Taking care of ourselves can be one of the most challenging tasks, especially when we are living in a stressful environment.
According to the Bible everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. This makes us think twice about what we should be eating and how it will make it feel.
Health and wholeness does not need to feel like suffering or torture. Instead, taking the attitude that everything we do is an act of worship to God changes how we think about health. That means eating, exercise, sleep and activity can be done for God’s glory!
Food is not the enemy! God has given us delicious food that will nourish our body if we CHOOSE to make the right choices.
My belief is that many of our eating issues are related to deep emotional issues that have not been dealt with. Taking a deep, hard look within ourselves is vital to stepping into complete and whole healing when we rely and trust in God!
In today’s show we talk with National Health Director and Coach Vicki Heath. Listen to her words of wisdom of how you can step into wholeness and healing.
Vicki Heath is the National Director of the faith-based wellness ministry, First Place 4 Health. Vicki is a reluctant author (Don’t Quit Get Fit and First Place 4 Health, Wellness Journey of a Lifetime) and nationally known speaker. She holds certifications with American Council on Exercise and Body & Soul Fitness. She strives to bring others into the Kingdom through her Life Coaching and her example of a radical but humble devoted follower of Christ. She dances, jumps and limps her way as she leads exercises classes in her community of Edisto Island, SC. Vicki is a pastors wife and she and her husband, Rob, have four grown children and eight grandchildren.
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As a Mindset Coach I’m here to help you shift your thinking and unlock your full potential! If you’re needing support, encouragement and accountability; consider joining my group coaching program Unstick Your Mind.
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Mimika: Hi, and welcome to Mimika TV. I’m your host, Mimika Cooney. I’m so excited to be with you here today. We have a fabulous guest who’s going to share some really wonderful tips and tools for you today, which is coming all the way from South Carolina now. I’m in North Carolina, as Southern girls, as we like to put it, are fairly close, but we’ve got some exciting things to share with everybody who’s listening across the world.
Vicki Heath is the National Director of a faith-based wellness ministry called First Place 4 Health. She is a reluctant author and nationally known speaker. She holds a certification with American Council on Exercise and the Body & Soul Fitness. She strives to bring others into the kingdom through her life coaching and her example of radical but humble devoted follower of Christ. I’m so excited to have you on the show, Vicki, welcome.
Vicki Heath: Thank you. Thank you. I’m excited to be here.
Mimika: Well, this is intriguing because I love to talk about mindset and health and how that all works together, especially when you infuse faith in there, because sometimes we think they’re separate things. But you’ve got something you’re going to share with our audience today definitely about how this journey unfolds and some tips. But before we get into that, give our audience a little bit of a backstory. How did you get doing what you’re doing today?
Vicki Heath: Oh my goodness, such a story. I’ve been active and pretty much an athlete most of my life. I started with gymnastics in high school and all through college, very active. What really got me focused and serious about my wellness journey was having my fourth child when I was 39. I didn’t lose weight as quickly as I needed to after that child was born. I didn’t get back on my feet emotionally with my relationships in my family, in my church. Spiritually, I was in a dry place, not really engaging in a quiet time. I’m a pastor’s wife. My husband is a pastor, we’ve been in the ministry for forty something years. So I was dealing with trying to be the spiritual leader in my church, faking it. If you fake your way through life, it’s exhausting. It’s not a good way to live.
So all the parts of me needed some work and some attention. And even my thinking, it was not healthy. I found First Place 4 Health, and I thought, this might be something that helps me, because it wasn’t just a diet you go on. It wasn’t an extreme exercise plan that you just knock yourself out to, you’re injured. It was whole person wellness. So I looked at it and I thought this is going to help me get healthy spiritually, physically, mentally, and emotionally. So that appealed to me because it’s like I needed multitasking wellness. Every area of my life needed some attention.
