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”.
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 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, a healthy diet consists of:
- no grains (flour, corn, etc.)
- a lot of healthy fats (nuts, seeds, butter, avocado, fish oils, flax and let’s be honest, a lot of cheese)
- raw unpasteurized dairy
- organic fruits and vegetables (I love my local CSA and farmer’s markets)
- pastured eggs (yes, the whole thing)
- humanely-raised proteins (like grass-fed organic beef and organic pastured chickens) — we can’t put a cow in a feces-infested dirt lot, stuff them full of genetically-modified corn and soy when they’re meant to eat grass, and then expect their bodies, the very meat we will eat, to not be compromised.
How I Train
Once I discovered kettlebell training in 2010, I was hooked! Kettlebell is an intense cardio workout and builds long and lean musculature. They 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. I also enjoy pilates and Eccentrics stretching.
I currently work out 4 times a week with a blend of weight training, kettlebells, HIIT, and bodyweight exercises.
Healing My PCOS
In an effort to heal my hormone-related conditions (PCOS and Adrenal Fatigue), I eliminated hormone-disrupting cosmetics and beauty products, supplemented with quality herbs, replaced my high-intensity workouts with stress-relieving exercises, and experimented with a ketogenic diet. All of these changes brought on better sleep patterns, more sustainable energy levels, and PMS-free cycles. My high-fat, low-carb (HFLC) diet of 70% fat, 15% protein, and 15% carbs, resulted in my bad cholesterol going down, my good cholesterols skyrocketing and my bloodwork showing improvements to my overall health. In late 2016, my PCOS diagnosis was officially reversed.
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 before settling in Nashville, TN. 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.