“Comparison is the death of Joy, it’s the death of Momentum”
I love the spin Natasha has put on this famous Mark Twain quote. How many of us have spent some, if not most of our lives comparing some or all parts of ourselves to those around us? How much of our time do we waste thinking we are not as good as, attractive as, smart as, or rich as this person or that person? How much has it affected the way we see ourselves? The way we feel about ourselves, and our ability to move forward and become truly happy within ourselves?
Natasha Day from Ottawa, Canada, knows all too well the negative impact comparison can have on someone’s self esteem and confidence, but after a harrowing birth experience that left her weak and mentally exhausted, she made a decision to make her health her number one priority. The result had an amazing impact on not just Natasha, but her entire family and other women in her community. She found the ability to push past fear and doubt to move forward and find self acceptance, confidence and empowerment!
A Destructive Cycle
Natasha says “I had struggled with weight and hormones my whole life, I felt like I’d been on a diet since I was 13 and I’d tried everything out there. I always had a very negative body image, no confidence and was never happy in my own skin. I always thought I should be more like everyone else.” These were the thoughts that harassed Natasha’s mind on a daily basis and fuelled her already unhealthy relationship with food.
She would comfort eat, using food to try and deter the anxiety and fear that would inevitably come, avoiding activities and social events where she might have to dress up or be around others who seemed to have it all together. It was a full circle of self destruction that began with a negative body image, resulting in emotional eating, which only led to increased weight gain and more self loathing. It was this cycle that she would eventually be brave enough to break.
A High Risk Pregnancy
After struggling to get pregnant, Natasha was put on fertility treatments which increased her weight gain but meant she was expecting by early 2016. As she was at risk of pre-term labour, she had to continue on progesterone throughout the entire pregnancy. These extra hormones, plus her unhealthy relationship with food and the fact that she couldn’t exercise due to being high risk, meant she packed on a total of 90 pounds throughout the pregnancy, bringing her to an overwhelming total of 350 pounds.
Just before her due date, Natasha knew something was wrong when she felt her baby had stopped moving. “We went to Emergency and I had to fight to be taken seriously” she says “They didn’t though, and I was sent home. Then it happened again and eventually they listened and I had an emergency c-section because my baby was obviously in distress. After the op, they told me that Nora’s umbilical cord was wrapped around her neck 4 times. They’d never seen one wrapped so tightly before. If I had tried to give birth my daughter would have died.”
The complications didn’t end there and what happened next became the tipping point for a massive change in Natasha’s life and the life of her family.
The Tipping Point
After Natasha was discharged and sent home, she became increasingly out of breath. She was told that it was normal and would correct itself in time. As she herself had worked in a hospital, in surgery etc, she knew that the level of breathlessness she was experiencing was anything but normal. She decided however to be patient and do what they told her, but after 3 days it was so intense she couldn’t walk and talk at the same time.
“I went back to the hospital emergency and had to fight again for them to assess me. They sent me for an outpatient clot scan that was negative and sent me home. I went to bed that night, and in the morning got up to go to the bathroom and my incision opened right up. I had infection all over me and all over the ground. I was rushed back into hospital, and not only did I have an infection but a massive hematoma and a heart issue that was undiagnosed. I spent a week in the hospital on IV medication and was discharged with 5 weeks of oral antibiotics which I had to switch weekly because my body was getting resistant to them.” For 12 weeks Natasha wasn’t able to do a lot, no exercise or much movement at all.
On top of all that, she struggled with breastfeeding. She hadn’t received the normal release of hormones (due to her low progesterone levels) and felt like she didn’t bond with Nora the way she should have. Nora had been taken away for the first 3 hours after birth and when she did see her, Natasha couldn’t hold her for a long time because her arms were weak.
Add to all this an angry colicky baby and it was little wonder Postpartum depression became the new norm. Natasha experienced a devastating lack of attachment to her new-born, feeling like her baby wasn’t really hers, like she was just babysitting and waiting for the arrival of her real parents.
