J: You're listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, episode number 128. I'm talking with Natalie Bubach today about loving your body rather than loathing your body and finding the freedom that comes when we start to truly nurture ourselves. Stay tuned.
Intro: Welcome to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast, stories of vibrant women living happy lives. And now, your host, Jen Riday.
J: Hey there, welcome back. I'm Dr. Jen Riday and I'm so glad you're here. We'll start our show today with our review of the week from Momof3inOhio. She wrote, “I want to give this podcast 10 stars and Jen, a giant bear hug. Jen, to say you’ve helped transform me this past year is an understatement. Because of your words of wisdom, positive energy, and insight into being a mom, daughter, wife, and friend, I've not only reflected so much more, but I've asked myself the tough questions, come at hurdles with compassion, and made some serious decisions and changes. Your work is so important, keep it up, and I will keep telling other moms about it.” Thank you so much for that review, Momof3inOhio, it means the world. If you would like to leave a review, you can also leave a review by going to jenriday.com/review. Every review helps and I read every single one of them.
Last week, I spoke with Deborah Santana all about speaking your truth and allowing other women to do the same, especially women of color. Together, all of us are rising into greater happiness, greater empowerment, and when we allow others to speak and hear their stories, we all rise so much faster. Today, I'll be talking with Natalie Bubach all about nurturing your body, loving your body, and all the good things that come with breaking those negative thought patterns and developing patterns and habits of success. It's a long-term game and it's not just about dropping those 20 or 30 pounds, but it's about living as your best self. You're going to love all the great wisdom Natalie has to share. In fact, Natalie is my personal health coach right now and she has helped me so much, especially with the thinking behind what I eat; and that's really the foundation. Sometimes we try to attack and fix what we're eating without analyzing or fixing those thoughts, but Natalie really has wisdom in this area and this helped me understand where I learn certain thought patterns about what I'm eating and what I think of my body. So let's jump right into this episode, you're going to love it, and there's so much Natalie has to offer, and I can't wait for you to listen. So let's go ahead and jump right in.
Natalie Bubach is my guest today and she's a wife and mom of 4 young adult kids. She and her husband, Chris, have been married for 25 years and live in Lincoln, Nebraska. She worked as a family preservation therapist before opening a coffee shop, Smoothie Bar, which she ran for 15 years. She's now a certified health and life coach and founder of Boundless Living, a coaching platform to help others find real freedom in their bodies and in their health. Thank you for being on the show, Natalie.
N: Thank you, Jen, for having me.
J: So, everyone, Natalie is currently my health coach, so I love her and I'm so excited to have her here. She was also at the Vibrant Happy Women retreat last February and she's going to be there again this coming February; so I just love her. So, Natalie, tell us your favorite quote to get us started today.
N: My favorite quote, it comes from Bob Goff, he's an author, but I just love this. He says, “Most people need love and acceptance a lot more than they need advice.”
J: Mm! So how have you used that with your kids and in your life and at the coffee shop even I imagine?
N: Yeah. You know, I just… I think I see that in so many people that I’ve come into contact with and I know, even for myself, but just somebody that hears you, sees you, and accepts you for who you are can be such a powerful influence. And most people kind of instinctively know what they need to do next, they don't need your advice, but they just need to know that you believe in them and that you're just holding in space a higher vision of them. So I just have seen that in so many ways, you know, something that just makes coaching such a joy for me.
J: Yeah, cool, I love that. Well, Natalie, I know you have so much great advice and it's really practical, so let's get everyone to understand who you are and your journey with health and with food and… and life and how you've gotten to where you are today, so let's go back to your low point.
N: You know, Jen, honestly, for me, my struggles with food and my body go back for as long as I can remember. I was really overweight as a kid and just, you know, eventually, I guess food became a sense of comfort. It was the one thing in my life that I knew I could kind of count on to take away pain, to console me, to be my friend. So, you know, being an overweight kid in school is really rough, I was just, you know, the last kid picked the teams and PE, just wasn't invited to things, early on just developed this really clear sense of not being… just being unacceptable, unlovable, not included, you know, judged; the word that keeps coming back was just unseen.
J: Mm, yeah.
N: And so, I think my journey with food then became such a huge… I am going to have to kind of stop there, but (Laughs)… So I guess that, you know, just kind of… by the time I was in 6th grade, I was significantly large, really overweight, and really hiding behind school and grades and trying to accomplish things to find any sort of value. And about that time, Jen, I ended up staying home from school one day, it's kind of a strange story, but I didn't feel very well and I ended up watching the Phil Donahue Show. (Laughs)
N: It really dates me, I know.
N: But I remember he had a girl struggled with bulimia.
N: And she started to tell her story, and it was the first time… I was probably 11 12 years old, and I didn't even know what that was. And I heard her story and I just thought… there was a curiosity piqued in me and, you know, she talked about how it initially caused her to lose some weight. And so I think that's when I first started to dabble in kind of the binging and purging. About that time too though, I kind of hit junior high, I started playing sports, I grew a lot, and there was kind of this simultaneous lost some weight, kind of thinned down, started to be accepted.
N: It wasn't practicing bulimia on a daily basis, but it was definitely part of this still kind of a crutch if I was feeling, you know, unloved or unacceptable, that kind of thing.
