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Horses, Hops and Haircuts: This is Suzanne’s story.

Horses, Hops and Haircuts: This is Suzanne’s story.

Salon owner Suzanne Larsen’s health challenges inspired a bold new lifestyle choice. Now balancing a business, a busy family and the country lifestyle, have things changed for the better?

It got the point where I knew I needed a change – for my health, for my family, for me.

In 2017 my husband and two teenage girls moved to a small country town, an hour from the big city. The move was a chance for us all to live a little healthier. A way to swap our sedentary city life for a cleaner, greener, more active lifestyle.

Two horses, two alpacas, three dogs, three chickens, one bird, one cat and a turtle later, and we’ve never looked back.

The change was the right one for me and my family, even if it hasn’t completely solved my health and weight problems that inspired the shift.

These days, I wake up with the sunrise to chase two very spoilt and pampered horses around the paddock, feed the menagerie and generally make sure everyone is on the move. The 6am commute turns into a full day on my feet at the hairdressing salon I own and run. Working every Saturday as well, I usually spend around 60 hours a week keeping my business humming.  

Okay – I’ll come clean. My diet isn’t great. I really struggle to fit in healthy meals at work and will often rely on quick snacks to get through the day. My danger time is the commute – an hour each way leaves far too much time for potato chips and lollies.

And yes, I’ll confess it - I don’t go to the gym. Instead, my Sundays are generally spent outdoors at the girls’ horse competitions, maintaining the land or simply enjoying the country lifestyle we’ve chosen.

Like a lot of my friends, I’ve hopped from fad to fad in the attempt to manage my health.  

Paleo lasted a few months, but making meals work around the salon and my family proved to be a real challenge. I also tried meal replacement powders, but they just tasted terrible! Taking my health and wellness journey to extremes (for me anyway), I even stopped drinking alcohol for six months.

Nothing stuck.

I’ve been around long enough to see health fads come and go and I know that a healthy lifestyle starts and ends with the right choices about what I eat and how I use my body. That’s why we moved to country in the first place!

So… the million-dollar question. Has my new lifestyle made a difference in my health & wellbeing?

I’m happy to report that I’ve achieved some real health and wellbeing progress so far.

Being closer to nature, spending more time with my family and making better food choices has delivered some promising results. I have a new sense of confidence that I can achieve my health & wellbeing goals and stay on track to a healthier me.

If I had to put it all down to something, it would be my diet and smarter food choices.

I have a new appreciation for what I put into my body - particularly on that long commute home each day. I catch myself looking more objectively at the type of food I eat, taking the time to consider if it’s right for me and, sometimes, just saying no.

What does that mean in practice? I find I’m flipping over the packaging more – reading things like calories, sugar content and ingredients and making choices based on whether they are right for me, not just how hungry I am right there and then.

I know I’ve got a long road to go, most of us do. 5am starts and chasing animals around the property probably isn’t enough exercise for me – and I need to work on that. Likewise, my diet still isn’t perfect, but I’m getting there.

Overall, it’s been a great year since we moved to the country and I have a renewed sense of confidence that I’ll get there – at my own pace maybe – but I’ll get there.

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