Mimika: I love how you say that you were faking it, because this is something that I think a lot of us are not brave enough to admit that sometimes in life, we just feel like we just have to keep going and going and going, and It’s easier just to pretend that everything’s cool and fine and dandy, especially as moms. I’ve got three kids as well, between the ages of 10 and 21. I know exactly what you mean, where you just feel like you’re being pulled from all directions and that people expect things of you. So just pretending that it’s okay, eventually… Would you say that you hit burnout, like your body imploded and there was just everything, or was it a particular moment that triggered it for you?
Vicki Heath: I think burnout is a good word that people understand it and can relate to it, especially emotionally. The way I was coping with this burnout was with food. And after you have a baby, most of the time, your goals are to lose weight. But for me, that was not happening, because my coping skill was running to the refrigerator, instead of running to the Lord, our strong tower. So that set off a cycle of eating, shame, eating more, shame, and I really needed to break free of that. And that breaking free, that has taken quite a few years. It didn’t happen overnight or I didn’t have just one turning point. But as I started going back to God’s word, started investing in that, my thinking started to change, and you know what? Our thoughts are the boss of us. They’re the boss.
And when you have toxic thinking and you get in that pattern of believing lies… One of the lies that I was believing was, I’m never going to get better. I’m never going to lose this weight. I’m never going to be healthy again. I’m never going to feel good about myself, and this is just going to be the pattern of my life. This is where I’m stuck. And that was not a happy thought. That is not a happy outlook on life. So when I started going back to God’s word and I started reading his promises, believing his promises, but not just that, applying them to my life. For example, God’s word says that he will give us strength when we’re weak, strength to overcome obstacles, strength to live a Godly life. I started applying those promises to my life, where I decided I will say yes to foods that are good for me, and I will say no to overfeeding my body, because the weight was just coming on and on.
That’s just one example of asking God to help me make better choices with my food because I did not bring him into the problem at first. I just thought I’m just going to solve this by overfeeding my body. Because when we do that, we do feel good for a little while.
Mimika: Yeah. And it’s like you said, we exclude God in the process. Because I really believe God wants to be part of every part of our lives, but when we are on the self-destructive path, first of all, I’m sure you’d agree with me, Vicki. Sometimes you don’t see it. It’s a slow burn. You start going down and you don’t realize you’re there until you have, “Wait a minute. What is going on? How did I end up here?” And we end up ignoring the issues because God wants to partner with us. I love how you said with, there was strength when you’re feeling weak. And also just believing that. So I think a lot of our listeners are in that situation where perhaps they’ve given up on themselves. So they’ve given up and actually said, “I’ll never be healthy. I’ll never do this.”
But I think it is so, so true where the mind goes, the man and woman follow. So let’s sort of dive into this a little bit more because I really am a huge proponent and a believer in the thinking process. It’s just like your thought is your radar, right? If we’re a boat, and your radar, it is going to determine your direction. So take us through those steps in where you feel like some of the tools that you could offer us. And if someone is feeling in that situation, whether it’s like they’re a total go-getter, who’s been going, going and going and all of a sudden their bodies and burnout and saying, I can’t do this anymore because we’re just so used to doing things on our own strength. How would you start? What would be that process that would sort of start to trigger the transformation in the thought process?
Vicki Heath: God’s word. Definitely. And I memorize God’s word. I started memorizing it because it has the power to erase the thoughts that were there before, even the videos. I know you can probably relate to this, that all the things in my life that did not bring glory to God were being played over and over and over in my mind. And especially on in times when I’d start to try to read the Bible, I try to focus and pray, those things would just pop into my mind. And I know that that was a tool of the enemy. As I started memorizing God’s word, the tapes that would play, I know our younger audience doesn’t know what tapes are, but they’re… We used to pop them into a VCR recorder and watch things. That’s kind of like our mind, because it keeps those images forever.
