It’s been an epic journey producing Size HH. Through it, I have met some incredibly talented, inspiring people and learnt a heck of a lot.

Over a coffee with Mercedes, (the Illustrator) one morning, I mentioned how I would love to meet someone who has an inspirational diet/weightloss story to feature in the book and become part of the project. Not just someone who advocated the fit life, or who had got in great shape, but someone who had personally experienced weight and body image problems and managed to overcome them using the same methods in the book. In other words, they finally felt Size Happy & Healthy.

A Lightbulb went off in Mercedes head and instantly she told me a little bit about Natalie Guyan. I got in touch and after meeting for a chat, my gut instinct told me she would be an amazing addition to the project…

Natalie’s story was completely different from my own, yet we shared the same goals and valued the same messages, like; aiming for healthy over skinny, and taking emotional and physical strength from balanced nutrition, positive thinking and exercise.

natalie before

What stood out for me was that Natalie didn’t acknowledge that she had become overweight until seeing a photograph of herself after her husband proposed (this photo on the left). Even when she realised and made the choice to lose it, she fell prey to all the marketing and mistakes so many of us make when trying to lose weight, because she was doing it for the wrong reasons – simply to lose weight.

Cutting it short, after reaching her dream weight through dieting and strenuous exercise, Natalie didn’t feel any more confident about her body, instead felt bad about lack of energy, mood swings and some sagging skin from all the cardio and crash dieting.

It wasn’t until she reached a point of exhaustion when she confided in a personal trainer friend and he helped Natalie see that she had been eating far too little fuel for her body and it was having a negative effect on her wellbeing, figure and health.

After learning to give her body enough of the right nutrients through whole, fresh foods every day and combining this with specific exercises, Natalie started seeing results like never before. She had natural energy, her figure was becoming defined and toned and the sagging skin a distant memory. Best of all, she wasn’t dieting or depriving herself, far from it.

So how did she do it? How did Natalie go from enjoying big portions of home cooked family food with treats every night and minimal exercise, to someone who eats clean (with the odd treat) and has completed marathons and various athletic competitions, all in her thirties? More to the point how did she keep it up the motivation with two young kids and full time career? No, she is not super human and yes you can do it too. (Full story here) It all started with a challenge…

natalie after

I won’t give any more away, but if you are looking for something to make you feel good and possibly even change your life for the better, setting yourself a challenge is a seriously good way to start the ball rolling.

That’s why we used it as one of the tips in the 10 Things To Help You Look and Feel Better In Minutes blog, because it really does work!

A challenge means different things to different people. For some, a challenge may be walking to the local shop without walking aid, or walking a certain number of steps on a step tracker. For others it could mean taking part in a charity run or jumping from an aeroplane (with parachute obvs).

Whatever a physical challenge means to you, it’s important to remember that it’s natural to have doubts, worries or even some anxiety at the mere thought of it. That’s just the receptionist at your comfort zone letting you know that something different or unknown is going to happen. This is why some people find it easier to set group challenges with friends or family, so find what feels right for you!

The great thing about setting your own challenges is even if you don’t win as such, just by taking part, you will have already pushed your comfort zone and hopefully learnt a few things about your body along the way too. If doubts do set in (they probably will at least once), consciously choose to focus on why you wanted to do it in the first place.

Natalie hasn’t stopped learning and challenging herself since she took part in her first charity race 6 years ago, recently competing in a Reebok Spartan race which is like a hardcore, extremely muddy obstacle course, and is now signed up to complete in the Marbella beach games event later this year.

Reebok Spartan challenge

We will soon be chatting to Natalie’s personal trainer friend, Elliott Upton who has since been breaking Facebook with results of his female fat-loss programs. Exciting!

Have fun challenge setting and feel free to let us know if you set yourself a challenge for this year, we will give you a social shout out for support!

eVA George