Have you been questioning whether you will ever have balance?
Do you find yourself feeling guilty about where you are or aren’t giving your attention from moment to moment or day to day?
In this episode, Bree and I talk about the importance of harmony over balance, the importance of knowing who you are and whose you are before you can be successful with any other roles, the importance of communication with your spouse and your children and the C.A.R.E. method for maintaining healthy relationships.
Bree Carroll, the Military Marriage Coach, Wedding and Event Specialist and Speaker who transforms spaces and hearts through authentic design and purposeful planning. With a background in civil engineering, Bree brings her brilliance of problem solving and eye for design to couples so they design a marriage even more beautiful than their wedding day. Using her CARE method, she guides couples through designing a marriage that celebrates their core values. As a voice in the milspouse community and the 2020 – 2021 AFI Air Force use of the Year, she celebrates strong military marriages. On her nationally broadcasted podcast, Hearts & Stripes, she speaks on the power of relationships.
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Everything Comes Full Circle: Lessons From One Year of Podcasting
No More New Year Resolutions: The Power of One Word + One Goal to Guide Your Year
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Email Tiffany: Hello@TiffanyHuffExperience.com
Today’s guest and I share about the power of one moment of truth to change your life. Jessi and I talk about the process to redefining happiness for yourself, the power of both surrounding yourself with people and things to fulfill you, but also how exploring self fulfillment changes your life. We dig deep into the power of your story and so much more. The question is: are you happy?
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Jessi Shuraleff is the mama of two amazing little humans conceived through IVF and the founder & host of This Is My Truth podcast & community. She spent many years shoving down her emotions around her fertility journey (amongst other things!) into a box, and threw away the key. Until one day, she found the key and that changed everything — how she viewed herself, motherhood, but most importantly the type of leader she became at home & at work.
She has spent the last 13+ years at Google, effectively leading & coaching sales teams using authenticity, value-based selling & storytelling to drive impact & revenue for her customers. Her mission is to create community & connection through sharing personal stories to empower others to step into their own light, reclaim their vulnerability & drive greater impact. You can find Jessi on her website, www.jessishuraleff.com, on Instagram @ThisIsMyTruthPodcast or by listening to her podcast, This Is My Truth, available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor & all podcast platforms.
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Everything Comes Full Circle: Lessons From One Year of Podcasting
Sleep Your Way To The Top: Making Rest The Foundation For Success in 2021 and Beyond
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Email Tiffany: Hello@TiffanyHuffExperience.com
Today’s guest is Dr. Rennes Toussaint-Keshinro. Dr Rennes and I talk about redefining your identity, how we struggle in silence, wearing masks and pretending to be happy, as well as the journey to self-discovery and how important both your mental health and faith are during all aspects of this journey.
She is a Doctor of Chiropractic, mental wellness coach and mental health advocate. Her story includes her migration to the US at age 13, struggling to find her identity yet excelling in her education. After completing her doctorate degree, she decided to go on a self-discovery journey which led her to South America for 3 years. What got her through this time was connecting closer to God, focusing on her self development and DANCE. This is where her Dance 4 Mental Health Movement started. Dance for Mental Health encourages women who are suffering in silence to find their identity, their voice and to take back their power. She understands the connection of the mental and physical body and why it should not be looked at separately. Her goal is to inform, educate and build awareness about mental health, especially in the black community. She is also the owner of Sign of Strength LLC, a mental health awareness shop. Connect with Dr Rennes on Instagram
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Failing Forward: How to Redefine Failure + Use It To Change Lives
Can You Introduce Me to Your Future Self? Delays + Detours Do Not Equal Defeat
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Dr. Rennes: Do not rob the world from experience in you because you have a light God gave you a light. So if you don’t shine it, you are leaving darkness in the world, you’re leaving people in the dark.
Tiffany: Hey. Hey beacon, welcome home to your ballsack blueprint community Podcast, where you are challenged to be do and have God’s best as you thrive on your journey from setback to success. I’m your bounce back guide, Tiffany Huff-Strothers. And I’ll be guiding you on the journey by sharing tips, tools, and the T on how I was able to bounce back from escaping death, healing from heartbreak and finding hope in homelessness. And then I wrote an award winning book all about it and shout out to God, ever since I was courageous enough to share my story, my life and the lives of winding around that have been forever on the show and as a member of the manatee call you to let me tell you a little bit, grab your journal, and let’s build this amazing conversation. She is a Doctor of Chiropractic, a mental health mental wellness coach and mental health advocate. Her story includes her migration to the US at age 13, struggling to find her identity yet excelling in her education. After completing her doctorate degree, she decided to go on a self discovery journey which led her to South America for three years. What got her through this time was connecting closer to God focusing on herself development and dance. This is where her new dance for the mental health movement started. Dance for mental health encourages women who are suffering in silence, to find their identity, their voice and to take back their power. She understands the connection of the mental and physical body and why it should not be looked at separately. Her goal is to inform, educate and build awareness about mental health, especially in the black community. She is also the owner of sign of strength LLC, a mental health awareness shop. Welcome to the show, Rennes.
Dr. Rennes: Thank you so much for having me. I’m so excited to be here.
Tiffany: I’m so excited that you are here. I cannot wait to dig into this conversation. But before we do, please introduce yourself to the community. I feel that we do that the best ourselves. So tell us who is Dr. Rennes beyond the bio.
Dr Rennes: Nice. Awesome. So like you said, I’m Dr Rennes Tousssaint-Keshinro, first and foremost, I am a child of God. I practice chiropractic here in New York. As a mental wellness coach. As you mentioned, I work with women who are struggling in silence to find their density and to take back their power. And as a mental health advocate, especially in the black community. My goal is to just to help break the stigma about mental health and why we should invest in our mental health not only financially but also with time, right. Besides that, I am a newlywed. I got married about three months ago. So thank you. So that has been pretty exciting. I’m an outdoor person. I love nature. I love traveling. So you understand COVID is like killing me right now.
Tiffany: Yes, I know you are an avid traveler, I see all of your photos on Instagram from travels of the past. Of course, yes. Because COVID is trying his best to just ruin everything for us. But you got married in the midst of the pandemic. Let’s talk about that.
Were you already planning to get married this year? Or did you just decide, you know what, let’s do this.
Dr Rennes: No, we had a wedding planned for August. And we were holding on to the hope that everything will be fine. But then eventually we had to cancel. And well, we actually push back the wedding and the celebration. But we decided that we’re not going to wait to start our marriage. So we went ahead and still got married this year.
Tiffany: That’s awesome. Good for you. I think that if 2020 hasn’t taught us anything is that in a lot of cases, even in the midst of the pandemic, you need to push through, right. You gotta at least attempt to keep going.
Dr Rennes: Mm hmm. Plants are going to change you got to learn how to cope and pivot.
Tiffany: Yes, yeah. So that takes us right into where I want to start because I would like to take the listeners on this journey with you. And at a very early age of 13. You had to kind of pivot when your family migrated to the United States. So tell us A little bit about where you migrated from, and how that transition was for you as a preteen girl.
Dr Rennes: Okay,
so I was born in the Caribbean, a Caribbean island called Dominika Not to be confused with Dominican Republic, totally different Island. And I grew up in a very small village, my village, the population was only about 200 people, Max. So very, very small town girl. So growing up there, everybody always talks and dreams about coming to America. So when we got the opportunity to come over, it was so exciting, like, Oh, my God, you’re going to America. But I love my upbringing. I love my culture. And it’s still a huge part of me and everything that I do. But yeah, that’s where I grew up and come into America. First. It was I guess it was excited. But then it became it started, it became challenging, because our parents never sat down and have the conversation of Okay, you’re we’re migrating was the transition is going to be like, as kids we were, we were expected to just adapt naturally to the changing environment. So it was interesting.
Tiffany: So at what point did you start to feel that it was more challenging for you? Or did you start to struggle with who you were or how you fit into this new way of life here in the United States.
Dr Rennes: So I would say the the first thing that was very challenging for me is yes, we grew up in a small village, but my mom had her own business, we had our we had our own home, you know, we had a yard, we had freedom. And we went from that to moving into a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment in Miami, with my dad and his roommate. So that was a huge transition. And then trying to adapt to school. When we started school, we might I say, we, because my brother and I have a brother who is one year older than I am, we started Middle School at the eighth grade. So that’s the end of the middle of middle school at the end of the school year, like an April. So everyone had to click their friends do circles. So trying to fit in, I always had the sense of like, where I belong, like a sense of belonging, like where do I fit in, you know, a young girl from the Caribbean, I have an accent, you know, I became conscious of my voice, I became very insecure about that. So I went from being like an extrovert, like, you know, this fun life of the party to just, you know, being very reserved and shy. So that definitely started affected my identity. But I will take you back from growing up in Dominica. Remember, even before I was five, like my family, I guess they saw something in me like my family would put me into pageants and competitions and things like that. I skipped the second grade. So I feel like I always had this unspoken expectation of me to like, do all these great things. I had the good girl image, I was the youngest of three kids. We grew up in a Catholic Church. So we had certain ways of like how a little girl is supposed to act a little girl supposed to do certain things. But on the butt behind closed doors, I was being abused sexually, and nobody knew. Right? So I learned from a very young age to basically live like a sacred life. Like I felt like I lived a double life. You know, on the surface, I was doing all this great things. But I have this horrible thing happening to me at that time. I didn’t think it was horrible, honestly. But it was nonetheless, it was a secret that I was holding away from, you know, from my family and the people that I love. So I always like I said, I always felt like I lived like this double life, and especially coming to America at home, I’m a certain way. And at school, I was a certain way. So it was
Tiffany: Oh, how did you reconcile? Or At what point? Did you reconcile those two identities, The Secret Life at home and then the life outside of the home? And perhaps there was a third one that was created when you got here? Trying to find yourself in the midst of being a preteen at school with clicks and all of the things how did you or when did you begin to recognize that you? It was it was taking a lot out of you to manage all of these personas.
Dr Rennes: Honestly, maybe not until in my 20s or you can highschool it was normal for me. I guess that was like my survival mode like, Oh, I’m supposed to figure it out. What was more important for me is to keep that Oh, she’s such a good girl. She’s doing well in schools, it was more important for me to keep that image. Right. So anyway, nothing else matters as long as everybody see me as being good. I was fine.
Tiffany: So I’m sorry. So once you got it as the the abuse Did, did the abuse stop, because Oh, okay. So it was no longer part of the well, I’m sure the once you realized, like you said that it was wrong, then you had to deal with that trauma. But as if, at the time when you moved here, you no longer necessarily had to deal with that in the moment.
Dr Rennes: No, I didn’t deal with that in the moment at all. Yeah, thankfully. But the damage was already done. And I was still trying to cope through life.
Tiffany: Yes. So what happened in your 20s that caused you to have an epiphany or this shift where you realized this survival mode I’ve been operating in all of these years is not normal.
Dr Rennes: Um, I got another thing about me is I threw myself into like I said, in my education, I excelled the education. So I was, at the time I was receiving my doctorate degree. And I’m getting to the end of the program. I’m about to start real world, right. Um, get a doctor degree like, That’s amazing. Everybody, everybody’s looking at me like, Oh, my God, you’re you did it. But inside, I didn’t, I wasn’t happy. I was so unhappy. I was so depressed. Right before that. Well, throughout chiropractic school, I was in part, I will say horrible relationships. But I wouldn’t even call it relationships, I would say situation ships. And it was like, I had three bad situations. Back to back, unfortunate situation back to back where every time at the end of the relationship, I will get the man You’re so good, but you’re a good person, but dot dot dot.
Tiffany: It’s not you. I mean, it’s not you. It’s me.
Dr Rennes: It’s me, right. But they reminded me that being a quote unquote, good girl, or faking to be a good girl was not good enough. Because what I was doing is being good for other people, like doing things for them for them to validate me. So basically, I was people pleasing, right? So they were that those situations reminded me that I wasn’t being good to myself. I didn’t love myself, I didn’t pour into myself. So at that time, I was like, I can’t continue going on like this. Like, it has to stop.
Tiffany: So you have this epiphany, you make this decision. And so once you make the decision that you’re no longer gonna go on like this. What do you do?
