and I feel like I am being hugged at all times. I finally got my bookcase up and tomorrow my loveseat will be delivered. The living room will be complete and all the furniture is now purchased. It is just a matter of wall decor…

I never dreamed I would so enjoy interior decorating or have such a knack for it. But God knew. I stand in awe that He had a place for me. I think about all the places I wanted before I found this house and they were not for me. But it was not because there wasn’t a home for me, there was. It was because they were not the right fit. There was one particular home I really really wanted. I had fallen in love with that house. It hurt me when it did not work out but there was a lesson in that. He was teaching me something even in it falling through.

He has purpose in all things.

Tomorrow I have a long day ahead and I know I will need to get as much rest as I can. I know myself. I know my energy levels. I know when I will reach my end and when I have the capacity for certain engagements.

There are so many joyous times in this season and still sad times. A friend said that watching my life is like reading a good book. I concur. I feel that way sometimes. Like when I go on amazing trips with friends or shopping and catch a good deal or meet with a new client for my business. It is a fabulous life indeed. But still not without its difficulties.

I realize the difficulties have made me more compassionate. I have such a heart for those who experience tragedy or loss or suffering in a way that I did not before.

Again, He has purpose in all things.

Even in the hard things.

Especially in those…

SHALOM

A Rocky Christmas

It is Christmas morning. I’m sitting on a comfy couch near a cozy fire drinking a cup of coffee. The tree is small but welcoming and although there are only two presents under it they are wrapped in love. I’m visiting with a woman who goes back to my childhood. She’s the only one I was able to bring with me from that time and for that I hold on to her fiercely. She is mine. And she, like me, did not want to face the holidays alone, so we are facing them together.

I have to admit this life the Father has painted is full of marvelous things. Like yesterday when we drove up the Rocky Mountains and let them take our breath away. Their voluminous size were terrifyingly exhilarating. At once I was reminded at how great the Father is and yet at the same time, so intimate.

It is a wonder.

We laughed and drank and skated and cooked. We did what people talk about doing with their families. Visiting historic landmarks, taking car trips to the mountains, basking in being a family…

Our sisterhood is something I will always be grateful for. This woman walked me down the aisle not on the happiest day of my life but on a day when I needed to do what was most difficult. She stayed two weeks longer when everyone left to make sure I would be ok for my birthday. She has been my rock when I couldn’t see Him anymore…

I could still see Him through her.

And of course she is not the only one. But I want to honor her in this moment in time because she is worthy of being honored. I don’t know what my plans would be if she had not extended her love. If she had not extended her time…

As I get older I hear about others who spend the holidays alone. I have yet to have that experience but I finally realize it is not something I am exempt from. Life is never what we think it will be.

But for now I see the Father’s provision. My dear friend came over and took Christmas pictures of me in my new home, stayed over for hours of fellowship and then came back the next day to drop me off at the airport. I had been visiting with her family previously and was the recipient of more fellowship, more community, more love.

I have known their family for quite some time. They have seen me transform into the woman I am today. They too were there that day I walked down the aisle. They have been there every step of the way.

As life moves along and friends date, get married and have babies, I deal with the weight of my circumstances. I have none of those things. And that is the “rocky” part. The pain, the loss, the trauma…

But this is what I do have…I have snow tubing near the Rocky Mountains Christmas Day. I have waking up to a fire, a cup of coffee and a dear friend who loves me unconditionally. I have a woman who is lavishing a mother’s love upon me in a way that is desperately needed. A new home that came when I least expected and is perfectly tailored for me. Women who have been on this journey with me for more then a decade and even though their life circumstances have changed, they include me in them. They invite me into their family traditions for the holidays. We play spades and bake cookies and enjoy each other. I have provision and style and love. The love is not in the form I thought it would be in. It does not negate the grief and trauma I am still recovering from. It does not fulfill the deep longings of my heart I experience every day and have experienced since that faithful day I submitted to Him at age 19. Giving up the man I wanted to marry at age 22. But it does give me HOPE.

Everyday I wake up, I look at the home He provided and I have hope. He does give us the desires of our hearts. He does manifest His eternal promises in the natural. He does want us to have good things in this life.

He does give His children good gifts…

And that is the reminder of this season. The true meaning of Christmas. A celebration of God sending Yeshua to offer hope for the world. I am always in aww that somehow He chose me to be His. I know I couldn’t have “earned” that right by any great efforts of my own. Believe me I tried. But still somehow I got adopted. I got engrafted into His family. For that I am eternally grateful.

