I want to share my journey to living a healthier life, because I believe in the power of food and feel passionate that living a healthier life is doable.
Even though today I make eating healthy, working out and self-care a priority, I haven’t always. It has been a journey — one that I’m still on! — that has taken time, patience and consistency.
I like the World Health Organization’s definition of health: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.” Living a healthy/healthier life looks different for everyone, there is no one-size fits all. I don’t believe eating veggies alone, or working out consistently, or having a positive outlook on life solely make someone a healthy person. I believe it’s a combination of those aspects, plus so, so much more.
I also want to be totally honest and even though as a family we focus on eating whole, healthy foods and Alex and I prioritize working out today, we still eat In-N-Out occasionally. We eat processed foods sometimes. We order take-out pizza. We indulge when we go out to dinner. We have wine and cheese and dessert. We go through phases when our workouts are inconsistent. But it’s not the norm for us now, we’re more aware of how we feel after we do those things, and we get ansty to get back to eating the good-for-you foods.
OK, now comes my journey. 🙂
When Alex and I got married and were trying to get pregnant, that’s when I first realized the important role food could play in someone’s health. We’d been trying for a year without any luck. My mom, who was going back to school to study nutrition, suggested I read one of her nutrition textbooks, specifically a chapter about pregnancy nutrition. I read it and started immediately eating as if I were already pregnant — upping my produce, more protein, things like that. I know it wasn’t 100 percent the reason we became pregnant, but I truly believe it helped us. Before that, I honestly looked at food as something delicious, but not always something nourishing and fueling for my body.
That was my first “a-ha” moment with nutrition and how important it is.
But I didn’t yet take it seriously. We still ate whatever we wanted. During my first pregnancy I was pre-diabetic and gained 50 pounds. I gave in to every craving, didn’t prioritize exercise and just felt bla.
And then we became parents. And my mom passed away. Those two life-changing events together caused Alex and I to really think about what it means to be parents and feel the importance of teaching our kids about health. We didn’t start making changes immediately, but looking back those two huge events planted the seed in our head about the importance of health.
Five years ago
About five years ago, I had a 2-year-old and a newborn baby. I remember nursing one day and feeling so tired (obviously!), but also suddenly so ready and motivated to take action on my health. To lose the baby weight but also to feel more energized and better overall.
At the time, we relied on lots of white pasta, cheesy casseroles and frozen meals and pizzas for our dinners. Our dinners were carb and dairy heavy, but light on vegetables. We drank cow’s milk, ate lots of meat and had large portions. We didn’t care about our sugar intake. We ate whatever we wanted. And it started to show in our bodies and our energy levels.
That’s when I fell in love with Tone It Up.
I first found Tone It Up via YouTube when I was trying to lose the baby weight after my first daughter, Raegan, was born. Their workouts were free and quick: perfect for a new mom. And so when I was looking to get healthier after my second daughter, Leah, was born, I turned to Tone It Up again.
I starting working out at home during the girls’ naptime, and using Instagram to keep me accountable. I posted the workouts I did, the food I ate, and found this amazing community of other women, many of them also new moms, taking charge of their health. Then, Alex bought their Tone It Up Nutrition Plan for my birthday and I learned so much about nutrition. The plan is full of healthy recipes, but also the science behind nutrition, timing of eating, why some foods are bad for you … I geeked out over it, and still do!
The changes we made to start eating healthier
I immediately started implementing their tips. My biggest takeaway and a change that had an immediate impact on my and Alex’s weight-loss and energy was super simple and a realistic change we could make with two little girls: to eat more vegetables.
We started there. We ate zucchini and carrot spirals or spaghetti squash instead of pasta. We added spinach and zucchini to scrambled eggs. We ate more salads. We planted a garden so we’d have even more access to fresh veggies. We added spinach to smoothies, carrots to muffins, mushrooms and bell peppers to jarred marinara. We cut down on carbs at night and bumped up our veggies and started loosing weight and feeling better, and actually enjoyed eating these good-for-you foods. It was amazing.
That was my second, life-changing, “a-ha” moment with nutrition. It clicked how important food is for my body and health. We were eating delicious and nourishing food, we were loosing weight and getting fit, feeling better, sleeping better and feeling happier. And it all started with our diet. I’m still amazed at the power of food.
Since then, we added our third daughter, Jordan, to the family and we’ve made a ton of other small and doable changes to become a healthier family. Like reading ingredient lists on products, cutting out cow’s milk, limiting cheese, buying organic meat and produce, snacking healthier, eating healthier desserts, being more mindful of what we’re eating, working out regularly … I’m excited to share more about these changes we made in upcoming posts!
Making health a priority for our girls
Our journey to living a healthier life began with food and nutrition and it trickled into every area of our lives. I truly believe in the power of food and am genuinely excited and open to share more about all of this and my family’s journey to living a healthier, more balanced life.
As parents, Alex and I think it’s so important to teach our girls about health. We want to set a good example for them and teach them the importance of what they put in their bodies. I want our girls to have a healthy relationship with food and realize the power it can have in their energy, sleep and overall feeling good.
I plan to share more about our journey with eating healthier as a family, because I know it’s a really hard change to make with kids.
I’m ending with some proof of our journey, sharing a few photos of Alex and I before, and now. 🙂
If you read all of this, thank you! 🙂 I would love to know: have you had any “a-ha” moments with your health and nutrition? Want to know anything else about my family’s health journey?