Jackie Marie Carr

How to Begin a Healthier Lifestyle

I have always been health conscious, but always felt the struggle of maintaining a system that worked for me. When I was younger, I was very athletic so staying in shape was my main concern. Although, when I was a senior in college I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism. I thought, “Just my luck!” If you are not familiar with hypothyroidism I will tell you a few of the symptoms; extreme fatigue and sluggishness, inability to lose weight, brain fog, depression, etc…

Once I started taking my medicine, I felt relatively better. Although, when I was expecting my first baby I knew keeping my weight and health in check would be a chore. The worst part of my first pregnancy was exhaustion. Keeping my energy levels up just to function normally was horrific! This is when I began my love for coffee!:)

I read many books and asked many questions to people who I knew to be an expert in this area.

One thing I definitely recommend when you are trying to begin a healthier lifestyle is (and a especially if you are a newbie) start out with small changes first.

I know this may not be possible if you are at an extreme or dangerous stage of health. But, I have found for me that moderation is the key to being faithful to a healthier lifestyle.

Your health lies in your hands.

I have heard the statement so many times, “We all are going to die, and so we might as well die happy!” This may be funny, but it’s really sad because we are a steward of our health and quality of life. We are supposed to take care of ourselves in a way that our families and others can benefit from our zeal of life. Just because a Ferrari can go 200 mph does not mean that you should drive it that fast. In the same sense, just because we can survive from fast food that doesn’t mean your body will perform to the best of its ability.

There are no magic solutions to beginning a healthier lifestyle. The key is winning small victories every day and being consistent. Victories build more victories.

We all have a time that we are going to die and we do not know when that will be, but we have much control over the type of lifestyle that we create for ourselves. Let me just tell you maintaining a healthier lifestyle is no simple task, and especially in the day that we live. Everything is extremely high paced which makes planning a healthy lifestyle challenging. I fight maintaining my health EVERY SINGLE day. Ultimately, the Lord holds my health in my hands, but He has given us stewardship over our bodies and health. I love this verse in III John 2, “Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.”


The following are a few ideas in how to begin a healthier lifestyle:

  1. Drink water

Instead of thinking about having to drink a ton of water, fill up a 32-ounce tumbler with water, and add lemon and a little stevia. My favorite thing to do right now is to add a couple drops of peppermint essential oil into my water. The peppermint oil makes me feel alert, and it’s easy. If you are just beginning a healthier lifestyle, think of the easiest way to implement healthy choices so that you do not talk yourself out of it.

Try to start out by drinking two tumblers a day. I typically do not get thirsty, so exercising in the morning helps to keep me thirsty the rest of the day. Drinking water helps your body rid itself of toxins and inflammation.

     2. Start small with an exercise routine.



I have actually seen much more harm done by exerting to hard at the beginning.

You can experience adrenal burn out and do much more harm in the long run. Studies say that you can maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle by striving to exercise 3-5 times a week for 20-30 minutes. Most of the time when you are first starting out, an exercise routine can seem daunting and exhausting. Meanwhile, do not think about the big picture of how much time it’s going to take or how big your goals seem, but instead break your exercise down into small steps.

Big goals are only won by winning small victories every day.

First, just put your shoes on, then just start walking, then the more you do you build momentum and positive accomplishments. Many times a person will never start because they feel like they can never dig themselves out of where they are. Or they compare their routine to someone who is a marathon runner or extreme athlete and think they cannot measure up. You do not have to have a gym membership; you do not have to have fancy equipment. Start with what you have. The idea is to break a sweat.

     3. Think of how you can make one meal a day a healthier choice.



Learning how to read food labels helped me dramatically.

I will never forget one of the first times I read a food label and researched each ingredient. I was almost in tears when I thought about all the chemicals I had been consuming for so long. We must retrain our mind to think of food as your fuel. Food is supposed to fuel your body to give your body sustainable life and energy. I always tell myself if I feel like junk, many times I have been eating junk. The more chemicals and processed foods you can stay away from the better. That means refined sugar, caffeine, white salt, and white bread. Here is a link, that you can read about the ingredients in most regular white breads. https://organicslant.com/2017-its-time-to-come-clean/

I do not live an extreme lifestyle.

I rarely ever refuse food that people give me and I do not bring up the topic in front of them. I also rarely make a fuss when I go to a restaurant with people (although, I typically only eat out 1-2 times a week). I do the best that I can do with the resources that I have.

If you typically eat cereal for breakfast, then try to buy an organic one with less sugar. If you eat a sandwich at lunch try to implement healthier bread. Eating good for you seems more expensive at first, but after a while when you examine your eating schedule you figure how to cut corners. Many times much money is wasted on fast food, because we are too tired to prepare healthy food. The reason I am tired, mainly, is because of MY poor food choices. This thing is a vicious, mean cycle.

I already liked healthy whole grain cereals, oatmeal, and other things, so I started with changing my lunch routine. Instead of eating chips, sandwich, coke, and a sweet; I started eating raw broccoli and carrots with ranch dressing with my sandwich. Let me tell you I did not like it at all at first. BUT I enjoyed my sandwich. I thought about savoring what I did like even if I had to choke down the vegetables.



Today, I pretty much have the same routine. I eat a sandwich, raw veggies (which consists of broccoli, spinach, and baby carrots) and ranch. I use a salad dressing that has better ingredients. I use organic whole grain seeded bread or I use Ezekiel bread. I use deli meat that has no nitrates, no preservatives and chemicals. I use Wal-Mart’s sliced natural cheese because it’s the cheapest/healthiest choice to me. I still use regular mayo because my grocery store usually does not carry a great chemical-free mayo. That’s usually my lunch or I will eat a huge plate of baby spinach leaves with grilled chicken or grilled shrimp and toppings. If I am doing vegan, which is rare:), I will substitute avocado for the meat. I add cheese on top, roma tomatoes, and every now in then avocado and cucumbers. You can change out your toppings for what you like.



I did not make all these changes at the beginning.

If I would have I would not have stuck with it. Also, if you are from the South and have lived your life eating comfort foods, I would not suggest looking at recipes with random ingredients you are not familiar with. This will discourage you. The same idea for people who live in other areas of the country and visa versa.

The reason I try to be so strict with chemicals is because they negatively affect your metabolism, hormones, thought to be the leading cause of cancer, and do not fuel your body in the long run.

These are a few ideas I have used when I began a healthier lifestyle 12 years ago, and what has helped me to maintain a healthier lifestyle. There are so many more things that I do now. Especially now that I am in my 30’s, I have had to be much more proactive. I will share these ideas with you too if you want. I have had many people ask me where should they even start with living a healthier lifestyle. For this reason, I started with these three easy ideas.

I would love to see a community of women encouraging each other in this area. I am definitely not one to look my nose down at anyone or think I have all the answers. WE all have our strengths and weaknesses. We are to grow in grace every day. Also, there are so many areas especially in women’s lives that we have to oversee. Women are the ultimate managers.:)

If this post has helped you, please like and share. You can also follow me on my social media accounts. I mainly use Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. I would love to have an accountability through social media where we can discuss our growth on non-judgmental ground. All of us should have a life motto of edifying others. I mainly use Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook.


I love you all!





“Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.” Philippians 4:5-7

“She girdeth her loins with strength, and strengtheneth her arms.” Proverbs 31:17