Updated: Jun 27, 2022
🎧 In this episode (LISTEN TO THE EPISODE), Nathalie talks about a very important body image issue – anorexia, caused by insecurity and hating the way she looked. She talks about how she had struggled for 15 years until she met that special person in her life who helped her to change this negative image of herself.
Insecurity, depression, desperation, self-hate, feeling unloved, being told she would never have kids, all that is in the past.
Happily married with 2 beautiful kids, finally happy with herself and above all alive, Nathalie wants to reach out to people who struggle with the same challenges. She hopes that they will see her as an example and that there’s hope.
10 Facts About Nathalie
(at the time of the project)
1. 50 years old.
2. Nathalie is French
3. She lived in Tahiti for most of her life.
4. Nathalie moved to Australia 5 years ago.
5. Nathalie is happily married and has 2 children – 10 and 13 y.o.
6. Nathalie is a teacher and very passionate about education in general.
7. She is really passionate about sports. Nathalie couldn't imagine her life without exercising and running, trying to push her limits to exercise to feel alive.
8. Nathalie was struggling for 15 years from anorexia caused by insecurity and hating the way she looked. She knows what depression, desperation, self-hate, and feeling unloved are. Today, Nathalie is happy with herself and above all alive!
9. Biggest challenge at this age – “Having a balanced life. I think I spent too much time working and I don't have quality time with my children, family, and my friends. The second challenge is seeing my parents getting older. And the last one is that I can feel my body getting sometimes weaker. And I don't control it.”
10. Positive change with age – “The most positive is self-confidence. I feel less insecure, I feel more appreciative I think of who I am and what I have. I think I'm softer with myself as well.”
Watch Nathalie's VIDEO interview HERE
LISTEN TO THE EPISODE :
INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPT (auto-generated) :
Hi, you are listening to My Body My Story podcast,
I never thought that I would see 50 I never thought that I would have kids. I never thought that I would find someone that loved me and never thought that I would be happy.
This is the 45 or 45 chapter where we celebrate rule breakers and role models, the women who inspire us to live life our way and to show that sensuality, beauty, soul and true essence. Here we talk about what it's like to be 45 Plus, adjusting to the changes that come with time, and will listen to the stories of our participants. If you have an interesting story to share, we would love you to participate, you can email us on email@example.com or visit our website, www. aleksandrawalker.com
Hi, Nathalie, welcome to our studio, and welcome to the project. And while you sitting in the makeup chair and tinies doing makeup for you, I'll be asking you a few questions.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hi, Alexandra. So as you can hear, I'm French. I guess that's what defines me, the most of Assad. I've lived in Tahiti for most of my life, actually. And I arrived in Australia five years ago. I've got two beautiful children. They are 10 and 13 and are amazing. I am a teacher. I think that's another thing that really defines me because teaching is more than just a profession. It's really something that takes most of your private time as well. And I'm 50 today,
Thank you! I think that it's important to stay right from the start that the reason I decided to come here today is because I struggled most of my life with my body image and I wanted to do something to overcome it, I guess. So when I said earlier that I was that I had been struggling?
Well, I'm not sure how much I can actually say but so I've been struggling with anorexia for quite a few years. When I was 22, something like that. I just stopped eating gradually first and then completely. And I was still running and exercising. I was running every day going to the gym. And very quickly, I got to a point where I had to be hospitalised and say in the hospital for several weeks, where I was fed through you know IV so yeah. I eventually came out of the hospital but it doesn't go away like that. I've been struggling with the food after that for 15 years, something like that. I was eating, you know, a few yoghurts drinking coffee mainly and still exercising all the time and still finding myself too big to too fat. Not fit not slim enough. And it all came with a grade insecurity. I felt Yeah, I felt estranged to my own body, you know, and I hated it. I hated the way I looked. And it led me to doing lots of wrong choices, of course, because I actually hated myself. And quit. didn't think I could be loved or liked. And that way I just chose to go with people who were not very, very likeable either. Yeah, and I was depressed.
Yeah, I think I was at one stage .. I was kind of desperate you know? And well, at one stage, I decided that I had to break that circle. But I didn't do it. Just by myself, I just did it because I met somebody special. And everything went back into place, when I have let that person loving me for who I was, and helping me love myself, too. And that's how I, yeah, I got I got two children now, when I've always been told that I couldn't have kids. And, and I think I'm finally happy. Finally, serine and, above all, I'm alive. And that's, that's why I say that's probably my biggest achievement to date.
And I do you hope that if people struggle with the same kind of thing, they will see that there is there is hope. And it's not, it's not something that is meant to be, we can we can go against it, and we can fight it.
So it's a brave act for you today.
Something like that.
So what are you most passionate about in life?
I'm very passionate about education in general. But through that, what I'm the most passionate about is to make a difference in people's life. As a teacher, so I'm always trying to make a difference in my students life as a mother, I'm trying to, you know, have leave some print in terms of making a difference for my children. And as a person, I'm always going out of my way to help people I know help people I don't know, through charities. I guess that's the only thing that really makes sense, you know, in my in my life, trying to help to do something for others.
And another thing I'm really passionate about is sports. I couldn't imagine my life without exercising and running, trying to push my limits to yeah, do exercise to do things to feel alive, I guess, and push my body.
So everyone knows that the with age we changed but what positive changes have you experience?
Fortunately, a lot of and I would say so many that I'm not too sure exactly. I wouldn't have time to go through all of them. The most positive is self-confidence. I think. I've always been very insecure. I've always questioned my appearance, my abilities. Myself in general, and, with age, I feel like I don't question those things. That as much I feel less insecure, I feel more appreciative I think of who I am and in what I have. I think I'm softer with myself as well. So it's, it's a good feeling. And other is that I think I appreciate more every moment of life, as well, because I've seen lots of people that I love, go away. And I realise that unlike the feeling we've got when we are young, you know that we can always postpone things and that things will come later. I realised that it's not the case and you've got to make the most of every single day.
So that's a positive change as well. And what is the biggest challenge?
Having a balanced life.I think we I spent too much time working I've got the feeling I spent too much time working and I don't have quality time with my with my children and my family, my friends. So that's a real challenge because at that stage, you know, in life, I thought that I wouldn't have to fight that hard for to make money and that things would be a bit easier, but it never really comes easier. You still need to work on a lot, and I would like to have more time to do things that matter.
The second challenge is seeing my parents getting older. And realising that's probably the path that I will take one day, it's a bit scary to see them getting sick or, you know, like, being weaker, and see them fade away a little by little, I suppose.
And, and the last one is pretty much linked to the previous one is that I can feel my body getting sometimes weaker. And I don't control it, my mind is willing to do a lot of things. And then sometimes my body says, whilst up, you know, that young anymore, you got to, you know, you've got to take it easy. And I feel that it's really frustrating because I, I don't feel it in my mind. I still want to run 37 kilometres when I do the bloody long work and things like that. And when, when after 30 kilometres, your knees are just like stopped working or you you're thinking, Well, you know, like, I feel like I could I could go on, but your body says no, you can't. So, yeah, it's um, and seeing yourself in the mirror as well, you know, you can see the signs of age when you look at yourself, but you don't feel them inside your your mind. So it's a bit scary to realise that there is a gap between what you feel inside and what you look like. And what you see in the mirror. Yeah.
And it leads me to this question about perfect body image or about body image generally. So where do you think this idea comes from?
I'm not sure. I guess one would argue that it's probably because of the cover of the magazines and all the ads and the the fashion show the ladies that are very, very, you know, thin and things like that. I don't I don't believe that 100% I think that we as women have I think we've tried hard to show that we could be equals you know of the men. And by doing that, we tried to be the best wives possible the best mothers but at the same time, the best working women and we tried to challenge ourselves and to be successful and at the same size time to go on being fit and you know, and exercising and being slim and toned body and so I believe that we have created that image of perfection just because we wanted to show that we were good enough. And I don't remember as a child looking at TV shows are looking at ads or you know, like, looking at women and thinking oh, I want to have their body. So I don't feel like I've been influenced by what I've seen. I've always exercise I've always done lots of sports. When I was a child I was doing ice skating athletics, gymnastics, dance, skiing, so I've always been toned and muscular and lean. So I never envy those persons, but perfection means different things to different people. So I yeah, I think that it's more something that you create through your own values I guess and your own beliefs. And for me, the idea of perfection is was is twisted, honestly likeeither.
As I said, I've struggled with body image but I've also been anorexic for many years so I always found myself too fat even when people told me that I was only bones and and skin.So I don't know where it comes from. I'm not sure.
But you describe like we create some picture inside our heads and sometimes we trying to reach this ideal image inside our head.
I think you're the only one who said, Who said so far that it didn't affect you the social media and I think it's because you were athletic, yourself and close to this perfect image they were portraying slim, athletic. Maybe that was the reason that it was basically you, or whoever they were showing on TV.
