Who is Natasha?
- RN-BSN, MHA
- NASM-Certified Personal Trainer
- AFPA Certified Nutrition + Wellness Consultant
- Certified Autoimmune Holistic Nutritionist
- ACE Behavior Change Specialist
- Professional Health + Fitness Writer
“So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do everything for the glory of God.”1 Corinthians 10:31 CSB
Hey friends! You know what I don’t love? Talking about myself. But you know what I do love? Talking about how worthy and capable YOU are. So in order to explain how you can fully begin to embrace your confidence, crush some goals, and celebrate those wins.. I guess I’ll have to give you a little background.. which means a couple minutes of self-talk.
Who am I?
I’m a wife and mama first, RN by trade, AFPA Certified Nutrition & Wellness Consultant, Certified Autoimmune Holistic Nutritionist, National Academy of Sports Medicine Certified Personal Trainer, and American Council on Exercise Behavior Change Specialist.
I’m pretty dang passionate about faith, happiness, health and wellness, and I’ve made it my personal mission to strive to be a light for as many people as I can. I don’t think that I have all the answers, but I do think that I’ve been through a heck of a lot in my life, and God has helped me overcome some pretty tough obstacles.
Growing up, I always had a love-hate relationship with food. I loved it, but hated the way I viewed my body, and viewed my relationship with it.
I always had a horrible body image, and felt for many years that my life revolved around my weight, the scale, and my perceptions of both. I struggled with balance, discipline, willpower, and self-acceptance.
I bounced back and forth between starving myself, and then binging and purging throughout high school and some of college. When I was about nineteen years old, I suffered a trauma which left me in a pretty dark space mentally. I didn’t value my worth, and I suffered from anxiety and depression for a handful of years. Anxiety is still something I deal with today. I turned to the one comfort that had always stood by me my entire life: food.
I began to binge eat, worse than ever before. I remember I would literally eat and eat and eat until my body would be in such physical pain that I couldn’t take it anymore. I would then go to bed and try to forget about how bad I felt, and when I woke up the next morning, I would begin the cycle over again.
I ended up gaining a lot of weight, and would get winded just walking around my college campus. It wasn’t until my early twenties, and after a pretty bad breakup that I recognized my habits were my coping mechanism. And, more so, I had shifted away from my faith and I was letting my circumstances determine my worth.
I decided I wanted to make a change. I wasn’t sure how, but I knew I needed to try something different. The apartment I lived in had a community gym in the complex, so every day when I would get home from work or my classes I would walk to the gym. In the beginning, I was only able to complete about five minutes on an old rickety elliptical, before I would have to get off and slowly walk back home. I did this every day until I worked myself up to 10 minutes, then 20, 30, and eventually a full hour.
This was just the beginning. I was losing weight, yes, but I was also gaining a sense of control over my life. Instead of allowing myself to succumb to my depression and follow that same path of self-destruction, I was taking charge. I started to learn more about the types of foods I was eating and began experimenting with cooking. I spent less time going through the drive thru lanes and more time in my kitchen learning which spices worked well when prepared with certain foods. And I started praying more, reading the Bible, and turning to God to guide me through and out of my darkest moments.
Fast forward a decade (oh my goodness), and I’m now a mama to the most amazing little boy. I’m certified in nutrition, as well as a certified personal trainer and behavior change specialist. I’ve lost a total of 75 pounds throughout my journey, and couldn’t even begin to tell you the amount of muscle (and confidence) that I’ve gained. I look at this body of mine – the same body that I used to feel so ashamed of, and instead I’ve learned to be so proud of what it’s been through and accomplished. I recognize myself for who God made me to be, and that’s pushed my confidence to new heights.
But my story doesn’t end there.
Shortly after having my son, I was diagnosed with something called Eosinophilic Esophagitis, or EoE for short.
EoE is an autoimmune disease that causes my body to hyper produce white blood cells (WBCs) in an attempt to “fight off” foods that I’m allergic to, thus resulting in esophageal dysfunction.
But, unlike most people with food allergies, my symptoms and reactions aren’t always immediate or clear. In fact, I was eating trigger foods for years and not realizing that my body wasn’t tolerating them.
When my body produces these extra WBCs, they actually start attacking my esophagus. Making it more narrow than a typical person’s, and it can cause eating and swallowing to be a real pain. Literally, along with bloating, abdominal distention and pain, and more.
Long story short, gluten and dairy turned out to be my two biggest triggers. So I’ve had to learn to how to cook and eat my favorite foods without two of the most important ingredients, while still maintaining the mindset that there are no “bad” foods, and that food is fuel; not a punishment, not a reward.
Growing up eating both dairy and gluten and not knowing or understanding the reaction my body was having is probably what caused me to feel so physically uncomfortable and experience bloating from a young age, something that I quickly labeled as “being chubby” or “feeling fat.”
Remembering my younger self, and knowing how hopeless I felt at certain points of my life compared to the joy I feel now – is why I do what I do. Understanding that my body has different wellness needs for my overall health, and that understanding my health and wellness is a priority, is a huge factor in my life – and it should be the same for you.
Healing my mindset to ultimately change my lifestyle for the better was a huge stepping stone for me, and it’s been my passion to share the things I’ve learned with other women so they can step out of the shadows and live the life they’ve always wanted, and the life God wants them to have.