N: But I would say, as I got into college and even my adult life, young married life, even young mom, that that became something that was kind of my go-to. You know, I was still really struggling with feeling all of those feelings and then, you know, the shame that kind of comes in with having this like hidden, disgusting practice that I just thought I would die if anybody knew what I did in secret.
N: Just kind of plays into that. And so even as I, you know, kind of got control of the behaviors (I guess you would say that), just those thought patterns and beliefs that I had about myself carried through life. So as I got older, you know, and I was doing the therapy, I had young children, I opened the coffee shop, there was this period where I was just busy. So what… before, the binging/purging cycle had met my needs, now I was having my needs met and feeling acceptable and lovable through working really hard, you know, kind of hours that…
J: Ah, yeah.
N: … you put in at a coffee shop or just a mom-and-pop business. And so even though, you know, I wasn't practicing, there was still this mindset of just like of shame, of not being good enough, and I didn't realize how much of a power that still had over me. So I guess that was kind of a long version, that overarching like 10,000 feet up view of kind of what was going on, but…
J: I think you just spoke to every woman listening because, you know, maybe details of the story are different, but I think there is consistently this idea that we're trying to figure out what makes us good enough. And so you found it through…
J: … bulimia or overworking, and some people find it through staying too busy or having really long to-do lists or just any number of things. But, gosh, I want to hear how you got out of it because this would be the answer to the world's problems.
N: You know, Jen, it's such a strangely simple thing, but this is what I would say, you know, like I said, the mindset. The bulimia, the practice, I think there was a, I hate to say, kind of a willpower, not… because I know that willpower doesn't work for very long. But what I would say is, you know, like I traded one addiction for another.
N: I traded one way to find value for another. And it hit me probably recently, I'd say in the past 5 years that that mindset still had huge power over me. So really quickly, this part of the story that as I had run this coffee shop for 15 years, I'd kind of run myself to the ground; I was in full on adrenal fatigue, you know, I was surviving from 1 cup of coffee to the next, I'm working crazy hours, not getting good sleep, dehydrated, all of that. So I was in kind of a health crisis of my own.
N: And I remember even involved some heart issues. And at one point, you know, kind of having a situation where I had to be defibrillated. My… I would go into atrial fibrillation, my heart would beat in irregular beats.
J: (Gasps) Oh!
N: And I had to go into the hospital and actually have my heart stopped and restarted, right?
J: What! Were you…
N: Oh, yeah.
J: … conscious for that?
N: They put you out, but I have had it done twice.
J: (Gasps) Wow!
N: But, you know, Jen, I came home and I remember sitting on the couch and I thought, “You know, if I had died, I probably deserved it.”
N: Like I had been so hard on my body for so long, right? Okay, I'm just going to tell you, this is recent. And that thought went through my head was such a reality check for me like, “Where did that come from, Natalie? You can't keep operating from a place of thinking that,” you know, that… I know deep down I have value, I know deep down that I have a purpose, that I was created for a purpose, and yet, there was this part of my brain that was still telling me that I was unlovable and unseen and didn't deserve to be around, right? So I think that it just really hit me that, you know, we aren't our thoughts; I knew that deep down, I'm not my thoughts. And my thoughts don't have any power for me unless I give them power, unless I devote energy to them and let them really sink in. And so I just was done; I was done. So I actually used Facebook Messenger to contact a friend of mine who had shared that her sister had been bulimic, right? And I… I had those, I think, the scariness of worth that thought came from made me realize that the power that that still had over me and I just messaged her and I said, “You know, I'm really struggling with some old thought patterns and related to my eating disorder and I just really need you to be praying for me.” And it's so strange, but I think it was the first time that I really opened up to anybody about this shame and some of the yuck that was still rattling around in my brain and in my heart related to that.
N: And it's the whole idea of seriously bringing it into the light. Like, once I shared with one person the truth of what was going on, it lost its power over me and those thoughts were just gone; I can't explain it other than that. I mean, I've been doing a lot of personal work over the years, but I think there was a part of me that just wanted to act like because the behaviors were gone, the disorder was gone.
N: But it wasn't; it had shown up.
N: So sharing that, getting it into the light was what healed me, I think, you know? (Laughs)
J: Wow, yeah.
N: Just kind of the final step in that. So…
J: Well, Brené Brown says that shame thrives in secrecy; isn't that amazing? So you were essentially speaking the truth to get rid of the shame.
N: Absolutely, yes. And I found a safe person, you know, that I knew kind of could understand because I thought, if there was any follow-up questions, she would kind of get me.
N: So I think that's an important thing too to realize. I was just actually… I was having my devotion this morning and it was reading this verse that talked about not throwing your pearls before swine.
N: And it's just I kind of think, for me, that was just showing the sacredness of like my story and not just sharing it out in crazy… you know, with just with whoever, but finding the safe person that can really help me find, you know, the healing that I needed. So, anyway, you know, she just responded, said should we be praying for me and we didn't have any contact about it afterwards. (Laughs)
N: But it was just a crazy experience of, yeah, like you said, getting that shame out of the dark.
J: Mm. Wow, that's beautiful, and that's all it took; speaking it.
J: Yeah. How did you know who to talk to? How did you know who would be safe?
