Have you ever heard the expression:

“A faith that has not been tested, cannot be trusted.”?

Have you ever been in the presence of a person whose faith has been so profoundly tested, that they seem to live in a state of continual trust of God’s mercy and faithfulness, at all times?

Forti-fy team member Trisch Richardson is just such a person! Trisch has known the heartbreaking sorrow of burying an infant son, came close to losing her husband in an accident that occurred just weeks before she gave birth to her 8th child,  and has walked through numerous health challenges, both with herself and her children. She is a woman immersed in the word of God, trusts in His faithfulness continually, and is simply a delight to be around, as she always has an encouraging word to share!

Today Trisch shares her health journey starting way back to when she was one of those girls we all envied in high school – you know—the one who could eat anything without gaining an ounce – – even when she was in France for her junior year abroad in college, eating generous amount of French pastries, her friends would joke that she could never join the “fat thighs” club. Then……fast forward 26 years and 9 kids later, she felt that she could be president of the club!

My struggle with being overweight and tired escalated after my husband’s serious accident right before our 8th child was born in October 2004…..Then my dad’s mental decline and concerns for my mom’s health……along with a c-section for our 9th in October 2006….. resulted in major hormonal imbalances that made it impossible to lose anything.

Not.one.pound. Not.one.inch. I was a size 22W and lost hope that I would ever lose the weight.

At that point a friend shared with me an exercise program she was doing, In spite of not being really athletic or “loving” exercise, I started it and actually saw progress for the first time! After losing several sizes, I was ready to address my eating.

In our quest for better health, some of us address eating first while others come through the exercise door. I was the latter. With the brain fog and a big family, it was too overwhelming to overhaul our eating. As the fog cleared and I had more energy, I researched and tackled healing gut issues in our family with the GAPS diet (Gut And Psychology Syndrome-read here).

It is low-carb, taking out all grains and starchy veggies, and the Intro phase is brutal! But we powered through it, got over the “carb-detox” phase and after 6 weeks, we were all feeling better. I had two daughters specifically whose issues were the worst, and it was wonderful to see many of those clear up! We had set a goal to do the strict portion of the diet for 6 months and then transition off, depending how we were all doing.

During this time I was also training to be a T-Tapp trainer, and in hindsight my body was giving me clues that I was ignoring. I know “low-carb” is very prevalent today and many have found great help in doing the various low-carb eating plans out there. I did too, for a time. What I now know is that I needed more carbs, but I was feeling “so good” at that time I was actually afraid of losing my good health. And, unfortunately, since I ignored my body’s signs, I did just that!

During my trainer certifications I was soooo tanked—I chalked it up to the stress of certifying, traveling to get there, preparations, etc. Thankfully I didn’t go into a full-blown adrenal crash! I deal with hypothyroidism and adrenal fatigue along with low ferritin, and have had times where I needed 3 naps a day just to function! I was grateful that at that time I didn’t go that far…but I still set myself back in the fatigue department. I had gotten down to a size 4 which was TOO small for me! In fact, I don’t like my “trainer picture” because of that, and I can tell by looking at my eyes that I was not well.

As we transitioned off of GAPS, I tried to keep important elements of it going—bone-based broth, good fats and fermented foods. I had figured out what had happened and tried to keep “good carbs” in my eating plan as well. I gained a few sizes back and felt better.

A few months later I developed a mysterious condition where I would be violently nauseous and sick every few months. During that time I realized that I was getting too focused on the fat-carb-protein ratio and needed to take a break totally from focusing on eating. My mother had an undiagnosed eating disorder—to the point that she only weighed 68 pounds when my dad died! While I love to eat 🙂 and didn’t think that would be a temptation, I realized the obsessive focus on “eating healthy” was just as serious.

I still made and drank bone broth and ate good fats, but I quit focusing on the ratios and just tried to make good choices without overthinking it. I definitely was an emotional eater (and sometimes still struggle). God was working on me at a much deeper level, and I needed to let that healing take place first.

In 2016 menopause was looming but I felt I was in a good place, starting to make good, healthy choices and being consistent with exercise, when my husband unexpectedly needed open heart surgery–on my birthday, no less! That pushed me over the edge and between the hormonal changes, stress, transitions with children leaving home, I ballooned up 3 sizes. I was still not a 22W—thankfully! But I struggled to get back on track with eating.

This spring I started working with a fellow T-Tapp Trainer who is also a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner. I had mentored her for T-Tapp—now it was her turn to “mentor” me with the eating! 🙂 I told her I needed baby steps—no cold turkey like with GAPS. I couldn’t afford to crash my adrenals again! Her mom deals with thyroid issues, too, and has had great success, so I knew she would understand my needs as well. She doesn’t use a “one-size fits all” approach—which I appreciate!

For years my kids did the cooking, and to be honest, the thought of trying to figure out healthy meals that would work for a still-somewhat-big-family (7-9 people at home) overwhelmed me. Then my practitioner told me about a WONDERFUL resource in Cassy Joy Garcia’s website Fed and Fit.

I tried some of her free recipes on her website and was sold! I bought her cookbook “Cook Once, Eat All Week”and now I LOVE cooking! I love trying new vegetables and ways to cook them. The meals are flavorful, healthy and don’t use expensive, weird or hard-to-find ingredients, either. My kids love it when it’s “my turn” to cook—and I do too!

Cassy does have more Paleo recipes on her blog, but this cookbook is not 100% Paleo, although she shares tips to make it so if you wish. All recipes are gluten free. I don’t really follow one strict “eating plan”–just wholesome foods prepared well! I try to rough guess to make sure I’m getting enough good fats and carbs along with protein, but I don’t obsess about it anymore.

It’s a slow process—dealing with hormonal changes, stress and transitions in family sometimes send me to the chocolate aisle! But I pick myself up, get back into the Word and worship, get back on track and keep moving!

T-Tapp and Cassy Garcia’s cookbook have revolutionized my life! I never thought I would enjoy cooking healthy this much!

I realized just how much things were changing when I saw these pictures side-by-side! The one on the right was taken February 2019 and the one on the left was 6 months later in August 2019. No size loss, no pound loss, minimal inch loss—yet I look better because things reshaped and I can tell the inflammation is down in my face and body! A picture truly is worth 1000 words!

If I had to give a label to the way I eat, I would call it gentle changes or “Small Steps to Success”. As you make one good change and it becomes a habit, you can add another. I found this doable, and it sticks. It’s much easier to get back on track when life gets busy or throws you a curve ball. For those who find overhauling everything at once or planning meals daunting, check out Cook Once Eat All Week  by Cassy Joy Garcia. It might just revolutionize your eating, too—and make cooking healthy FUN!

Editor’s note: Make sure you check back next week when Trisch shares how her T-Tapp journey lead her to become a Master T-Tapp Trainer and landed her being featured in a major women’s magazine!

You can check out Trisch’s webiste here: