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Newcastle, NSW

Q & A ...on eating well

Introducing Bec Peterson

Bec is a Lake Macquarie resident and mother of 2 and she shared with us her decision to eat better and take ownership of her family’s health. She loves experimenting in the kitchen with healthy raw deserts and today she shared with us 2 raw deserts - Apple Crumble and Cherry Ripes. The Change My Life team at the photo shoot found them delicious!

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I am a wife and a mother to a 6 year old girl and an 11 month old boy, and every other day I am a photographer.

Prior to children, I thought I was conscious of my health and actually considered myself to be a relatively healthy person. I lead a fairly active lifestyle and maintained enough physical fitness to lead scuba divers every weekend and swim 1-2kms a few times a week. However, I would require 10+ hours of sleep each night to feel refreshed and to be honest, my logic was, “If you ate less and exercised more, then that meant you were probably pretty healthy.” After my first child, I became more sedentary and slowly began to gain weight as I became less active.

What’s the most important thing for you?

The most important thing in my life is my family. First and foremost is my husband, because without him we could not have had our children, and with him, I hope to raise them to want to have a positive impact on the people and world around them.

So what started you on your health jouney?

My health journey began only 3 years ago. Maybe a year after having our daughter, my husband and I became so focussed on work that we got stuck in a really unhealthy cycle and we really let our physical and mental health deteriorate, but we never even noticed it happening. We often ordered take away because “That’s all we had time for,” and sadly we never even gave it a second thought. When we did actually have time to be together as a family, we would go to the movies and eat junk food, or stay home to watch movies and eat junk food because that’s all we had the energy for and we blamed our fatigue on a restless child and long working hours.

Often I would catch my husband snoring, even though he wasn’t sleeping or he would fall asleep mid-conversation. I knew he was unhealthy and I had no idea what to do about it. I would get so frustrated and yell at him to start exercising because he was gaining so much weight that I actually thought he would have a heart attack, or maybe not wake up one day (he would stop breathing for long periods while he was sleeping). I never thought that I could be at fault by preparing the wrong types of meals for him.

Then one day something just clicked and I decided to make the commitment to be a better wife and mother by taking care of my family’s health.

What are some of the daily challenges to eating healthy?

Strangely enough, I found the biggest challenge to eating healthy was the people we surrounded ourselves with. Like all things in life, when you surround yourself with like minded people, it’s easier to remain focused, but when you surround yourself with people who don’t hold the same values as you, it makes any change more challenging and you find it easy to make excuses and slip back into old habits.

Another challenge I found was brand influence. So many foods are branded as healthier options. I had no issues feeding my child a yoghurt that was packed with refined sugars each day, simply because the packaging made it look and sound healthy. It wasn’t until I learnt to read the ingredients that I realised just how toxic many packaged foods are.

What does it feel like to fuel your body with good healthy food?

It’s a feeling that can’t really be described until you’ve felt it for yourself. I thought I knew what it felt like to feel good, but in reality I had no idea! My family and I are not perfect and we still eat unhealthy from time to time, but my body really feels the repercussions. With a clean diet, I find I have so much more mental clarity and energy to work, play with my kids and also fit in a bit of regular exercise. My husband and I even ran the Raw Challenge and Spartan Race together which was something I never ever imagined we would do, especially since he was having issues recovering from the knee surgery he’d had 12 months prior to our lifestyle change! But the thing that surprised me the most was the fact that my daughter’s eczema finally cleared up and she actually began sleeping through the night. It was so amazing to see a kid that was used to eating packaged foods, actually enjoy spending time in the kitchen making and enjoying healthy, nutritious meals and treats.

How do you find the commitment to staying healthy?

There are still times when I get extremely busy between work and being a mother, so if I haven’t properly prepared meals and snacks for the week or for when we go away, it becomes rather easy to consume unhealthy foods simply because they are so quick, convenient and cheap. Although, these days it is easier to access a larger range of healthier options, it’s unfortunate that they are also generally so much more expensive, so being prepared really is key. Also sharing tasty, nutritious alternatives that I have made with my family and friends, and then watching them enjoy it really gives me great joy.

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