N: You know, just because she had shared… I mean, you know, she's been a longtime friend and I think just over the years of sharing different parts of our stories with each other, there was just this intuitive sense in me. Plus, like I said, she had shared a story about her sister.
N: When she knew my story, she'd shared that she'd been out with her sister and so I knew that she would be a safe place.
J: Ah, ah. So what happened after all of this kind of getting out of the darkness? You know, how did your life shift?
N: You know, I started paying attention more closely to my thoughts and not giving the thoughts that weren't serving me any more of my attention; just replacing them with truth about who I was, who I believe myself to be, who I believe that I was created to be, and just started kind of building habits and behaviors around that. So really feeding the truth, starving the lies, I guess, would be a great way to say it.
J: Yeah. And so you started getting rid of the shame, and how did things change? I mean, did you still work at the coffee shop? No, you don't, yeah.
N: I don't, yes. So about the same time that I was having a massive health crisis, I decided, I mean, my… my oldest was graduating from high school, I just didn't really want to miss any more things with my kids. So we had our 4 kids in just under 6 years. So once the first one was graduating, it's just like this automatic line of kids (Laughs), you know, going out the door.
N: I just really wanted to be home and present for them more. And so we did sell the coffee shop and I decided to really embrace taking care of my health. I went and saw a functional medicine doctor who kind of helped me work on the adrenal fatigue and getting my diet and nutrition back on track. And, like I said, a lot of it, you know, it was going to be some hard work because I had all these long-standing beliefs about food and controlling my food and not eating things to get fat and fear of getting fat. But at the same time, now that I was really embracing the truth of my value, it was a lot easier to take care of myself, you know, and to…
N: … take the steps, just the small daily steps to start improving my health. So, for me, that was just things like adding more healthy fats into my diet or drinking more water, getting better sleep, taking time for myself to just slow down and breathe and, you know, meditate; that type of thing. So…
J: So if someone came to you and wanted to kind of follow in your footsteps to figure out how to value themselves and then let that translate into healthier living and eating and all of that, would there be steps or advice you would give them?
N: As far as the learning to value yourself, you know, that's such a hard thing. I think that, for a lot of us, it's so much easier to tell people or to just acknowledge all the things that are wrong with us, right? (Laughs)
N: And there's something healthy about wanting to strive to improve or have better health or have better relationships. But at the same time, I think we can really get stuck in, “The judging is comfortable; the judging and the self-criticism and all that comes more naturally.” So I guess my first tip or my thought as far as getting to a place of learning to love yourself, really starts to come from just acknowledging how your body has allowed you to show up in the world so far. So I think we take for granted sometimes that we just, you know, get out of bed and put your feet on the floor and your legs don't give out underneath you or just the beauty of being able to go for a walk and all the miraculous things that are happening in your body to make that happen. I just… I loved… I had heard a speaker just recently talked about just appreciating that, you know, “These arms, whether or not they have a little batwing flabs at the bottom, have hugged my 4 babies and my husband, you know, for these last 25 years.”
N: “It's been a nurturing place for my kids,” or just to appreciate all the things that your body has done.
N: And even though my body hasn't always been as healthy as I wanted it to be, you know, in the coffee shop, I was able to encourage and bless people over the espresso machine as I was making their drinks, and just start to appreciate and see all the things that it's done for me.
N: And also, I think from a selfish perspective, Jen, is just to realize, if I'm warring against my body, it knows it. Like, if my thoughts are negative towards my body, I put my body in a place of stress. I really want to be working with my body to be in my best health, so it's so much easier to care and nurture for something that you can see with loving eyes than it is to be something that, you know, you judge or have bad feelings toward, I guess. So I think, for a lot of us, one of the reasons that it's really hard to nourish and take care of ourselves is that we don't truly see our own value; the value of our bodies. We don't trust our bodies. For so long, we've been at war with our bodies, like, “You can't have these cravings,” or, “You can't do this,” or, “When you do this, you make me fat.” And we just have these negative… we want to shut our body up, we want to control it, we want to, you know, get it under our thumb and to listen to us, and there's a part of our body that's just going to really rebel and fight back. So the key, for me, and what I see just really empowering so many women is just see our body, just the magnificent thing that it is and all of the things that it does for us. You know, where it allows us to just hug our, kids pull them up on our lap or, you know, cook a great meal for our family or sit on the porch with your husband and have great talk. You know, “How has my body allowed me to show up in the world?” And I… I think we were talking even about this another time where somebody that I'd listened to was talking about just how you're looking at these National Geographic pictures and you might get this zoomed in look of like a farm laborers hands. And, from the world's eyes, they're not beautiful hands; they don't have the manicured nails and the smooth skin or whatever. But there's such beauty in those hands because they're showing up in the world doing what they were made to do in a way that's serving other people and nourishing other people. And he even went on to just talk about how if you visit a pottery studio and you've got all these women sitting at the pottery wheel, again, their hands are covered and caked and cracked and unmanicured and unimpressive, but as the wheels start to spin and they put the clay on top and they start to shape those dishes or cups or whatever they are, that there's just such a beauty in watching them do what they were created to do. And so I think we just all need to look at, “How has my body served me? How has it allowed me to show up in the world doing things that are important to me, loving my family, excelling at work, you know, loving on friends, serving someone in need?” And that will give us just this heart, this connection to our body in a way to look at it differently than we've looked at it before. All of a sudden, it's so much easier for me to nourish that body and really care for it, as opposed to coming at it judging it; judging its jean size or judging its shape or comparing it to other people. Does that make sense?
J: Yeah. And then it's almost like, when you're only focused on how it looks, you're treating your body is an object to… (you know, what I'm saying?) instead of rather than someone you love and cherish; I don’t know.
N: Well, yeah, you know, I was just discussing with one of my clients the other day and she said, “I'm so hard on myself and so judging about myself and what I look like,” and she said, “But I started thinking, if I'm having lunch with a friend of mine that has my same size that’s built exactly like me, not once during my conversation do I think, ‘You're so heavy,’ or, ‘You're so, you know, unattractive,’ or, ‘You're so unlovable,’ because it's that person that I'm spending time with.” So we can extend that grace to the people in our lives that we love, but we can't extend it to ourselves.
N: I mean, we can; we don't. So that's, I guess my thought would just be look at it, A, for what it can do, how it allows you to show up in the world, and if that still is a struggle, you know, put that body on your best friend, you know, like, “How would you treat your best friend? How do you love your best friend? Is that something that is… you know, preoccupies your thoughts when you spend time with other people you love?” And if not, you know, absolutely extend that same grace to yourself and know that it's just… it's part of the process and it's a day by day thing, Jen. I mean, it's not like it's a light bulb that switches on overnight, but taking the time to consciously honor and value your body is going to be a huge part of the process. And sometimes I do think that that's another place where having a coach can come in just to kind of help you see those thought patterns where you've been getting stuck…
N: … and that aren't serving you anymore, you know?
J: Right, right. So, yeah, that's smart. So you just started seeing the good in your body, essentially.
N: Yeah. I guess I started just the basic things, you know, and it maybe wasn't even necessarily my body, but it was like bodies in general. I think sometimes that's the place to start. You know, it's a long jump from feeling uncomfortable in our own skin to loving ourselves, but just to start to go, “My body is amazing and with what it can do is amazing.” And another thing that falls into that for me is that our bodies are really designed to heal itself, and so often, I think we have… especially if we've struggled with weight or that in the past that we want to shut down those urges, like, “I’m starting to crave something,” and so, “Oh, I’ve got to stop,” you know, like, “That's bad for me, that'll make me fat,” but just, you know, that our body has done an amazing job of taking care of you and getting you this far. And what if we started to work with our bodies?
N: And so, “What if I got curious about what my body was trying to tell me and try to figure out what it was really asking for?” So, “I have this urge I have this temptation to go downstairs and get a snack, but I know I'm not hungry, I just ate,” or, “I just ate a couple hours ago,” or, “There's not a rumbling in my stomach, so maybe what I'm feeling is something completely different,” and try to figure out what that is. You know, “Maybe I'm just bored. Maybe I'm lonely,” and then just figuring out how to actually give my body what it's asking for.
J: Mm. So how do you get intuitive or mindful enough to know that? I mean, what does that look like exactly? Do you sit there and breathe a certain way or…?
N: Yeah. Okay, well, I guess, for me, one thing that I wanted to just encourage people to do first of all is just figure out what it is you really want in your life.
N: Because I think, as women, first of all, just got to go, I think a lot of the people that I see for example it's related to like, “Well, I really, really want to be down 25 pounds,” okay. But the reality is, that's just a number, and you can go down 25 pounds and still find yourself not happy, not full of joy. I mean, we all know the woman at the gym who's got that awesome physique and been doing yoga and eats super clean, but she's just not happy, right? (Laughs)
N: So I really encourage people and go, “I want you to figure out what is it you really want,” and for women, that is the first challenge. I sometimes think we have no idea what we really want. We've been taking care of other people for so long and stuffing our desires and the things that means so much to us in order to take care of other people; and so just to really reconnect with that. So, “Yeah, I want to lose 25 pounds, but it's because I really want to walk, you know, into a lunch group with my friends feeling really confident in my own skin. I want to not be afraid to show up at a social event because I think I'm going to be judged. I want to really feel sexy for my husband.” I mean, when we really get down to it, our want have something usually to do different than actually just the weight loss goal, that there's something underneath that that's more important to me. So I think, once we kind of figure out what that is and can identify it, it makes the rest of this process easier, okay?
J: Yeah. And I'll throw in my big ‘why’ currently is to…
J:… 2 big ones, is to have energy when I'm a grandma… (Laughs)
N: Absolutely, yes.
J: … and… and to model for my girls what it really looks like to have a good relationship with food and with my body; that's hugely important to me.
N: Yes, I agree, I agree. And… you know, and that's where you get the difference I think, Jen, between like interest and commitment. So, “I'd love to see this happen in my body, you know, but I'm interested in losing weight,” but there's a difference when it comes down to commitment. And if you really know your big ‘why’, it makes committing to the changes that are going to be necessary so much easier, you know? So, yes, and so often it does; I know. That's… for me, that was a huge move forward, is I didn't want my girls to struggle the way I struggled. I don't want other women to lose another minute of their life worrying about food or what size their jeans are or whatever. I really want them to be able to step into their passions and the freedom of who they were created to be and not allow those self-doubt, those thoughts, you know, fixations on food or anything to take anymore at that time. So…
J: Isn't it true? And when you think they're women 65, 70, 75 still having the same conversations about needing to lose weight and you think of the energy that has been expended on that topic, it's so sad, you know?
N: Exactly, yes. And just what kind of legacy you can leave and to really be free of that and to just fully embrace what I'm here to do. If I think about how much time and energy we can spend on thinking, “What am I going to eat for the next meal?” or, you know, feeling bad about ourselves or feeling, you know, self-doubt or whatever, you replace that time with like things that really energize you and give you life like listening to good music or going for a walk with your kids or, you know, writing or reading or painting; just the difference that compounded over time that that has. So…
J: Ooh, this is good.
N: … yeah, it’s a really exciting thing, mm-hmm.
J: So we acknowledge what our body has done for us so far and we figure out what we really want and why.
N: Yes, yes.
J: And then what?
N: Okay. So then I think something that's really important is figuring out what those thoughts or beliefs are that have kind of derailed you in the past. So, for me, like I said, I didn't even realize that I had that just really deep lying undercurrent of my lack of value, right?
N: So I would really encourage women to write those down and be on the lookout for them. So for example, if your goal is to lose weight because you really want to have some energy and feel good about yourself or whatever, the thoughts that might have derailed your attempts in the past to lose weight could be, “Gosh, every time I do this, you know, I gained it right back,” or, “This was never… I've never found anything that works for me,” or, “I'm never going to be as skinny as this person,” you know? There's just all these little thoughts that we don't really recognize coming in, but I just would encourage women to like write those down, what are they?
N: And then when they show up, I mean, you're on the lookout for them, they show up and you're like, “Ah, there you are. I knew you were coming,” you know?
J: Because you're looking, okay.
N: Absolutely. And then they… they have no power over me. Like, “Oh yeah, it's not just this… I mean, I knew you were coming, you know, you do it every time.” And so I think once you've identified them, you refuse to give them any more power, energy, that's a huge freeing thing. You know, you're not caught off guard, your brain doesn't pick it up and really let it circulate. So that's just something that I've kind of learned through the process of meditation, how do you kind of identify those thoughts then let them… they come in, you acknowledge them and you just let them go right on through.
J: Okay, let's dive in a little more there. So you're just going throughout your day and you'll notice a thought about your body or about food, and you just start to notice what you think. And do you sometimes also just have memories from the past and remember where you got the thoughts? Does that happen too?
N: You know, for my story, not as much. You know, I don't really know what caused me to get overweight in the first place. I don't have these clear…
N: … senses of being, you know, neglected or abused or mistreated. But most of my thoughts do come from, once I had that was carrying that extra weight just the way that people responded to me.
N: The looks I got.
N: That kind of thing. So, yeah.
J: And then meditation helps you identify those thoughts as well, just getting quiet so you can hear yourself think?
N: Yeah. I think just learning to… you know, meditation’s a fairly new practice for me; maybe the last year, year and a half. And just learning to see those thoughts that kind of flit into your brain. (Laughs)
N: And how easily it is to kind of like chase them down or to say… well, the whole idea of spiraling thoughts, especially like I think, “Oh my gosh, my friends are getting together for lunch and I didn't get invited,” and then the next automatic thought becomes, “Nobody wants to hang out with me because I'm so boring,” and then the next… (Laughs)
J: Oh yeah.
N: …. spiral down becomes, “I'm just going to be alone, you know, I might not going to have any meaningful relationships.” And so, a lot of times…
N: … we find ourselves at this deep like a really low thought like…
J: “Nobody loves me.” (Laughs)
N: “Nobody loves me,” right? And you kind of go, “How did I get there?”
J: (Laughs). Yes.
N: Well, actually it started with that first thought when I was looking at Instagram and I saw that 3 of my friends had gone out to dinner the night before, right?
N: And I start with that and, all of a sudden, I'm at this ‘Nobody is ever going to love me thought’.
J: Oh yeah.
N: So the key, one thing that I love to talk to people about because I saw it happen in myself is, “How do you catch that initial thought that sets me down that downward spiral and go… you know, and fight…?” that's what I'm saying, I fight that first thought with truth. And so, for me, if I would happen to see, you know, my friends on Instagram, for example, my thoughts will go, “Oh, that's so fun that they had a chance to get together,” you know? (Laughs)
N: And be done with it; like be done with it.
N: Because going anywhere else with that is not going to serve me. And so…
J: Wow, that's huge, yeah. I'm so glad you verbalized that because I think everyone has the thought, “Nobody loves me,” at some point, but then to go back and know where it started, that's huge.
N: Yes, yes. And so it doesn't necessarily have to be that I remember the actual moment where that thought… you know, what in my past that thought got created.
N: But to identify that thought that shows up for me now and where it leads me and that's where the dysfunction comes into play.
N: So, you know, that can happen with all kinds of stuff, our relationship with our husband or how we're performing in our job or even how we take care of our own body, you know? So…
J: Yeah. Oh, that's great.
J: So acknowledge what your body has done for you with gratitude and figure out what you really want and why, and then start to identify those thought patterns and so stop giving the negative thoughts energy.
J: This is so good. Okay, take us further.
N: Now, this is… you know me a little bit; you know I love to kind of fly by the seat of my pants and I'm a real spontaneous girl, so this is a hard thing for me, but so important, is to sort of have a plan, okay?
N: So with your health, I just think this means, “Tomorrow, what's my plan tomorrow?
N: “What am I going to get some movement in? What am I going to have for a meal?” And it doesn't have to be super precise if that kind of stuff like makes your brain want to like go on overload, but it can just be as basic as, “In the morning, I'm going to have, you know, my smoothie with all these things in it, and for the afternoon, I'm going to make myself a big salad,” and whatever. And I will tell you, not having to make those decisions on the fly are going to help, okay?
N: Because, especially as you're starting to step into new healthy habits, your brain just is automatically kind of wanting to slide into the old comfortable way of being, okay?
N: So having these plans, I like to just call them an if/then link. So, “If I start to feel the urge to snack in the afternoon as I'm, you know, doing the laundry or whatever, then I'm going to walk away from the kitchen and grab my gratitude journal,” or, “then I'm going to get from my desk if I'm at work and I'm going to go get some fresh ice and water in my water bottle.” So there's this…
N: “If this starts to happen, then I'm going to do this,” and it just kind of… you know, we all need to save our precious mental resources and our willpower for other things. So why don't we just have a plan when, “If this happens, this is what I'm going to do,” okay? So I think there's a few times a day, especially related to our health, where we have these things that kind of send us off on the wrong path. Maybe it's just a time that you really liked a snack or maybe it's when I am around a bunch of people at work and I start to feel inadequate, then my next instinct after that meeting is to grab a candy bar, right?
N: So let’s say, I left this meeting and I did or said something awkward that made me feel inadequate, then I'm going to go outside and take a quick walk around the building for 5 minutes and get some fresh air; just anything else that will help us start breaking out of those patterns. It's the whole idea of having…
J: Patterns, yeah.
N: … elasticity and like…. yeah, changing the way your brain reacts. So as much as I'm one that loves to be spontaneous and all that, to really give yourself that extra support of having a plan is huge.
J: And when you think about it in terms of patterns, it's not all or nothing, “Hey, I'm just going to tweak this pattern a little more today and a little more and a little more,” I love that.
N: Absolutely, yes. It doesn't have to… it shouldn't be anything too big to be honest. Because really, Jen, I think one thing we need to understand is that, when we're really pursuing, for example, improving our health, that the goal is for the long term.
N: “I want to get these habits in place so that I never have to think about this again. Doing the right thing for my body and nourishing my body is what I automatically do,” right?
N: “So the rest of my life can be spent doing other things.” And so our brain, which loves kind of keeping me safe and all of that, will fight change a little bit and want to go back into these old patterns. So doing the little tweaks consistently day after day is what really gets us the long-term results.
N: So a lot of us do want to, you know, get on that cleanse and lose 15 pounds really, really fast, but what we find (and all of the studies are proving this), we gain the weight back and we get right back into the old patterns, and generally, we even gain back more than we started with, right? We're warring against our bodies, we're not giving it what it's asking for and, you know, again, it starts to war against us though.
J: Is forming the new identity around the habits its own step or it just comes with having the plan? I suppose it's a…
N: It kind of is just a natural outcome because your brain wants to make sense of your behavior.
N: And so, as you start to do these small daily habits, yeah, your brain will just actually kind of start to make those beliefs those, identity shifts, yeah.
J: Got it. Okay, so we expressed gratitude and acknowledge all our bodies, you know, amazingness, figure what we want and our big ‘why’, figure out the thoughts and beliefs that have derailed us, and then create this plan to build those daily habits, what's next, Natalie?
N: Okay, you know, here's a big key, I think, for people. Just finding someone or several someones just to support and stretch you; people that can just hold that space for you to be your best self. Because there's going to be times as you start to create those new habits where you start to go, “Ugh, this is too hard,” or just wanting to fall back into those old patterns without thinking, and you just need some support and stretch, right? So we all have friends that can love us and cheer for us, and that's good, but sometimes they can also fall into this, “Oh, but you're really just fine the way you are,” or…
N: “Why do you… why are you chasing after this?”
J: You know, there's some truth there. I think sometimes our friends don't want us to succeed because it means that they need to better themselves, you know?
N: Yes. Yeah, Jen, I know it's… and it's hard when you kind of see that, you know, and to really have grace on those friends.
N: I think it is hard to see other people really stepping into a place where you want to be yourself.
J: Yeah, yeah.
N: You know, and to continue to cheer for them and whatever. And so, yes, having those friends or people in your life that our support is key, but also the ‘stretch friends’; the friends that go, “I believe in you. I know that this is so important to you to have the energy to play with your grandkids, let's keep going, girl,” you know? They'd be the friends that would meet you at the gym or they'd share recipes with you or they would just remind you at times when you need it that, “You've got this.” And so I think, for a lot of people, that's kind of spending your life, it could be like an online support group like you offer through like your Vibrant Happy Women's Club or some of that where you just connect with other like-minded people. It could be a coach, you know?
