Psychotherapist, certified health coach, author, and ex-serial dieter Nathalie Botros is all too familiar with the struggles of weight loss – she herself fought that battle for years. She understands the behaviors of women who become caught in the downward spiral of today’s diet and body image cultures and recognizes the triggers that marketers and the media use to capitalize on negative self-image and drive the rapid, continued growth of the diet and weight loss industry. For Nathalie, however, she decided that enough was enough.
“Some eat to live while others live to eat,” she says. “I am happiest when I am around a table with family or friends, sharing a good meal. But I struggled with my weight for most of my life, and when I began to look back on it I was able to see distinct periods I call the ‘sparkling periods’ and the ‘black periods.’”
She explains the sparkling periods were when she lived life to the fullest: traveling, going out, and enjoying dinners and events. The black periods usually involved trying a new diet – whether that meant munching on three raw vegetables at home and calling it dinner or injecting herself with pregnancy hormones as the highly controversial HCG Diet requires.
Nathalie decided that her new approach would start from a place of happiness, self-love, and self-acceptance. By transforming her day-to-day relationship to food and writing a series of tips and tricks, she created a freer, healthier, happier lifestyle that led to a profound change in her body. From there she became a certified Health Coach with a mission to share the message that anyone can change their own story by simply beginning with self-love and respect – that by doing so they can live happily and healthfully while losing weight at the same time. And in sharing that message the “Bon-Vivant Girl” was born.
Translated from French “bon-vivant” means “well living” and Nathalie has made it her mission to help others live well – just as she has. Her new book IF YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT SHOULD I EAT A SKINNY GIRL? is the roadmap to the bon-vivant lifestyle and will help readers everywhere change their own relationship to their food and
Nathalie explains: “You have to find the balance between your food intake and your happiness because both
are vital to losing weight and to living a bon-vivant life. Today I can call myself a Bon-Vivant Girl, because I am done with diets, and I live my life fully. I travel, I go out, I party within reason, and most importantly I am happy. This is my new era and I want to share it with everyone.”
Nathalie, like so many of us, has fought the “battle of the bulge” her entire life. Coming of age at a Swiss boarding school she was surrounded by other girls who she perceived as thinner and more beautiful. From that moment on she was consumed by the need to constantly lose the weight. She tried every diet under the sun until one day she decided that enough was enough and so began her journey to a happier – and thinner – Nathalie and the birth of “The Bon-Vivant Girl.”
Realizing that all we really need to do is begin with self-love and respect…and a little common sense, she decided to give “well living” a try (or bon-vivant, in French). She easily shed the pounds and became happier and more self-fulfilled. Now she is committed to sharing her story and philosophies in hopes that she can help others find the same success and step off of the downward spiral of self-loathing. Her new book IF YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT SHOULD I EAT A SKINNY GIRL? is full of tips and tricks to to be a happier, healthier you.
I sat down with Nathalie Botros The Bon Vivant Girl and asked her a few questions
I want to know how did you finally lose the weight?
My first step was to accept that I had gained that weight, I went through the five stages of grief of Kubler-Ross. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.
My second step was to love myself; I would force myself to stand naked in front of the mirror every day and love at least one part of my body.
My third step was to write a food journal. I would write everything that I put in my mouth (even the olive while I was cooking). The journal was not just for food intake; I would add notes, such as when I was eating, and why I was eating was eating? Because I was hungry or just bored?
After logging in my food journal, my bad food choices and errors were very clear to me. I had a problem with snacking, with cheese, with freestyle olive oil, and I had to understand my cravings.
Once you determine the problem, it is easier to resolve it. I have started to prepare in advance my snacks. I did not cut cheese and oil completely as I know I would have cheated, instead I used them in moderation instead of “freestyle”. My cravings were the hardest part. I tried to study them. Thanks to my food journal I could see my state of mind when I craved sweet or savory. I learned that most of my binging was connected to my emotions, so I have worked on myself.
