The uncontrollable aspects of our lives are the things we desire. For many of us, however, they can be the crucial point that takes us to a whole new level. Natalie Barry had many obstacles in her weight loss journey, but her two biggest challenges – the development of the PCOS syndrome (PCOS) and the loss of a baby – could easily have been her reasons not to give it a try.
Barry is like many other women who began their struggles with self-esteem and eating in high school. When she was bullied by peers, she drove her to perpetual cardio training and ate almost nothing – because women should "do" when they feel bad, right? Barry got to know her husband after high school, and as they built their lives together, their weight became bigger again.
"In my early 20s, I was in a management position at a company that had fully exploited my ethics," she says. "The stress was on, and I would be busy with the food to cope with it, of course, my weight increased, I tried many times to lose it, but failed again and again."
Eventually Barry could lose a whopping 60 pounds in just five months, but her methods were far from what one would call sustainable ̵
"I was told that I would never have children because of my PCOS, and to our surprise, I got pregnant in 2009 to lose her as a stillborn after 22 weeks," she recalls. "I felt broken, fortunately we got pregnant again in 2011, but it was a very difficult pregnancy and I had to stop all physical activity, which led to weight gain."
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a hormonal disorder that can affect not only fertility but also the ability to lose body fat. Barry was in depression and got medication. While she loved her daughter, she did not seem to associate with her the way she had wished for as a new mother.
"I tried to cover up my daily struggle, I did not want everyone to know what I was going through, I was gaining more and eating unhealthy food with virtually no exercise, I hated being out of control . "
Natalie had many traumas and pains in those years. but she finally turned things around.
This is her story.
Snapshot: Natalie Barry
- Height: 5 "
- Weight: 196 lbs.
- Location: Melville, Saskatchewan, Canada
- Occupation: Personal Trainer
What was the Aha moment for you?
I remember that one day I woke up, looked in the mirror and took this "before" shot picture, and when I looked at it, I knew I had to change, I knew If I do not do anything at the moment, I would not be here to tell my story: My daughter needed me and deserved to have a happy and healthy mother, I owe it to her and to myself, not just physically but also to become mentally healthy.
To do that before the picture I've never been on Day 1. I've never looked back, there were numerous setbacks, obstacles and injuries, but I never gave up. I can not say enough emphasize how strong I became during my journey. [19659002 How did you achieve your goals?
When I first made the decision to get well, I took my daughter for a walk and every day we went for a walk in the city for a few hours. Shortly thereafter, I decided to resume running. That was great for me when I found out it was a great way to clear my mind. Finally, I bought some weights to start integrating strength training at home, along with my walks and running.
My diet also needed help. I started with small changes: less sugar, less processed food, less soda, drinking more water and eating at home. I started adding lean meats and vegetables.
Not only did I have a training program that brought me to where I am today. My programs change regularly every 4-12 weeks. I've used split training, whole body workouts, strength programs, fat loss programs, HIIT programs, and more. I completed about 12 of Jim Stoppani's programs.
How did it look like that changes are made all the time?
I began to see changes not only physically but mentally as well. I was always happier, fun again and loved to be a mother. I chose the small gym we have in town. I did not know a soul, but stepped out of my comfort zone and joined. The hours I spent there would vary as my husband's job was not your typical 9 to 5 status and of course someone had to be home with my daughter. There were times when I would go to 23 o'clock. or even at 4am I saw results that I loved. I found a passion for lifting.
When I felt more comfortable in the gym, I knew this was not just a phase I was going through – it was a lifestyle I would stick to. A friend introduced me to JYM Supplement Science. At this point I saw most changes. After losing almost everything I had gained, I wanted more, so I jumped on JYM's Shortcut to Shred program, which pushed me further than ever. I was addicted and wanted to learn more about nutrition and lifting.
What nutritional supplements have helped you on your journey?
