About Lifestyle Menu

Russ and Jake at Bridger Bowl

Russ and Jake at Bridger Bowl

Lyn Ashby - Creator of Lifestyle Menu

My name is Lyn Ashby and I am an Aussie living in Montana with my husband, Russell and our teenage son, Jake.

Having transformed my life and health in the past two years, by adopting healthier eating alternatives, I have become passionate about developing creative substitutes for mainstream foods. This has grown to the extent that I have now nearly completed my certification in food coaching so that I can share my knowledge with others wanting to get healthier while still enjoying good food, good wine and a good life.

About Me

Over the years I have lived in many locations in Australia and the USA , plus a year in Canada, on Vancouver Island, and at Whistler. Russ, is American and Jake, is lucky to have dual citizenship. We recently moved from the New South Wales South Coast of Australia, to Bozeman, Montana, USA. We wanted to be nearer to Russell’s Mum as she gets older, ski more and have a great place for our son to go through his late teens and college years. We are so lucky that our business is portable, as long as we have Internet access we can work.

We Love Food!

The first thing I want to say is that I love food. I love everything about food, looking at it, feeling it, photographing it, smelling it, cooking it and, of course, eating it. I even love growing it, despite the fact that I don’t have green thumbs and rarely have success. Except for onions, herbs and jalapenos which I manage to grow in abundance.

Russ and I are very social beings and good food and wine play a big part of our lives. We love dining out with friends and entertaining at home. On special occasions we show our love by making special dishes for each other. I cannot remember a birthday or Father’s Day where homemade eggs  benedict, complete with homemade hollandaise sauce, hasn’t been the dish of the day.

Then There’s the Weight Issue

Regarding weight, I was very lucky when I was young. I had a fast metabolism and could pretty much eat anything I wanted, without exercising and still remain slim. Once I was in my 30s I had to start exercising to maintain my weight, but I could still eat anything I wanted. During my 40s I needed to become much more careful with what I ate or I would pile on extra pounds. After having a baby at 44 things got even more difficult. Let’s not even mention the 50’s, everything fell apart. 

Our family Christmas in Australia.

My extended family. Our last Christmas in Australia.

Before I started on my personal lifestyle plan it was always a struggle. It’s not that I was very overweight. Unless I was dieting I was usually between 10 and 20 pounds (5 and 10 kilos) over what is considered a healthy weight and for some reason it all went on around my middle. It was enough to make the difference between feeling good about my appearance and not. I also knew that, it wasn’t healthy. I had high blood pressure, moderate sleep apnea and insulin resistance, all of which put me at high risk for heart attack, stroke or diabetes.

The Dieting Struggles

It was in my early 40’s that I started dieting and, believe me, I think I’ve tried most of the diets that are out there. I’ve tried a lot of the fad ones including The Soup Diet, The Army Diet, The Cheese Diet and the No Carbs Diet. I have also tried a lot of what many would call more sensible eating plans ranging from Weight Watchers through to an extremely expensive one where I paid $600 to weigh minute portions of food to the gram. The most bizarre one I went on essentially had me eating pounds and pounds of raw broccoli for most meals of the day, which was unbearable. I’m surprised it hasn’t turned me off broccoli for life. The common factor with all of these weight loss programs is that the weight always came back on afterwards. With the fad ones, this usually happened very quickly but even with the more sensible ones it would come back over a period of 3 to 6 months.

Australian Kookaburra

Russ with our favorite Kookaburra. We called him ‘Cheeky’.

I considered that I ate quite well. Both Russ and I loved cooking and cooked our meals using fresh ingredients. I only ate junk food occasionally and I exercised regularly. Despite all this I was always struggling with those extra unwanted pounds. We do enjoy entertaining and dining out and I love a nice glass or two of wine plus the occasional cocktail, all of which I wasn’t prepared to give up. Another challenge that I had was that I sat at a computer for long hours at a time for my work, and no amount of exercise can offset ten hours a day sitting on my butt.

A New Approach

Since then, I have been on a mission to research and discover lifestyle changes that will enable me to still enjoy the things that I love and maintain a healthy weight. I feel that I am finally off the roller coaster of dieting, have been a healthy weight for over a year and a half now and have reversed all my health conditions. We still enjoy an active social life and I plan on skiing till I am old and gray. Hang on, I’m already old and gray, but you know the weird thing is I don’t really mentally feel any different than I did when I was a teenager.

It always makes me think of my Mum when she turned 80 (I know I am now in the USA but we call Mom, Mum in Australia and I think she would turn in her grave if I referred to her as Mom). I will never forget when she said to me, “love, I know I am an old lady in an old lady’s body but inside, in my mind, I am still a young woman. That is the hardest part of ageing”.

Bozeman Galligator Trail

Loving living in Bozeman.

My Final Challenge

The one final challenge I need to overcome is learning to relax. I have a naturally high stress nature and I know that this is not healthy. Having conquered most of my eating challenges I am now focusing on the mental and holistic areas of health and will document my progress in these pages.

I like to share what I have learned including recipes, photos, articles and videos on topics that I think may interest fellow foodies. Especially those that are struggling to shed a few pounds while maintaining a vibrant lifestyle.

If you are still reading at this point you may like this post about my criteria for a healthy diet plan. Though diet it isn’t, it is a lifestyle transition.

I hope you enjoy what I have to offer and, if you do, please share using the social buttons below. You may also like to subscribe for my twice monthly updates using the form at the top of this page.