Gratitude and a bit of therapy!


Last week I shared a blog post that was very personal to me. Once I hit the publish button I sat alone in my living room wondering what (if any) response I would get from past clients, colleagues and other experts in the field. I’m not really sure what I was scared of, I think I was worried that all my negative self talk would come back to me, reflected in comments of my newsfeed.

But that didn’t happen.

Instead, each comment came in, one after the next, full of support. Many sharing their own stories of trying to balance the busy life of a mama with their own needs to care for themselves.  To balance the love you have for another little human, with the love you have for yourself.

Even my lovely and vibrant fitness friends (who to me are practically perfect in every way) shared these same insecurities, struggling to balance ‘looking the part’ with feeling good in their own skin, regardless of what that looks like. To balance working out and ‘clean eating’ with being healthy and having a bit of fun.

For all of these comments, I am grateful.

So now here I am, logging what I eat everyday on All I truly have to say about that is ‘I don’t wanna!!’ (insert image of me throwing a full blown tantrum). I barely have time to eat, let alone eat and then write all about it. I will do it though, at least for this week, because Paluna says I have to. She needs to know where I am so that at she knows what changes we can start making (although I have a feeling she will be removing my trips to Starbucks).

‘You can’t know where your going unless you know where you have been’

My main issue with logging what I eat is that I’ve gone down this road before, with weight watchers, with clean eating, with just about anything. I know it works, I know it can help me, but it turns me into an obsessive control freak.

I am an all or nothing kinda girl, I’m either binge eating Peanut Butter M&M’s or I am logging every little thing I eat, unable to bend when my environment requires it. Any little change in my ‘plan’ for the day (eating or exercising) causes me so much anxiety and it translates as impatience and even rage (irritability might be a better word…no, its rage). Yes I have lost 70 pounds in the past, but I had to avoid a lot of ‘life’ to do that, I very rarely went out, and when I did I was miserable (or I binged).

Well, I just wanted to give you all an update and thank you for the love and support. I know that typically I am mean to start a journey like this with a before picture, preferably a hideous, embarrassing, before picture. So I guess I will partake in the social norms. So here I am at my sister’s German themed wedding (which was lovely).

Oh and another really exciting thing that happened? My brilliant friend Abby, who just happens to be a Psychotherapist who specializes in women’s health and disordered eating, has offered to join me on this journey and offer words of wisdom when I need it. She will be popping in from time to time, so without further adieu, here’s Abby!

11994495_10153110610147218_124957201_nTherapists Thoughts

Hi All, I suggested to Natasha that it might be useful for her and for others if I “therapize” her blog a little bit, as many of us struggle with similar issues.

First things first, black and white thinking is both common and totally unhelpful. Have you ever started a diet, ate something that you didn’t think you should, and then thought to yourself: “well, this day is ruined. Pass me the bag of halloween candy.” While black and white thinking can pop up in many areas of life, it can be quite debilitating for some. When Natasha oscillates between a strict diet or binge eating, she isn’t allowing for any self-compassion or balance.  She is telling herself “you have no self-control, so adhere to this uber controlled diet or fail.” When she ultimately does fail, It comes with a huge range of negative feelings and self-talk. I’ve heard clients share with me that they feel anger, disgust, remorse, hopelessness and shame in these situations.

Well, what’s a girl to do? What would happen if you woke up and said to yourself, “I’m feeling unhealthy.  I’m tired, my body hurts, and my clothes don’t fit.  How can I support myself in feeling more like me?”  And then you think about what foods might make you feel that way and add them to your current diet.  Instead of cutting out everything and anything, you start adding some things to help facilitate a gradual change. What would happen if, when you reach for those M&M’s you stop and think to yourself “is this what I really need in this moment?”  Sometimes it is – and by all means – go for it, but sometimes it’s filling a deeper need you aren’t even aware of. What if when you eat those M&M’s you make a point to eat them mindfully so that, at the very least, you can enjoy them?

In today’s society, the number one thing women are shamed about is their appearance (with motherhood a close 2nd). When we let shame drive how we treat our bodies we disempower ourselves by making choices based on “shoulds” rather than what we want and need.  When we decide to engage in fitness or diet changes based on shame it is unhealthy. While a doctor might be thrilled (it’s all about BMI after all), we are feeding into the idea that we are worthy only when we have achieved certain physical ideals.  Well fuck that! (Yeah, you read right). Make changes because YOU want to. Make changes that will make you happy.  And live your life in a way that fulfills you!

PS – Tash, you look hot dressed as a fraulein.

