This website is all about how to create a healthy lifestyle. Start health, stay healthy! And how to get fit on a budget!
Let me tell you a story about me- as a mom who fell into depression, always stressed out and tired and feeling like she was missing out on the joys of motherhood. If you found this website, chances are this story sounds a lot like yours.
I grew up in a happy home with three brothers. I wouldn’t say my family was fitness and nutrition focused but I wouldn’t call us unhealthy either. Health is, after all, in the eyes of the beholder. I wouldn’t learn to define what healthy meant to me until my late 30s. What I mean by not being fitness and nutrition focused is that we didn’t really talk about proper diet or the need to be physically active to stay in shape.
My mom taught us to garden and ran everything related to family living- she did all the meal planning and shopping, ran us to all our activities, helped with our homework and monitored our use of electronics. My dad supported us financially and handled the discipline side of things.
I remember being enrolled in various activities, even at a young age, to keep us active and let us try new things. We were sent outside to play, spending endless hours riding bikes, playing on the swing set, and laying in the grass reading books. There were many games of kickball played in our front yard. I played a season on a soccer team, took ballet lessons, bowling lessons, and swim lessons all before I turned 12. In junior high and high school I was on the church basketball team for 5 years.
At the same time our diet was reasonable. We always had a garden and always had fresh fruits and veggies to eat, along with bread, pasta, chips and sweets. It was not unusual for us to have soda in the house, though never caffeine. Most meals included carbs as they were affordable and easier to store for long periods of time- pasta, bread, rolls, pancakes, waffles, muffins, cookies- they were all very much loved. We always had milk and other dairy products, so we had a variety of foods to eat.
Most meals were homemade from scratch, though we did enjoy mac & cheese and Chow Mein from a can on special occasions. I remember how important it was to eat everything on our plate- I spent many nights sitting at the table after everyone else was excused, trying to find a way to eat the last few bites on my plate even though I was full.
We learned about the food pyramid in school and occasionally helped my mom plan and prepare meals. Every dinner always included a vegetable, usually canned, and milk along with the main dish. Lunches were homemade and was always something different. For breakfast we were usually on our own during the week- cereal, toast, oatmeal. What we ate for breakfast wasn’t as important as the fact that we ate a breakfast- the most important meal of the day is what my mom taught us.
Me as a Parent
Fast-forward to me, as a parent. In case you haven’t noticed already, parenting does NOT come with a handbook. There is NOT a right and wrong way. You just have to wing it, based on your own knowledge and the knowledge of your spouse. But your goal is to raise a happy, healthy adult who will contribute to society in a positive way.
My husband grew up in a different lifestyle than I did. He actively played football up until he quit high school and fostered a love of running and going to the gym to work out. I honestly did not know gyms existing, outside of schools, until after I married my husband. Get a what? Gym memberships? LOL. No way! I was more of a workout video at home kind of girl.
My husband grew up without a lot of money. Both his parents worked and much of the time he was on his own. He was cooking meals for himself and his sister by the time he was 5, typically mac and cheese and top Ramon.
When our kids came along we would take regular walks with them. We spent a brief period roller blading while pushing their stroller through the park. We tried to do something active as a family at least on a weekly basis- trips to the zoo, hiking, swimming in the community pool. When my kids were little I would use them in my exercise routines- sit ups with them on my feet, squats while holding the baby, etc. As they got older we had gym memberships off and on.
I HATED the gym, but the ones we went to had kids classes so we could all be involved and active. We didn’t have money to sign our kids up for outside sports and lessons, like my parents did, so we made do with what we could do.
As far as nutrition, we were fairly broke and made due with what we could afford- pasta, top Ramon, sandwiches, lots of carbs and only a few fruits and veggies, meat when we could afford it. We did what we could, but sometimes I wish I had focused more on getting my kids on a healthy diet earlier in their life. Trying to convince a 13-year old to eat more fruits and veggies is much harder than convincing a 1-year old to try fruits and veggies.
Though I was quite proud that my daughter started begging for broccoli when we would go to the grocery store. She was maybe 5 and loudly asked, in the produce section, “Mommy? Can we PLEASE buy broccoli this time? I REALLY want some.” Who can say no to that?! I quickly bagged some up and marked a win for healthy eating.
Where did I go wrong?
OK, so some wins and some not so great things as far as trying to live healthy. I figured I was, overall, doing a decent job as a person and a mother until my happiness crashed down on me. I was just turning 37 when I had some really stressful stuff go down in my life. A big move, having to find a new job, trying to settle kids into new schools, and some major relationships stuff that seriously threatened my sanity and ability to cope.
I spent a year in a downward spiral- the only thing keeping me going was the thought that my kids needed me. If I let the depressions swallow me up, who would take care of them? So I pressed through, turning to comfort food to provide solace, which made me gain weight and feel even worse about myself.
Through the darkness I turned to simple changes in my routine that helped turn me around during that first year. At first, it was creating small monthly challenges to give me something positive to focus on. I would walk the dogs for 30 minutes a day for 30 days. That went great until I hurt my foot on day 23 and could barely hobble around for the next week. Then it was spend 10 minutes a day learning how to do yoga moves. Fun, grounding, and helpful.
But I was still struggling with depression.
