Here is the first post of 2019 and I am happy that we can start with off with a post on PEACE.
Peace! Ohhh Lord, peace! If there’s anything I took away from 2018 is the fact that peace should fully be pursued. I was inspired to write this post following a sermon I recently listened to from Joyce Meyer.
Now you may or may not be a believer, but regardless, everyone needs peace and it should be pursued.
I hope that through this post, you are encouraged, lifted in spirit and inspired. May the peace of the Lord fall upon you and your family, and break every chain and bondage that bitterness might have caused in your life.
To be at peace with ourselves, we need to know that God loves us. We need to know God’s character to know what to expect from Him. When we sin, He is ready to forgive us, He is merciful, and we can trust in Him and be open with Him. We can talk to God about everything and anything. There is absolutely nothing that we need to keep from Him because He knows everything. So, in order to be at peace with God, do not keep things away from Him. No secrets with Him.
Stop fighting against yourself, you will not have any peace. If you keep harassing yourself all the time, keeping inventory of everything that is wrong from within us, comparing ourselves continuously to others, Stop!
When you are pursuing God’s will for your life, He will give you peace. 1 Peter 3:11 – They must turn from evil and do good;they must seek peace and pursue it.
Sometimes, we have too much on our plate. Simply because we attach ourselves to things that no longer bear any fruits. However, God through his word reminds us in John 15: 2 that: He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. Trust in God. Handing everything over to Him is a guarantee for His perfect peace.
Another thing is living life for you. We often fall into the traps of trying to please people but the reality is that in this life, we cannot keep everyone happy all the time. That said, try as much as possible to mind your own business. Being nosy and spending energy trying to find out what others are doing is a roadblock to peace in your life.
Let peace be the umpire in your life. We have so many important decisions to make therefore make sure you do not rush and use peace as a deciding factor in your decision-making process.
Finally, make life simpler for yourself. We try so much to be in control that in the end we end up overwhelmed and frustrated.
Let’s kick-start the year in peace peeps! I wish you all an amazing year ahead filled with peace, discernment, growth and development and success in all you do.
On my end, things were quite calm. This year unlike every other, I did not return home for the holidays. But I was prepared for it mentally. I have to admit that seeing my siblings and friends in “party moods” on social media made my heart tinkle a little.
If only I could have the food… Then, perhaps I will not pay attention to all the parties and family I am missing.
Christmas is about sharing, giving, spreading love around us. Personally, I do not believe in the religious rationale behind December 25th but I like how the season is féerique.
From lights all around town, the different markets, candies to the spirit people carry in them during this month , it just makes me happy. I wish it could last all year long…
My favourite spots for this Christmas were Regent and Oxford Streets. I went to the Christmas markets in Piccadilly Circus, London and equally the one at Exeter. I had the famous “german sausage roll”, “churros”, and “bubble tea”. I also went to Winter Wonderland for the first time in 2 years. It was magical. Definitely scared of rides but I did it.
I wish I could shop 24/7 and get all those things but my bank account will not allow me to be great. Anyway, this year has been a lot of “buying-what-you-need” and not “what-you-want”.
I spent Christmas day alone. I had forgotten that shops and restaurants will be closed both on Christmas day and boxing day on the 26. However, me being me, I managed to pull out something. I made pancakes and had it with Nutella and maple sirup.
Do not be like me, have a proper meal. I repeat, have a proper meal on Christmas eve and day.
In this post, I would be sharing with you the idea of a new section on the blog.
The Fitness Section.
This would include meal plans and prep, workout routines and progress tracking.
I am doing this because I want to motivate myself in my healthy lifestyle journey which as you all may guess, is not an easy task.
When I came to England, I weighted 58 kg and that was actually post summer weight (September 2014). This means on a regular school year, I would be around 55kg.
I started putting on weight as the years went by and I reached my highest point at University in my second year when I got to 70kgs. The reason behind this would mostly be attributed to a poor mental state that led me into binge eating. Secondary reasons would be the fact that in my first year, I was still learning how to cook and wasn’t totally great at it. Therefore, I will eat out a lot and my plates used to be filled of Nando’s’ fries, and peri-peri chicken. I will order pizza in the evenings and eat it while it lasted.
Needless to mention I wasn’t physically active. The lifestyle in the U.K. was such that my common daily exercise would be walking to campus, which I absolutely hated. It was a 20 mins walk yet, I hated it because I was not used to walking back home.
In my first year, by the end of the first semester when I returned home at Christmas, everyone had a comment to make.
Wow, what have you been eating, you’re putting on weight, life is good over there … These were the kind of comments I got and believe me, I had an answer to counter argue everything. I wasn’t really seeing myself in the ‘miroir’ to notice how much my body was changing. I enjoyed that holiday and ate as much as I could knowing I would not have the same meals when I returned for semester two.