Our brains are amazing. So what God’s word has the power, is to erase those. And they started to fade and I stopped. And they weren’t powerful anymore. And when I get ready to pray, I would focus on him. And as I memorized God’s word, and at first I thought I couldn’t do it, like, you’re just too old or you can’t focus, you can’t concentrate, God says, “I will show you my word. I will reveal my word to you and I will help you know it.” And as so, memorizing guys were definitely helped with erasing the lies, and producing a harvest of truth in my mind. And then our thinking definitely affects our behaviors. It’s interesting because the world will tell you the way to get healthy is to make your body exercise and to force these outside things onto yourself, just start doing these behaviors and it’s going to change your thinking. But God’s word says, it’s not going to work like that.
Let me change your mind, let me renew your heart, and your body is going to follow. The behaviors are going to follow. And that is sustainable because we’ve all gone on crazy crash diets and we do it, whatever it takes. I remember doing many kinds of crazy things to lose weight and it would work for about six weeks, and it was so extreme that it wasn’t sustainable. That’s the same thing with overexercising. We think, I’m going to just start running and we do it, but we’re so full blast that it’s not sustainable. So God changing my thoughts, changing my heart, letting him be my motivation, letting him be my encourager, instead of my self-will, and self-determination, because, Mimika, that runs out. It’s not sustainable. But God said-
Mimika: [crosstalk 00:11:47] they’re not like this never ending connected to… And I think it’s just like what you’re saying is that, I have the thing about where I say, there’s a problem with self-help because there’s only so much of ourself we have until we eventually run out of guests. And for us to go get us out there, especially us those who are in leadership, I know you’re listening. Those just tend to go and go and go and go sort of just never know how to refuel. And of course, whether it’s food or whatever the vice is, it’s almost like trying to compensate, but wouldn’t you say, it’s almost like it’s a hunger for more of God, but we kind of tend to think if we look at the outside things it’ll help our internal thought process. Cause you mentioned something, actually a readiness psychology thing, because I’m very fascinated about how the brain works and neuroscience.
And they say that if change starts with a choice and your feelings will follow. So it’s not like I feel like going exercising, or I feel like going into the gym or I feel like going for a run. Your feelings will never direct you in the right place. You have to choose and make a decision of the mind, but then what I love about your correlation, that’s great in changing the way you think, but while you bring in something that I think is so vital that the world is lacking, is God in the process. And you’re saying like, he changes the thoughts, which will then eventually change your feelings, which you may eventually change your actions, right?
Vicki Heath: At First Place 4 Health, we say faith changes everything and not faith in yourself, not faith even in another person, because our expectations for ourself can be so unreasonably high and we disappoint ourselves. And even other people, I believe in the power of community, I absolutely do. But when it comes down to it, it’s God as my heavenly father giving me the space, because sometimes my faith is like pitiful, but what did God say? “Just give me this much, a little bit as much as the faith of the mustard seed, and I will grow it in you.”
And so it is interesting that faith in his promises, faith in his word, empowers us. And as that it’s faith, builds faith, builds faith. So taking that step of faith, to say, “I’m going to get up early and have my quiet time. I’m going to shut down my computer at a reasonable hour, the night before, and then I’m going to get up and exercise, as an act of worship, not as punishment for my imperfect body, and I’m going to have my quiet time so I can feast on the things of the Lord. He can fuel me to help me be ready, ready me for my day.”
But it’s an interesting thing you said it made me think about something. In the Bible, the apostle Paul talks about being the boss of his body. He says, “I beat my body and make it my slave.” Mimika you’re right. You’re not going to ever really feel like exercise. And so we say, “Body, I’m in charge of you. Get up. I know you don’t feel like it, but I’m the boss of you. So get up, get your clothes on, and go for a walk.” Because as long as we’re in this fleshly bodies, they’re going to want to do whatever they want. Our appetites can be colonel, or all of that. And we’re going to have to fight this flesh till heaven.
