So the New Year is upon us, and we are all sweating bullets as we count down the days, hours, and minutes until we must suck it up and become self-disciplined individuals.
Well, it’s no secret that one of my goals hasn’t changed much since I became a mother for the third time…to get healthier and lose the added pounds that seem to stick to me like Velcro.
For those that don’t know me personally, I have three children. Our two oldest came to me through adoption while our youngest is biological.
Well, I always thought it was simply motherhood that made you gain weight. I didn’t gain a ton of weight, though I became very busy, with my first two boys, so I assumed I’d be okay after I gave birth to our youngest.
Yet giving birth took my figure from slim to this odd apple shape. I hear it all the time, “Jennifer, we always thought if you ever gained weight you’d be a pear, not an apple!” (I mean, really? Who came up with naming people’s weight problems after fruit?)
But I digress. Thankfully, homesteading has given me a healthier outlook on life, and though I’m not where I hope to be this year, I’m happy to say that I’m on the right track and our homestead has really helped me get into the swing of things.
So here are a few tips on how to lead a healthier (and maybe even trimmer) lifestyle on your homestead:
Healthy Homestead Living
1. Skip the Fads
I once spent hours skimming Pinterest for any weight loss secret I could find. After trying (and failing) at most of the fads, I decided that they weren’t as helpful as I had hoped.
See, I even went a year without eating carbohydrates or sugars. It worked, and I lost a lot of weight, but I also realized it wasn’t something I could stick with long-term because to think that I’d never eat bread or sugar again in my life just wasn’t feasible.
And I wasn’t learning healthy eating habits when I was simply cutting those things from my diet, so it was hard to know what was a ‘safe’ amount when I tried to add them back.
Now, if cutting carbs and sugars (or some other type of diet) has worked for you and is working for you, that is great. Keep at it.
But in my experience, if you expect long-term results, then you have to stick with a plan that will work no matter how slow or hectic your life is at the moment.
2. You’ve Got to Move
One big thing I’ve learned over the years is you have got to exercise, but you can’t over exercise. This has been a fine line I’ve had to walk. I have a health condition that if I under exercise, then weight just vacuum seals itself to me.
But if I overdo it, then I feel horrible.
So you should definitely talk with your doctor before beginning any type of exercise routine.
However, I don’t want you to think you have to rush out and purchase an expensive gym membership either.
In fact, you can get exercise by simply walking around your homestead. Consider buying a FitBit and tracking how many steps you take in a day. Those steps to go feed the chickens add up.
Or if you like lifting weights, then you can try finding heavier items (like buckets filled with water) and lift them up and down to build strength.
Obviously, it may take some creativity on your part, but try to move for at least 30 minutes per day (but only after you have consulted with your doctor.)
3. Routines are Key
This is something I’ve really struggled with over the years. When we first adopted our older two children, life was hectic. We began life in the public school system which meant I was running constantly.
Then when that didn’t work out as planned for our children’s needs, we decided to homeschool. So my routine got flipped upside down again.
Next, my mother-in-law fell ill, and she passed away which obviously sent our family into a tailspin.
Now, I’m homesteading, homeschooling, working and trying to maintain a basic routine where I can accomplish what needs to be done without running myself into the ground.
But what I’ve learned through all of this is I feel better when I go to bed at the same time every day and wake up at a similar time every day.
Also, my body responds better when I have a set time to work every day, a set time to homeschool, and a set time to handle homestead chores and housework.
So if you are trying to take some steps towards a healthier lifestyle, try calming your life down as much as possible so you can at least put yourself into a routine. It has helped lower my stress levels because I stay more organized when I’m on a set schedule, and I feel more rested too.
4. Skip the Quick Meals
This is where my weight gain began. When our oldest boys came home, they were older. The oldest was 12 and our middle son was 7. It was nothing like having an infant. I got very little sleep and was grateful to eat whatever I could grab since I was running constantly.
But fast meals (even quick meals made at home) are not always nutritional. I soon realized that I was eating way too many carbs and not enough protein or fiber.
So it is important to make the time to cook. I know this can be so hard, and it may mean that you have to completely flip your schedule upside down to make it work, but it is worth every bit of effort.
Also, you could consider prepping your meals at the beginning of the week. Then you could just throw them into the oven or crockpot. If you need some ideas for your crock pot, here are quite a few.
5. Grow, Grow, and Grow
What I’ve actually ended up doing for myself and my family is following a more old-fashioned eating regiment. Meaning, I eat a small portion of meat, a starch, a piece of bread, a green or yellow vegetable, a serving of fruit, and a small salad for my lunch and dinner.
Also, I eat a piece of bread, an egg, and a piece of fruit for breakfast. I love this because it is simple and allows me to eat what we grow around our homestead.