Flashback to high school …
I used to repeat these sentences: “God forbid I ever become like that”. Like that referred to being obese, over weight, massive, huge… You name it. I had very few friends that were overweight and it just didn’t make sense to me how they’ll allow themselves eat to that extent. Especially that I would see them snack all the time in school, from plantain chips to groundnut caramel, to sweets, cake, burgers, soya to “pain-oeuf-sphagetti”, and “tampico”… It was totally insane how much they ate.
After that Christmas, I came back to University and the first thing I did was to order a scale from Amazon. It was delivered to me couple of days after and I had made up my mind to weigh myself. I was so scared of getting on the scale for I myself had started to realise the weight gain people around me were talking about.
When I climbed on that scale, my eyes dropped. I was 63 kg. From 58-63 kgs, I had therefore added 6 kgs in the space of 3 months. I remember crying about how much I hated my body now. The remarks kept increasing to the extent that when I’ll Skype my parents, I would turn off the camera. They’ll ask and I would give a random excuse that my webcam has issues.
From there, I started making little changes. I would walk to school more often, and I had signed up to the University’s gym and went with friends.
However cooking was still an issue. I have to admit that the major problem here was that although I had identified a need for change, I did not know how to cook and eat healthy. I was never really a fan of veggies, I hated a lot of fruits and wouldn’t drink enough water. So that was hard.
Then began that phase of making myself throw-up after eating. I had come across several blogs were people said it makes it easier to loose weight. I would weigh myself literally every morning and if I had not gone down, I would starve myself and throw up even more in case I ate.
The problem with doing that is that you get physically exhausted. I had started to feel ill and dizzy most of the time and more frustrating was that the number on the scale was not dropping
This really affected me because again, I dealt with this alone and no one knew I was doing what I was doing. Comments about my body even from friends at Uni killed me inside. They commented on my tummy getting big, my jaws and that only made me more sad, angry and bitter.
It came to a point were I broke down one day to my best friend. I told her; people are out there making comments on my body, my weight gain and it’s just so mean. As if I didn’t notice those changes myself. I told her how much I wanted the comments to stop.
I was clearly frustrated. Remember the high school mentality, I was not about to get big. That would crush me to my core.
The gym was not helping get my weight down. On the contrary, I was building muscles. And I even went from 63 to 65kg. Some days I’ll be 63 again, 62, 64 but I never went back to being 58 kg 😭.
Rest in peace my sweet 58kg.
Fast forward to my second year. The hardest year and time of my life. Ohh God, school was hard, everything was hard, I was stressed up 90% of the time and tell me what, I started drinking to top things up. Literally, everyone knows how caloric alcohol is.
Depression kicked in (story for another day. I’ve actually written about it but it’s been in my draft for a year now. It’s quite real and deep and It’s still negative as I wrote some parts even in my depressed state – so it’s going to be another post one day – let’s hope for mental health awareness day 2019?
I would eat myself to sleep, eat whilst crying, studying, I just ate to feel better. Food was replacing my pain and before I knew it, I hit 70 kgs. Now I’m not a very tall person so I should be maximum 60 kgs for my height. I even got myself a waist trainer thinking it would help the fat disappear but “nope”, that only works for Kim Kardashian.
At that point, because of how I had changed physique wise and character wise, I did not welcome any comments on my body and weight gain. Anyone who tried got properly roasted. At that point, I just hid in big clothes, hoodies and t-shirts.
That summer, when I went home, I asked my mum to let everyone know I would not welcome any comments about my weight. That I knew how I looked and all the remarks made me uncomfortable. So everyone really took that and my siblings, Dad and everyone one helped me. I had a special diet, I played tennis all summer and was also going to work (my summer internship).
All this contributed to me loosing weight. From 70/72, I went down to 67. You may think, well that wasn’t a lot but I was so happy. It actually motivated me when I returned to Uni for my final year to keep up with that healthy lifestyle.
I meal prepped, I stopped fast foods (wasn’t a big fan really but occasionally, I’ll have pizza, and KFC) so that totally stopped. I stopped eating out, went to the gym all year long (aside during busy midterms and exams seasons), drank a lot of water and focused on my mental health. I made a lot of changes and that really paid off.
I went down further to 65 kg by the end of the year.
Today, I carry on with this lifestyle and I am maintaining a constant weight of 63 kgs. I try to remain as much active as possible and keep the good eating habits. It’s been two years now since I had any soft drinks, pizza, KFC, and many more. I haven’t had French fries in a year and I rarely eat out. Once in 3 months I would say.
Health is really important and should not be neglected. It’s a constant battle to keep up but it’s really really important.
I had started cutting down weight from here.