He is my ABBA and I know out of all the gifts He has given me, I am most grateful for that one.

To be His daughter. To be His Love.

To be His.

Merry Christmas from The Rockys☺️☺️☺️.

SHALOM

Moving By Faith

Yesterday I made the move.  And it was right after I spent the holiday out of town with dear friends. 

I had packed everything ahead of time because I didn’t want to be stressed the night before trying to get things together (after my flight got in).  I am a great planner and I knew planning was going to be key to getting ready for the new season.  Still, there are some things you simply cannot plan for…

The night before the move, my good friend picked me up from the airport and we enjoyed our fleeting moments together.  She will be entering her own new season soon which also involves moving so I am savoring all of my time with her.  She agreed to spend the night and we started the next day at 7 am.  I needed to pick up the U-haul truck and make it to my house by 9am.  We were making good time and decided to stop for coffee and breakfast.  Little did we know we were going to need the sustenance!  I had a few other friends coming to help but I was relying on the movers I had hired to be the real muscle.  In the past my mom and I always hired movers.  We did this because we did not have family, or men, to help.  We were always doing things on our own and independence was ingrained in me at a young age.  I had friends who had large families and men in their families that would help them relocate.  I always envied that about them…

Well about 30 minutes after my friends and I started moving I realized the movers I had hired were MIA.  I called them and was initially told they had the wrong time down (even though they were the ones who had chosen the time).  Then I was told they were stuck in traffic (which I knew was a bold face lie because we had been out and there was no one traveling the day after Black Friday).  So I cancelled the movers and my friends picked up the slack.  They were amazing.  For 2 and a half hours we created assembly lines, passed boxes to and fro and took trips back and forth between houses.  We even stuffed ourselves in the front of a U-Haul truck due to lack of space!  (Shout out to Lo for being a real G) LOL.  And the crazy part about it all is, WE HAD FUN.  We laughed and sang to the music and talked.  It was a great time of fellowship and comraderie and I knew it was the Father.  He was giving me people.  He was giving me a longtime desire of my heart.

There have been several things that have happened in this moving process that has shown me His love and one of them is His use of people.  There were some things I simply could not plan for and He has shown me He is the ultimate planner.  People would pop up at just the right time.  My neighbors who I needed to borrow plyers from.  My pastor who’s time is already limited and yet has made it a point to fix anything at my house and breakdown the large items I need to get rid of.  His sister who has been so much like a mom to me in this season has been present to look at houses and rejoice with me when I found the right one.  My friends, who cleaned the house and helped me physically move.  My realtor who took some appliances I needed to dispose of last minute (not to mention the one who actually found this house when I had given up).  Even my personal trainer who was squeezed in front of the U-Haul who I’ve only known for 2 months.  People, people, people.  God has given me people.

God will fill up the lack.  He will provide and meet the need however He so chooses.  And this is how He has chosen in this season with me.

There were some hard times this week emotionally.  The holidays usually are hard for me and now even more so.  I am still working through my grief and disappointments.  There are changes in my relationships due to the new seasons.  There are changes in my relationship with God.  But every morning I wake up in this new house and I feel His peace.  I walk upstairs and my breath is taken away all of over again.  This house is symbolic of hope for the future.

My friends and I are walking out a different path then those who are not chosen.  We struggle with how different it is.  We so want to be “normal”.

“Singleness is getting awkward,” she said.  I laughed but I knew it was true.  It has been awkward, I thought.  I am a little older and so I knew that that played into my perception.  It is also painful, I thought, but didn’t share.  I didn’t want to project my pain onto her although, I have so appreciated that I have been able to be completely honest with her in my journey.  I have so appreciated that while others transition into building families and focusing on their loved ones, I have people around me who are still in it.  They are still walking out this path of waiting.  It is comforting to have others who understand and empathize with the journey.

I am grateful for how the Father has moved in my life.  He has been very intentional with what He has blessed me with and the opportunities He has given.  He has also been intentional with what He has not allowed.  Only He knows how we are wired.  The intimate desires of our hearts and what will bring about His best in us.

I have changed a lot in this season.  Life does that.  While some may think it is not for the good, I disagree.  I think we need to be balanced out in our perception of life.  I think we need to understand the sufferings of humanity to understand the compassion of Christ.  If we don’t go through dark times we will never be relatable.  I have had to learn how to be relatable.

Thank You Father for how You have moved in my life.  Thank You for showing Your Hand and making it known that I am Yours.  Even when I feel alone.  You are always there.

