The Heart of Transformation – My Fitness Journey in Progress

I don’t allow society or the ‘norm’ whatever that is to dictate my health, mind, or body – “She” belongs to me! ~ Ria

 

Seeing Your Hard Work Take Shape

So I woke up this morning no alarm slightly sore but glowing! Last night was an emotional day. I was releasing some unacknowledged pain and sadness I thought I’d already released during this New Moon, Full Moon, Moon Eclipse, Equinoxes, Blood Moons (- smirking- ) these past few months have been eye-opening and full of personal truth and resolution. Spiritual transformations and physical transformation!  I was feeling a bit sorry for myself, when I decided to pick up my bags (literal and metaphorical) and head for a swim.  Surely that water would help clear my head and aid my spirit.  I looked at my app and realized I had another work out before my Rest Day.  Yesterday being Leg Day, I was still slightly sore but in need of some transformation. Day 9, Chest and Triceps!

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Expanded Facility

This facility I hadn’t been to in months (maybe a year aside from the pool) had expanded. I was so surprised and excited once I discovered they had added new equipment even though tiny in room size, this gym was equipped with everything and more. Kettlebells, dumbbells, free weights, olympic bars, curl bars, tricep bars, hex bars, smith machines, mats, medicine balls, Bosu balls, exercise balls, weighted balls, massage balls! :‑O
It was an athletic dream aside from the Marine base gym I visited last year. This gym for the local public was dope! And I’m thinking how to make this a permanent gym while in the area because Planet Fitness is “ehhh!”

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September 4, 2018, Chest, Triceps, (added Abs, Calves and a Swim!)

I’m so amazed at how this transformation is taking shape- literally! ~ Ria

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Knowing What You Need and Listening to Your Body

In addition to the workout above, I added an abdominal routine! That left me sweating before my swim and jacuzzi session.  I will do this routine at least 4-5 times a week because it made my total routine complete. My abs are the hardest for me to loose and I realize that if I don’t focus on their development “it aint gonna happen!” After twin boys and a daughter and several C sections my abdominal wall split from its natural anatomy and unfortunately my pregnancies left me with extra skin that never stretched back to shape. Something like a Kate and 8 the mother (Kate Gosselin) who had the 8 babies and had to have an abdominoplasty to return her stomach to its original size, look, and aesthetic.

My Secret Body Shaming 

I was told by plastic surgeons I have a 6 pack under my extra skin! “Yuk,” “Yikes” and “Wow!” all at the same time. I was blown away at their comments “We had another very young women your age who did quite well! You have a fit body type.” This was at my 150lb body-weight at my initial consultation. I’ve pretty much been in a secret self body shaming cycle for the past ‘few’ years since taking on fitness and gave up a few times because my abdominal section just wouldn’t budge beyond the rock hard underneath the childbearing scaring.

I kept this in dire secret never telling a soul and its affected so much of my life including my sexuality and intimacy! I’ve since decided to say “Fuck it! I‘m gonna keep going no matter what and see what happens to the rest of my body!”  I have to see how far I can go. No, I have no interest in competing professionally or turning into a professional body builder! I just want to be REALLY FIT for my body type and my ideal look and feel, sorta like a  Jada’s-mom-fit, Angela-Bassett-fit aesthetic look! I have to defy my “age” and the societal norms that say being over 40 is old, and being ‘old’ means out of shape and struggling with dis-ease. (Especially in the Black community!) I say “NO” to the mental programming. I am choosing a lifestyle that is serving my highest good and the rest will follow and fall into place. This is for no one else but me – I owe myself this opportunity to shine!

 

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Ab Workout Routine: 2-3 Reps to Failure. Russian Twists (Weighted), Alternate Heel Touchers, Bottoms Up, Plank, Cocoons, Air Bikes, Side Planks, Elbow to Knee, Repeat, Repeat! This should leave you feeling an ‘ouch’ on your tummy – now you know you’ve got it in! (smile)

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September 4, 2018

 

Finding the Right Facility for Your Goals

I usually try to cover up during my workouts, I wear hoodies and zip up to my neck! While at Planet Fitness this week around 11pm (after work) I was surrounded by group of young Arab men who continuously commented on my physical “attributes.” Their comments made me so uncomfortable I gathered my water bottle and exited the gym. This new facility, however, was safe and well equipped for the novel fitness person as well as for the school athlete or military veteran all of whom were present yesterday evening.  It’s important to find the right facility for your goals and comfort level- not all are created equal so be objective, envision, and plan for your workout sessions accordingly.