The reason I’m making this post is to motivate myself and any other people that may or not relate to this story to take their health seriously. Health is wealth and as cliché as that may sound, you don’t know the value of health until you don’t have it.
Food is the best thing that could have happened in this world, especially with the flavours, from African dishes to Caribbean to French food, the delicacies are innumerable. But here’s the lowdown, food cannot control you. You control food. You may be going through ‘stuff’ but it’s really important that you find in you that capacity to stand up again and take your faith in your hands. And that may mean sacrifices but just know it’s for a good cause.
I drink alcohol very rarely now. Just on special occasions like New Year’s Eve, wine once in a while with food and that’s it. However, I don’t want to sound as though I am totally free from temptation and do not give in sometimes.
Sometimes, especially during exams preparation, I treat myself. I would order food if I don’t have time to meal prep, I would have haribos whilst studying and my favourite chocolate (the chocolate with nuts by Lindts).
However, when that exam period is over, your girl is hitting the gym hard and all is back to normal.
It’s a journey. A journey where I am conscious of the dangers associated with being overweight, and the harm it can cause to your mental state (weight gain was part of the reasons why i got depressed).
My favourite quote is that from Jim Rohn; “Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live”.
Making excuses burns zero calories per hour. Repeat after me!
Looking forward to sharing my workouts here, my meal plans and tips & tricks.
Note: Most pictures have been left unfiltered because I wanted to maintain the realness. I think it is important to see certain things raw without any touch.
As promised here’s part two of my EuroTrip. Destination two was Frankfurt.
After four days we’ll spent in Amsterdam, I was now ready for new adventures in Germany.
Again we booked for our three days stay at IBIS Hotels! This time around, it wasn’t in the city centre. It was about 15 mins walk away from the city centre but closer to the financial district. From my room, I could see the tower of Nomura, EY and Citi Bank …
We got to Frankfurt in the evening at around 6 pm and it was dawn already. Our rooms were definitely better than the ones in Amsterdam as they were more spacious, and we had a bath rather than shower and also the interior design was fab. After settling in of course, we were on the hunt for food again and wanted to explore Frankfurt by night.
The restaurant is a pretty popular one called L’osteria. I had spaghetti bolognese and my friend (Mia) had some fancy thing which I can’t remember the name but it tasted like carbonara. Prices were pretty decent so we even decided to add some champagne (proseco) to accompany everything.
By 10 p.m. we were done eating and we went for a little walk while digested our meal and enjoyed the night view of the bridge and the wind. It was calming to think about nothing else and worrying about nothing but enjoy the moment.
The next day, we began our little adventures with my Mia and other friends (Ben and Indira). Our plan was to visit the city (old council, the church, the opera and the city) for the morning and by 1 p.m., we had to visit the European Central Bank. I was pretty excited about it.
We did all these tours walking which meant that by the time the evening was up, we were very much exhausted. Below is a little slide show of the day. Starting from old council, then the cathedral, sneak pick from the night before (very close from the restaurant), the streets, and friends.
Now the pictures of the view from the pictures below have a story. Did I tell you I climbed a tower of 70 metres using the stairs for there was no lift just because I wanted to capture the view.
Okay, not really. I knew the view would be nice and wanted to get it but if I had known how much time and energy it would take get to the top of that tower, I promise I would not have signed up to it.
Anyway, I am still glad I did. Reminds me once more of that quote which says “there is light at the end of the tunnel”. You see, investing my energy trying to get to that tower’s top, I took breaks, to breathe, it was exhausting but I did not give up and the view was worth it).
Absolutely love these pictures. With my friends, we spent around an hour at the top and I even had a group meeting via conference call because duty calls! My friends said, you can’t be serious; on a rooftop? But guess what, it was the most productive meeting ever.
Not sure if we ate something before heading back to our hotels and dress up for the part two of the day which was a visit at the ECB (European Central Bank).
The visit was topped up by a conference on the functioning of the ECB, the current issues facing the ECB and we had an open discussion in the end were questions could be asked. I remember asking a question concerning the pace of development of different European countries, bringing in the burden that Germany and the ECB takes on those EU countries who are not at the same pace of development or currently in crisis. Greece was the example i brought up. Another question I asked was to know more about the selection criteria to EU countries to be a part of the ECB. The panel discussed this taking the current case of Turkey which is an apparent candidate yet on evaluation to assess whether or not it can join the ECB.
This conference was a great way for me to link up and connect with other participants. I was also glad that I had the opportunity to express my viewpoints on the pros and cons of the ECB. My last question I remember asking was about the ECB’s influence and stake in the management of old French colonies such as Cameroon and other central African states. I specifically brought up the issue on the colonial debt which till date, find absurd. Overall, this was an enriching experience and I hope that one day, I would be in position to influence the fiscal and monetary policies of the CEMAC countries to preserve the Franc CFA, our independence and therefore, autonomy.