Dr Rennes: Well, like I said, I love to travel right. My ending of my, my externship from my program, my doctorate program, I took, I went to Ghana, I spent about three months in Ghana, working in a chiropractic office there. And when I came back to the US, it’s like, I don’t want to be here anymore. I don’t want to be anywhere. I need to have this experience. Again, like I felt being away from my environment. I felt different. And I wanted to continue that experience. So I packed up suitcases and I did ended up in Peru, South America. I apply for a job. Three weeks later, I was I packed my bags. I was like, I’m out. I’m going
Tiffany: Why? Wow. So you literally were just like, Okay, I’m done being here. Let me just figure out where I’m gonna go. How did you decide on through?
Dr Rennes: At the time, it felt like it was desperation. People didn’t know that, but I was applying when I came back from Ghana. I was like, Listen, I’m gonna apply wherever it could be in Australia. I am going whoever except me. I had that mindset. I was like, I don’t care. I am going. But I really do. Looking back. It’s like God probably called me there because the experience was so so amazing. So Peru was the one who picked up the bread, my my CV. They I did the interview with them. They loved me. They offered me that they were the first person to offer me a job and I took it. So you Apply for this job, you move to Peru and then what? And then what I saw I took the contract was one year, I ended up staying there for two years. So when I moved there initially, again, just like my transition from Dominika to the US, I was like, Oh, yes, this is amazing. And I was excited. But then the reality hit me that one, I was alone. One, it’s really time to do the work, which I did. Thankfully, I stayed. The beginning, I almost came back home in the beginning. Um, there were situations where I was just like, I can’t do this. But the work is hard. Right. Healing is hard.
Tiffany: You know, and I think it’s so interesting. I want you to continue, but I think I do think it’s very interesting how God will completely remove us from our home or normal environment. Yeah. So that he has us all to ourselves. Not that there was no one else in Peru with you. Right. But you didn’t know anyone there. It was a place where it was you and God and God and you hear you. Yes. And so when that’s the case, there is not much else to do besides the work.
Dr Rennes: Yeah, you gotta look and you got to look inside, you got to look internally. Like once the same things keep showing up. At the end of the day, you have to tell yourself, what, what do I need to do differently? I can’t keep going on like this. So being in Peru, that helps me to like, stop. Yeah, I really look at myself. Because back home, so many distractions, you have friends family, if I’m down, I just called my friends like, hey, let’s go out. Let’s do this, you know?
Tiffany: Yeah. So when you got to Peru, and you asked yourself that question, what came up for you? One question, specifically, when you ask yourself, you know, why does this keep happening? Or, you know, what am I doing or not doing? What was coming up for you that you had to work through
Dr Rennes: my mindset.
People pleasing showed up. That was a huge thing. I was hiding how I felt for my entire life, right? Just to one make other people comfortable, but also so that they could like me, right? I didn’t like myself.
I was doing exactly. Everybody liked me. Everyone’s like, Oh, she’s so nice. And I didn’t like myself. So that’s what showed up. Like you need to start loving yourself. You can’t go out looking for love. If you don’t give it to yourself, you have to give to yourself. Love only comes from me. So that’s what I really learned earlier on in Peru. Love yourself.
Tiffany: And what was that journey like for you to begin to love yourself? Because, you know, and I asked this because I think a lot of people you know, it’s our culture now. It’s like self care, love yourself. self love. It’s so important. But for the person who’s been struggling, or the person who’s been people pleasing, or assuming this alternative identity, so that people get who they expect to say, Well, you’ve got to love yourself is very, it’s very big, right? bring that down to, on a day to day level on a week to week level, that journey. What does it look like? How did you even start out once you had that realization?
Dr Rennes: That’s a good point. Because I feel like when people talk about self love, like, Oh, it’s such a beautiful thing. And it is, but from the journey of to self love. It’s a very, very uncomfortable journey,
Dr Rennes: Like I said, Before, I was lying to myself all this years, that I started to believe the lies, right? So self love is really just being truthful. Right? You have to tell yourself the truth no matter what. And that is hard. is extremely hard to be able to look at yourself, and just let it all out. Like just just being just just being vulnerable with yourself first and accepting it. So like accepting that yes, yes. And, and a part of it is accepting it, but also not blaming yourself.
Tiffany: That’s good.
Dr Rennes: Because that was. That was something I did even from the sexual abuse. I blamed myself for it. I thought it was my fault. So had to learn how to accept everything that has happened to me, and know that it’s not my fault. So and that is a huge part of self love.
Tiffany: Yeah, I would, I would have to agree. It’s because if you don’t accept that it’s not your fault, then you can get stuck there. Yeah. Right. So you have to be willing to forgive yourself. Mm hmm. Recognize the decisions that you made that may have impacted your life, but also forgive yourself so that you can move forward?
Dr Rennes: Yes, absolutely.
Tiffany: So So did you do all of this alone? Or did you go to therapy in Peru?
Dr Rennes: So I started doing before I went to Peru, I did a little bit of therapy here in the US, but when I was in Peru, I did coaching. And the coaching was in Yeah, Mm hmm.
Tiffany: Wow. And so how long did you coach?
Dr Rennes: I coached? Well, I would say the entire time I was there, but luckily, a lot of it was virtually so.
Tiffany: Okay. Okay. So you were in Peru for two years? And what would you say? What would you say was different about Dr. Nunez when she arrived in Peru versus at the end of that two years?
Dr Rennes: Where do I start? I felt more of my, well, first of all, I knew who I was, I had a clearer understanding of who I was, like, I grew up in the church. I mean, I had a huge gap when I first moved to the US. But you know, my dad didn’t really take us to church. So, but I always knew who God was. But at the end of that journey, I really came to understand who I am like, I am a daughter of God, like he wants the best for me. And it was, it was so hard for me to comprehend that, like, I could have it all because I’m a daughter of a king, he will give me everything that I want. You know,
Tiffany: I’m curious what happened with you and or your relationship with God that you were able to comprehend that because I mean, I appreciate you even being transparent. And saying that because I know that there are people, and I’m doing air quotes who believe, but who haven’t fully embraced the truths about what it means to believe what it means to be a doctor of the Most High. So what happened that your comprehension of that increased?
Dr Rennes: Like you said, Sometimes he takes you away from our normal environment, so we could be alone with him. For the first time I was able to hear from God. Like for years, it’s like you will hear stories of people who said, Oh, my God, you know, God spoke to me. And for years, like What’s wrong with me? God is not speaking to me, right? We expect God to be like, hey, daughter, this is what you know. I never know how to be in tune with myself right in tune the Holy Spirit. Listen to my intuition. For the first time I learned what it meant to meditate. When I meditate. I hear from God, I started paying attention to my dreams. Like I started to have really vivid dreams, like, oh my god. So that’s how I really knew God was real. Because I took time, like, that was my time to really be with him be in his presence. And I felt it.
Tiffany: Yes. So creating space. And that. Yeah, and I think, you know, kind of going back to what you said before, a lot of us are in situation ships with God. Right? Like, it’s like, well, we got this thing, but like, not all the time, but like sometimes and when you get into that space, where and I believe you said at one point, it’s desperation. Mm hmm. Things start to shift. Yeah. So it was at the end of the two years. Was it was it in Peru during that two years that you started dancing or was it after?
Dr Rennes: Okay, so I did two years in Peru and then I did one year Honduras. That was another experience. But again, I just spoke about dreams. Like I had a vivid dream God sent me to Honduras, and which, yeah, but the dance of mental health IT DID started while I was in Peru, but actually, I was dancing because I felt like every morning, I play music, and I dance, and I felt amazing. And I was saying I need to start a dance for health movement. But it wasn’t until last year that I connected dance for mental health, because it helps us feel good. Like our brains actually releases feel good hormones while we not only dance, but any type of movement exercise running, but my exercise of choice is dancing. Like to work out. So that’s how I connected dance for mental health. Okay, I
Tiffany: want to dig into that. But first, I have to go back. How did you go from Peru to Honduras? What was this dream? What was this transition?
Dr Rennes: So very vivid. I know God. It was, okay, let me see how go put it. So I dreamt that God says go to this country and the country. Honduras starts with the letter H sound just like that was few days prior. And that was kind of in the transition. Okay, it’s my time to move on. Let me see where I should go. And a job from Honduras came up. And when I saw you, it was like perfect time and the doctor she was about to leave to come back to the US. So we I spoke to her again, over Skype, or we had a Skype interview. And she’s like, Listen, I want you to come to take over my practice. And I was like, okay, and two weeks I was in Honduras. Wow.
Tiffany: Yeah. Wow. Okay. self discovery, I’m sure continued in Honduras,
Dr Rennes: did it?
Tiffany: What would you say? And so how long were you in Honduras?
Dr Rennes: for about a year
Tiffany: or a year? So what was the biggest shift for you in that year?
Dr Rennes: I experienced some really traumatic things there. And I know it sounds crazy, because I just said God sent me there. And then some people would think, Well, why would God send you somewhere to experience those things? I was living in a house and the culture over there is to have a maid. So the doctor I took over her practice, she had a maid and the her maid left with her. So she hired one for me. I experienced her almost trying to commit suicide. Where are we at that time, we had a language barrier. Like I like my Spanish was getting there. Um, I had to experience taking her to a hospital. And the doctor looking at me and said, we can do anything and she’s just going to die. She took some pills, right? And I’m just a hysterically like crying like what do you mean? And he was just like, Who is this person to you? It’s like, she’s a human being. Um, so that was, that was super traumatic. I experienced betrayal. Where I trusted certain a certain someone and they literally stole from me and lied to me. And mind you, I’m in a country again, where I knew absolutely no one. But on the flip side, I got into a community of other of missionaries. And there they are the ones that really poured into me and really helped me experience God in a much deeper way. And had not had I had not gone to Honduras. I don’t think I’ll ever experienced that.
Tiffany: So why did you leave Honduras?
Dr Rennes: Oh, I was ready.
I was I left of the journey.
Yes. I didn’t. I didn’t run away in the middle of the craziness that was going on. And a lot of people was like, why are you still here? You need to come home. And I was like, No, you know, I want to make a commitment. I like to be true to my word. So I stayed up as long as I could. And then like it was my time to come back home and face the call it the music of being back in the US and being around my family. So
Tiffany: Oh, how was that re entry. It was almost like my migrating to the US again. Right? And you were a different Rene is when you got back. Did you go back to Miami?
Dr Rennes: No, I ended up moving to New York of all places. So I came from Hunter’s to New York. Yes.
Tiffany: So how was that transition and the transition back into not only life in the US, but life with your family, and perhaps with your friends.
Dr Rennes: I loved it. My relationship with my family got so much better. I don’t think I mentioned that earlier. But throughout high school, and even college, I lashed out a lot. I’m never Belgian, not just being rebellious, but just having that anger towards my family. But once I went through my journey, and understanding and not blaming them for the things I’ve been through, my relationship has been so so good with my family. So it’s been it was a really great transition.
Tiffany: That’s good. Yeah. Apparently the experience, you know, yeah, we have some friction with people when we step into our fullness. Mm hmm. Walk in our truth. So I’m glad to hear that. You are welcomed. Yes, home? Yeah. Did you come back to the US and get another job doing chiropractic work?
Dr Rennes: Yes. So I’m still practicing
as a chiropractor? Yes.
Tiffany: And so how long ago? Was it that you are How long has it been that you’re back now in the US from that?
Dr Rennes: Um,
it’s been actually, exactly three years. I came back in December of 2017. Yes, three years.
Tiffany: So over the course of these three years, you become more involved in mental health awareness, and become an advocate what triggered that?
Dr Rennes: Oh, after my journey, after what I went through, I, for years, I suffered in silence, I really did not know what it was. And once I went through that journey, I was like, man, why don’t we talk about this? Like, we need to be more vocal. If I have struggled with that. I know for a fact, other people are struggling with it. So I really just want it it just started by, I’m just going to talk about mental health here and there. And I’ve felt like God placed it on my heart. That’s what I should say, God placed it on my heart, because I was like, there’s something else I need to be doing. I felt some type of emptiness. And he said, talk about your journey, talk about mental health. So I started by just creating t shirts. It’s like, Oh, just create some t shirts and sell some t shirts. And that was in 2018. Then last year, I was like, that is cute, but you need to do something else, you need to go deeper. So that’s why I started coaching. Through coaching women through the journey.
