Naturally Renewed - The Annmarie Richards Story
Being ill was something that was crippling Annmarie Richards, and it took her going back to God's natural blessings to give her the boost that she needed to overcome her odds.
Richards was diagnosed with diabetes in 1992 after having her last child, Elricka. But it was in 2006 when her illness was at its worst. Her blood sugar level was 280, her weight up to 287.
"It was very hard for me to get around. Half the time I was winded when I walked, and I had to stop," she told Outlook. It got to the point that even her grandchildren would ask her if she was going to die because of her heavy breathing.
Being a woman of God, she felt very hypocritical when it came to lifestyle. "I am a woman of faith. I am a minister and I would lay my hands on people every Sunday, praying for their healing, yet I was still sick. It did not feel right," Richards admitted.
However, it was her eldest son, Chevano, who gave her a heartbreaking reality check. One day after walking her into the house, he threw down her bag on the sofa, then he asked her, "Mom what did I just do?" She was oblivious to the point that he was trying to make and said, "Put down my bag." He went on to tell her no. "No. I threw down your bag. And if you do not get healthy, that is what people are going to do with you. Throw you down like an old bag."
The words seemed harsh and had hit her hard, but she is forever grateful to her son for his honesty and his bluntness as then and there, she decided to make a lifestyle change.
INSPIRED BY UNICITY
She was then introduced to Unicity, a product aimed at balancing the body. Richards advises that all it balances the body and helps with regulating one's blood sugar pressure, bowels as well as helping to regulate one's cholesterol.
"It is not a weight-loss product because there are individuals that are underweight and have Unicity and are able to gain."
Being inspired by Unicity's organic lifestyle - changing the way she ate and prepared her food - also inspired her to back to her roots. Richards had some background knowledge on wellness since she had owned a remedial spa up until 2013. However, being involved with Unicity made her want to learn more about these oils.
She started to do further research on the use of essential oils and found that they could assist in having a more rounded life. She learnt how one drop of clove oil helps with a baby's fever just as effectively as an over-the-counter drug. A teaspoon of coconut oil a day helps to delay the effects of Alzheimer's. She also learnt that in addition to being a sleeping aid, lavender oil actually helps as a detox. The world of organic oils and essential oils became a new fascination for her and, in turn, a new experience altogether. It was not just about spa treatments and massages but changing someone's life, and that was what she decided to do with her new business and her new knowledge.
It became a family affair. Each member of the family joined in, motivating and helping the matriarch to achieve her new lifestyle goals. Her sons, Chevano and Elricka, helped her to workout, and, over time, she went from hardly being able to walk short distances to being able to run half a mile and do 20 minutes of weight exercise five days per week. Even her sons and husband joined in on her workout routine.
"I am a mentor and I have promised to help young people get on their feet. I cannot help them if I am not around. So, if not only for myself, I had to also get better for them," she told Outlook.
Her weight dropped by 108 pounds and her waist decreased by 17 inches.
She decided to open Virtuous Reasons Remedial Spa Centre, where her daughter Erica also plays an integral role. She mentors individuals in the use of essential oils and delivers 32 of these oils islandwide. She steams all the oils on her own to ensure that people get prime organic oils with no additives. She teaches persons how to mix blends and use the oils for minor ailments instead of constantly going for a pill for every ailment.
For her seminar in February, she has also incorporated Fit Rev as fitness experts, a general practitioner for his medical expertise, alongside her own knowledge, to ensure that persons get rounded expert advice.
Richards has become a new person, a shadow of the woman that she once was, and is proud of it. But what makes her most fulfilled is not just people seeing her change, but giving individuals the opportunity to find their full potential in every way.