Mimika: Exactly. So we have the limitations of our bodies, but at the same time, God has given it to us as a tool. So as he said, it’s important to know that we have to make that decision and relying on God when our faith feels weak, like God said, I have… These words says he wants me to be healthy. He wants me to have peace. And he wants me to feel good and feel confident about myself. I think what’s for me to highlight here is, it’s never, and I think this is where the world gets a drone with these crash diets is “Just do this, and then six weeks you’ll look all like this.” That’s not how the God’s world works. Things take time. Would you say to someone who feels like, okay, you do the diets, you lose a lot of weight in six weeks, but then, my husband is a marathon runner.
We talk about the plateau. Like you have this hockey stick growth, of you’re losing weight or you’re getting fit, or you’re getting speedy. And you’ve seen these great gains, but you get to what I call the messy middle. And that’s really where the [techie hits the Tara 00:16:32] when you really have to press in and not rely on the results and know that those small gains are actually getting you further along. So what would you say for encouragement, like somebody is in that situation and maybe things aren’t happening as fast as they want, or maybe, their whole diet thing, it’s feels too hard. Like what kind of words of advice could you offer for someone in that situation?
Vicki Heath: Well, first of all, the reality is, it is hard. It’s hard work to get healthy, it’s hard work to stay healthy. But I think it’s the best hard work you’ll ever do because the payoff, the benefits, a longer, stronger life is so important. But to be patient, there’s a chapter in James where it talks about the harvest, and sometimes it takes the spring and the fall rays to see a harvest. But when we’re not patient, we live in this immediate, indulgent culture, whatever you want, now you can just go on your phone and order food. Things happen so quickly in our culture, that that sets us up for disappointment when it comes to our health. So I really encourage you to be patient in the process that it will take time. You can see results physically in about six weeks. And then a lot of times people do plateau.
So if you’re at a plateau in your weight loss, maybe in your strength, I would change it up, change up the mode of exercise that you’re doing. My exercise for me, I do hit high intensity interval training because I don’t always have a lot of time to exercise. So changing it up, a lot of variety will help you bust through a plateau, and paying attention to what you’re eating. Many people know what they’re eating, and they could tell you exactly the amount of calories that are going into our mouths, but we can become careless, and you don’t realize that you’ve slipped back into overfeeding your body. So pay close attention to the amount of food, and the quality of food that you’re eating. It’s not healthy to get so obsessive that you’re counting every little single calorie. It’s not an exact science. What I really call eating on purpose, eating with a purpose, instead of mindless eating. Because we can just fall into that habit, especially during this time of COVID because food is comforting, and it’s supposed to be.
Mimika: And wouldn’t you say sometimes it’s a simple switch and a change in how we do things that enables us to get through. I think a lot of us are like, “Oh, I shouldn’t be eating all those bags of chips and chocolates.” But because we know it’s in the pantry, it creates a temptation. So how about we switch it up, and then we change the way we go shopping, because if we don’t buy the junk, we don’t bring it in our homes, it’s not a temptation. Simple thing that I learned is, do not go shopping hungry, because if I’m hungry and I’m thirsty, I end up coming back with all these sugary drinks and I’m like, “Oh, this is good. [inaudible 00:20:10], don’t go shopping with your younger kids because, “Oh mommy, can I have this? Mommy, this looks good.” Bad idea.
So sometimes they have me switching instead of going in in the afternoon after I’ve got my daughter from school, I switched it up to going in the morning after I’ve had a full bowl of like oats or something, and I felt full, after breakfast before I got my day going, but let me get that shopping out the way and only buy what I needed. So yeah, when they came home there wasn’t the temptation. Right? So kind of changing up the habits of how we do things.
Vicki Heath: That’s a great example. And shopping with purpose, thinking about foods that are going to fuel my body, and it’s okay to have foods that maybe aren’t in the highest quality, and because at First Place 4 Health, we say all foods have a place. There are just some foods that shouldn’t have a prominent place. They shouldn’t have some things, high calorie, low nutrient food. Should it be something you feed your body every day? It’s okay to have, a donut because it’s really not the food that’s the problem for most of us, it’s really not. Food is just food. It’s not demonic, but it’s also not… We don’t dietize food. Food is food. It’s my relationship, and my attitude towards food that’s important, because the Bible says that everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial. So when I make some choices, I look, “Is this going to benefit my body? Is this going to help me?”
And I come from a family with lots of diseases. My DNA is not the best. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, cancer, both parents. So I know I’m free to eat whatever foods are placed before me, that’s biblical. So I come into the kitchen and I see those big blueberry muffins that my husband brought home from the deacons meeting, and then I see my steel cut oats. So I have a choice. I can choose the donut or the big blueberry muffin. And I don’t practice food righteousness, I can eat that. But knowing that my father died of heart disease, why do we know about oats? They’re good for your heart.
So as an act of worship to my Lord, I say, “God, I know I’m free to eat that blueberry muffin, but I choose this as an act of worship to honor you as the steward in stewarding my body.” And God encourages us and blesses us, he’s not going to condemn me if I eat that blueberry muffin. And I think it’s important for people to know that food is not the enemy. It’s not. But God has given us wonderful free choices and beautiful food that will nourish my body.
Mimika: Exactly. I love how you say that doing it as a form of worship, just as it says in the Bible that “Everything if we do unto the Lord, we do it with the right attitude.” Even say, for instance, I always like to look at triggers. Like you’re feeling emotionally down, you open the refrigerator and you just start eating because it makes you feel better. But how about we start thinking about what would the trigger was in the first place? Why am I feeling down? Like what was the thing that made us want to reach for the donut? That somebody say something that somebody said something hurtful, words that they really triggered something that was from your past. Cause I’m a big believer in that a lot of our emotional issues today are relating to our junk in our trunk, our baggage, from what happened in the past.
As for you in your story, you mentioned that with your fourth child, there was an issue. Do you remember, was there something that really helped you get out of that mindset shift of, I’m going to go to the refrigerator every time I feel bad. What was that initial thing that really helped you trigger the transformation?
Vicki Heath: Now you talk about hard work, that’s hard work to look deep within yourself to any wounding that might be there, any unresolved, any unforgiveness, because those things are triggers and they’re deep within us. First Place 4 Health has some tools that we use. It’s called my place for discovery. It’s in depth thinking, deep introspection, not morbid, going back to every horrible thing that ever happened to you, but asking God through the power of the Holy spirit to reveal these triggers, these issues that may be in my life that are, that are coming out as unhealthy behaviors. And I did that hard work and it wasn’t scary, because God is not going to do that. He’s not going to show you something so horrible that you cannot bear it. And there were some things in my life that call for repentance.
Like I quickly would go to food instead of the Lord because of my unbelief. And that’s really what it was, that I didn’t believe he had the power to nourish me like food was. And that was a quick fix. And I had to repent of that, of that unbelief, but that was through time of quiet introspection using some of these books and tools to look at my past, to look at my relationship with my parents, with my siblings and with food. What role did food play in my life growing up? There’s some great questions that we can ask ourselves and ask the Holy spirit to ask our hearts. And he will show and lead us in the way everlasting in the way of truth.
Mimika: Exactly. And this where I think this whole journey is, it’s not just about losing weight, it’s not just about changing your food choices, it’s not just about reading the word, it’s about all of it together, and that if we are a whole body, like we talk about the holistic view of health, and I think the world’s stolen that concept from God, because he created in the first place, anyways, rant over. But I just love how you said even early in our conversation, how the seasons.
And I think that’s so important for people to realize that if you look at nature, God is of seasons. We have to have a winter season for when things go to seed, you can’t expect to be in harvest time all the time. You have to allow yourself to go through the spring and the summer and the fall. And as we grow and we mature and we go from glory to glory, we can understand that we have all these wonderful tools at our disposal, and just being patient with ourselves and being kind to ourselves and saying, “Okay, God’s doing the work.” It might not be as fast as I want it, but it’s going to be transformative. So I really level that. So, tell us a little bit about how people can get more information from you, these tools you mentioned, how can they connect with you online?