Tiffany: And then so and I will say that T shirts are a great conversation starter, especially if you have the right quote, or you know, one liner on their article conversation. That could take you a lot of places, but I can totally hear God saying like, that’s cute. But yeah, that’s not what I said. That’s not what I told you. Let’s try again. Yeah, right. So you start coaching, and this is in addition to your chiropractic work, right? Yeah. So what happened last year, that you made that connection with the dancing and, you know, the mental and the physical and merged the two?
Dr Rennes: I’m not exactly sure when it happened, but I knew because I said from Peru, I was like, man, I need to do this dance thing. And I carried that over like, before going to Peru, the only time I would dance like well, in my young adult years, was like, Hey, girl, let’s go to the club. Let’s go to the bottom here. No, and just start into dance be just started dancing at home. I brought that over here. When I came back. If I’m feeling down, you know, I’ll play some music and I will dance. I was like, man, I really need to do this. I’ve been saying this for years. did some research. I’m just like, wow, it’s right there in plain sight, you know? And in my practice, I said all the time this people will come to me you know, the neck pain, headaches, back pain, and they don’t associate it with their emotional trauma then the mental. They asked all the time I experienced you know, experiencing higher levels of stress and right away like oh, no, I’m fine. I’m fine, but I could literally Feel it in their body and their muscle, the tension, I could tell. And sometimes I ask and they’ll say, How do you know? Like I could feel in your body. The thing is that our body is made for movement. And also a body is made to feel, right feeling is like sensation in our body. So put in dance, and mental health together is just the perfect marriage for me.
Tiffany: Yeah, I definitely recognize your passion for it. And, you know, I’m sure it sounds funny. But let’s just be honest, when you in my experience Anyway, when you had those times, like you said, when you were going through something that you’d be like, Girl, let’s just go out, get on the dance floor and letting it all go does help. Like it does change your life necessarily, but you feel a little bit better. We do are like just releasing it all and getting into the vibe, of course, you know, not the same necessarily intention while you’re doing it. But it did help.
Dr Rennes: Like you said the intention. So now with the my dental mental health program, it’s not only dancing, but what is the intended intention behind it? Right? What are the thoughts that you’re having? What are the feelings that you want to create, and you can use dance and movement, like I said, Our body is made for movement, we’re supposed to move and use it and that to create the feeling that you want, create a new thought, process, create, like, introduce your mind to something different. Um, so that’s a good point that the intention is different from just like, Hey, girl, let’s go out. And most of the time, you’re not only dancing, you’re drinking as well. So
Tiffany: yeah, that’s good. So how did you know that now? Was the time for you to release your new course dance for mental health? Like, what was it? I feel like you’ve done so many big things and 2020 Yeah. You know, what the marriage and then birthing this. So how did you know now was the time?
Dr Rennes: So actually, before the pandemic in February for my 33rd birthday, my Jesus here, I hosted my first live dance for mental health class was. Yeah, it was in February, I had the first live class here in New York. And it was like, so amazing. I was excited. I was like, Yes, I’m gonna have another one next month. And the pandemic happened. COVID happened. And going back, I always tell people, I’m not a trained dancer, I can’t do an eight count to save my life. I cannot do a count. Don’t ask me. But I know how to move. So that was around the same time in February we for we that’s how I met you through our coaching program in Patrice Washington. And then our clarity coach to Tia Jones. She suggested like, Hey, why don’t you do it online? You know, there’s a lot of people at home. A lot of people are struggling right now. You know, everybody loves to dance, do it at home. And then I was kind of resistant. Like, I don’t know, I mean, I just had a live class. You know, that was amazing. I don’t know about this online thing. But I thankfully, I listened. And I started hosting like free dance for mental health classes online. And it was amazing. I went on for like two or three months. And I took a little pause and doing other things. You know how that goes. And then this year, well, last month, I decided to go ahead and officially launch the dancer mental health program.
Tiffany: tell us a little bit about the program, who’s it for and so on expect as they move through the program.
Dr Rennes: Yeah, so the program is for women. Like I said, I love to work with women who suffer in silence. So just like just how I struggled like, you know, cool to know who you are, you know, to help them find their identity, let them find your health and find your voice, taking back their power mean and just knowing who they are, know people pleasing, standing in the truth. So the program will is included like weekly live dance classes. I’m also teaching a model of how to create results that you want in your life. So there’ll be self study lessons like pre recorded assignments, like to do the work. We’re not only dancing, I want you to do the work on yourself. And having a community which was a huge thing for me. As you know, it was a huge thing for us this year. Just having a community community have like minded women having that support and encouragement. So yeah, basically that’s what the program is about the goal at the end of the program, that you know how to coach yourself throughout life, that you become more self confident. Like you stand in your power, your standing your truth, and you just be unapologetic.
Oh Lord, look
at that word. Ugly You mean you and your authentic self. So yeah,
Tiffany: I love it. I absolutely love it. So for the woman who is right now, in the midst of this journey, or at the beginning of this journey, and she just wants to start somewhere, can you suggest a song or a scripture or even a journaling question that she could begin to coach herself with to just start to get up and get moving and start doing the work?
Dr Rennes: So I love dancing all types of music and Caribbean I love African music, but there’s nothing better than a good worship song. praise and worship song. And one of my favorite ones this year was snatch way maker way me cuz I can’t sing.
Tiffany: Kill two people. I know the song.
Dr Rennes: So that is my jam. Um, as far as the verse has, this verse has always been my favorite still is and that’s Jeremiah 2911. For I know, the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not to harm you plans to give you a hope and a future. And a journal question, this is a good one, start journaling and ask yourself, what is the story? What is my story? What am I telling myself about myself? Write it out, write it out? Once we write certain things out, once we take it from our head and put it on paper? Sometimes we read through it, it’s like it doesn’t make any sense.
Tiffany: That’s right. That’s right. I would I would add to complement what you have just said, I would say that you meditate on Jeremiah 2911 and 12. Because that next verse says, and you will seek Me and you will find me. And it’s so important to know God’s truth, but also to know that you have to be aligned with him to really fully embrace and comprehend it like you shared. And that question is so powerful, and so much can come like you could journal through that question for months. Oh, yes, absolutely. And then to extend to ask yourself, why, right? Like, what are you telling yourself? And why are you telling yourself that right?
Dr Rennes: And what are you telling yourself? Does it align with what God is saying about you know, daughter of God, does that align? And a lot
Tiffany: of times it doesn’t, it doesn’t. That’s right. And this is work that you can start to do now. Like it does not require you to go to Peru or Honduras, or even leave your bedroom. If you’re right, like you can do the work right we
right now, yeah, of course,
if you want to go further you can get with Rene’s for the dance for mental health courts, so please tell the community where they can find you in these internet streets where definitely be dancing,
Dr Rennes: I will definitely be dancing. on my Instagram. I’m most active on my Instagram at Dr. Rennes is dr dot r e n n e s. And then you could find the links to my website.
Tiffany: are to link to your T shirt store, which has some really cute shirts. And I’ll make sure to link to dance for mental health and of course, your Instagram page. Yes. Well, I want to thank you so much for coming on and sharing your journey. And I want to thank you too for the work that you are doing and the way that you encourage you always when I come past your page on Instagram, I’m always no matter how I’m feeling is like yes, let me listen to the music is always so upbeat. You always have so much energy. I love it. And so I’m really glad that we had the opportunity to talk I want to give you the floor and the opportunity to leave our community with any favorite quote or words of encouragement that you would like to share.
Dr Rennes: Thank you first of all, thank you so much for having me again. This is the message I would tell my younger self is don’t rob the world. From experience and who you are, we all have a light. And if we don’t shine that light or walk in that light, we leave darkness in the world, right? We leave people in darkness. So just be you.
Tiffany: Because I believe the very same thing about lightning. And I believe that, especially those of us who have had some experiences that God is calling us to us that we are beacons of, of possibility. And so those words resonate so well with me, and I’m sure the beacons in the community so yes, tell them again, one more time.
Dr Rennes: Do not rob the world from experiencing you because you have a light, God gave you a light. So if you don’t shine it, you are leaving darkness in the world, you’re leaving people in the darkness.
Thank you so much for having me. I had fun.
Tiffany: I was so blessed by this conversation with my girl Dr. Nunez and I pray that you were to if you were to do me a favor, take a moment and leave a review. When you do you create an opportunity for another beacon to find this episode and get these gems dropped and the support she needs and if you need some additional support, if you are ready to go to the next level, and really begin to do the work so that you can shine your light and do and be and have all that God called you to but you’re struggling with where to start or how to come up with a plan. I would love to work with you. You can grab the link in the show notes and schedule your breakthrough firstname.lastname@example.org slash your bounce back guide and we can spend some time talking about how I can help you get to your next level. I look forward to talking with you. And of course I will leave you with this. God is not going to play you but if you are out here in the streets, dimming your light when he will have you shine it I promise you are playing your self be blessed!
The episode is part of “The Lies We Tell Ourselves Series”
Our guest today is Nicole Rhone. Nicole and I talk about how it took a near death experience for her to FORCE herself to invest in selfcare and how choosing to live meant she had to make tough decisions including confronting the possibility of divorce, her parenting, walking away from a 6figure job and trusting God every step of the way. Nicole shares eloquently about how she went from debating suicide, being a public success and a private failure to getting into the art of flow.
Nicole Rhone is a Capacity Coach, and helps women just like you create balance between their personal and professional lives, while prioritizing self-care. This wife and mother of two has steadily and successfully climbed the corporate ladder by supporting billion dollar organizations for over a decade!
As a Human Resources Leader, she has coached and trained managerial staff, including C-Suite and Executive level employees to build leadership capabilities, increase productivity and cultivate thriving company cultures.
Because of her corporate experience, Nicole understands the unique challenges of busy, high-performing women and how a lack of fluidity between the worlds of home and work can create a barrier between them and their next level.
The Art of Flow is a force that she teaches to female power players, helping them to find a rhythm between their personal and professional life, in order to propel them into greater levels of desired and sustainable success.
Register for Nicoles’ Free Training Less Stree. More Rest. Connect with Nicole on Instagram.
Lie: The Vision is Too Big: I’ll Never Live In My Purpose
Lie: My Happiness Is Based On My Appearance + I’ll Always Be on a Diet – The Power of a New Mindset With Evelyn LeVasseur
Grab your copy of 30 Day Stay, Tiffany’s Award Winning Book
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Email Tiffany: Hello@TiffanyHuffExperience.com
But for the first time in a long time, like, since I can remember, I feel okay. And I mean it. Like, I’m not at a point, like you said, where I’m, I don’t know exactly how things are gonna pan out, but I’m not stressing myself out about it. I know what I’m doing is the right thing to be doing. I feel good about what it is that I’m doing. And I’m leaving as much as I can, the stress, the anxiety, and all of the stuff that comes with not knowing what’s happening with the unknown and being focused on just moving forward and stay in. Hey, beacon, welcome home to your bounce back blueprint community Podcast, where you are challenged to be do and have God’s best as you thrive on your journey from setback to success. I’m your bounce back guide, Tiffany Huff-Strothers. And I’ll be guiding you on the journey by sharing tips, tools, and the T on how I was able to bounce back from escaping death, healing from heartbreak and finding hope in homelessness. And then I wrote an award winning book all about it, and shout out to God, ever since I was courageous enough to share my story. My life and the lives of women around the world have been forever changed. And as a member of the bounce back blueprint community, I’m called to teach you to do the same. So grab your journal, and let’s build this blueprint. Hey, we can Hey, I’m so glad to have you back for another week of building the blueprint. And today, you’re in for a treat. I know I’ve been saying that a lot. But I am so serious. I’m excited to have my p2p sister here. As we continue our journey through the lies that we tell ourselves, the debt the life for today is I will always be stressed out hot mess Express and my sister is getting ready to get you together. We are going to bake breast bust through this live today. So let me tell you a little bit about my sister Nicole Rhone. Nicole is a capacity coach and she helps women just like you create balance between their personal and professional lives while prioritizing self care. As a wife and mother of two she has steadily and successfully climbed the corporate ladder by supporting billion dollar organizations for over a decade. As a human resources leader. She has coached and trained managerial staff, including C suite and executive level employees to build leadership capabilities, increase productivity and cultivate thriving company cultures. Because of her corporate experience, Nicole understands the unique challenges of busy high performing women, and how a lack of fluidity between the worlds of home and work can create a barrier between them and their next level. The Art of flow is a force that she teaches to female power players helping them to find a rhythm between their personal and professional life in order to propel them into greater levels of desired and sustainable success. Welcome to the bounce back blueprint podcast. Nicole, I’m so so excited to have you here and to chat with you today.