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Friday,  August 31, 2018 – 122.7 lbs

I say “NO” to the mental programming. I am choosing a lifestyle that is serving my highest good and the rest will follow and fall into place. This is for no one else but me – I owe myself this opportunity to shine!  ~ Ria 

The Heart of Transformation

When I woke up and looked in the mirror my arms looked like well-sculpted parts of someone else’s body!!! I was blown away at how I had changed since January being closer to 150 lbs at 5 foot 0 inches. I don’t have a morning pic but a photo from last week I will share (pictured above). I’m so amazed at how this transformation is taking shape- literally! I am determined to be 50 and fabulous (in just a few short years ahead!) I really didn’t mind my 150 lbs body to be honest, “thick” is trendy and desirable these days so women at almost any size feel appreciated, loved, and happy with their body type and weight. For me, however, I wanted to simply ‘see’ what transformation looks like on me. I am proving to myself that I can go all the way to make significant gains on my own terms and in my own “time.” Plus I have a goal (image) in my head that wont disappear no matter how lazy or non motivated I get from time to time. I get back up and get back in and keep it moving. I keep hearing the voice “You can do better! You’re more than this!” And its this voice that keeps me on this focus of self-transformation and consistency.

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January 2018 at 150lbs

 

I really didn’t mind my 150 lbs body to be honest, “thick” is trendy and desirable these days so women at almost any size feel appreciated, loved, and happy with their body type and weight. ~ Ria

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January 2018 Collage as the Thick Ria

 

Fit in Progress Pics

I can actually see the difference in my body shape taking form. I was afraid my arms would get too muscular and have me looking like a little man woman but they are actually looking good, still feminine, but slightly defined and toned. I love ♡  it! A few more tweaks and it’s all maintenance from here!

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From Thick Girl to Fit Girl – Progress Pic- August 2018

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122.7 lbs – Slowly but surely, hard work taking shape! 08-31-18 as the Fit Ria

If I can inspire just one person to eat healthy, exercise, and continue to learn (mentally and spiritually) then I’m doing my job here on this planet Earth!

Be Happy, Be Abundant, Be Empowered! 

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Ria

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Herbal Healing Hacks – Thyroid Support Herbs, Everlasting Life, and SunGazing Immunity

Vegan Soul Food at Everlasting Life

Who doesn’t love vegan soul food? The tasty indulgence of childhood Southern favorites with the shedded guilt of pulling heavy meat industry resources from the planet. Ahh, biting into a buffalo-sauced, meat-free wing is as close to extravagance. Although hard-core vegans would argue “why fake a meat dish at all?” I get it and lived that life as well. Today, I’ve embraced the middle road. Less inclined to be dogmatic about my diet but strict enough to stay within the imaginary lines of remaining consistent on the organic, natural path.

“Excuse me Sis, but you need to teach a tutorial on how to stay fit.” – 30 something guy in white suit, Everlasting Life Restaurant, Maryland  

08-26-18_Everlasting_Life_MD_Store.jpgI have to admit the last time I’ve been to Everlasting Life was probably shortly after their opening on Georgia Avenue, NW, Washington, DC almost two decades ago! The DC restaurant was since bought by Woodland Vegan Bistro in 2013. It was the first time after Queen Afua’s class (2000) near Howard University where Pyramid bookstore was housed so many moons ago, I had the sensual pleasure of tasting (for the first time) mock tuna, mock egg salad and seaweed salad that bursted with so many flavors my taste buds still anticipated its memorable suggestion.  So after hitting BWI Airport and the gym out in Laurel I was famished and in need of some nutritional healing. I remember hearing Brother Red Pill and Professor Griff speak so highly of Everlasting Life this past August during their lecture circuit and since I was within driving distance I had to check them out. The line was long enough for to me figure out what I was going to sample by the time my turn came and I chose cabbage, mock mac and cheese, and various buffalo and barbecue meat-free wings. I admit I was searching for more dark green raw veggies (as I follow a half raw food to cooked food ratio in almost all of my meals). I almost picked up the seaweed salad but thought I haven’t had ‘soul food’ in so long I’d give it a try. After all, I am always eating raw greens and salads so why not?  As I strolled to my car to tear open the container,  before I was approached by a 30-something year old man in a white suit who had been on his phone talking real estate money moves and appointments, “Excuse me Sis, but you need to teach a tutorial?”