N: It might be why a lot of people reach out to no coach is just like, “I need someone to really help keep me accountable, to not only believe in me, but also know when to push me, you know, know when to give you the next step.” So…
J: And that's why I love working with you, Natalie, because you kind of track, for me, where I'm at with these steps, and every week I'll speak to you and you'll remind me, “Remember we're… you know, we're doing this and that,” and I think, “Oh, yeah. Oh!” and I have kind of rocked that pattern. And I… “Wow, I am doing better than I thought.” You helped me realize I am actually succeeding and changing and keep pulling me along, so I love that about having a coach, especially you.
N: Yeah, yeah, oh, you're so sweet. Thanks Jen. You're such an easy person to work with.
J: So then after we find support and people who would stretch us, maybe a coach or a support group or certain types of friends who make us better, what's next?
N: Mm, well…
J: Oh, this is so good. Well, Natalie, we could go on all day, but, everyone, check out Natalie's website. Where can they find you, Natalie?
N: You can find me at boundless-living.com, and it's just going to be a great place to… you know, we… I offer anything from like 1-on-1 coaching to group programs where you can kind of do some self-directed work and maybe be in an online group with other women that are kind of pursuing the same goals.
N: There's also some opportunities just to get away with other girls for several days in a retreat format, so sometimes I found, for myself, it's a great to just get away from my regular environment and really dig into some stuff that I really want to change. So that really… that work of just getting away, zeroing in on something with other people who have the same goals can be really powerful. So there's some stuff there that you can look at for other like retreat opportunities and that.
J: And just to be able to think, “Hey, I'm going to spend the next 30, 40, 50 years of my life adoring my body no matter what happens, and just constantly improving my habits,” that seems so freeing. Would you think freedom is a big part of what you're actually offering people?
N: Thank you, Jen, for mentioning that. Yeah, for me, I think that's the key for everything. I mean, I'm looking at them, sitting here in my office and right in front of me, my daughter, in big script, wrote the words ‘Set free’. And I think that is the story that I really want to share with people is that there can be freedom from these things and these thought patterns and the behaviors that have kept you in bondage for so long, whether it's thoughts about your body or obsessions with food or constantly comparing yourself to other women or friends on social media, it could be bondage to like bitterness that keeps you from having a better relationship with family members or a husband or spouse, that kind of thing. So I think what we all want is just really freedom to live our life the way we choose to live it. I really want women to know and believe that there can be freedom to live your best life.
J: So, Natalie, let's have a quick break for our sponsor and then I want to hear about your favorite things about what your life really looks like in the nitty gritty? (Laughs)
N: Okay. (Laughs)
J: Okay, so welcome back. Natalie, tell us about your morning routine. What is the morning routine of a healthy, positive thinking health coach look like? (Laughs)
J: No pressure. (Laughs)
N: I will tell you, Jen, this has been the biggest thing that just really jazzes me up lately because, like I said, I was, you know, running a coffee shop, sometimes my wake up's were 4:00 AM, you know?
N: And my morning routine was jumping out of bed and hitting the road. And then after years of adrenal fatigue and just intense fatigue and tiredness, if I wasn't working, I was really not a bed at the same time the kids were. So there was no morning routine, it was just…
N: … up and at ‘em. So one of the best things I've done for myself is to start to create a morning routine. My morning might look like different things because, like I said, I am kind of a spontaneous girl, but there's some key things I really want to get in. And that might be some Bible reading like a devotional time, definitely some time in a gratitude journal. So my 20 year old son actually found this thing called the 5 minute journal and I absolutely loved it; so just a time to kind of get my thoughts in order and be grateful for the day.
N: I love to spend maybe 5 10 minutes just meditating and stretching and… I don't know. So every day it looks a little bit different, but those are all components of what my early morning looks like. I really want to center my thoughts, I really want to get at peace, I really want to have a clear sense of my intentions for the day.
J: And I feel like sometimes it's like filling your cup before you begin the day so you don't have to fill the cup with food and other things that won't really help you long term.
N: Mm, yes, that's so true. I was operating out of an empty cup every morning, you know?
N: I was letting the day happen to me and not choosing how to go about my day. And so, for me, that's been such a powerful shift.
N: I love that you include that with all of your podcast people because I just have been picking up little nuggets too from all of them, so that's awesome.
J: Yeah, yeah. You know, that's what I'm discovering. Almost across the board, 95, 99% of the time, the happiest people have the morning routine; I don't know.
N: Mm, mm.
J: I could be biased, they all just come to my show; I don't know.
J: So what is your favorite happiness tool, Natalie? I mean, anything goes; happiness tool.
N: Mm, my favorite happiness tool is getting outside.
N: That could be… yeah, I love… oh gosh, I love walking in the rain. I love stepping outside my front door and just putting my face up to the sun and feeling it for a few minutes.
N: Just getting that fresh in my lungs, it just is a massive shift for me, so I love that.
J: That's brilliant. What's your favorite easy meal?
N: My favorite easy meal, we love just those lettuce wraps, so just some ground turkey and onions and some Coconut Aminos, a tiny bit of honey, and let me just brown those all up, put them in some lettuce with like fresh cucumbers and red peppers. I mean, it takes literally 15 to 20 minutes start to finish, so that is our favorite easy meal.
J: So you have ground turkey mixed with Coconut Aminos and what?