Nicole: Am I am so excited to be here. Thank you for having me on. This is really, you know, a great series that you’re doing. And I’m thankful to be part of it. So we can bust these lies up.
Tiffany: Yes, let’s do this. So before we dig in, please tell the community who you are beyond your bio.
Nicole: Yes, beyond the bio. As I mentioned, I am a mother of two. So I have a 17 year old and a six year old big gap. So y’all know my my stress level is different, right? outside of that I am a big sister. I love music, and I really just enjoy helping people.
Tiffany: I do I do. That is awesome. I have a son that is about to turn 17. So we we on this journey.
Nicole: We hear okay?
Tiffany: Oh, yes, it’s something else. But I digress. So let’s let’s dig right into but breaking down this lie. I really love to hear your journey because one of the things that you help women with now is the art of flow. But what I know to be true is that you didn’t always operate in the art of flow yourself. So can you share a little bit about your journey before getting into that flow?
Nicole: Yes, absolutely. And that’s honestly, what has gotten me to be a capacity coach because although today I’m known as the host of the flow and flourish podcast, as a capacity coach, as the CEO of flourishing, which is my organization. I was not always those things and literally about years ago, so January of 2019, about 10 days after my 35th birthday, I had just come back from a girls trip in Florida celebrating myself, you know, really forcing myself to take some self care, because I was on go mode all the time. So when I got back from Florida, I was in a little bit of pain, but like most of us, I just wrote it off. I’m like, oh, it could be because I slept in the bed wrong. Oh, it could be because some seats was tight on the airplane, those sorts of things. But the pain kept coming. It got so bad after about a week that I remember, it was a Saturday, I was sitting on the couch trying to get up to go upstairs. Because I was in so much pain. I couldn’t get up. So I am crying like a newborn baby on the couch scared because I’m like, I don’t even know what this is right. And my 15 year old daughter at the time, happens to walk in because she was outside like shoveling or doing something in the snow walking our dog. And she’s like, Mom, what’s wrong. I’m like, baby, I just need you to help me get up and go upstairs. So I can lay down. She’s like, I don’t see you cry like this. I know that you my mom, but you go into the hospital, like I need to take you right now. And I couldn’t really find her on it because I couldn’t get off the couch. So she got my boots and stuff. She had to help me literally get my coat on walk me to the car. And mind you it was a blizzard going on. So I couldn’t even drive like that much pain. So my 15 year old with her permit had to drive me to the hospital.
Nicole: we get there. And after about an hour she’d gone home, the doctors come in. And they said we ran some routine tests. And we need to take you immediately to ICU. And I’m like, excuse me, like why gotta go to ICU. It’s just a little bit of pain. It was so bad that they couldn’t even tell me right then and there. What was going on is that they measured my CPK level. And CPK is the amount of protein that’s in your blood. And a normal level of CPK is 200. It wasn’t until they’d already put me in ICU that they told me my levels were over 200,000.
Nicole: yeah. And so my organs were shutting down, my heart was enlarged, I literally had to have liters and liters and liters of fluid pumped through my body to sustain my life. And I’ll never forget, the doctor who finally told me what was going on didn’t know me from holding the wall. She said, Listen, you are 35 years old, you don’t have any health history of anything bad. And it may be out of place for me to say this. But it is in my humble opinion that whatever is going on with you is happening, what’s happening in your body as a result of something that’s going on mentally or emotionally. Because I’ve never seen anything like this in my 30 year career. Based on your lab results. It looks as if you’ve, you’ve been crushed by concrete and left there for days. Like this is what I really see. And so she said you need to decide what you need to do differently in your life. And I hope you’re not offended. But I care about you and I care about your children, and I want you to live you have to choose to live. So at that point with her not knowing me. I bawled again, like a baby because what nobody knew is that I was secretly struggling with the deterioration of my marriage. I was in the process of separating from my husband. Nobody knew that I’d been managing for years with my daughter having chronic migraines being in and out of the hospital. Nobody knew that I was while I was climbing the corporate ladder and being this public success. I was feeling like a private failure. I was suicidal. I was beyond depressed and anxious. And I wasn’t talking to anybody about this. Even when my therapist I was like smiling and nodding there. So all of this was coming. coming to light in a physical form in my body. And so at that point once I’d gotten a little bit better I prayed to God like everybody does Jesus if you get me out of this, I promise I’m gonna do right. But I had to stick with it. And the day that I got out of the hospital mind you I still couldn’t even walk. Like I literally had to be on bed rest at home I had to have my husband helped me shower, sit down in the shower, right because I couldn’t walk. I made the decision that he needed to leave. And it was hard. I’m like you I feel like you killed me, bro. Like we got a separate And from there, it was just a bunch of other decisions that helped me get a hold of my level of stress. Because I was stressed about our marriage, I was stressed about our family, I was stressed about work, because at the time, I was commuting two and a half hours one way. So that really was the catalyst for me to make changes that allowed me to stop telling myself that lie of that I can’t do this, or I’m always gonna be stressed, or this is just what life is about.
Tiffany: Wow! there’s so much there. But what I want to say, of everything that I heard you say down to the fact that your daughter had to force you to go to the hospital was that you had to literally be forced into the decision to stop being stressed. Right? Because you had gotten so used to being in this this way of living, that you literally thought you were going to sleep off off death. You were stressed to death, you were literally dying, and had your daughter not been there and forced you to go to the hospital? Who knows what have happened? what might have happened? So I’m curious, you know, even when you when you heard the words from that doctor, and, you know, she told you or you said you decided to choose to live? Do you think if she hadn’t said those words to you, you would have made that decision?
Nicole: Honestly, no, because I still even being an ICU, I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, right? Because Mind you, I didn’t know the numbers at the point. But when she sat down, looked me in my eyes, put her hand on my hand and said, You have to choose to live, there’s nothing more important than you live in and told me that had my daughter waited an hour more to bring me I would have died. Like it was that serious. So no, I wouldn’t have made that decision, I would have kept doing what I thought was normal, right? Being in survival mode, dismissing all of the physical symptoms, because Ain’t nobody got time to be sick or take off work or, you know, deal with what’s going on emotionally. So that was definitely my come to Jesus moment, all upside my head.
Tiffany: I have been saying and recently recorded an episode about how we have the power to change our lives. And it starts with the decision. And it sounds like that day when you came home from the hospital, you made a decision. And it started with the separation from your husband. And so I really would love for you to take a few moments and speak to the woman who’s listening about how, when you are ready. And when you decide that you’re no longer going to live life stressed, you’re going to have to make hard decisions.
Nicole: Yes, spot on, right. Like that is not an easy decision, even getting in the mind frame to decide. Typically, what I’ve experienced with myself and with clients is that you already know what you need to do, right. But you are afraid to do it because it’s a hard decision. And so what I would encourage and recommend women listening, that are struggling with this is to think about why right? Like the whole point of me getting into this space is because I want to prevent other women from letting this amount of stress build up to where they have to go to the emergency room and be an ICU. And so I would say for me, it also took thinking about what is staying in this mode going to do like how is this gonna help me. It’s not like I ain’t gonna be able to go to work, I’m not gonna be able to take care of my children, I’m not gonna be able to take care of myself. So when you decide it’s not just you saying it, it’s you being committed, and taking action towards it? Yes, it’s gonna feel scary. Yes, it’s gonna be uncomfortable. And I know because I was embarrassed, I felt ashamed. I felt insecure. I didn’t want to become a single mom again, for the second time in my life. I didn’t want people to see that I was doing so good professionally, but how is that when my marriage is falling apart? I was afraid to, you know, have my children, you know, look at me and think that I was a failure or that I did something wrong as well. So there’s all these different emotions. But since you gotta push through that and you got to think about if I stay in this situation for one more minute, whether it’s a relationship, whether it’s a job, whether it’s a friendship, how is it going to impact me and I leaned in on that right? I also had to do a whole lot of leaning and praying on God, because I promised God that if he got me out of it, I will get myself together. And so really praying a lot, really spending time, even in the midst of it being hard because what people don’t realize is that even when I told my husband, he needed to leave, there was still a two, three week span before then. And so of course, stuff got better. The alcohol stuff was good. He was on his best foot. And so what I’m seeing with my eyes is that, Oh, this is getting better. But I had to know in my heart that it wasn’t all the way better, right? I still had to decide to move forward. Even if it looked on the outside life stuff was getting better. You got to listen to yourself, trust your gut.
Tiffany: So that was that was one of many hard decisions, I’m sure because you like you said your It was your job. It was your marriage, it was dealing with your daughter’s health, and also you feeling suicidal. So once you got through that two, three week period and made that decision, and that shifted, what happened next. all hell broke loose. Let’s be real, let’s be real.
Nicole: I was left to sit by myself with myself right? And to really think about so I was off work and in the process of switching jobs to something that was closer. But all hell broke loose mentally and emotionally for me, I cried more than I’ve ever cried in my life. I really got in touch with my feelings. Like I was mourning people that had recently passed, I was mourning the relationship that I had with my husband prior. I was realizing that for years, I had been showing up. And not a good way for my children. I had put my children on the back burner. You know, I felt like I didn’t know who they were. And I had to fix all of this. So I had to sit with it. But and that the awareness came right. And that’s where the beauty of it was. I became aware of what really was working, what was not working. And then I again decided to do something about it. Because you’ll hear me say all the time that no one has half the battle, right? So it afforded me the opportunity to really be still because I’ve been a mess. busybody like all the time. everybody that knows me is like, Oh, do you ever sit still you just you the Energizer Bunny Hmm. So after that, I just, it made me more aware, it helped me to continue to make decisions that supported the best version of me, and helped me learn how to truly and really prioritize self care and push past the guilt or people telling me I was selfish or telling me that, you know, I was stupid for even you know, separating from my husband because at least he got a job girl he work in.
Nicole: Like, rarely.
That’s the standard now.
Tiffany: So I hear you saying that you took a holistic approach to reevaluating everything, you switched your job to decrease that stress level, mate, you got that separation you evaluated yourself as a mom, you looked at how you were taking care of yourself, your relationship with yourself, your relationship with others. And I’m just so grateful for you what you are sharing and how you are sharing it because the reality is or as much work as you have to do when you are stressed. When you choose to no longer be stressed, you’re still going to have to work. It’s not the same kind of work. And eventually it will feel better. But you still have to work at the life that you really want to have. Yeah, and I think that’s a beautiful. You do a beautiful job of sharing it eloquently. Right. It’s a it’s a its beauty and its ugliness at the same time. But you did a lot of unbecoming to become. And so as you got through all of those areas, and you were working through it, you said that was two years ago. So here we are now, January 2021. At what point did you decide that you were going to use your experience to help other women.
Nicole: So if I’m being honest, even in that moment, God put it on my heart that this was happening, not to me, but for me. And so I also committed to making sure that other women who are struggling with the belief that they don’t deserve better or that they you know, have to stay in a relationship because of the money or they have to stay in a stressful job because they have to provide for their kids that year. I Went to a speaking and coaching retreat conference so that I could learn how to become a coach, right talk a transition. And honestly, it wasn’t until this year. So almost two years later that I listened to what God was telling me to do, I step back from my six figure corporate HR job, and started doing the coaching and the speaking and starting the podcast. So I’ve been, it’s definitely been a journey. But this year has definitely been the year of me, making sure that I’m getting out there to help other women realize that since you run it on, ie, you’re at max capacity, and you don’t even know it, because it’s become your norm. And so that’s, that’s what I’m doing now.
