Interview #4 of 52:  “A little Becomes a LOT!”

A week ago this whole 52 interview thing I’ve embarked on came to life for me! During my interview with Natalie we discovered that we live in the same town and last weekend we had lunch together!  We hugged like old friends and started talking as if we had “so much to catch up on.”  This girl is incredible and I can’t wait for you to meet her.  So without further ado, meet Natalie.

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Natalie is an LA native who grew up in the valley and ventured to Colorado and then Arizona for college.  She’s back in LA now and is an assistant teacher at a private school at UCLA.  She works with 6th graders, nanny’s and tutors.  “It’s all about kids, all the time” she said as she talks about her passion for working with children.  She loves it and hopes to take it to the next level by going back to school for a degree in counseling.  She loves connecting with them and working through the emotional side of growing up!  

Outside the classroom Natalie is all about her health!  Her transformation really began when she got her first job out of college.  She would do the grind: go to work all day, come home tired and sit on the couch.  “I can’t think of a specific moment but I remember getting home from work, not having anything to do and thought, ‘Am I just going to sit?’” She decided that even if she went to the gym and just walked on the treadmill at least she was doing something.  She had done Weight Watchers 2 years prior so she decided to just commit to it again. But this time really go for it.  

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She decided to fill her free time with bettering herself.  From the ages of 12-21 she was always trying something new.  This time she decided not to give up when it was hard, not to give up when it was inconvenient, and not to give up after 3 weeks!  This rang true to me.  How often do we stop a new healthy routine because “we’re just not seeing results…”  Ummm ALL THE TIME!?  We eat clean for a few days and we’re like, “no six pack? Not worth it then!” And we go back to our old habits.  Natalie is an example of allowing her body to catch on; giving herself the room to grow and explore this new healthy life; and trusting the process.

“I didn’t give myself a deadline. I didn’t put on expectations. I wasn’t discouraged if it wasn’t exactly what I wished” she said referring to her 35 pound weight loss in just 1 year!  “That’s why it was so good!” She allowed herself to do it little by little and let her body adjust as she kept pushing forward.  “I was doing the right things and I knew I was on the right path.  All of the sudden 2 was 15 and then 15 was 30!!!!”  I could hear the excitement in her voice as she relived these milestones in her journey.

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Knowing that she took her weight loss journey slow and steady, I wanted to know if she experienced any struggles during this year process.  “Weight loss is all YOU,” she said.  Every decision is so personal.  It comes from no one else. You and you alone decide what you’re putting on your plate and if you’re working out.  “It’s like running - I couldn’t run a straight mile for years and I would just STOP if it was too hard.”  Now she doesn’t stop.  She had to overcome the voices in her head telling her it was ok to stop.  She had to quite the conversations where she would talk herself in and out of the run.  “I had to keep telling myself I could do it!”  Even if she slowed her pace, she kept going! Just like anything she started slow, gained her confidence, and told her self to “just breathe through it.”  She’s taken control of her mentality and now realizes nothing good happens in your comfort zone!  

I related to her so much as she shared her thought process while running. When I was marathon training, I was hyper aware of every ache, pain, frustration, etc.  I could talk myself in or out of every run.  So I wanted to know if she had any of the same self-limiting beliefs that I definitely experienced on my fitness journey.  

“I was more focused on my short comings than my positive efforts” she said referring to how she realized she was DIETING not changing her lifestyle.  She would nit pick herself and only highlight the flaws in her nutrition even though she was doing well.  She kept telling herself that she wasn’t doing “enough.” The deeper and deeper she went down the rabbit hole of her fitness journey she kept putting the pressure on to do more.  She started comparing herself to others and in that comparison she felt like she wasn’t doing enough. “We are all constantly trying to show the best parts of our lives…not to show off but to prove ourselves” she said referring to the fitness account she has on Instagram and what she constantly saw as the examples of health. 

It wasn’t until she realized the effort she was putting in and how much she was doing to take care of herself that she started to love herself again.  “I really developed the idea of self love when I saw myself making harder and harder choices for ME!  It was really empowering!”  Boom!  You go Natalie!  It took me 2 decades to even realize that I needed to dip a toe in the pool of self love. She was able to recognize all the amazing things and start swimming in that pool early in life!  

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Now that she’s well on her way and such an incredible example, I had to ask if she still struggles and if so, how she combats those thought or the flare ups up negativity.  “I had this idea when I was on Weight Watchers that I would do amazing ALLL week and then go nuts over the weekend…go WAY too far.  I would blow it on the weekend.’  She said if she had a craving for ice cream on a Tuesday she would wait until Friday and then eat WAY too much.  “Like the last supper” she says with a laugh!  She explained how finding balance takes a while and patience with yourself.  

She told me how the last month has been so freeing because she’s finally released the obsession.  Having lost 35 pounds she has a lingering fear of gaining it all back.  To make sure she didn’t, she would turn a lot of things down just for the weight loss.  “I had to check myself and remind myself that it’s all about balance.”  The fear of gaining it all back has been so deeply engrained in her that she has had to work on being flexible.  Sometimes she looks back at the journey and feels wow’ed that she’s lost so much!  

Before we hung up I asked her to describe her dream life to me and what her tips are for someone who is just getting started on their journey.  

“My dream life… I would be comfortable both financially, physically and emotionally…very comfortable!”  She doesn’t need anything big or flashy just a life where she doesn’t have to worry.  Health would be the cornerstone of her life and her job would be one she enjoys every day.  AND one where she helps people!  She wants to live a life of incredible freedom!

And for the person reading this who is just getting started she had these three nuggets of wisdom to share with you!

  1. Keep going! keep effing going!  Even if you don’t see results. Even if you have weeks with small or no losses.
  2. Be consistent. Consistency is king!  Trust me, a little becomes a lot!  There is no finish line.  I always thought there was a secret but I never found it…It was just being consistent.
  3. Nothing worth having comes easy!  It takes immense work!  Be willing to put in the work and be better each day.
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Natalie is one of those spirits that you want to just bask in her glow!  She has such a vibrant personality and was put on this earth to help people feel truly awesome about themselves.  Whether it’s the kids in her classroom or the person inspired by her journey, she is the friend and leader you want in your corner!  It’s such a pleasure to know Natalie and now call her my friend! 

Thank you for taking the time to engage in my 4th interview of 52 inspiring women!  Please feel free to share your comments, feelings and send this to a friend you think would benefit from reading this!  If you want me to interview someone you find incredibly inspiring, I would be truly honored to meet them! This is a journey that has no parameters or rules!  Let’s have fun with it and continue to spread the message of empowerment, love and kindness - to ourselves and others!

You can follow Natalie on Instagram @fitforlife_nat

xo

Becky