Vicki Heath: Firstplace4health.com is our website. You can go there and see how to get started. If you’d like to join a virtual group, we have groups that meet in community centers, in churches, and you can search for your area. And if we already have a group going, this is the thing though, as right now, lot of in-person groups are not meeting, because of restrictions that just depends on your state. But we have virtual groups, we have groups and we have people from all over the world, joining our virtual groups and they’re live. They’re just like this conversation. Or you can just order one of our Bible studies and get started. A group kit has several books in it. My place for nutrition talks about healthy eating, my place for fitness, how to change your mind about exercise, my place for discovery, doing the work, that hard work, that heart work of looking deep into myself, and then the Bible. That’s the one book you can’t do without. So you can there on go to our website and look at the different things we have to offer. We have memberships that have benefits.
Mimika: We also have the links in the show notes. So if whatever, play that you watching or listening on, make sure to scroll below and click on the show notes link. We will then get you connected with Vicki, and First Place 4 Health, it’s with the four, the number four, right? Instead of the word if I-
Vicki Heath: Either way, you’ll find it, if you search for it. We just Google search-
Mimika: [crosstalk 00:29:36] connect you.
Vicki Heath: And our materials are on Amazon, you can find it.
Mimika: Fabulous. Well, we’ll make sure that for everybody listening, we will give you those tools so you can connect with us. But before we wrap up Vicki, could you pray for all our listeners and for those who need some encouragement?
Vicki Heath: Oh, I would love to do that.
Mimika: Thank you.
Vicki Heath: So, father, God, I lift these precious ones, listening today. I lift them right into your throne room. I pray for each person and their particular need. I pray for hope, I pray you will rain down your hope on them. The hope of a good future, have a hope, a future that you’re going to bless them in their body. Give them strength. Those that have diseases that are holding them back Lord, from good health, I pray your healing in their lives. Those with a broken hearts, I pray you bind up their broken heart. And those that are just being tormented in their mind by lies from the enemy, oh Lord, I pray for your truth to penetrate their minds and to bust down those walls, those lies those strongholds. And father, we want all of you, and we just offer ourselves all of us, body, soul, mind, and spirit. We submit that and we want to offer ourselves to you wholly and fully, loving you with all of our being. So father, I ask of powerful, beautiful blessing on those listening today in the name of Jesus, our Christ. Amen.
Mimika: Amen. Thank you for that. I love these prayers. It’s so encouraging. So whether you’re listening on the treadmill or you’re in the car pool, or you’re running down the road, these things are so important to know that we have these tools and resources available, especially the effect is that we have God’s word we can rely on, which is actually of course the secret sauce, right?
Vicki Heath: That is.
Mimika: Nothing in the world has anything on what we have when we involve God in the process. But if you enjoyed what we had to share today, please make sure to share it with your friends, go click those buttons and shared on social. You know somebody who needs to hear today’s message, make sure to let them know about Vicki and her wonderful resources and we’d love your feedback and your comments. Any aha moments, any sort of areas that you find a breakthrough, we would love to connect with you and love to hear about that.
And if you want more free resources that are only shared with my newsletter community, go to mimikacooney.com, and click on the buttons there, we have a bunch of goodies, book downloads, prayer guides, and we would love to provide you with that. Lastly, I asked you, whatever platform you’re listening or watching on, make sure to subscribe to our channel so that you get notifications of when we next go live. So click those buttons and keep notifications on, so you hear from us. We look forward to connecting with you, make sure to reach out to Vicki, and let her know you overheard her on the Mimika TV. We always love to connect our guests with our audience. Thank you so much Vicki, I appreciate you taking the time.
Vicki Heath: You’re welcome.
Mimika: Thanks everyone. Take care.
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