This week, we had the pleasure of getting to know Natalia! After getting into amazing shape with FIT4MOM, she is now an instructor inspiring other moms daily!
**Tell us about yourself**
My name is Natalia and I am mommy to Carmendy, 17 months and wife to my husband Jesse for 3 years. I have been a type 1 diabetic for 9 years and wear an insulin pump. My diabetes is a major part of my life that has helped me embrace a healthy lifestyle. I am lucky enough to be part of the most amazing FIT4MOM group in Central Phoenix, AZ. I started with FIT4MOM when Carmendy was only 6 weeks and have been addicted ever since. This past September I joined the FIT4MOM Central Phoenix team as an instructor, less than 1 year after my journey began with the group.
**What motivated you to make a change?**
Before becoming pregnant I was active and healthy partly due to my diabetes and always pictured myself as an active pregnant woman and mom. However, in 2010 I began undergoing some initial stages of fertility treatments, which ultimately lead to a pregnancy with an IUI treatment, but also lead me to an inactive and complicated pregnancy with weekly doctor’s appointments and exhaustive daily monitoring of my blood sugars and diet. By the end of my pregnancy I had gained 60lbs and couldn’t wait to be the active mom I always pictured myself being. One day I went to a park I had never been to before, far from where I lived to meet some old friends who recently had babies as well. I saw a group of women exercising with their strollers and babies and I literally chased one of the moms down to find out what they were doing. I found out it was Stroller Strides, came the very next week and have been hooked ever since. I believe it was fate that I was in that park that day. FIT4MOM provided me with the catalyst for the changes I needed to be a healthy and happy mom!
**What are you doing to get/stay so healthy!?**
I do Stroller Strides and Barre at least 5 days a week. I love running with Carmendy and participate in running challenges on the Nikeid app with my sister and a friend, and have recently competed in a mini triathlon in which I picked up swimming and biking while training. My husband and I also love to be active as a family by riding bikes and hiking. Also food journaling is a major part of my healthy lifestyle. A journal holds me accountable for my food choices and also helps me control my diabetes.
**It can be SO HARD to find “me” time when you are taking care of your family, how were you able to make these healthy changes and stick to them while still doing all of you other day to day duties?**
I believe one of the main keys to my success is that I try to wake up at least 1 to 2 hours before everyone in the house. During that time I can gather my thoughts, make plans for the day, plan out my meals, pack our food, get ready, have coffee and eat my breakfast in peace. This way when the baby and my husband wake up I am mentally prepared to take on the day. I also take time to plan my meals ahead of time so when I am famished from the day's activities I don’t grab the first unhealthy thing I see but instead have a plan.
**How do feel now? How has this changed your life?**
I feel AMAZING and my life has changed in so many ways I never imagined! I now have such an amazing group of best friends through FIT4MOM, I have an amazing job teaching Stroller Strides and get to help other moms achieve their fitness goals, I got back into great shape, get to hang out with my sister and niece every day who also are part of FIT4MOM, and get to be a part of such an incredible support group and village of so many moms that enrich my life! My diabetes is in control and by exercising and eating healthy I am able to decrease the amount of insulin I have to take daily. But most importantly I am teaching my daughter that health and fitness are a part of our daily lives and I hope this fosters a healthy relationship with her body, mind and food as she grows into a young girl.
**What advice do you have for other moms who want to get healthy?**
Nothing is standing in your way! These changes don’t happen overnight so take your time, be consistent, believe in yourself and know that it will happen with time. Something that seems so hard now, whether it be with a new baby, new exercise or eating program, will seem so easy to you after a couple months of doing it! You can do this!