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” A tutorial?” I laughed questioning in amusement exhausted emotionally by the turn of events in my personal life. “Yes, a tutorial on how you keep yourself so fit!” I was shocked at his comment. For one, he had come off to me as — lets say someone I thought uninterested in women, secondly, he was hella young (lol, oh Stella!), thirdly, I hadn’t been to the gym (seriously) in a few weeks and felt super guilty for my lack of motivation and allowing my personal life events to dictate my schedule and energy.

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August 25, 2018 – Ria Sweetraw aka Daria, me at 122.7 lbs (shocked face)

Everlasting Life Food Review

The food was pretty good, although I personally would have incorporated more various green foods – light green, dark green, blue-black, and purple foods with more “alive” energy that activated and nourished the melanin of its predominate customers. Everlasting foods were more mock soul food items that appealed to its demographic community. What struck me, further, was the amount of black people who were in those lines, some looked like your traditional ‘woke’ brothers or sisters while others did not. That struck me as how things have really changed where more blacks had embraced a more healthy lifestyle and seeking being vegan and vegetarian as a very real way of life. This awakening was transparent in the lines and popularity this store has in the community.

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For my years of being vegan and vegetarian, however, I enjoy many different types of eclectic foods from many geographical origins of the world that are vegetarian and vegan based. I prefer raw veggies, greens, bitters and sweet fruits, and cooked beans with fresh, spicy or herbal dense tasting flavors. Overall, I loved the buffalo meatless wings and the cabbage was slamming. I’d frequent this vegan soul food spot in a heart beat!

Restaurant Rating Review

Everlasting Life,  9185 Central Ave, Capitol Heights, MD 20743, (301) 324-6900
Menu: 
Veteran vegan cafe/coffee shop providing cooked & raw soul-food dishes in a casual space.
Rating: ♡♡♡♡ (4 out of 5 hearts) 


Ripley’s Garden, Washington DC – Sun Gazing Copper Immunity Boost 

Ripleys Garden (Mary Livingston Ripley Garden, located  is located at the Smithsonian Museum grounds, Outdoors, between Arts & Industries Building & Hirshhorn Museum, has more than 200 plants, hanging plants, borders, raised beds, seasonal annuals and exotics.

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Garden Rating Review

Ripley Garden,  Smithsonian Museum Grounds Outdoor Garden, between Arts & Industries Building & Hirshhorn Museum
Attraction: 
Seasonal Annuals, Raised Flower Beds, Exotics, Herbals, Hanging Plants, Bees/Butterflies
Rating: ♡♡♡♡♡(5 out of 5 hearts) 


I truly needed some healing sun! My weeks had been difficult emotionally and spiritually and the pentacle came Sunday morning when I had to cancel my flight to Costa Rica where I had planned on an Ethnobotany conference at Hidden Garden Sanctuary. I felt defeated by the forces and felt burnt out emotionally, physically and even spiritually. I found myself finding free parking near the Smithsonian and walking into a garden.

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In my own personal experiences with Sun Gazing, Agnihotra (AM and PM Sun Rituals), Surya Namaskara Yoga practice, Sun Bathing and Sun Meditations, there is a powerful alchemy that takes place during the sun interfacing with the skin (integumentary system)  receptors and our cellular molecular chemistry which boost immunity, organ health and functionality,  and longevity.  ~ Ria Sweetraw

The sun was beating down igniting and warming my skin and I embraced this kind of healing I was desperate for it. I roamed through the beautiful garden finding rosemary, varieties of sage, edible flowers, exotic shrubs,  and their sheer beauty adorned and visited by bees and butterflies. I melted into this green space absorbed in the world of plants, water fountain sounds, and beauty looking at all the names and shapes of the trees, shrubs and perennials from around the country and world.

 

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As the sun kissed my caramel skin it soon roasted my flesh into a reddish dark copper complexion which made me feel a natural high (probably from mere mental exhaustion) and lack of sleep. Nevertheless, the sun penetration did its job by the middle of my video I was feeling happiness fill my being and some rejuvenation. I  was reading Jeff T Bowles,The Miraculous Results Of Extremely High Doses Of The Sunshine Hormone Vitamin D3...” and in my own personal experiences with Sun Gazing, Agnihotra (AM and PM Sun Rituals), Surya Namaskara Yoga practice, Sun Bathing and Sun Meditations. I can assure you the Sun energy is one to be studied with reverence and an open eye and heart. Sun gazing, Sun bathing and Sun meditations have enormous benefits especially for people of darker hues aka melanin. There is a powerful alchemy that takes place during the sun interfacing with the skin (integumentary system)  receptors and our cellular molecular chemistry which boost immunity, organ health and functionality,  and longevity. Perhaps I will share more on this in a later post. 😉 In any case, I was rejuvenated both physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually!