So if you want to eat healthier and lead a healthier lifestyle, then try growing enough food to can and have lots of fresh and healthy vegetables to eat year round with very little added cost. I’m loving this way of eating because not only is it healthier, but it is more frugal so I’m saving a lot of money by simply skipping the grocery store.
6. Reduce Your Plate Size
This was another big item for me. When I was eating the wrong foods simply because they were quick to make or quick to grab, I wasn’t reducing my portion size to help reduce the calories of what I was eating.
Therefore, I had a problem on my hands.
Now, I’m learning what an appropriate portion size is. So if you are trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, try simply using a smaller plate.
But if you want to become familiar with serving sizes, then consider using your measuring spoons to scoop out food instead of regular serving spoons. That way you know what the portion should look like in comparison to what you would normally eat.
7. Calorie Counters
I really don’t like to count calories, but while I am actually trying to lose weight and not just be healthier and maintain the weight I’m at, I find it necessary.
But what I’m learning is what a set amount of calories should look like every day. These are important things that I’ve never learned until now.
So if you have a smartphone, then you can download calorie counting apps onto your phone for easy usage.
But if you don’t want to use a calorie counter, then try keeping a notebook where you write down everything that you eat throughout the day. This has a tendency of making us more aware of what we are actually putting into our mouths.
8. Go See Your Doc
I recommended earlier that you speak with your doctor before you begin any sort of exercise or diet routine because as you all know, I’m not a certified medical professional. These are only my opinions being expressed here and the sharing of my own personal experiences and trials that I’ve faced.
So you should definitely have a check-up if leading a healthier lifestyle is something that is important to you this New Year.
Also, mention the fact that you homestead and see if they have any added advice for you. A nutritionist might be able to help you decide what you should be growing to get the vital nutrients that you need.
And your doctor could give you some ideas of exercises that would work for your particular situation.
So please go have a conversation with your doctor as part of your new healthy lifestyle.
9. Common Sense Goes a Long Way
Some people are so desperate to lose weight and lose it in a hurry that they do things that don’t make any sense.
For instance, they’ll cut their calories to a dangerous point thinking that this will help them lose weight.
Or people will begin doing way too much exercise and actually harm themselves in the process.
So I actually try to look back at the generations before me to get a better picture of how women once were healthy and active while raising their families.
For instance, when my great grandmother was raising a family, she didn’t go to a gym for an hour a day. She worked in her garden, cooked for her family, walked more, and she didn’t gorge herself. This sounds like common sense things to me.
So I’ve tried to take that common sense knowledge and apply it as best as I can to my situation today. When creating a healthier lifestyle, sometimes simple common sense things can make all of the difference on our journey.
10. Drink Your Water
I used to struggle with drinking water. I was a huge tea drinker, and of course, I loaded it down with sugar which wasn’t a good habit.
But I’ve learned over the years to back away from the sweet tea and sugary drinks and go for the water. Water helps hydrate our bodies effectively where caffeinated drinks can actually cause dehydration.
Plus, they help rid our bodies of toxins as well.
So talk to your doctor about how much water is appropriate for you to drink in a day with your current health situation and try to meet that goal on a daily basis. You will be amazed at how water can actually help you to curb your appetite as well. At least it has in my experience.
11. Go to Bed
When we sleep our body repairs all of the damage we’ve done to it during the day. Your body needs its rest.
So try to make sure that you are getting around 7 hours of sleep per night. This will give your body time to rejuvenate. This is not only healthy but can also help with weight loss too.
Again, routines can be an important aspect of a healthy lifestyle, so try to put yourself to bed at a decent hour every night if at all possible.
12. ACV and Green Tea
I was really amazed to learn all of the wonderful things that apple cider vinegar can do for your body. It also has a ton of helpful uses too. One of those uses is to help maintain your blood sugar level so you can actually lose weight instead of retaining it.
Again, you’ll want to talk to your doctor before you begin taking anything because apple cider vinegar (though natural) can still do pretty powerful things.
But you can also talk to your doctor about adding more green tea to your diet too. I drink about 2 cups of green tea a day. It is great for flushing your kidneys, plus it has weight loss properties to it as well. These are simple, natural things you can add to your diet to help lead a healthier lifestyle.
Well, you now have 12 suggestions to get healthier this year right on your homestead. You don’t have to jump on the bandwagon of the latest fad or even spend an hour a day away from your home sweating it out in a gym somewhere. You can sweat plenty while you are working around your own land.
Hopefully, these tips will help you to enjoy a better quality of life in the long run. I share in that same hope for myself as well, which is why I keep putting forth the effort.
But I’d like to hear from you now. What do you do around your homestead to lead a healthier lifestyle?
We love hearing from you so please leave us your thoughts in the comment section below.