And yeah, maybe I find it a bit strange that we are so keen to put it on the images. You know, for the men, it's pretty much the same, you hardly see men with a, with a beer belly on pictures. And men don't feel pressure as much as we do in terms of perfect bodies. So I don't think it's only the image. I think that's what we, I've made of it also.So I yeah, I'm not too sure that the images just are the only reason for that thriving to be perfect in women.
I just had the thought now that you mentioned men why they never seemed like, worried about the belly or age like we do. And I think it's lay in base instincts of survival… like a female, they have to be competitive enough, like to look good to be attractive to men and men is good, as long as he brings food to the table. Maybe it's to do with that? I don't know, I think it's kind of an old instinct within us.
I think to education as well. We put less pressure on boys about the way they look. If you if you think about educating girls and boys, you would we tend to be stricter for the girls saying, Well, you need to look nice, you need to do your hair, you need to have proper, you know, a nice dress. So that's, that's the kind of stereotypes that we tend to pass on. And that stay engraved in, in, in women because we tell them don't go outside, you're going to get dirty. And we don't say that boys will say go outside have fun. You know. And if you get dirty, it means that you've been playing rough. And that's good. So yeah, lots of it is as to see with education as well, I think. And I tend not to try to put too much pressure on the look for my daughter, because I don't want her to think that that's the only thing that really matters.
What advice would you give your 30 year old self, if you could go back in time and meet her?
I would say - Have faith. Have faith in life by faith. Have faith in them in yourself? And if I could show her what I what I am today, I would tell her yeah, just believe, believe that good things are going to come around. Be patient and stop destroying yourself the way you do. Try to surround yourself with people who do good to you, you know, and hug good for you. Try to.. stop trying so hard to be liked by everyone. And respect yourself.
Yeah, if we could do that.
I never thought that I would see 15 I never thought that I would have kids never thought that I would find someone that loved me. And never thought that I would.. yeah.. be happy. So yes, just have faith. It will come.
Yeah, it's a wonderful wish. And what advice would you give to younger women who will eventually reach this age and undergo the changes? What would you say to them?
Don't be afraid, but be prepared. Don't be afraid because it's quite good finally to to be to be alive at 50 You know, lots of people don't get there. And so it's the proof that you're still alive and kicking and that you've got time in front of you. So it's a good sign, I would say it's, it's, it's great. Be prepared, because although we know that it's going to arrive, we always think that it's not going to be that quick, you know that we'll see it coming. And you don't really see that much. the first time someone offered me their seat in a bus, it was a real shock. I was like, Wow, do I look? So? Like…I don't know, so all to that young lady that she wants to give me her seat. So I took it with humour, but, you know, like it,
it made you think
It makes you think.. Yeah, well, that you're at that age where people think that maybe you need to be, you know, taking that, let's see it. So be prepared. It's, it's a bit of a shock, but at the same time, it's good to know that you're still alive, and they still have plenty of time in front of you.
Yeah. What would you say, by this age you reached, you went through, like all these years? And what would you be? What would be your greatest accomplishment?
Well, given given my, my history, my greatest accomplishment, today it is to be here. So yeah, I made it. And I wouldn't have bet on the on it, honestly, when I was 25. So it's a great accomplishment. The greatest of all, I hope, it's still a work in progress. And my greatest accomplishment will be when my kids are happy and balanced adults. So I hope I'll see it happening. But it's not it's not there yet. I'm still, I'm still trying to make it happen. It's still a work in progress. And I hope I will be able to say one day that it was my greatest accomplishment.
I'm sure you will.
So what does it mean to you feeling good, and looking good? What comes first for you?
I would love to say that feeling good is definitely the first. And that's what I do believe. However, I do admit that. I feel good when I've got the feeling that I look good. So yeah, feeling good should definitely be the priority. But I don't think you can really dissociate both, you know, if you feel happy with the way you look the way you are, then, yes, you feel good. So for me, it's two, those two things are pretty much
and entwined, I would say, you know. Yeah.
And what makes you feel the most beautiful?
When my daughter looks at me, and tells me, Mom, you're beautiful, with our eyes full of adoration. I feel beautiful as a mom, and it makes my heart just, you know, be filled with happiness. It's, and I really feel good and look good at that time. I always tell her that she's sweet, that she's very, very kind to say those kind words, that she's much more beautiful than I am and that I'm very, very happy about that. But it's not what is the most important. I tell her that people will be maybe attracted to her at first because she looks beautiful, but then they will love her because she's crying because she's thoughtful, because she's generous. She's funny. So that's what she needs to remember.