Note from Dustin:  I’m a BIG fan of living intentionally, and I’ve learned a lot about it from Nina Nelson – aka “Shalom Mama.”  I invited Nina to share her thoughts about how to get started toward better health – and a better marriage – in a simple way.  I think you’ll love this post, and don’t miss the great giveaway at the end!

For years I was unhappy with my health.

I was overweight and felt uncomfortable with my body, wishing that I could feel better about myself. My activity level consisted of short walks and lifting my kids. And my diet was anything but healthy.

I was fed up with feeling that way.

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In August 2010, my husband, Ian, and I were invited to be part of a test group for a new fitness program. I was excited to get in shape and feel better about my body.

While the workouts were fun and I was feeling stronger, I noticed that I wasn’t losing weight. That’s when I took a hard look at the food I was eating and realized something had to change. I took control of my portion sizes, stopped eating grains and sugar (for weight loss and food allergy purposes) and started eating a lot more veggies.

I started melting.

I realized that I couldn’t approach my health from only one angle. I had to be intentional about every aspect if I wanted to feel good all the time. Taking care of other needs like rest, relationships and spirituality also moved to a higher priority as I realized that holistic wellness involved more than just my body.

Through these changes, my body became healthier and I feel better now than I ever have. But something else was affected by being more intentional about my health.

My marriage got better.

As Ian and I started working out together, we began to have a lot more fun. Instead of doing jumping jacks in one place, he would chase me around the room, looking silly as could be. Jumping jacks are more challenging when you’re giggling…

Our dates also became more intentional. Instead of the typical dinner and a movie, we sought more adventurous things to do. Ian had always been in pretty great shape, but I was not. I was usually reluctant to do anything physical before for fear that he would get frustrated with me. I didn’t want to be embarrassed.

But with my new strength and endurance, I was ready to go on hikes and do other fun things outside. I quickly found that outdoor dates really made Ian come alive. And my willingness to “play” outside with him really made him feel loved. Our intimacy grew in areas that it never really had before.

And I’m happy to say that he found my new self-confidence incredibly sexy. Win.

It just took one simple change. One decision to become more intentional about health. A decision that quickly spilled over into other areas of our lives. Our finances. Our parenting. Our relationships with other people. And our relationship with each other.

Health can be simple. Marriage doesn’t have to be complicated. It just takes one decision and the intentional action to make it happen.

Are you ready?

Win a Copy of Simple Natural Health!

Nina just released her new e-book Simple Natural Health, and I have to say that it is fantastic!  And I’m excited because she has generously agreed to give away a copy to one lucky Engaged Marriage reader.

To enter this giveaway, all you have to do is go check out the book, then come back here and a leave a comment describing why you think Simple Natural Health would help you and your marriage.

I will select one commenter at random to win the book at Noon CST on Friday, February 3rd.  Good luck!

NOTE: If you’d like to pick up a copy, Nina has also set up a special 10% off discount that expires at Noon on February 2nd.  This is good for the PDF version only, and you can get your discount by entering SIMPLE10 at checkout.  Enjoy!

Nina Nelson is a wellness advocate, mama to four and wife to one. She writes regularly at Shalom Mama, inspiring others to live intentionally. She loves reading, snuggling and giggling at miniature horses.


About the author 


Dustin Riechmann created Engaged Marriage to help other married couples live a life they love (especially) when they feel too busy to make it happen. He has many passions, including sharing ways to enjoy an awesome marriage in 15 minutes a day, but his heart belongs with his wife Bethany and their three young kids.

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  1. I am tired all the time I workout 5 days a week but definately don’t have the energy my husband does. It would be great to find that energy it would put some extra spark back in the dating world of marriage.

  2. I have struggled with my weight since our last child was born. I have done everything I can come up with to improve our diets, eat healthy, and incorporate more movement into our lives. Ideas about where to go next would be WONDERFUL, since I’m not seeing any success. Regardless, thanks for introducing me to Ms. Nelson’s work – I’m excited to read more!

  3. Anything that can help me melt away the pounds would be a boost to my overall health. I can attest, having lost some 25+ lbs over the past couple of years that even a small loss contributes to increased martial intimacy. I can only imagine how much more can come from significant weight loss. Hubby and I have already started down the path to healthier living, but alas, he’s been much more successful at weight loss than I. His pounds have melted; mine have frozen. I’d love to read Ms. Nelson’s work and learn more.

  4. Nina, great post and you nailed it about fitness increasing the joys of your marriage.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us.

  5. Great post… I believe health is important in marriage. I agree with you Nina! Your book looks great! I’m sure gonna learn a lot from this! =D

  6. This book sounds so refreshing! I love the idea of changes I can make TODAY! I, too, am a huge fan of intentional living… but sometimes allow the overwhelming steps to getting healthy get in my way, especially in my marriage. Thanks for sharing this wonderful book! I would LOVE to win!! =)

  7. We’re getting married in October and I think this book would help my fiance and I come to a good middle ground on natural living/eating. I tend to go to the extreme which scares him off! I’m hoping this could give me some great tips that we can start implementing immediately withoug getting too overwhelmed like I’ve feld after reading a lot of other “natural living” books. Thanks!

  8. This book looks great! My husband and I are both trying to get more fit, and I would love to see how this would help us become healthier as a couple!

  9. Living in a rut is where I am at. Get up, get husband and kids out the door, go to work, come home, make dinner, put the kids to bed, get things ready for tomorrow, go to bed exhausted, start over…I want to live more simply. It seems difficult to get that right start in the right direction. I am constantly tired and not exercising or eating right. I know that if my husband and I can start improving our health together we can get out of this “rut” and improve our lives, health, and marriage.

  10. Nina’s book sounds like just what I need! I am in a rut, at my almost highest weight, and my marriage needs some work too!
    I would love to read Nina’s book!

  11. I really believe in a whole approach to wellness. I can hardly wait to get Shalom Mama’s book in my hands and read her ideas tips for a simpler, more balanced healthy life. It is true that being proactive toward our health benefits all the other aspects of our lives.

  12. What a great tool. Simplicity is so important these days and in 2012 my goal is to look great and feel great. What a great way to spice things up

  13. The book looks fantastic! We are always trying to eat healthier and incorporate a steady routine, but we haven’t really gotten serious about it and I would love this book for us to read together!

  14. We moved to the farm with the intention of simplifying our life. This book seems like it would help me cook healthy easy meals for our family of 8. Thanks.

  15. Looks like just what the doctor ordered! I had a heart attack and bypass surgery a little over a year ago and have been struggling to get my weight down. I need to lose at least 75lbs.

  16. Congratulations to PatriciaW who won a free copy of Nina’s great book!

    For everyone else, I want to say thank you for entering and I highly encourage you to pick up a copy of this book and put it to good use in your busy lives.

    Also, if you’re looking for a workout program to help you meet your goals, I’d encourage you to check out the same program that helped Nina – our very own Thrive90 Fitness system. You can check it out here:

  17. Living intentionally is so important. And you’re right about working out together. It really changes the dynamic of the marriage. My wife and I work out together and we have so much fun together hitting goals and feeling good about ourselves and each other. And the added plus is that self-confidence each of us gained. We both walking around a little less clad than normal and we’re loving it!

  18. This is an amazing story! My marriage failed and I’m putting the pieces back together on my own. Perhaps I’ll have better luck in my future with relationships.

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  20. Pingback: Confessions of a (Frugal) Crunchy Mama | Shalom Mama
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