SHALOM

 

Home Sweet Home💕

This weekend I got the keys to my new house. I am still in awww. It does not seem real and I keep marveling at how FAST everything happened. My friend asked me last night what were my first steps of obedience that led to this gift? Thinking about it for a minute I shared about making the decision to move in with my mom. That was such a leap of faith. At the time I had been living on my own for 10 years. The place I was residing in was quaint and cute and comfortable. I had no real reason to leave and was enjoying my time in that city. I was also enjoying my time with a new roommate.

But when my mom asked me to live with her to help her financially to transition from her job I said “yes”. My friend marveled at my response and felt like it showed great faith, but for me I had heard God. How is it faith when He is making it clear what He wants? Either way that was one of the best decisions I had ever made. I had no idea the Father was giving us time.

After her passing I knew He would be sensitive to my time in the home we had shared. I was in no rush to move even though I knew eventually I would. That house served as a great comfort to me in my grieving process.

The next step of faith was probably choosing to end my lease and pay month to month. My pastor suggested it and although I did it I still thought it was very unlikely that I would move anytime soon. I just new I was overpaying and would need to move at some point. There were a few things going wrong with the home and they were indications that I could not stay there. The desire of my heart was to have my own which would also fulfill legacy.

And then I met with my friend’s realtor who I had underestimated. I did not know what a jewel she was and how divine our connection would be. I had given up on the home buying process and she was the one who kept the faith. She was the one who found my home.

“So how did you know this was it?” My friend asked. “I didn’t.” I replied. I explained it was everyone around me. It was the open door after open door. It was seeing God’s hand in the people and the process.

I fully expected to fall in love at first site with my house. There was one house in particular that I did that with. I was so giddy over that home I couldn’t sleep the whole night. But the day before I was going to put my offer in it was taken off the market. I was so hurt. It wasn’t mine.

“So when did you fall in love?” Another friend asked. “Now,” I said. I am falling in love now. I go from room to room in joy and awww. I discover so many little things that bring me joy and make me smile. I can feel the Father smiling with me. It is like He is discovering through my eyes. It is new to Him because it is new to me.

This home brings me comfort. It gives me rest.

I asked the Lord why did He choose this one and not the other one? “Intimacy”, He said. This home is more intimate. It feels like it is embracing me and hugging me when I am in it.

I am so blessed by the people and the process of buying a home. God is truly in all things. And now for the first time in 3 generations we are homeowners again.

May He receive all the glory in this home and may it be used for His good purposes.

SHALOM

Eyes To See

As I mentioned previously on this little blog things are moving quickly.  Yesterday we did the inspection on the house and while there were several things brought to my attention I was assured by the professional (the inspector) that these items were a given for a house of this age.  In fact, it was in good condition given its age.

An interesting phenomenon occurred yesterday.  I found that while the inspector was highlighting certain things my eyes became open to them also, either while he was speaking and sometimes even before he spoke.  I told him that just being around him was giving me “eyes to see”.  It is an interesting occurrence that we can be influenced to that capacity by people around us, even those we have just met.  I can see this as being symbolic of my spiritual journey.  Being “around” Christ these 15 years has greatly influenced me and helped me to “see”.

Recently I had an interaction with a family member and I was greatly discouraged to find that they did not “see”.  It had been a while since we had spoken and the reason for our disconnection was due to their own narcissism and selfishness.  I felt that I was called to implement strong boundaries to focus on my own health and healing during a season of recovery.  I had hopes that one day the relationship could be restored, so when they reached out I was surprised, but hopeful.  Unfortunately upon interacting with them I soon learned that they had not grown.

They had not healed.

They were (still) toxic.

I did not understand why they were still in the same place.  How could all this time have passed and they did not see?  But I was reminded of the gift I have in community and the teaching I am under.  I am surrounded by people who value healthy relationships.  I am surrounded by people who desire to grow and change for the better.  I am influenced by those around me.

Maybe one day that relationship will be restored but for now I must continue on my own path.  The Father has given me all the tools needed to accomplish His purpose on this path and I am grateful for the greatest tool He has given:

His love.

Now I understand so much why He revealed Himself to me as He did.  He told me years ago He would be anything that I needed and I so have needed Him as Father, Husband, & Family.

I pray that God brings forth His desires in the earth.  As an intercessor I can’t help but to do so.  But I also understand we all have choices.  And I choose to value myself above someone else who will try to devalue me.

I choose to protect myself from others who may bring me harm.

I choose to see myself as He sees me.

SHALOM