I did not lose the weight in 3 days, a week or a month. I took my time, so I could still enjoy my life, and the weight will not come back right away.
The reason I hate dieting is the lack of social life! How do you cope with the depression that comes with dieting? The day is long!
That is why I am not dieting anymore, and I have created The Bon-Vivant Girl lifestyle.
I used to be a serial dieter, trying all “the little black dresses of diets” that I heard of, even the miracle ones. I could have separated my life into two distinctive periods: the sparkling periods and the black periods.
The sparkling periods would be when I was not on a diet and had a social life; go out, travel, eat, drink and enjoy every minute of my life.
The black periods would be when I was on a diet. I would be depressed and sad. Feeling punished and starving at home while munching on three carrot sticks.
The common mistake that we all do is to think that we will be happy only when we lose the weight. Studies have shown that even if you do everything right; if you are not happy, the pounds will not go away.
So let’s try a new approach, let’s be happy first and then shred those pounds.
The Bon-Vivant Girl lifestyle teaches you to accept and love yourself. It encourages you to have a social life, to travel and to be happy. It gives you easy tips and tricks to follow and helps you to transform your relationship to food.
When you are being “good” or eating clean what do you actually eat?
Being good or eating clean means eating fresh, organic and not processed food.
Organic, because the fruits and vegetables will not be heavily sprayed with pesticides; and animals will be raised in organic lands, fed with organic food and won’t be administered antibiotics or growth hormones.
Processed food because they contain a lot of sodium, fats, and sugars. Processed food is not only frozen or ready meals. It is also any food modified from its natural state, which has been refined or flavored like ketchup and sodas. Also, all the food that are white in color like flour, rice, pasta, bread, cracker and, cereals are refined so processed.
You have a party Saturday what are you eating MTWTF?
If I have a party on Saturday, instead of struggling during the party about what to eat or what to drink, I reduce my food intake the day before, so I can fully enjoy the event.
I call it “my food and beverage credits”.
MTWT, I would eat as usual, and as of Friday, I start being careful. To start with I will avoid going out and I would decrease my calories.
I choose low-calorie dishes because it works better for me than if I did high protein. People think that when you lower your calorie, you do not eat anything. That is wrong.
A sample day would be:
Breakfast: I am normally not hungry in the morning, so I do not eat breakfast.
Lunch: A fennel salad, with chicken, cherry tomatoes and ¼ avocado with lemon and mustard dressing (around 300 calories)
Snack: I am lately obsessed with mandarins, so 2 mandarins (around 140 calories)
Dinner: 1 Filet of sole baked in the oven in a folded pouch (en papillote), with lemon slices, cherry tomatoes and Kalamata olives with the herbs that you like, and a side of steamed spinach. No need to add olive oil, as when you open the pouch you will have a tasty juice already. (around 300 calories)
Snack: I like almonds so 10 almonds while watching TV (70 calories)
Total calories for the day is approximately 810.
I know 810 calories seems not enough; but when you look at my menu you don’t starve yourself, you just make different choices than a regular day. So, it is not a punishment. Let’s not forget that you will look fabulous and enjoy your party on Saturday.
I am so sick of hearing what I should not eat! Tell me what I should be eating…
First of all, you should not let anyone tell you what you should eat and what you should not eat. Some foods that are good for your friend can be unhealthy for you. Each person is unique. We all have different nutritional needs, metabolisms, and lifestyles. There is no diet fits all, it is called bio-individuality.
I do not believe that we should live on salads to lose weight. Sometimes it is healthier to eat a good quality pizza than a salad with 10 toppings and dressing.
You should eat of everything. My philosophy is, instead of cutting the “bad foods”, increase and priorities the “good foods”. For example, when you crave sweet, before attacking your sneakers bar or candy, eat some fruits and then eat your sneakers bar or candy. You will see that with time the Snickers bar would be less appealing.