Getting Personal – The struggle I said I would never share!

This is personal, so personal that my tummy is in knots as I write this and hitting the publish button will likely require a bottle of wine.

I’m not sure if you have noticed the radio silence on our social media. It’s literally been crickets out there and here is the story as to why.

Many of you know me as Natasha, the slightly quirky, kinda fun, fitness instructor that pushes you hard and still leaves you with enough energy to cook dinner for your family at the end of the day (albeit with shaky arms).

I am still her, yet I seem to be living in a much different package these days; a slightly heavier, more expensive to ship, package.

I know that gaining a little bit of weight is not a really great reason to stop posting. I could not bring myself to write as the expert I claim to be while my pants are cutting the circulation off to my head.

The truth is that I have gained more than a ‘little weight’ and while I am one of those people that is proud of every body at every size, this is getting way out of hand and actually a little scary. I find day-to-day living very uncomfortable and I just don’t feel like that quirky, fun, instructor I used to be.

Well, this morning I jumped on a scale. I know what you’re thinking ‘why the &*%$’ did you do that?’. I can only describe that fateful walk to the scale as a loss of consciousness or perhaps an evil spell created by the scale manufacturers. Even as I walked towards it I was thinking ‘This is not right’ and for some reason I did it anyway. That stupid red needle shot up 10 pounds PAST where I was before I gave birth to my daughter……..*insert jaw drop here*.

To give you some perspective, here is a photo of me 9 months pregnant:

(please don’t ask my why I am wearing only cheesecloth, I will never know the answer).

So what happened?

Here is what I think happened – it certainly feels like a blur. Many of you know I’m a success story (snicker). The reason I am a fitness instructor today is because I worked my little tail off to lose 70 pounds and stay my goal weight for nearly 7 years. I know my shit, I know fitness, and I actually love it. Somewhere between the strict ‘calories in vs. calories out’ and the very structured fitness regime I gave birth to my daughter and my priorities changed.

I didn’t want to focus all my energy on my weight anymore, I didn’t want to feel anxious about everything I ate, and binge when I make a mistake. I wanted to enjoy life and enjoy my daughter, not only that, I wanted to eat cake and drink loads of coffee. I was tired, holly hell was I tired. I had very little support (none actually….should I make that into a movie?) most of my family and friends live in another city. My daughter woke up a trillion times a night, still does, and all I wanted to eat was the entire Starbucks menu.

Then the worst happened – ok, so that isn’t the worst ever, it definitely felt like it at the time though (you know, relativity and all that jazz). Anyway, the worst happened, my husband was relocated to Vancouver – about 4000km from my current city. What was once no support became negative support followed by intense loneliness and the loss of the job I love more than anything (working with you gals). Not only that but running a business remotely while raising my little one became too much for me.

So I did what I do best, I ate. And now, I am the size of two people – or at least a woman with a baby or two on board.  

Don’t get me wrong, this is not ALL about my weight – a whole lot of it is though. I wish I could be one of those women who is happy regardless of her size, but I’m not. So much of my identity is wrapped up in being fit, which is why I could no longer bring myself to post anything with integrity.

Now what?

Inside my head is an epic battle between the need be my fighting weight and just having a happy/healthy lifestyle that makes room for balance. I truly just want to be happy as I am, extra weight and all, but I also want to be healthy, and right now I am neither.

Gone are the days where I log everything I eat and spend countless hours at the gym. I can’t do that, it’s not my thing, and like I said, my priorities have changed. There is a young girl who looks up to me now, and she is counting on me to how her a healthy/fit woman, one that is not obsessed about her muffin top or every ounce of food she puts in her mouth. A woman that feels good in her body because she treats it right, not because is looks a certain way.

So, I am going to call in the big guns (she actually has big guns) and ask for help. Yup, I am actually going to follow the advice I have once given you, and ask for help.

Enter Paluna, a Baby & Me instructor and very close friend for nearly a decade. She is also a Nike trainer, weight lifter, and an expert when it comes to nutrition.  This is not a shameless plug for Paluna, we are not attempting to create some sort of program for women just like me. Nope, I called her and hired her to keep me accountable to my food intake, without losing my mind over it. She thankfully has agreed to this enormous task (pardon the pun).

Ok, that was low, even for me.

This is Paluna

Moving on. The next time I write a blog post I will be ½ way towards my goal weight.  I’m kidding, I will at least have a plan, and that is a step in the right direction. It is at least a step I wasn’t willing to take last year (or sadly, the year before that).

Where is my before picture you ask? Not ready for that yet.