N: Oh yeah, so I we put… we'd brown some turkey, we just cook it up with some… like instead of soy sauce because a lot of people…
N: … have soy problems, we'd love to just put Coconut Aminos and a little bit of honey.
N: And, you know, then there's the onions and green onions, we put some carrots and water chestnuts in there and, yeah, it's wonderful. So…
J: Green onions, oh yeah. Yeah, send us your recipe, yeah.
N: (Laughs). Yeah.
J: Oh, thank you, okay.
N: Yes, literally, it's a 15 minute meal so it's so great.
J: So we will have that recipe on our show notes page at jenriday.com/128; oh, yummy. That actually sounds really doable; thanks, Natalie.
J: Your favorite way to relax.
N: My favorite way to relax is to grab a book and sit in the little corner of our sectional couch with a little blanket pulled up over me and just read. I just love to learn and hear thoughts from other people. And so, for me, that's a hugely relaxing thing.
J: Oh, that's nice. What's your favorite kitchen gadget?
N: I would say it's my blender. I mean, I… we just use it for everything so…
J: Ah. So like smoothies and everything else?
N: Yes, and I tend to sneak vegetables into things, like I think I’ve mentioned that to you before. So I love to sneak vegetables into things and so I might sauté a bunch of random vegetables and throw them into my mashed potatoes and so…
J: (Gasps) Smart!
N: A blender works miracles because, even though the kids can see specs of red peppers in there, they can't possibly pick them out, you know? (Laughs)
N: I love it.
J: Smart, smart. And what is your favorite life hack? This is my new question.
N: Mm, favorite life hack, so give me an example of that. What does that mean?
J: What's something that you do that you think makes life easier? It could be in your house, it could be in your car, could be with relationships, just something you've learned that you think is brilliant that makes life so much better.
J: I know; I should have warned you.
N: Okay, just a perfect life hack for me. I have a little bit of trouble keeping my car organized. So I would say a good just tip for me is to have a kind of a cute small basket in my car that I can just toss everything into before I come inside so that I don't start to live out of my car.
J: Oh, that's smart. So you just bring the basket in?
N: Yes, it's in there and then I kind of…
N: … just toss everything; it's amazing. I can clean my car and then like 2 days later, it looks like I'm living out of it, you know? (Laughs)
J: Uh-huh, uh-huh, that's a good one, thank you.
J: Your favorite book.
N: My favorite book, I would say… I shared a quote from him earlier, but he… his new book, it's by Bob Goff and it's called ‘Everybody, Always’. So it's just his idea of, “How do we love the people in front of us; just everybody?” You know, and he… have you read anything by Bob Goff?
J: Can you spell the last name for me?
N: It's G o f f.
J: I… I've heard the name, but I have not read anything of his yet.
N: It's his super easy reading, he's written a book called Love Does and then his new one is called ‘Everybody, Always’. And he is just one of those extravagant lovers of life.
J: Oh yeah.
N: And so these books are just little stories and snippets of things that he's done that I just think the legacy that he is going to leave this world is amazing. And that's what I want to be about too, that people just remember my extravagant gestures of love for them.
N: They don't have to be costly, but they just have to leave you feeling really well loved. So…
J: Yeah, yeah. Oh, that's good. Well, my favorite question, what does it mean to be a vibrant happy woman?
N: You know, for me, it just means that wherever I find myself during the day, that I'm just fully there really present and just engaging all in my senses and feeling what it means to be alive, you know. If… whatever it looks like, I'm feeling and touching and hearing and smelling and just really enjoying it. And, for me, that also just involves a sense of awe or gratitude that I just get to to live this awesome life, I get to be me, I get to be in my own skin, I get to show up in all the neat places that I get a being every day. So, for me, it just means appreciating what's right in front of me and continuing just to be grateful for it.
J: Yeah, yeah, that's great. And a challenge for our listeners, Natalie.
N: My challenge for people is that they could just take some time this week to sit down and decide what it is they really want, what would make them happy, what would make life worth living, and begin to just make a plan to follow through. Like, “How do I create that? What are the small steps I need to take to do that?” Just find someone to hold you accountable and then just commit to taking small daily actions to move toward that goal.
J: Cool. Natalie, you are doing such amazing work in the world. You are changing my life, changing my thought patterns about my body and about health and helping me have those empowering habits; thank you so much. And, everyone, definitely go check out Natalie's website, again, that's where, Natalie, one more time?
J: Cool. Thank you so much for being on the show Natalie; I just love you.
N: Thank you, Jen, I love you too.
J: Bye. Take care.
If you're a member of the Vibrant Happy Women Club, we will be discussing all of these steps Natalie mentioned in the interview in our small groups this week. We'll be talking about your limiting beliefs around food and around your body and also about the habits and patterns you would like to establish; we're going to have a lot of fun. And if you're not a member of the Vibrant Happy Women Club but would like to be, you can get on the wait list by going to club.vibranthappywomen.com; doors will be opening again soon. I want to thank you all so much for joining us. I am so glad you're part of this movement to be your best self, to fall in love with your life again. It is so much fun to be on this journey with you and I will be back later this week with a happy bit. I will be back later this week with a happy bit, and until then, make it a phenomenal week. Take care.
Intro: Thanks for listening to the Vibrant Happy Women podcast at www.jenriday.com.