And that was it for Frankfurt. I would have loved to shop especially Birkenstocks which I had planned but our schedule was tight and by the time we finished at the ECB, we just had under an hour to get to the mall and shop. And we were also hungry so food won! We went back to L’Osteria since it was close to the hotel.
Three nights and two days and next off was Paris! The picture below just shows how excited I was. There was so much to do in Paris (sight seeing, friends, family, doctors’ appointments, shopping, food). I was looking forward to it already.
Fun Fact: If you are wondering why I was (we were) in trainers in most the photos, that is because we walked most of the time. I cannot recall us taking a taxi or the tram or bus at any point really so trainers were more convenient. Apart from that, they are comfortable.
Hope whereever you are reading me from, you are having a nice time.
Alright, this post is to bounce on from the previous post about my EuroTrip and would be a continuation of my Amsterdam experience.
I would be briefly (hopefully not too long) giving my anecdotes about Amsterdam.
So the first one is about my Red Light District Experience. Before you reading this post begins to imagine things, let me clarify. It’s about my experience visiting the red light district and nothing more haha.
I have never been around such “milieu” so I was not too sure what to expect. All I knew about red lights based on what my friends had told me prior to getting to Amsterdam and for sure, I knew it was that it is an area for prostitutes. But it was rated among the top places to go to when in Amsterdam so out of curiosity and in the company of my friends, we made our way to the famous “Red Lights” . I had never seen such a place before.
Everywhere was reddish and overcrowded. Of course this isn’t a picture taken by me. I just got this online because rule #1 – You don’t take pictures at the red light. I wish I had known this before hand…
While walking with my friends, my friend (Mia) had her phone out and was taking snaps of the girls on display.
Just as on the picture above until the young on display opened her door and aggressively bounced on my friend. She called her all sorts of names (bitch, fuckx bitch, stupid to name a few) and then asked her if she didn’t have respect for their work. She made my friend delete all videos and pictures she had taken and flung her phone. I was so not ready for that to happen and I was in so much shock that I just watched. We ended up apologising endlessly in hope that she doesn’t get physical.
At last, she told us to leave and insulted us again once more repeating we should have respect.
That word “respect” baffled me. Had I just heard a “prostitute” asking us to show respect. I was in complete disbelieve. Not that they do not deserve respect as human beings but asking me to show respect for their profession was not something I was ready to hear.
That whole evening, we debated upon whether or not prostitutes deserve respect with my friends.
Personally, I do believe respect is a strong word. I think those who deserve respect are those who respect themselves. Selling your body in my opinion shows disrespect towards your own self, because you are lessening the value of who you are and it speaks volume about your character.
However, my friend (Ben) responded saying it would be totally be foolish to assume all prostitutes are morally corrupt individuals and hence do not deserve respect. He added, that “it’s supposed to be the world’s oldest profession and I see no problem with prostitutes who aren’t being coerced into sex by pimps.
Mia said added to this that “unfortunately, many prostitutes are basically slaves who have been sold into the sex trade. They are putting their lives in danger as the only means of survival.
Regrettably, no matter how old the profession is, and the varying reasons behind prostitution, I would not agree to these ways and would therefore not be in support in any way.
Before I continue, I have to remind you that prostitution in Amsterdam is legal so a place like “The Red Lights” even have cobs walking around in search of their own pleasures.
Again, for me there’s no two way to go about this than having my answer from a biblical stance point (note how I do not refer to religion in anyway. – no matter the religion you follow, I know this is condemned by God).
Prostitution is in the same bundle as sexual immorality and if you read my previous post you will understand better (click here).
Proverbs 5: 3-14 God forbids involvement with prostitutes. And he does in so many other verses of the bible.
In Thessalonians 4: 3 it says, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality.
To sum up as a final opinion and building up on what I have said above, I believe they deserve to be treated as any other human being but having to respect their profession like the lady asked us at The Red Lights is not something I would do. Why would you want to be respected when you are on public display like a commodity/possession and selling/exposing your nakedness.
For sure God looks at the hearts and him alone can judge them however, my faith in Him because He forbids any involvement with prostitutes because He knows how detrimental it is.
God’s desire is that we stay pure and use our bodies as tools for His use and glory (Romans 6:13)
And before you think God doesn’t forgive prostitution, He does because prostitutes aren’t beyond God’s scope of forgiveness. Remember the story of Rahab (Joshua 2:1, 6:17-25). Anyone has the opportunity to receive salvation and eternal life from God, to be cleansed of all their unrighteousness and be given a brand new life. All you need to do is to repent and believe in God.
2 Corinthians 5:17 – Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come
I will love to have your own thoughts. Let me know what you think about respecting prostitutes and prostitution as a job.