I was what they call a “hybrid mom”. The so-called balance of a demanding career in Marketing & Business Development and two kids and a husband at home. In 2008, I made the surprisingly easy decision to quit my career and stay home with my action-packed twin boys (then 3 years old). After a year of living in Switzerland and falling in love with the beauty of Europe, we moved to the US to pursue my husband’s dream job.
It soon became clear that my old habits in walk-everywhere-Europe were not going to work so well in drive-everywhere-America and I embarked on an intense fitness challenge for 30 days and immediately after that, picked up kettlebells for the first time and never looked back. Before I knew what was happening, my mother and sisters were no longer my only blog subscribers and strangers from all over the blogosphere were thanking me for my no-nonsense inspiration.
I’ve come a long way from those early days of counting calories. I now care more about the quality of each calorie than I do the quantity. Using this lifestyle approach to eating and being well, I have coached dozens of women all over the world and helped them lose weight, get strong, and find better versions of themselves, both inside and out. Now as a certified Nutrition Coach with Precision Nutrition, I am coaching even more women in finding their inner health maven!
CONTRARY TO WHAT YOUR MIND SAYS, YOU ARE DESIGNED TO BE THIN
My story starts with a simple biological truth: our bodies are meant to be lean and mean. We wouldn’t have survived this long any other way and we’re certainly not surviving well now that most of us are living large. For years, I failed to admit this simple truth and sabotaged myself with lies and excuses.
At just under 5’5″, I spent my teenage years as a chubby 140 pounds and a size 10. With more resignation than contentment, I acted as if I was confident in my own skin but in truth, I spent all my time finding clothes that hid my problem areas and was secretly envious of my younger sister’s svelte frame. I would console myself by blaming fate for her being “the skinny one in the family” and bought into the comfortable excuse that my body was made to be “curvy”.
At 19 and recently engaged, a coworker suggested we start running in preparation for my upcoming wedding. I started running 15km a week, cut all white flour/white sugar, and quickly lost nearly 20 pounds. I cried in the change room when I slipped into a pair of size two pants. I honest-to-goodness sat there on the floor and cried. As if a veil had just been removed from my eyes, I finally realized that all these years, I had never been happy with my body and yet I was lying to myself and sabotaging my own potential the entire time. I had been my own worst enemy, allowing complacent excuses to become “truth” and it wasn’t even truth at all! Now, at this point, I was 19 and “skinny fat”. I didn’t look haggard or like I had an eating disorder but I had little muscle definition and was still a bit flabby in my weaker areas (thank you genetics!). I hovered around 120-130 lbs for the next few years and then got pregnant with twins.
After an awful bedrest pregnancy (fueled by pepperoni and ice-cream), I hit 205 pounds. With atrophied muscles and newborn twins, I was simply too tired to even think about going to the gym. For the first time in my life, I had to really consider what I was eating. It started with a somewhat naive question, asked of my local Starbucks barista, and that one question would change my life forever. I went on to discover the science of nutrition, the impact of a calorie, and quickly lost all of the baby weight. From there, I added weight lifting and plyometrics (body weight exercises), HIIT cardio instead of steady-state cardio, and some intermittent fasting, too. All of this re-training and re-educating myself led me to a lean and mean 125 pounds — 20 pounds LOWER than my pre-baby weight. I stayed there for years, maintaining without “dieting” and eating clean 75% of the time. Even after moving to Europe and devouring entire jars of Nutella, melt-in-your-mouth white bread and amazing Swiss chocolate for a year straight, I had finally found a healthy balance of clean eating and effective exercise. Thanks to the science of calorie counting, I no longer look at food as a way to soothe my emotions but rather, as fuel for my body. It’s just numbers when you really break it down. Once you get that figured out, you can take it to the next level: eating the best calories for your unique needs.
How I Eat
For me, I follow a grain-free diet since I know my body feels best when off all grains. I also eat a lot of healthy fats (nuts, seeds, butter, avocado, fish oils, flax and let’s be honest, a lot of salami), raw unpasteurized dairy, organic fruits and vegetables from my local CSA and farmer’s markets, fresh and raw vegetable juices, pastured eggs (yes, the whole thing) and humanely treated proteins (like grass-fed organic beef and organic pastured chickens). Regardless of our stance on animal rights, it’s ridiculous to think we can put a cow in a dirt lot or a chicken in a caged hen house, stuff them full of genetically-modified grains (corn/soy) when they’re meant to eat grass (or in the case of chickens, worms and bugs), and then expect their bodies, the very meat we will eat, to not be compromised. This is not rocket science!
In 2015, I started experimenting with a ketogenic diet in an effort to heal my hormone-related conditions (PCOS and Adrenal Fatigue) and immediately felt like a million bucks. While eating a high-fat, low-carb (HFLC) diet of 70% fat, 15% protein, and 15% carbs was extremely successful for me (bad cholesterol went down, good cholesterols skyrocketed and my bloodwork showed improvements to my overall health), I found that it was too restrictive while traveling and now opt for a more balanced approach while severely limiting grains (which make me feel like a bucket of sludge…or at least what I imagine a bucket of sludge must feel like).
How I Train
Once I discovered kettlebell training in 2010, I was hooked! Kettlebells are an intense cardio workout but without all the boring repetition (which some people love, but I just can’t handle!) and builds long and lean musculature. They have helped me develop more lean muscle mass, address the trouble-spots in my genetics (arms, I’m talking to you!), and when I’m in a season of low body fat (>22%), a defined six-pack comes without any other core workouts. Once I discovered I was dealing with Leaky Gut Syndrome in 2015, I stopped all high-intensity exercise and began a healing protocol that stuck to low-intensity exercise only. I have enjoyed pilates, walking, myofacial rolling, and Eccentrics stretching.
When not writing, I’m often found homeschooling my boys, working out a few times a week, helping clients train and improve their diets and digestive function, knocking out a set of 40 military-style push-ups just because, drinking a yummy raw juice, or brewing crazy dreams with my amazing husband.
Natasha Drisdelle (aka Domestica) is a mom of twins, baby-weight survivor, and health & fitness blogger who left California’s Silicon Valley to go and travel the world with her family. She posted her before-and-after pics on the immortal internet as living proof that morphing into a gelatinous baby-growing-factory doesn’t mean your bikini days are over. You can find her on Instagram or Facebook, cutting through the myths and guilt that keep women from realizing their true health.