Tiffany: I’m so happy that you are and I know that the women that you are working with and that you’re going to work with are going to be so happy that you stepped away from that six figure job. And so I’m curious, you know, if you might be able to provide any insight for the woman who is in this space, because like you said, you don’t recognize that all of the time, because you’ve been operating that way for so long. But when you prior to everything happening for you, you said you were experiencing a little bit of pain, right? It probably was a lot of bit of pain. But because you have been excusing things for so long, you just recollect it as a little bit of pain, because you said you told the doctor, I see you is just a little bit of pain. And you were dying. Right? And so I wonder if there are some other telltale signs that your stress level is abnormally abnormal, right? Because a lot of us operate in an already abnormal stress level. But if your stress level is abnormally abnormal, what are some signs that the one who’s listening to us might be able to look out for or say, Oh, I’m doing I’m doing with that now?
Nicole: Yes. So that’s a really good point. The there are definitely some telltale signs that I myself was writing off and that most of us don’t even pay attention to right. So the number one thing I’ll say is sleep. Yes, I know a lot of us run around on Team no sleep, right, we got to do all the things all the time. But how it shows up is that you have a lot of difficulty falling asleep, you have difficulty staying asleep, you’re having nightmares, like your sleep pattern is just all jacked up, no matter whether you’re drinking some sleepy time tea to go to bed, whether you’re exercising and getting the energy out like you are just your sleep is jacked up and you always tired, always like nothing helps caffeine don’t help like nothing helps. So that is one major indicator. Another one is your ability to like focus and concentrate. Now this is coming from like I said Queen busybody, Queen multitasker, you know, being able to at one point, I remember being able to, I was working full time going to school full time and a full time single mom and I was handling it right like I wasn’t dropping any of the balls. However, in the season of my life where I was most more stressed than I’ve ever been, I couldn’t concentrate to save my life. Like I would write my to do list but nothing would get done. Or I would be working on something and my mind would shoot to somewhere else. And it’s because you are so stressed your brain is trying to protect itself, right? Protect your body from feeling the pain. So you are constantly all over the place. Like that’s a really, really big one. And it’s not just you know how it is like if you’re about to go on vacation, and all you can do is think about the vacation before you go. Right? Right? It’s like that times 10 though, like you know that you are about to meet with five clients back to back and you got this stuff over here that needs to be done. But you off on Google somewhere or you’re thinking about how to solve a problem at home or you’re thinking about, oh my gosh, I forgot to make Liam his lunch like you’re constantly thinking about all this stuff that you did not do or you should have done and it prohibits you from being able to focus on being in the here and the now. asleep. concentration. I would also say being withdrawn, right. Like I didn’t realize how much I pulled back from my friends and my family and it’s similar to the depression sides, right? But I literally looked up and was like, I haven’t seen any of my friends in life. A year, what have I been doing? And it’s because I was hiding, right? I was embarrassed about what was going on, I didn’t want anybody to see the pain behind my eyes. So I isolated myself. So if you’re noticing that your sleep is jacked up, you’re always tired, you’re having a really difficult time concentrating, and you know that that’s not like you. And you’re really, really withdrawn from the people that you normally would spend time with and engage with, I need you to check your stress level.
Tiffany: Yeah, that’s good. And I think that, you know, it’s crazy how alive we are. The first episode of the year that I recorded was sleep your way to the top, rest, the foundation for your success, because you’re right, we cannot operate in excellence, if we are tired. The The world is telling us this lie that you’re supposed to sleep with when you die. And that is a lie, as my mom will say, from the pit of hell, like you need to lie. Yes, you need to rest now. So that’s good. And you’re right. And if you’re not resting, then you’re going to have even more of a hard time focusing. And then it’s going to be even more hard for you to be present, like you’re saying, so you don’t want to be around other people. So it’s all connected. And it does make you want to withdraw. And then that makes you even more stressed, because you’re sitting in the corner with all this mess all by yourself by yourself.
Yeah. And so, you know, I’m so glad you shared that. I’m curious, though. So how do you help a woman who is in that space, get into the art of flow, and maybe tell us a little bit more about what the art of flow is? Absolutely.
Nicole: So the art of flow is really based on five different pillars that I believe, work in tandem with one another. So they’re all working together to help you be less stressed, have more peace really be able to flow between the different hats that we wear as women, because let’s face it, as a woman, we are wearing so many different hats, right? Like we are. Sometimes the breadwinners, and providers were The Mamas, the Auntie’s The, the cook, right, the the house manager, all of these different things. And so in order to be in flow, what that means for me is your ability to show up and excellence and, and navigate between these different worlds, effortlessly. And it’s not always going to be that way. But this helps you to do that. So the five areas of flow are heart flow, which are all the different things that pull on your heartstrings, right, the decisions you make the relationships, the people, all of that, we have your workflow. So how you’re bringing in money, whether you’re an entreprenuer, you’re in corporate, you’re doing a little bit of both all of that and making sure that you’re fulfilled there. We also have your health flow. And I focus primarily on your mental, emotional and physical health, because we sometimes tend to think that what’s going on mentally and emotionally is not going to impact you physically. But Hello, I’m living proof. Yes, it does. We also have cash flow. And I believe that that is a very important part, because at the end of the day, it takes money to live, right. And if your cash flow is not in order, it’s going to impact you mentally, emotionally, it’s going to impact your relationships, even with yourself, right. And I talk all about how your cash flow is impacted by your self esteem and all of that, we ain’t got to get into that now. And then last but not least, it’s faith flow. And for me, that’s really the foundation, right? When you are going through these stressful times when you’re at max capacity, when you’re trying to put in a boundary to protect your heart flow, having the faith to say, God, I trust you, and it’s whoever or whatever you believe in, I’m not judgmental, I get it. But being able to tap into the higher power to say, I need you to give me a little bit more support right now, and recognizing when we’re not spending time in that area, and how that then is showing up in all the other areas. So yeah, those are the five areas of flow.
Tiffany: That’s so good. And and I know that you said, you know, at once you made the decision, you went right to your faith flow and said, God, if you get me out of this, I’m going to make some changes. And so how did your flip your faith impact the rest of the journey? I know you said, you know that God had told you he was going to use the experience. But how did that foundation support you even when things started to get hard? Because I’m sure like you said there were a lot of tough decisions that were being made along the way. So yeah, how did your faith impact those decisions about your heart flow, your workflow, your health flow, your cash flow?
Nicole: Yeah, it really drove each and every one of them if I’m being honest, because even with the heart flow, what people don’t realize is that or may not know is that about six months after my husband and I separated, we got back together. And it was because he was 100%. sober. It’s been almost two years now that he’s been 100%, sober. But at that point, I was like, Jesus, I got him out the house, I ain’t trying to go back. I want you me. He put it on my heart to give them another chance, right? We said vows for a reason. And, you know, I had to trust that God knew what he was doing. And even when it came down to my job, I remember telling myself like, I can’t find another job that’s closer to home where I’m gonna make this amount of money because I’m in the burbs. And the city is where it’s at where, you know, it’s higher pain. And I had to trust God again, God said, Yes, you can. Like if I got you there, and got you at that amount, what makes you think I can’t do it over here. I’m God and God alone, right? So I had to lean heavily on my faith. And even with repairing my relationships with my children, I had to now stand up and face the music of hearing my 15 year old daughter tell me that she felt like I put her on the back burner. Because I was so busy at work all the time, I was so busy taking care of God. And I honestly I prayed for God to help us find a therapist where we could do family therapy so that we could heal properly. And in doing that, like when I tell you, everything just came together, like it really, really did. I remember googling in the first place to come up with something like 20 minutes around the corner for me, and it was literally for families who were recovering from someone who had an addiction. And that’s what the counseling was for. I had never seen them. And I’m a Google Queen, right?
Tiffany: So like you said, You’re not focused, right? None.
Nicole: And so God has opened so many doors and relying on him not only to stand on my decisions, but to deal with the pain and the heartache of being a single mom, again, of dealing with the shame for, you know, looking as though everything was falling apart. And it wasn’t even looking it was but as it was falling apart, it was falling together at the same time. And God knew what he was doing.
Tiffany: Yes, I certainly agree. Because it has come back together in such a beautiful, beautiful way. And so many people are going to be blessed by it. I certainly have been blessed by what you’ve shared already. I’m curious if along the way and on this journey, in addition to your faith flow, was there a book or something that you read that encouraged you that might encourage someone else who is in this space? And who needs to drop some balls so that she can get herself back on track?
Nicole: Yes, ma’am. I’ll be 100% honest, a lot of this journey started for me with listening to Patrice Washington before she even had the podcast, right? I’d heard her on the Steve Harvey show and about making more money, but something with her resonated with me. And so as a result of that one of the books that I picked up that she recommended was believed bigger by marshawn Evans. And I felt like she was talking to me, like what was so busy being distracted by that. I couldn’t see what was going on. Right and really, it made me get honest about what was going on in my own heart. I was unhappy. I was frustrated and miserable like all of these different things, and then I had to address it so believe bigger change my life by way of Patrice Washington, and as you know us being p2p sisters helping me step on now and and do what God has divinely called me to do and coach other women to not be at max capacity.
Tiffany: Yes, yes. I love it. I love that. And, you know, like I said, I’m just floored and I’m so grateful the last few years from you have been a complete whirlwind. Yeah, has been, you know, transformative is just scratching the surface. However, if you had not been willing to make that choice, if you had not been willing to break down that lie that you would always be stressed and not focused and not sleeping, then you wouldn’t we wouldn’t be having this conversation today. And so I wonder if there are any other Last Words or anything that you would share to encourage the woman who was here? Or who was saying, you know, that worked for you? How do I know it’ll work for me, if I put everything down, it’s going to fall apart?
Nicole: Yeah. I’m looking up because there’s a verse, a Bible verse that I have literally on my wall up here so that I can see it every single morning. And it’s Esther 414. And it says, perhaps this is the moment for which you have been called
for such a time as this. And throughout each and every one of my circumstances, right from being in the hospital to get out of the hospital, separated from my husband, changing jobs, trying to find, you know, therapy that was going to help all of us heal, allowing my husband back into our space, really focusing on God knows what he’s doing. Everything happens for a reason, he put me here in the middle of this for a reason, I was called for a time such as this, right? He knew me before I was born. None of this is by accident or a surprise to God. And so really focusing on that has helped me I would also say to honestly, just one of the things that we as women tend to do the most is dismiss our gut, right? And that’s God’s way of communicating with us. That’s our our intuition. Stop dismissing the signs. A red flag is a red flag.
so let’s, let’s call it what it is, when you see it, acknowledge it, stop pretending that you don’t see it, because you’re afraid of what’s on the other side, you’re afraid of how you’re gonna look, you’re afraid of what you’re gonna feel, lean into that fear. And as you lean into that fear, also lean on God, because he got you. He’s not gonna forsake you.
Tiffany: That’s it. That’s the mic drop right there. I’m just so grateful for this conversation. I know that so many women are going to be blessed by what you shared today. And I want to make sure that everybody knows how they can continue to connect with you and get this goodness. And get into these five pillars of flow with you. So please let them know how they can find you in these internet streets where the podcast is all of the things.
I’m out here in these internet streets. Yeah. So on Facebook, I’m at Nicole Roan. And I also have a private Facebook community called Florence flow and flourish, where we dive into the different pillars and talk about, you know, how it’s impacting us what’s getting in the way of our balance. You can also find me on Instagram at Nicole underscore Roan. And my website is Nicole rohn.com. That’s an IC, o l e r h o n e.com. And there you can find different events that are going on, make sure that you sign up for my email list. Because even right now,
I am in the process of hosting a free webinar a free masterclass on how to have less stress and more rest, right, so that you can really show up for, you know, show up in excellence and increase your capacity. So check that out as well. You know, don’t be afraid to comment, dm send me a message. Like, I feel like when one of us wins, we all win. And I want to help. So come find me.
Tiffany: That’s right. Come on, let’s win. Let’s break through these lines and win, I’ll make sure that everything is linked in the show notes. And people have easy access to you your podcasts and your private Facebook group. And I just want to say thank you so much again for being here and for sharing and for being who you are and doing the work to get to where you are so that you can help other women do the same.
