‘Any new mum can look like me if they make the effort!’
Mum-of-three Natalia Stewart transformed herself in just 20 weeks and controversially insists that any woman can do the same
With her muscular six pack, toned W arms and long slender legs, Natalia Stewart, 29, has an enviable body. But, incredibly, at the beginning of the year, she felt so out of shape she’d make up excuses not to leave the house. At 12st 9lbs, and a size 14, Natalia was overweight for her 5ft 6 frame. She felt desperately self-conscious about her body so she set about getting a physique she could be proud of – and dropped to 9st 4lbs and a size 8 in just 20 weeks.
Now the inspirational mum of three, who has achieved her look without weight-loss surgery or procedures, says she thinks that anyone can achieve the same – if they’re prepared to put in the work.
The hairdresser – who has children, Lee-jay, nine, from a previous relationship, and Bobby, three, and Arabella, one, with her partner Rob – says, “There’s nothing special about me. I have an incredibly sweet tooth – I would love to spend my days eating jelly sweets. I don’t always enjoy working out, but on the days I didn’t want to train I still dragged myself there. If I can do it, then anyone can. I certainly didn’t just ping back into shape.”
She adds, “I had lots of gynaecological problems after the birth, which were uncomfortable during training. But as long as your doctor says you’re fit to exercise you can do it, too. I want to inspire women to realise there’s nothing standing in the way of their dream body except putting in the work. Not having the time is no excuse. I’ve got three children and no help with them. But I got up at 6am to do an hour in the gym before Rob went out to work, or I’d take Arabella with me and she’d sit in her car seat beside me while I was on the treadmill. There’s always a way around it.”
Natalia, from Gateshead, hasn’t always had the “dream body”. When she was growing up, she rarely weighed herself and was a comfortable size 12. After having her first son, Leejay, she was only 19, and admits she had no idea about nutrition and would mostly eat quick meals like Super Noodles. She met Rob when Lee-jay was still a baby. They split briefly after three years and she dropped to a size 8, which she puts down to being heartbroken. But the couple got back together after ten months and she soon fell pregnant with Bobby and put on 3st. She says, “I felt so sick when I was pregnant with Bobby. Eating bread and biscuits was the only thing that helped ease it.”
Eight months after having Bobby, Natalia started going to the gym, but she fell pregnant with Arabella a year later, before she’d got back into shape.
She explains, “I put on 4st with Arabella because I suffered badly from morning sickness again, and I just ate and ate to try to stop it. After I gave birth to her in August 2017, I weighed over 13st. My muscles in my stomach had torn and there were a few complications with Arabella so we were in and out of hospital. Diet and exercise
weren’t my priorities as I had other things to focus on. But in January this year, I took a long look at myself. I weighed 12st 9lbs and I was a size 14. I was unhappy with how I looked and it was affecting me mentally and physically.
I didn’t want to go out because, even though no one ever said anything, I felt judged for being out of shape. So, I found a personal trainer who gave me a good deal on block bookings, and I saw him three times a week. I had a small amount of savings and decided to spend them on getting in shape rather than clothes or other luxuries.
“I would have eggs for breakfast, chicken and broccoli for lunch, followed by salmon and rice for dinner and a fatfree Greek yoghurt as a snack. I worked out every single day and on the days I didn’t have a personal training session, I would do an hour of cardio and an hour of weights. I’d work around school hours, going early in the morning. Often I’d take Arabella with me to the gym, too. I took photos of my progress every week and, eventually, I could see my body changing shape. For 20 weeks I was absolutely exhausted and didn’t go out for coffees with my girlfriends or on date nights with Rob. I was very rigid. Once I hit my target, I relaxed a bit with my eating, though I’m still careful and I exercise most days.
“I want to tell other women that they can look as good as me if they want to. People moan about their weight, but they’re not prepared to put in the effort it takes to lose it. I am so much happier, because I can wear anything I want now. When I was bigger I’d spend hours trying to find something to disguise my bulges.”
But Natalia does admit she was very hard on herself, saying, “Some women say they don’t have time – everyone does, you make time. You can get up at 6am like I did, despite barely sleeping, as I was up in the night with Arabella. Women like the idea of being slim and fit, but expect someone else to wave a magic wand and it will happen. You have to work hard and some women are just too lazy to do that. It’s hard – but I wanted to feel happy and confident again. And if I can do it, anyone can.” Visit @nataliajaystewart
❛YOU HAVE TO WORK HARD AND SOME PEOPLE ARE JUST TOO LAZY TO DO THAT❜
Natalia and her dad just after Arabella was born
She regularly works out with Arabella
A big change after 16 weeks