A Life Changing Decision
When coaching came along it was the most inconvenient time of her life but she could feel herself slipping away, like a stranger in her own body. Before having a child she was power lifting at the gym but afterwards she could barely walk to the bathroom.
Natasha had spent 8 years in school to become a Speech and Language Pathologist before her pregnancy, which meant she had a lot of school loans that needed to be paid. So on top of needing a change in her health, she needed to help with the family finances in order to pay off the massive debt.
When Nora was 12 weeks old, Natasha decided that for herself and her daughter she needed to stop the cycle of depression, anxiety and fear that caused her to hide from the world and not live her life to the fullest. She wanted to be an example to her daughter, of how to love herself, her body and her strength and to become the best version of herself that she could be. After a lot of skepticism about wether it would work or not, she finally reached out to the coach she’d been following on Facebook for quite some time and told her she was ready.
She joined a 21 day fitness challenge and an accountability group and absolutely loved it. She didn’t have to leave the house, go to the gym and deal with leaving her screaming colicky baby in the daycare, etc, she could do it all from home. “I followed the meal plans to the T, I plugged into the support and the group and the cool thing is I’d tried this kind of home workout thing in the past and it never worked for me. The difference was I really connected with my coach and the group was super supportive. So I showed up every damn day and my coach asked me to start coaching and I resisted her for a long time, I think it was 6 – 8 months.”
In January 2017 she jumped into coaching. She had lost 30 pounds or so with her coach but she still had no self confidence, was not a fitness expert, or nutrition expert and wondered if anyone would listen to her as she was not at her ideal weight. She reasoned however that being a coach would give her accountability. As she would be going back to work she worried that she would slip into old habits if she didn’t make her health a priority. Coaching meant that she had to show up every day, sharing her story, her journey. It kept her accountable until she had developed the habits, the lifestyle that would eventually help her motivate other women onto the same journey.
In just one year, Natasha has lost 115 pounds and 80 inches. The mental impact however has been the most amazing part of the transformation. She doesn’t believe she would have achieved that without coaching. “90% of coaching” she says “is about the mental and emotional side of things that makes you feel differently about yourself, so you can have the drive to push forward and lose the weight.”
She is now back to working full-time and coaching part-time but earns up to $1500 a month with the coaching, which has led to her being able to help her family pay off the huge school debt. It’s given her confidence, not just in her body as she is still working toward her ideal weight, but in her abilities to move forward. She now has two passions. Her full time job and her part time coaching role. Helping others develop confidence and self esteem by getting fit and healthy.
What she loves most about coaching is that it hasn’t only changed her life, but the life of others. Her husband Richard has also had an amazing transformation, losing over 50 pounds, and after talking to many other women who had felt the same way about themselves as she had, she decided to start a movement called ‘The Empowerment Project” (search #TheEmpowermentProject on Instagram) to empower and support women toward self love and becoming the best versions of themselves. Natasha tells us that it has given her great joy to be a part of others journey’s to self discovery.
As a coach, Natasha Partners with a company called ‘BeachBody’. Their programmes are created by super trainers, with an accompanying nutrition plan created by nutritionists and dieticians. What they do is connect with people, learn about their struggles, goals and the obstacles holding them back and pair them with a programme that is the best fit for them. “We don’t stop there, we work with them, offering a group, a community, sharing work outs, meal plans and the hardships holding them back, etc. We cheerlead and support each other, become a family, a support system.”
Natasha tells us that being a part of coaching ‘fuels her soul and sets her on fire.’ She now has an entire team that she coaches and mentors who are called ‘The Empowerment Project Team’. Her goal is to empower as many women as possible to be healthy and strong and to love the body they are in and to be that empowerment and encouragement behind them. If you’d like to be a part of Natasha’s journey, or find out more about the project, simply follow her on Instagram at @natasha.s.day or friend her on Facebook on her personal page or her business page.
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