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Herbal Healing Hacks w Ria Sweetraw | NaturalSelfGoddess™ Blog♥


Quick Herbal Remedies Hack

I was approached a week ago by a coworker who insisted I give her remedies for her thyroid problem. I was shocked because I didn’t remember telling anyone about my years of herbal medicine practice. But for years I studied herbs and healed my children (and myself) with herbal remedies I got from books and healers in the community. I still wouldn’t call myself an herbal healer. I’ve listened to cutting edge researchers who are up on melanin, chemistry, ethno botanical herbs and foods and use scientific terms with skill and expertise. I am a fan of these teachers in the field of natural health, botany, chemistry, and melanin studies.  I’m still learning and expanding to include in my own personal practice. I smile though when I share basic healing remedies I’ve personally used on my self or my children (who are long gone from home).  What I gave her were some rather basic remedies and lifestyle changes (I stressed lifestyle changes) because dis-ease does not happen by chance or over night. Disease or imbalance is really maintained by poor habits; ignorant eating choices, poor exercise habits or lack thereof,  and negative, self-limiting emotions.

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Sample Meals for Meat eater or Transitional Meals 

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Thyroid Support 

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Turmeric, Ginger, Ashwaganda, Gotu Kola, Ginseng, Licorice, Echnacia, Bladderwrack (Seaweeds), Selenium, Vitamin B12

Liver Flush Juice for Liver and Kidneys

Raw Juices, follow eating a healthy diet heavy in green raw vegetables and leaves, avoid caffeine, alcohol, Replace Coffee with Green Teas such as Matcha Tea, Yerba Mate, Sencha Green Tea 

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Im not a fan of carrots as they are a hybrid vegetable so I will omit that from raw juicing but you can add if that is your taste.

I am fond of Beets and use them to also cleanse the kidneys and liver as a raw juice.

Ingredients: //apples, beets, ginger *optional dandelion leaves

  • 1 beet, rinsed, lightly peeled and quartered
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 1 Tbsp size piece of fresh ginger (skin removed)
  • can add dandelion leaves

Blend and strain.

Kidney Flush 

Ingredients: //celery, cucumber, parsley, limes

  • 1 celery 
  • 3 cucumbers
  • 1/2 bunch of celery
  • 3 limes (or lemons)
  • 1-2 cups of water

 

Water Tonic

Ingredients: //lemons, ginger, turmeric water

 

Fresh Water and Coconut Water (Electrolytes) 

Hydrate your body! Your body (organs, cells, etc) need water and are made up of over 65% water so keep the circulation of water recycling in a healthy way, your kidneys will thank you!

Exercise

3-5 days per week devote to some form of exercise such as yoga, stretching to increase flexibility, weight training such as lifting iron weights in repetitions to increase muscle strength, walking (if choosing this as the ONLY form of exercise is valuable to reduce heart disease, lower cholesterol, and body fat), swimming known to work the whole body (whole-body workout for all sizes and ages, great for people with injuries and asthma), dance

Sleep, Rest, Relaxation from Stress 

Breathing practices, intentional breathing helps to regulate, relax and strengthen the Spirit, practice Pranayama (science of breath) techniques, Sleep (8 hours deep sleep) preferably in a dark room with no electronics such as phones, wifi, tvs or computers to reduce EMFs (Wifi/Radiation) that effect and interfere with brainwaves, nervous system, and depress immunity,  melanin, hormonal health, Meditate – practice mindfulness 10-30 minutes a day, take some time to go into Nature to get grounded, breathe, go bare foot on the earth

Sun Gazing meditation and other meditations for Love (open hear chakra), Healing & Relaxation

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Aromatherapy

Essential Oils used for thyroid (hypothyroidism)
** note: please research carefully to choose the right essential oil for your condition

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  • cloves
  • myrrh
  • cedarwood
  • lavendar
  • sandalwood
  • spearmint
  • lemongrass
  • peppermint
  • frankincense
  • rose geranium
  • pine

Hope this helps! and I hope you injoy my video. It took me all  day as a learning curve getting around Adobe Premiere and working around certain obstacles in the application along with YouTube but my first video! It will only get better!

Peace, Love, Wealth, Wellness and Empowerment!

Ria