Nicole: Thank you so much. I’m so honored to be here. And I just I want everybody to know that they can do it too. So thank you for doing what you do and creating the space for women like us to really help break through those lies that we tell ourselves so that we can show up in excellence.
Tiffany: Yes, yes, yes. Now come on. Be honest. Aren’t you ready to get into the art of flow? I know I am. I am so grateful for Nicole coming on and dropping gems the way she did. And in fact she is hosting free training. Tuesday, January 26. The links for all of that will be in the show notes. Get connected with Nicole and get into the art of low and before you go if you haven’t already, please leave a review when you do. You make a way for other women to learn about the show. So she can get all that she needs to bust through these lies and of course I will leave you with this. God is not going to play you but if you feel like you will always be stressed and never living up to God’s best you are certainly legging your self be blessed.
This episode is part of “The Lies We Tell Ourselves Series” and is going to BLESS you.
Our guest is Evelyn LeVasseur. Evelyn and I discuss the challenges with assigning our value to our looks, how our beliefs about health and wellness impact our children and our legacies, and how to break the cycle of yo-yo dieting, chasing false images of perfection and the power of a changed mindset on changing your health and your life.
Evelyn is the owner of Evelyn LeVasseur Fitness, a company that focuses on helping busy, overwhelmed moms reach their body goals without dieting or deprivation. Evelyn knows that moms can be especially hard on themselves and expect perfection, in our homes, jobs, marriages, and of course with our bodies.
She wants every woman to know she can want to change her body and love it at the same time. Most importantly, Evelyn knows that moms want what is best for their children and having negative feelings about ourselves can lead our children to have negative feelings about themselves too. So, Evelyn is sure to approach all things from the angle of knowing that our actions shape our children and the legacies of health we will leave them.
Evelyn is a certified group and personal trainer, a hormonal fat loss coach, and has a specialization in behavior change. She also has a BA in Psychology and a Master’s in Education.
You can connect with Evelyn on IG, Facebook, and her website here.
Grab your copy of 30 Day Stay, Tiffany’s Award Winning Book
Connect with Tiffany
Follow Tiffany on Instagram
Schedule Your Breakthrough Session
Email Tiffany: Hello@TiffanyHuffExperience.com
Tiffany: Hey beacon, welcome home to your bounce back blueprint community Podcast, where you are challenged to be do and have God’s best as you thrive on your journey from setback to success. I’m your bounce back guide, Tiffany Huff-Strothers. And I’ll be guiding you on the journey by sharing tips, tools, and the T on how I was able to bounce back from escaping death, healing from heartbreak and finding hope in homelessness. And then I wrote an award winning book all about it, and shout out to God, ever since I was courageous enough to share my story. My life and the lives of women around the world have been forever changed. And as a member of the bounce back blueprint community, I’m called to teach you to do the same. So grab your journal, and let’s build this blueprint. Hey, begin. Hey, before we get into building the blueprint, this week with our fabulous guests, I want to make sure that you are aware that I am available to support you on this bounce back journey. Listen, I know what it’s like to wake up in the morning and look in the mirror and wonder who in the world is the woman looking back at you. I know what it feels like when life knocks you down and you have no idea where to even begin to pick up the pieces and rebuild and start again with clarity and with the courage to get past the shame and the hurts and failures. So if you are feeling this if you are in this space, I would love to support you love to work with you. And it’s very easy to get started. All you need to do is grab the link in the show notes and schedule your breakthrough session. It email@example.com slash your bounce back guide. No Obligation Of course this is an opportunity for us to chat and see if we are a good fit to work together and make 2021 the year that you begin to get things done so that you can live and be and do and have all that God has called you too. I look forward to talking to you. Now let’s get into building this blueprint. Welcome back ladies for another episode of our the lies you tell yourself series. I am so excited because today we have an amazing guest she is Evelyn alabaster, Evelyn Ambassador fitness and we are talking all about the lie that you will never lose. I will never lose weight. I will never have a body that I feel good in or about. Let me tell you about my sister Evelyn before she comes on to the mic. Evelyn is the owner of Evelyn Ambassador fitness, a company that focuses on helping busy overwhelmed moms reach their body goals without dieting or deprivation. Evelyn knows that moms can be especially hard on themselves and expect perfection in our homes, jobs, marriages. And of course with our bodies. She wants every woman to know she can want to change her body and love it at the same time. Most importantly, Evelyn knows that moms want that, excuse me want what is best for their children and having negative feelings about ourselves can lead our children to have negative feelings about themselves too. So Evelyn is sure to approach all things from the angle of knowing that our actions shape our children and the legacies of health we will leave them. Evelyn is a certified group and personal trainer of hormonal fat loss coach and has a specialization and behavioral change. She also has a BA in psychology and a master’s in education. Whoo. Welcome, welcome. Welcome, everyone to the show. I’m so glad to have you here.
Evelyn: I’m so glad to be here. I’m thank you for inviting me.
Tiffany: Yes, yes, there’s so much goodness that I want to unpack just from your bio. But before we dig into this conversation, please tell the community who you are, who is Evelyn beyond the bio.
Evelyn: So Evelyn alabaster, like you said, I have a gajillion certifications, a lot of experience in the area before I became totally aligned with my health journey. I was a middle school teacher. I taught middle school English for 11 years. But I feel that my story started really young. I was super fit and athletic growing up. I went to college and was a lot less active. A lot more interested in you know, partying and hanging out and drinking beer and eating pizza. So I found that freshman 15 and because I had been so defined by my appearance for so long, when I started to gain weight, I started to lose myself. I started To lose who I thought I was. And that’s when I found dieting and dieting really made me feel like I was in control because I could just manipulate my food a little bit and my body would change, you know, until the diet stopped working. So I literally cycled on diets for such a long time, until after I got married. And that’s where things started to change dramatically. For me, my husband wanted to have kids immediately, and I was not ready, it took me a couple years to get on the same page. And I always thought, you know, because I decided I was ready, then things would just work out. But I had two losses, which left me just very disconnected with myself very unsure of everything that I was as a human being. And when I finally tried a third time, the nine months felt not like, it’s it’s horrible to say this, but it didn’t really feel joyous, it felt terrifying, because the thought of losing a third baby would break me from the inside. So a part of me like, didn’t let myself feel that hope. And all along, I was waiting for somebody to tell me again, that horrible sentence that I heard twice before the baby’s gone.
Tiffany: That that that right, there is so much to unpack. So let’s pull it back just a little bit back to that college, who found herself on a cycle of like dieting and maybe deprivation? How did you get into the cycle? Right? Like, was it a norm for you growing up that you know, someone around you was always on a diet? Or was it the culture of the college community that you were part of? How did you get to the point where you were like, Hey, I’m going to lose this freshman 15, I’m going on this diet, this diet, this diet?
Evelyn: Well, you know, I feel like it was more that growing up, because I was so athletic. I would say 90% of the attention I received from other people for you know, first in sports, my friends. And as I got a little bit older men was all focused on how I looked so much that it literally became in my mind, it was equivalent. Evelyn has a great body. Therefore, if Evelyn doesn’t have a great body, then Who the hell is she? And it was so much. So when I started gaining weight, I felt like Who am I, I need to get this fixed quickly, so that I can get back to feel myself.
Tiffany: So what I hear you saying is that you really associated a lot of your value with your physical image, you’re 100%. And I know that there is someone who is listening right now who has that very thing. And I appreciate you being 100% transparent about that. So you get to college or freshmen. And like so many of us the freshmen, 15 or 20, maybe even 30 or 40 pounds on right, what happened? Or At what point did you realize I need to do something? Was it that you stopped getting the compliments and attention? Or was it that you did it feel good? yourself? what triggered the cycle?
Evelyn: I think when I started seeing that, there were so many girls around me that were athletic and fit. And I started to compare myself, you know, I used to look like that. I used to feel like that. So because I was so enthralled in being defined by what I looked like, and seeing people around me maintaining that I felt like I felt less than because my body was changing, and I couldn’t do anything about it. So you know, there’s also a little part of it, that there’s an issue of control. I feel like that losing yourself, that comparing yourself, you kind of feel a little out of control and you start grasping at straws, like I need to get a hold of myself. And I think I found that control in dieting.
Tiffany: I see. Okay, so was there a particular introduction or into dieting? Or was there a fad diet at the time that you thought this is it? This is my silver bullet. I’ll just do this and it’ll be fine.
Evelyn: I remember seeing at the time, Weight Watchers was getting super popular. All you got to do is count your points and you’re going to lose this weight and you’re going to feel great. So I’ve counted those points like crazy and of course because I was 19 years old, that weight came off pretty quickly. You know, your body hasn’t really gone through all the hormonal changes that it does. So again, and that kind of just reinforced that control feeling because it was like, Oh, I could just count my points up, eat whatever I want based on these points, and I’m looking me in and out, and then and now and then and out. And then you know, when you stop counting points, you put the weight back on, and you try another diet, because you never really handled what the problem was to begin with.
Tiffany: Right? So the problem becomes the diet, not that you have control issues, or that there is this poor self image, or any other myriad of things that we as women do, right? You said this went on for years. Now you’re, you’re a professional woman, and I’m going hair clothes, right? You get out of college and get married. And still there’s this struggle with weight, though, during those years, did you continue the cycle of dieting? Yes, 100%.
Evelyn: And I would, I would exercise like crazy. And I would be really controlling over my food. Never acknowledging that, that behavior, pushed me further and further away from being able to trust myself. And what I know now is that trust cannot exist with control.
Yes,it’s the truth, trust cannot exist. With control, you can trust your body, you can trust the people in your life, you can trust that your will is what it is, but you can’t control it. So you can have trust or you can have control, but you can’t have them both at the same time.
Tiffany: And so at what point did you come to that realization? or What was it that happened in your life that caused you to rethink, excuse me, the cycle that you were on, and the mindset that you had about your body and the control that you needed to have, in order to be your version of healthy?
Evelyn: Okay, so I feel like this kind of came in waves. For me, it was like layers. So the very first layer was when I finally had that successful pregnancy, and the doctor put my baby next to my face. Now, when I tell you prior to that, I remember not praying more like begging God, to let me be a mother, like, if I could be a mother, I will be the best mother, and not just do everything for my child, but teach her all the ways to be the best way that she could be. And when she was born, and the doctor put her next to my face, and I said, Oh my god, she’s real. This is happening. I’m going to do this, I’m going to be the best mother that I can be. And that’s when it hit me. How can I be the best mother that I could be? If I’m not the best me that I can be? How can I love her so fully? If I’m not willing to love myself the same way? And that’s where my healing started? was seeing my impact on my daughter.
Tiffany: So but that was after you had your daughter after having had two miscarriages? right? Correct. So I think it’s very pivotal just to backtrack a moment and how, you know, the loss, which I’ve never experienced, but I can only imagine was devastating to add on top of the challenges that you were having with your wait. How did you muster the courage, even prayed that prayer to ask for another opportunity to become a mom, because I know there’s someone listening who’s who’s thinking about a loss that she suffered or trying to lose weight and is bargaining with God between losing weight or having a baby because of the potential weight that might be gay.
Evelyn: I think that the journey the journey had to begin with me relinquishing a little bit of that control. I had to let go of my pain and trust that God had intention for me. I had to that’s the other part when you’re trying to be in control. You’re trying to ignore your pain so I had to learn how to feel it. I had to learn how to share it with my husband because it’s so difficult when you’re in that space. The the myriad of feelings that you have coming at you in all directions like you don’t trust your body. Like what do you mean? What do you mean there was a baby there and now there’s no You know it, it creates such a disconnect.
Tiffany: I hear you thinking very clearly that this process from for you to get healthy and also for you to become a mom requires you there surrender so much by not only trust yourself but trust God that he could, you know do exceedingly abundantly more like his work says even with the losses even with having had years of yo yo dieting and Isn’t it amazing that he gave you the double portion blessing at once your child and a newfound fire to get healthy?
Evelyn: Yes, yes
Tiffany: So what did that transformation look like? Once you you know, I mean, I can just see you like a movie where the doctor, baby dad like this? Is it like I’m going to live for my babies? You know, what did that look like?