The Key Ingredients of a Healthy Lifestlye
So a year later, right around my 38th birthday, I discovered the key ingredients needed to build, and maintain, a healthy lifestyle. I think, to a large degree, I knew what these were, I just didn’t connect all of them at the same time. And connecting them ALL at the same time is what turned me around and changed my life.
I’m not miraculously 50 pounds lighter. I can’t bench press my skinny as a rail 14 year old. I’m NOT running marathons (did I mention I HATE running?) but I feel better- more confident, calmer, and at peace with who I am and where I’m at in my life. Not perfectly healthy, but healthier and happier than I used to be.
So what are the KEY INGREDIENTS I’m talking about?
1) Regular exercise. For me that is working out 20-30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. Nothing super crazy- I’m still a busy mom of two teens with plenty of other things to do with my time. I’m on a tight budget and don’t typically have a lot of free time so I do at home workouts- over 700 different workout videos at my fingertips, most do NOT require any equipment. I LOVE these workout videos! They have turned my view of working out around!
While I don’t recommend much else that costs money, these videos are worth EVERY PENNY I spend- and that’s less than $100 per year for unlimited access! More coming on these workout videos soon- watch for the info! For more info on Fitness check out my fitness tab- I’ll have free monthly challenges, my favorite workouts, info on yoga because I LOVE yoga, and tips for getting in your workout around your crazy life. Because let’s face it, life as a mom is crazy, at least to some point. If your life as a mom isn’t crazy yet- it will be. And that’s a good thing!
2) Balanced Nutrition. Note- I did NOT say “diet”. I am anti-diet because I believe that how you eat should be a relatively consistent, nutritious lifestyle that you can maintain, not just something that you jump on, feel deprived and give up. I don’t do fad diets or anything that is super strict or tells me I absolutely cannot eat something when I want to. If I’m at a birthday party and I want to have a piece of cake, by golly I’m having a piece of cake. I’m NEVER going to say “Sorry, I’m on a diet.” More on balanced nutrition on the Nutrition tab, including some of my favorite recipes, meal prep tips, how to figure out your best nutrition needs, and other fun stuff.
3)Mental Health/Personal Development. I don’t talk a lot about my fitness coach side-gig very much on this website, this is a support page for busy, stressed-out moms and the last thing I want to do is make you feel like I’m trying to sell you something. But as a fitness coach the most important thing I’ve learned is that it is important to fuel your soul as much as it is to fuel your body.I now always have a self-help book that I am reading. There are so many great ones out there!
I try to ready 15-20 minutes a day. The whole reason for this is to give me a smile and start my day off on a positive note. It is easy to wake up and dread the day ahead of you. It is so much more helpful to wake up and put at least one positive thought into your mind before you begin anything else. It sets the tone for your day. Check out the “Mental Health/PD” tab for some books I have found helpful on my journey. Happy helps you be healthy!
4) Support Group. Having a support group of like-minded individuals is SOOOO helpful! I’ve heard this referred to as your “Tribe” and think that’s kind of a cool way to put it. Find your people- those who know what you’re going through and can totally relate to you! Being a mom is hard and stressful and at times lonely.
Some people have a spouse who is very supportive, but a lot of times dads just don’t understand what we’re going through as moms. Being a parent is just different for dads- they think differently and respond differently. How can they sleep through the baby crying for the 5th time that night? Why is it mom’s job to give the kids baths by default? Why do they think it’s so funny when your 4 year old son runs over and farts in your face? Facebook groups will be coming soon to help provide comfortable, mom based support groups! You can join all you are interested in.
Wrapping it up
Having a healthy lifestyle is not just a one time, quick fix, magic pill defining moment. You have to CREATE your healthy lifestyle continuously. Sometimes you’ll be doing great- in college I walked 10+ miles a day, up and down hills to school and between classes, and ate a balanced diet in the cafeteria where I had access to a range of good foods. Early in my married life and as a new mom I ate a lot of pasta and Ramon noodles, few veggies, and got hooked on caffeine to get me through the day. I’ve been rail thin & 30+ pounds overweight.
A healthy life is about finding the balance that works for YOU, right now, at this point in your life. Creating a healthy life is also important for you to help your kids develop healthy habits for their life.
I never once saw my mom do a workout video or go to the gym or anything particularly active. Sure ,she was busy raising 4 kids but not really taking the time to take care of herself, physically. I think that’s where I got the idea that a good mom puts herself last in everything and ended up running myself into the ground by putting off things to help me rejuvenate my mental and physical healthy. That compounds over time.
The longer you put off taking care of yourself, the worse the consequences. For my mom that contributed to her developing diabetes and than suffering a stroke this last Easter morning. You want your kids to learn by seeing you AND by doing healthy things with you. Start your kids out by showing the how to make healthy decisions.
The longer you wait to develop a healthy life that works for you, the worse shape you will be in down the road. Don’t wait for that heart attack, stroke, or for the doctor to tell you to lose weight now or else… Create a healthy life for you, for your kids, and for your future grand kids. Because there is nothing more heartbreaking than calling your mom on Mother’s Day and hearing her struggle to speak because she’s recovering from a stroke she had in her 60s.
Start healthy, stay healthy! Let me help you create a healthy lifestyle that works for you and your family.
I’ll be adding tools, tips, meal guides, workout challenges, and ways to get fit while staying in budget. Join the community and work on creating your healthy life now!