Was there a nutrition plan that guided your transformation? 19659003] My diet has changed over the years. When I started it was a small change, like choosing healthier options: eggs, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, chicken, broccoli, cauliflower. I looked at the portion sizes and still allowed myself a reward or a cheating if I wanted. I would say that my diet was 80 percent clean and 20 percent was allowed for a cheater. That helped me stay on track.
After getting to know Shortcut to Shred, I became aware of macros and how important they are to fat loss and muscle mass. I started to follow my food and saw amazing results with my body.
In dealing with PCOS, I have found by trial and error that low-carbohydrate diets give me the best results. PCOS makes it extremely difficult to keep body fat off the skin. Therefore, it is important to keep my diet in a nutshell. After I started tracking food, my macro break looked like this:
- Protein: 1.2-1.5 grams per pound of body weight
- Fats: 0.5 grams per pound of body weight
- Carbohydrates: 0 , 25-0.50 grams per pound
I stayed with it for a while, stopped the carbohydrates and gave me a clean refueling once a week.
Here is a typical daily meal:
What was the hardest part of your journey?
That should stay focused without much support from friends and family. When someone starts a fitness journey, we fully expect friends and family to support us the most. That's not always true. I mocked that I had posted about my progress, prepared my food, and brought food to family members when I knew that there would be no healthy choices for me. I felt very lonely on my journey. That did not help with my depression, but I had set myself the goal of getting well, and I would not let anyone derail me. I was not deterred from commenting about preparing my food, packing a cooler when going on day trips or family visits, and posting social media information about my progress and training.
Looking for a support system via social media After that, it was enormous for about a year alone. I have friends now whom I have never met in person and who offer more support than my family ever has. Although I have not made these comments now, they have definitely been painful in the past. Once my family knew that this was my lifestyle, not something that was just a phase, they finally accepted it.
What advice would you give to others seeking a great transformation?
You have setbacks, you have to overcome obstacles, you have to overcome injuries, but you can do it. You can change your life! I'm living proof that someone was overweight, depressed and ready to give up, to someone in the best shape of their lives. When I was forty, I'm happy and healthy, all because I never thought to give up, no matter what I saw.
To dig deep inside, and you will find it within you. This journey is never a straight line, it's never an easy ride, but it's possible. Get ready for success by knowing that there are times when you go one step ahead and two steps back. However, as long as you progress, these times will not last.
Make a plan, but be open to changes. Fitness is not a standard size. What works for one person may not work for the next, and what works for a while may not work forever. Be open to adjusting your workout and your diet.
What are your future fitness plans or goals?
My future plans are to continue learning and building a healthy body. I love to challenge myself, and even though I said I would never go on stage, maybe one day I'll find the courage.
Since becoming a Certified Personal Trainer in 2016, I have found such a passion to help others achieve their fitness goals. It's amazing to see how customers find in themselves what I see in them! It has become so rewarding for me. I've started where many of my students start, so I understand the fights and relate to how hard it sometimes is. I will continue to educate myself in the fitness industry so that I can continue teaching.
How has Bodybuilding.com helped you achieve your goals?
Bodybuilding.com helped me with my fitness goals by introducing myself to Shortcut to Shred and Jim Stoppani's JYM Supplement Science. When I started using supplements, I turned to Bodybuilding.com to replenish itself!
Any cool or interesting facts about yourself that you want to share?
I won the Jim Stoppani 6 Challenge in 2017 and was flown down to meet him and other challengers. This was my first time outside Canada for almost 15 years. Shortly thereafter, I decided in 2018 for the Ms. Health & Fitness Competition. I came in 10th out of 7,000 women and got a place in Muscle & Fitness Hers. I'd always looked at women in fitness magazines and told myself I never had a body like them. It was an incredible achievement for the 40-year-old mother in a small town. "Never say never" is a saying that I live now!
For more transformation stories, training tips, and nutrition and supplement articles, visit JimStoppani.com.