Evelyn: So it was exactly what you’re saying, if you I can picture that day, like it was yesterday, I’m laying on that C section table, my arms are spread out because you know, you’re kind of strapped to the table. And he all along. I didn’t believe that that baby was there. I knew that my body changed. I felt her move. But a part of me had such a wall up because I was terrified that they were going to tell me this isn’t happening. And when they put her next to me, it was like the world stop. And I’m breathing. For the first time like this is real. Thank you God, I am not going to let you down. And I’m not going to let her down. But I have to be honest, although I raised her 100% with intention, and I raised her to focus on her character. You are so smart, you are such a problem solver. I love that you can tell me when you’re upset. You know, I love how kind you are from when she was a little little girl. And then three years later, I was blessed with my second baby. So I have two girls now. And I always raised them with intention. But just two years ago, I was at a picnic with both my daughters and my husband and they just come out of a pool. And I serve them their lunch. And a woman says to my daughter, honey, I want to die. Just tell the story. Honey, if you want to keep that figure you better back up off those burgers. No. Yes. So it hit me first of all, like when I stopped raging inside, because I I spent so much time and energy to not make her see herself as being valued by her exterior. And somebody else just came in like crushed that. And that’s when I realized then that as mothers, we don’t see how our words affect our children. We don’t see that as women as a whole. Even though we want to be valued as more we still reduce everybody to the size of their pants, you know. And that’s when I realized that I had been living intentionally, I had been focused on growing their character intentionally. But I wasn’t fully in acceptance of mine. Still, there was a part of me that had still even though I had a higher purpose that was totally outside of me, a part of me still did not feel that connection with my worth and my value. I had just transferred that control from myself to now putting all of my energy into being the best mom. And that’s where my story is a little bit more difficult because a little backstory when I was in high school, my grandfather was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. And it was very difficult to watch. You know, he was a general in the army reduced to someone who would sit on the couch and he didn’t recognize us anymore. And I remember walking in on my mom praying and saying, My God, please don’t ever let me forget my children. And that stuck with me forever. So a few years ago, we started to have concerns about my mom and things that she would say and repeat and my whole family got together and we decided that we would have her get an MRI and she was diagnosed with dementia and I was driving when The doctor called me. And I remember pulling over into the mall parking lot. It’s freezing, you know, it’s one of those cold days, you don’t really get those in Atlanta like, it was one of those cold cold days where the sky just it was great and dark. That’s what I can picture. For some reason the mall parking lot was pretty empty. And I remember thinking, like, I’m gonna watch my mom’s greatest fears become her reality. And then, at the same time, the words came out of my mouth, and I didn’t even realize it like, Oh, my God, please do not ever let me forget my children. And that moment is when everything changed for me, about my mindset, about my value about my feelings about myself, because I realized that I had begged God for this life. I had everything that I prayed for right in front of me. But I was never living in gratitude of the gift that I am. I put myself last. And I realized that my mom’s suffering was the catalyst to my own healing. I’m sorry. It’s so difficult
Tiffany: how God uses people, in our experiences, to blow our minds and change our lives. Let’s talk about that shift that happens, specifically, what the mindset, I know that is huge when we are when we’re going to do anything, when we’re going to make any change, it starts in our mind. So what did you do? Or what happened in your mind after that cold day when you got that new?
Evelyn: I think I started to look at myself a little bit differently. I started to be able to say, and I could hear, I was having this long, drawn out conversation with God in the car. And after I pulled myself together, I felt him say, like, I have given you everything that you need, starting with you, and you’ve been ignoring it.
Tiffany: so you can I just tell you, everyone, that all of the decisions that I’m making right now in this year are the result of God telling me last summer, you have everything you’ve prayed for. The only reason it doesn’t look or feel the way you think it should, is because you’re not stewarding it well. So I guess he’s using you to tell me that again.
Evelyn: Just a little reminder,
Tiffany: a little reminder, and I know not only for me, I hope somebody caught that you have to be a good steward of what you pray for, you have to prepare for what you pray for. So when you got that message, what did you do with it?
Evelyn: I first of all, I sat my husband down and I’m like, how? How have I been living so blindly? All this time, I keep asking for more and wanting more, and pouring into everybody else, without ever having known that, like, I was here for a reason. I am asking for gifts, but I am one. And how dare I disrespect the gift that I am by living life not acknowledging it. And I feel like that’s when I was able to, for the first time in my life, start to relinquish control, and start focusing on trusting my gut. And that came slowly, but intentionally, to constantly be mindful to constantly be present, to wake up every single morning and tell myself what I’m grateful for, rather than what else I need to strive for.
Tiffany: Yes, or what you didn’t do yesterday.
Evelyn: Yes, Yes
Tiffany: And so that gratitude, I’m sure has a dramatic shift. Right, the way you like you said from the moment you woke up, things were different. Yes. And I’m a firm believer that the best way to express our gratitude is to be is to be a good steward over what God has given us. And our bodies are not an exception to that. Absolutely.
Evelyn: Absolutely. You know, it’s funny, I read actually a quote this morning, that kind of blew my mind. It said, I don’t want to butcher it, but it was somewhere along the lines of we say that life is so short, we should embrace it. But then we say in the same token, change is hard. Take your time. So what is it you have all this time? Or you got to move fast? Which one is it? I feel like the part of change that is hard and takes so much time is the fact that we don’t have clarity around it and once we gain the clarity to Dry, suddenly, it just happens. It happens and you’re aligned, and you’re comfortable and you’re confident, and you wake up. Happy to just be you.
Tiffany: I’m ready to do the word. Ready. Yes, buddy. That is so good. Because I’m a strong proponent of clarity. I don’t think people understand the currency of clarity and not only financial currency, but a currency that is the wealth of your health, the wealth of your knowledge, the wealth of your vision, right? It’s, it’s got infinite value. So with this newfound clarity and this newfound gratitude and this new mindset, how did you begin to tackle getting healthy without going back into the cycle of dieting?
Evelyn: So I started with telling myself that, if I know I have all the answers, I need to start asking better questions to myself. And that was, I mean, and it was the hardest thing was turning off all the MIS information that I had been fed for all these years about food and nutrition
Tiffany: And we always say that, what did you have to do
Evelyn: get rid of all the misinformation, all the mid Listen, the, you have to cut out carbs in order to be healthy, you have to be willing to give up everything around you, in order to have the body that you want. You have to work out X amount of days, it’s all or nothing. You’re if you think you’re worth it, you’re you’ll give it all up. And those are their lives. Those are lies, those are lies, those are lies, I will tell you I am I turned 42 last year. And I am the healthiest the leanest, and the most comfortable in my skin than I have been in my entire life. And I do it all without questioning my food, feeling guilt or shame around it. Without one ounce of dieting, it’s 100%. Being mindful, being focused on how my body feels being grateful and focused on my life, rather than chasing a body that I want.
Tiffany: You know, that’s so good to have a way to be able to get to the point where you stop chasing. And I think that for a lot of us, myself included at certain points in my life, if I’m honest, that is what we are chasing, we’re chasing this picture that we’ve created or that we’ve been that someone projected onto us, right. And so we’re doing whatever it takes to get to that picture. However, it is so freeing and empowering to get to know yourself and create a picture of yourself in your best state of health. But it’s not easy, right? I don’t it’s a simple, it’s simple. But that doesn’t mean it’s not going to be hard. And this might work. Because I’m sure there’s still somebody who’s listening is rolling their eyes and turning up or twisting up our lips and saying it sounds good. But you still have to cut this or you still have to stop that or I don’t think I’ll ever lose this 200 pounds I’m carrying around. If I don’t go on a diet? No, when you have a client who comes into your studio or that you’re working with who has that challenge with cutting off all of the misinformation. How do you encourage her? How do you challenge her? How do you support her?
Evelyn: We always start with digging way deeper than that surface level response. Because Truly, I need to cut this or I need to drop this way or I need to focus on XYZ is always just the surface response to a deeper issue. So I’m gonna tell you right now, I mean, overeating. carrying extra weight being unhealthy food is not the issue. Food is just, you know, a byproduct of that issue you resulted in. Absolutely. So if we can get down to the real issue and tackle that the food decisions come so much easier.
Tiffany: And and what might be some of those real issues? I know that is a loaded question. But if you could say maybe two or three of the top issues that you see with your clients, or women that are struggling to release those, or unlearn those things that they have learned in the past, what would they be?
Evelyn: I would say trust
worth and disconnect.
Tiffany: Well, if you don’t have trust and you don’t know your worth, and that’s definitely going to result in a disconnect. Right?
And then you know, even when you think about it in simpler terms. When we were babies we knew exactly What we need an unwanted right, we screamed, somebody fed us, we hooked, somebody cleaned us. When we were full, we stopped eating. And it wasn’t until adults put rules out for us that we started to disconnect with our bodies. So in my house, specifically, we got served dinner, and you did not get up for the table until your plate was empty, whether you were full or not. That’s what you did. And that kind of began the process for me of ignoring my own body cues. I’m eating because somebody told me what and how much to eat, rather than paying attention to what my stomach is telling me. Or even, you know, this is gonna sound silly, but going to the doctor, back in the day, when you got a shot or something, you’d get a lollipop, right. And that was the beginning of letting you know, like, oh, when you’re crying, or when you’re hurt sweets make you feel good, here you go, here’s a little emotional eating for you. So you don’t start to realize, like from very young, you knew what you needed, your body is naturally equipped to provide and to seek what it needs. But it’s the outside sources that come in and strip us of that intuition we had all along.
Tiffany: Right. And one of the things that that’s so good, because I think that from a very early age, we’re taught that food is the answer when we’re not happy. But it’s also when we are happy no one is it not the answer. And I find that as women, it’s, it’s always the answer until we start to dislike or disapprove of the way we look, or the way we feel. But I think, well, in my own personal experience, it was the way I looked before it was the way I feel. But I’m, I’m curious to know, for for the woman who has tried intuitive eating, or you know, being intentional, and seeing her weight going up and down as a result of that, because when you’re on a journey of self awareness and being more mindful, it’s not going to be a straight line, right? You have peaks and valleys, you have to learn yourself. And so when you have that experience, it can be discouraging, and take you back into the lie that the only way I’m going to lose this weight is if I go on a diet. And so how do you coach our encourage the woman who’s on that journey to dumping out all of that Miss information and learning her body and going through the process? And knowing that it’s going to be some trial and error, but how to. So ultimately the question is how does she stop from getting or feeling defeated, and then going back.
Evelyn: So I think the biggest factor is being present and being mindful and questioning yourself along the way, all the time. Because we’ve been disconnected for so long, reconnecting with your body has to be intentional and consistent. So when I say like, connecting with your body, I mean, literally asking yourself questions all the time, you know, rules will tell you a million things you have to do during the day. But when you wake up in the morning, if you’re not hungry, should you eat? No, your body’s telling you it doesn’t want to get when you sit down and have your meal, then it’s a matter of literally focusing your energy on feeling it out. How do I feel right now? Am I comfortable? You don’t paying attention to those cues. My stomach was growling before and now it’s not that means I’m nourishing my body. I had a headache before. And now I don’t, that means my body is getting what it needs. And when you can be more mindful, especially during the eating, you’ll start to notice like when those cues start to dissipate, you don’t have the headache, you don’t have the growling. That’s when you actually stop eating. And that’s how you first start to learn. Like what a portion actually looks like for yourself, not what somebody says you can eat. But this is when my body was satisfied. So it’s a matter of connecting intentionally and reminding yourself that it took you a lifetime to disconnect. It’s going to take some time to get back to where you want to be.
Tiffany: So good started with that very first thing that you said like if you wake up in the morning and you’re not hungry, don’t eat because you know the gurus will say like, even if you’re not hungry, you need to eat as soon as you wake up. Of course, that’s dependent on the guru that you follow. Exactly. What I hear you saying is that you have to trust yourself and God enough to know that you are the guru for your body. And then how does that work with exercise? It was this. You know everybody says it’s diet and exercise. And you have to have some semblance of balance between the both of them. So for that woman who has been like killing herself trying to do two days at the gym, and then starving when she gets home, because she’s been going, going going, but she’s worked out. How do you break that cycle and find your rhythm for what’s going to work for you.
