Being “healthy” has a different meaning for everyone, so Genexa set out to explore how healthy families across the country define it. Follow along as Genexa presents the “Healthy Family” series! First up, we have Stephanie Peltier: this 27-year-old mother of two has been married for 9 years and is the creator of @HonestlyMommy. When the Forest Lake, Minnesota mom isn’t chasing her kids around, she finds inner balance with her own hobbies including sewing, singing, creative writing, and cooking.
What does being healthy mean for your family?
For my family, health means watching what we eat, staying active, and meeting our spiritual needs, too. I believe health is so much more than diet and fitness. Although those two things are the most obvious aspects of health, I believe true health is emotional as well as physical. You heart can be physically healthy but emotionally sick, and I think that will affect you more than almost anything. Taking care of yourself body, soul, mind, and spirit is an important aspect of overall health.
What are some of your best practices?
Allow yourself grace daily and be willing to "push delete" and move on. We all fail, regularly. We all have bad days, or cheat-on-our-diet days, and I think that's okay. The real battle comes in deciding what we're going to do when those days happen. I used to feel like when I failed, on my diet for example, that I should give up, there was no hope, and I should just quit. (Yes, I am a bit of a drama queen, please forgive me for that flaw.) But I've realized over time that no one is perfect and if I let the failure get to me, I lose. As simple as it seems, if I'm able to just brush it off, and move on, I've won in a small way. Every day is a new day to get up and try again.
What type of diet does your family follow?
My family follows an eating plan that I learned through a book called Trim Healthy Mama (THM). It's a lifestyle diet that teaches you how to pair foods correctly for optimal digestion. I don't consider myself a "crunchy" mom and am not all that great about doing an all organic diet, but I do believe that protein, vegetables, and dairy, paired with fruit and healthy carbs in moderation, make for optimal health. Now, that is not to say that I don't enjoy the occasional candy bar or drive through Wendy's...Okay, I do that more often than I'd like to admit, but let's not talk about it, okay?
What made you decide to adopt this diet?
I have always been interested in food and how it affects our bodies and this lifestyle just makes so much sense to me! THM isn't a "diet" plan or system you have to buy into. I don't count points, calories, or drink shakes (unless I want to, anyhow). It's taught me how to come up with meals on my own, make better choices at restaurants, and incorporate "super foods" into my diet to get the extra boost I need as a mom. There definitely is emphasis on it being a lifestyle, not a diet, and I love that!
I have been loosely following these guidelines for about 4-5 years now. I know that I feel better than I focus on eating according to plan and if I've gained a little bit of weight, I can tighten up my eating regimen and find I can shed the extra pounds within a week or two. I feel that my body handles food better and is healthier overall.
What do you do as a family to stay active?
Oh, man. Well, I'm not exactly a sporty gal, does walking the mall in high heels count as exercise? Just kidding, sort of. We do try to get outside as much as we can in the warmer months, but being from the north means you're stuck inside a lot during the winter, so we have to get creative to stay active. We like to take the kids to indoor playgrounds to help them let off a little steam. But during the winter months, we also bundle up and get outside to go sledding or play on the ice, if you've ever walked up a hill in full snow gear you know why I'm being honest when I say this is getting your work out in! Summer months are easy; we love walks in the cool of the evening, long romps at the park, and swimming at my grandma's house on the lake! There is no end to the fun around here!
Where are your favorite places to shop in Forest Lake, MN?
Don't get me started on shopping! I could talk for hours about the best malls! Actually, we have one of the biggest in the nation, and believe it or not, we rarely visit it! Mall of America is about 45 minutes away from my house, but I usually spend my time at its neighbor IKEA instead. I also love Target, but then again that was an obvious answer because I'm a stereotypical mom, we love Target, end of story. As for food, I'm an Aldi's regular, pretty sure they would call the cops if I didn't show up by 9am Wednesday morning. If I need specialty items for my Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle, or health products for the kids, I will make the occasional trip to Whole Foods or the small-town health store in White Bear Lake called Sassafrass.
What are your favorite things to do on the weekend as a family?
Go to the lake! My grandma lives on the most popular lake in town and has a great beach front. We are always camping out on her lawn, splashing in the water, or putting around on the lake. Minnesota is the land of 10,000 lakes so if it's summer and it's the weekend, that's most likely where you can find us. Or we go to the local Dairy Queen, because that's a good option, too.
What are your favorite travel destinations outside of your city?
We haven't been able to travel much with the kids yet, but we used to live in Sioux Falls, SD and we just loved that town! It was so cute and family oriented and their main street was just darling! I also love one of the local small towns called Stillwater. It's a quaint little town filled with charming antique shops and specialty boutiques along the Saint Croix River. I could spend forever there just browsing shops and enjoying the view. Actually, if I had it my way, I'd love to live there someday!