About Me (Tiffany) ((obviously)) 

I used to wake up at noon every day, hungover + exhausted.

Breakfast was cigarettes, fast food + coffee. Then I'd lounge around for a few hours, probably watch a movie, but definitely do nothing substantial. Eventually, I'd shower + get ready to go sling drinks at a local strip club. As soon as I'd get to work, I have a drink, eat something greasy from the kitchen, then snort the first of many lines of cocaine.

The next 8 hours would fly by as I'd progressively get more wasted. Around 2 or 3 am, I'd go to an after-hours club until the sun came up + I was finally ready to drag my ass home. The next day I do it all over again.

I lived like that for over a decade.

At almost 30 years old, I was underweight, malnourished + almost always hungover. I constantly had a lit cigarette in my hand, a chronic runny nose, a mouthful of decaying cavities, irregular + painful menstrual cycle, cysts in my ovaries that would painfully rupture, nail beds that would peel + bleed, thinning hair, high cholesterol, no muscle tone, + no confidence.

To say that I didn't give a damn about my health is putting it lightly. I was neglecting and abusing my body without ever considering the damage I was doing to my ability to earn money, enjoy my relationships or pursue my dreams.

Hopefully, you've never been quite such a hot mess, but maybe you've lived in a similar state of unawareness and poor self-care - feeling like it was hard enough to just get by, held down by the weight of it all, breaking your own heart by consciously ignoring your own minimum, common-sense care. 

I wanted to be better, I really did, but every time I thought about how many things I wanted to change, I'd get so overwhelmed that I gave up before I ever got started. I wanted to be better, but every time I thought about not going to my favorite restaurants with my friends, the feeling of loneliness stung me so badly that I thought I'd be happier staying as I was.

The whole idea of changing my lifestyle felt like it was just too difficult, too painful, too complicated, too time-consuming, too restrictive, too isolating, too boring, + hey, I was just trying to live my life + have a little fun before I die so get off my back why don't ya?

It wasn't until I got my second DUI that I realized I had to make a change. Yes, SECOND. The first I brushed off as a fluke, a childish mistake (one of too many, looking back). But when I got the second, I had to face the fact that I was in real trouble & if I didn't get my act together I was going to end up a big fat l-o-s-e-r (just like they said I would). It was a difficult moment for me to say the least.

When I thought about my actions + all the time I spent acting like an idiot, I felt stupid + worthless. There were red flags the whole way along + I completely ignored them. Everyone around me ignored them because they loved me, loved spending time with me + didn't want to rock the boat. I was in complete denial + no one around me was calling me out.

It had been easier to keep going as I was than to change course (it always is), the cost of that mistake was high (it always is) & I paid dearly for it (we always do). I ignored my problems for too long + finally had to face serious consequences.

In healthcare, we hear stories like that every day... Someone who ignored or justified too much weight gain + now has to face disabling, disease-causing obesity. Someone who ate all the sugar + saturated fat they wanted + now has to face heart disease, diabetes or Alzheimer's. Or someone who ate meat at every single meal for their own life + now has to face kidney failure.

I wanted so badly to become the woman I was created to be. I wanted to do work I was proud of. I wanted to be someone others could look up to. I wanted to be happy. I wanted to feel sexy inside + out. I wanted the healthy glow that makes a woman stand out in a crowd.

As I started to take full ownership of my health, there were a few issues:

  1. I had no health insurance. I didn't have access to any support, medical, emotional or otherwise, so I was going to have to work my issues out on my own.
  2. I had no healthy role models. No one around me was living the kind of life I wanted to live, there was no one for me to emulate, so I was going to have to figure it out on my own.
  3. I was dead broke. I wanted to change my diet, but every book and blog I read talked about organic vegetables, pastured meat, a $700 Vitamix, $100 supplements + I couldn't afford any of that, so I was going to have to make it work on my own.

There was no way around it - I dug my hole, it was deep af, and I was going to have dig myself out of it. I had to create the pathway to the results I wanted + it had to be something that I could stick to, starting from the beginning, with absolutely zero experience.

Slowly, I started changing my habits. It was NOT EASY. 

I had to make MYSELF the priority + not in the closed-off, selfish way I had doing for so long. I had to learn how to let go of the stinging guilt I felt when I disappointed the people around me as I slowly started to change how I showed up in my relationships.

I had to sort out my mixed feelings. I learned to prepare myself for the awkwardness of other people's resistance + still trust the people I knew honestly loved me.

"Be who you are and say what you mean. Because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind!" (Dr. Seuss)

I had to heal the damaging memories + harmful old beliefs of the past. It's an ongoing process but I've found a few super-effective tools that really work wonders.

I started practicing yoga + fell in love with it; to this day, it's my favorite way to move. I loved it so much that I took a few workshops at the local Urban League + they granted me the tuition for a 200-hour training so I could become a teacher. But after just a couple months I realized that I was a much better yoga student than teacher + decided to quit teaching.

So, I started to think about what else I might be interested in + by that time I had read a hundred books about nutrition + had an obvious passion for it, so my mom generously paid my tuition for the Institute of Integrative Nutrition + I got certified as a nutrition coach. I loved it + I realized that a lot of the little things I started doing intuitively over the years were exactly correct!

I started customizing diet plans + was really excited about building a coaching business, but after just a couple weeks I realized that no doctor's offices would ever refer their patients to me unless I had a license to practice nutrition.

Just like that - BOOM! - I was stuck. Again.

I had to make a decision, do I start pushing out applications, or do I push through, embrace the journey + go to college for the first time - as a 30-something ex-cokehead with a record + a history of failing every math + science class, who's finally chasing her dreams for the first time.

I chose the latter. On my first day, the girl sitting next to me was 17 - exactly half my age - + it triggered every single one of my insecurities, but I turned it into fuel for the fire.

While pursuing my bachelors of science in dietetics + nutrition, I took biology, microbiology, chemistry, advanced chemistry, biochemistry, advanced biochemistry, food science, statistics, + research methods.

I earned a 4.0 GPA, Dean's List recognition, a nomination to the ICUF Presidential Fellowship, + the respect + friendship of all my peers. 🙂

Now I'm excited to wake up in the morning! In November, I'll take my board exam to become a Registered Dietitian + I'll make a meaningful career inspiring healthy breakthroughs in others.

I've been able to apply what I've learned + I’ve been a happy 126-131 lbs., 22-25% body fat, for the last 10 years, even without eating “organic” or “clean” (gasp!). My blood lipids are in healthy balance, + my resting heart rate is athlete-fit, below 60, even without being an intense exerciser.

At 38, I'm the happiest, strongest + most able I've ever been. Needless to say, my days are very different. I wake up full of energy + purpose around 6am, + every day the Lord shows me how to trust Him more + better let him guide my way.

It's a sharp contrast to my life "before" - but that girl would've ended up with cancer or a stroke or worse, probably wouldn't have landed a good man, + would've definitely lived a life of pain + regret. I don't even know that girl anymore.

Even with all my struggles, I wouldn't change much of my journey. After all, it led me here, to this place in time. And here is where I get to see you + meet you exactly where you are, to show you the simplest path to your most brilliant self - because I've been all-the-way there + back, + I know the way through.


Qualifications:

I'm currently paying my dues to become a Registered Dietitian and plan on earning a masters degree in Family Science. My dream is to enrich the lives of families & individuals facing a diagnosis through thoughtful diet & lifestyle choices.

BS in Nutrition and Dietetics, Keiser University (Graduation & licensure 2019)

Certified Holistic Health Coach, The Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Certified Yoga Teacher, The Yoga Connection

Certified Sleep Science Coach, The Spencer Institute