Evelyn: So I feel like first it has to be totally based on your goals. Like, I love lifting weights, I do. I love lifting heavy weights, I love feeling the strength that I gained from it, I love being able to like stand next to my husband and lift the weight similar to his and be like, yep, I did that, you know. But that’s just that’s just a preference. At a minimum, I prefer to think of it as our nutrition, how we’re nourishing our body, and our movement. Not we don’t all have to lift weights, we don’t all have to do Zumba. We don’t all have to do 90 minute high intensity workouts, but we all have to move. So when we’re talking about changing your body, at a minimum, getting yourself back to a place of health and energy and improved sleep, you just need to move. And by that I mean go for walks, not even fast walks, I mean go for leisure walks, you will see let’s say that you were struggling to lose this weight. And you’ve been going to the gym five days a week. I actually had a client a year ago, who was working out twice a day dieting. And she was so frustrated because she was not losing a pound. And she was exhausted and she was having cravings like crazy. So you know, through a little evaluation, we can see she was exercising too much and not eating enough, which then was affecting her sleep. So truly, in three months, we got her to eat more, we cut out those two days. And we replaced them with two workouts a week, plus five days of leisure walking. And that walking in and of itself helped her body she was having pain issues from working out too much. The walking in and of itself helps not only lean out your body and help you burn fat, but it also reduces what’s called your cortisol level, which is your stress hormone. And when your cortisol levels reduced, you are able to handle your stress differently, you’re able to sleep better, you end up taking in more water. And if you pair that with being mindful with your food, and not doing things like overeating or depriving, that also keeps your cortisol levels neutral. Now, when your cortisol levels neutral across the board, your body naturally burns fat, because that’s what it’s made to do.
Tiffany: And you’re able to rest better,
Evelyn: and you’re able to rest better, which is everything.
Tiffany: So you really helped this client find the perfect balance for her. And when I say perfect, I’m doing air quotes, right? Because one of the things that I love that your bio says is that you help women to cease to chase perfection in all areas of our lives. And then you prepare us to know that you can want to change and love your body at the same time. Can you talk a little bit about or speak to a woman who is struggling and potentially has been struggling for years to find that perfect rhythm for herself? How does she find the love for herself in this space as she transitions into the next?
Evelyn: I think that no matter what the journey has to start with gratitude, because you cannot hate yourself then you cannot. You cannot hate yourself in just imagine.
Tiffany: Also. And again, I’m not taking anything away from the fact that there is a work that comes with making these kinds of changes. And some of it we may hate in the beginning but that also hating yourself then also has to do with hating completely hating the process, whatever that process is for you. You have to be able to express that gratitude for that process as well.
Evelyn: no, it’s 100% true. I mean, even to be grateful that you have the opportunity to start the process, grateful that you have you know the the wellness in your mind to want to have the journey, all of it. All of it is a part of gratitude. But I do believe that there’s something to be said about telling yourself even if I want to change my body, even if I want to lose these extra pounds. I still have to not, not can, but I still have to be able to look at myself and tell myself all the great things that I am. Because if I turn this light off right now, I can’t be defined by my body anymore because you can’t see me. So then what am I who am I focused on
lemon tea, right, like focus on who you are and what you bring to the people around you. And the more you’re grateful for who you are inside, the more you heal inside your outside just starts to flow better.
Tiffany: Oh, my gosh, that is so good.
Evelyn: It’s so true.
Tiffany: No good. And that speaks directly to what you were saying about how we approach things in life holistically is going to be how we impact others, be it our children, our spouses, our relationships, our professional environments, and also the legacy that we leave. Yes. And who wants a legacy of hating themselves?
Evelyn: And if you think about it in like the the simplest terms, like if you go to work, if you have a supervisor who constantly tells you, you are terrible at your job, you bring nothing to the table, you know, you’re a drain. Does that motivate you to do better at work? No, it makes you feel terrible, and it makes you want to give up. And that’s exactly what we do to ourselves. We’re constantly judging our physicality and ignoring everything else that we are. So we like are almost abusive toward ourselves
Tiffany: oh, my God!
and gratitude pages, all of that it’s so much all of the work, but it’s a large part of the word. And I’m so grateful that you that you said more than once how important it is to work on your mindset first.
So there’s one other thing that I wanted you to speak to specifically because our community is made primarily of women. And that is the fact that you are a hormonal fat loss coach ORS, can you tell me what that is? And what you do I have a hormonal fat loss.
Evelyn: So hormonal fat loss basically focuses on how your body burns fat as an individual because we all our bodies, all processed differently than you know as women are, hormones are much different than men. So your body burns fat retains fat retains fluid, all differently, especially during different times of the month. So when I am coaching someone, I help them figure out what types of foods are best for them, to increase their energy to help improve their sleep, to help improve symptoms around their cycles. All of those things are relevant to how your body responds to your hormones.
Tiffany: And how is it that someone gets to know their hormone on their own? How does that that process of self awareness start?
Evelyn: I mean, aside from going to the doctor and getting tested, there’s, you know, different tests, you can check for your estrogen and progesterone levels and things like that. But also you can focus on how you’re responding to things. If you are incredibly hungry between meals, if your energy is very low, if you’re having lots of cravings, for sweet and savory things, if you are not able to get consecutive hours of sleep without interruption. All of those things are telling you that your hormones are not balanced. So that’s the first step is recognizing it, and then troubleshooting it is next.
That’s good. That’s really good. I know something else that has worked for me is actually tracking from day to day. You know, if it’s the time of the month that you’re supposed to be oscillating if it’s your cycle and tracking those feelings and how long they last before and after. And along with what you’re saying I know, helps doctors make informed decisions when it comes to helping you get to your optimal health exam managing those hormones. Never necessarily heard of someone being a hormonal factors. I think that’s amazing.
Evelyn: You know, I had worked with a hormonal fat loss coach after I had my daughter and I love to what I learned so quickly because it’s just amazing to feel like I can eat a meal and be mindful of how my body feels and recognize whether you know, that’s a good fit for me. So I feel like you know, as well as a woman you do notice that at certain times you feel more inflamed, maybe Be more bloated, you’re responding in different ways to your food. And I loved learning that I could just change my food and make my body feel better, more comfortable, energetic and sleep better. And honestly, through that process, I also learned how to improve my asthma symptoms with my food as well. So I realized, and I did work with a naturopath also. But when I’m having a, an asthma flare up, I do things like, make sure I have no sugars, cut back on dairy. And red meat, for some reason is also a trigger for me. So if I’m having an asthma flare up, I increase my greens, I increase my lean meats, and I remove, you know, like the dairy and any sugars. But and then and I feel clearer and lighter. And my answer is better. That’s good.
Tiffany: And I think, you know, like you said at the beginning, it’s not that significant things, simply to lose weight. However, depending upon your personal health, there may be something that you add or take away so that you are at your optimal best, not because of deprivation, not to lose weight. But to be healthy.
Evelyn: Yes, I think I think there’s two things to pay attention to here, like when we say, first of all, I want to say that when we focus on reaching this body, right, like, if you really break it down and think about it, you’re not really after this body, you are after how you want to feel in that body. So the body is not really the goal, what you want is to feel that. So you have to ask yourself, How can I get to that feeling? and detach it from the body? Like, I want to feel confident and comfortable? But really, what the heck does that have to do with what I look like, you know, so it’s like breaking that down.
Tiffany: But it’s that right there, Evelyn is like worth a million dollar, the gift to the point where you can embrace that truth, and then live accordingly. So powerful. so powerful.
Evelyn: You think about as moms to like, how much we hold ourselves back from the things that we enjoy? Because we’re uncomfortable in our skin. Like I think about how many times did I go to the beach, and not want to be in a bathing suit? How many times you know, was at the park with the kids and I just sat on the bench and watched them. Like, if we’re talking about legacy, and we’re talking about being the best human being the best parent, the best leader, the best model that you can be, then how can you expect them to live and watch you just exist. So your kids don’t care what you look like in a bathing suit, they want you to get in the water, your kids don’t care. If you’re tired at the park and you want to sit on the bench, they just want you to pay attention and maybe you know, help them do a cartwheel. Get up and be mobile and be present and enjoy the life that’s in front of you because you’re gonna wasted away wishing you were somebody different.
Tiffany: So the I’m so grateful for you being here and sharing your story and being fully transparent. And for all of the many, many, many nuggets that you saw. It’s given our listeners a lot to think about it certainly has given me a lot to think about. I can’t wait to re listen to this with my journal and like, jot some of these things down. Yes, like the questions that you were asking and saying to ask yourself and be intentional and present. those are those are great. So I want to know, if there is a quote, well, let me back up use. I know you said more than once that we’ve got to unlearn the things that we have learned the lies that we’ve been telling ourselves about how to lose weight or not. But I’m curious, is there a book that you might recommend around intentional eating, mindful eating? Or is there you know? Um, yeah, I will start with a book. Is there a book or even a podcast if you know of one? I know you don’t have one yet.
Evelyn: I don’t have a book. I know that I started my journey by my journey to like being more mindful by following Jill Coleman. Jill Coleman coined the phrase moderation. 365 and she really helped me learn about having zero restrictions, and healing the thought behind control, healing that needed to, you know, cut everything out and make food the enemy. So Jill Coleman In her site is moderation 365. And that’s on Instagram and I believe her website as well. She goes by Jill fit her her knowledge is incredible. And her tools for just letting go of that mindset are hugely impactful
Tiffany: I’ll make sure to link to her information in the show notes. And before I let you go, I just want to give you an opportunity to share a quote, or a scripture or even any lasting words of your own to encourage the woman who is or has been telling herself the lie that she will never lose weight, never be healthy or walk or feel good
Evelyn: I love Gandhi’s quote, Be the change you wish to see in the world, because I have made it my purpose to heal my own heart, so that I can heal all the women that follow me if I want a better life for my daughters to live in confidence. And for them to have a strong foundation of health and wellness and a sense of self worth, then I have to live that. So I can’t be for anybody else what I won’t be for myself.
Tiffany: Amen to that. And of course, before I let you go, Evelyn, where can our listeners find and connect with you and Evelyn alabaster fitness.
Evelyn: So on Instagram, it’s actually instagram and facebook at one levasseur Fitness. And my website is www. Evelyn fit.com.
Tiffany: All right, well, I want to thank you again for being here. I have enjoyed this tremendously. And I’m sure our listeners are going to and I just want to thank you for being willing to share and do so so eloquently and so transparently, it has been quite the pleasure.
Evelyn: I love this conversation. Thank you so much for having me.
Tiffany: Oh, my goodness, were you are not blessed by all of the gems that Evelyn dropped, I know that, I am going to have to go back and listen to some pieces of this over and over again to really grasp the fullness of it. And I hope that you had your journal out, so that you could grab those notes and gems for later consumption. And you know, just really thinking through some of these things, and breaking down the lie that you will never be healthy, and that you have to be on a consistent cycle of dieting for the rest of your life. And if you were blessed by this episode, I would love it if you would take a moment or two and leave a review. You know that when you do you create an opportunity for other women to find the podcast and be blessed by what we have to share the gems that we are dropping and become part of this community. It takes literally a moment or two. You can also grab a screenshot and post it in your Instagram stories or your Facebook stories and tag me I am at the Tiffany up. I would appreciate that as well. And I hope that you will. If you have not already subscribed so that you are the first to know when the newest episode drops. We have some amazing guests coming on as we continue to move through our series on the lies we tell ourselves.
And of course I will leave you with this. God is not going to play you but if you think that you are going to be successful living the lie that you have to always be on a diet to be healthy. And I promise you are plaguing your self. Be blessed
When is the last time you celebrated yourself?
When is the last time you gave yourself permission to clap for yourself – even if nobody else was clapping?
Today I’m offering you a little tough love in an effort to remind you of the greatness God has placed within you. The truth is, not everyone will recognize your greatness every step of the way.
When your confidence is in Christ, and you know He is within you – having confidence and celebrating what he is doing in and through you – even when nobody else is doing so, is powerful and affirming. Some people are caught up in the hype – some people are clapping for crap and as a daughter of the most High – you don’t have time for that!
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