By Patricia Danflous
Skinny Jeans Can’t Buy Happiness. Ready for a challenge that could change your life? It’s a big one.
Here it is: today, take off your clothes, look in the mirror, open your eyes and love one part of your body. Tomorrow, focus on another area. Soon, you will accept yourself and be on the way to a happier, healthier life.
It worked for psychotherapist, health coach and author Nathalie Botros.
“I stripped naked and I forced myself to look at myself every day in front of the mirror,” she recalled. “Looking at and loving one part of my body at a time was difficult in the beginning. Slowly, I realized that I was not that bad. I saw nice curves.”
With a boost to her self-confidence, Nathalie began to lose weight and live a happier, healthier life. The striking blonde who looks like she has never known an extra pound or two, inspires others with her renewed outlook on life and her fresh approach to food as The Bon-Vivant Girl. In French, one of the several languages she speaks fluently, bon-vivant means well-living. To Nathalie, it is self-love, self-acceptance and respect.
The Bon-Vivant Girl is the author of “If You Are What You Eat, Should I Eat a Skinny Girl?” (Great title, right?) Born in Lebanon, raised in Turkey, and schooled in Switzerland, she worked in health care, human resources and in the Italian fashion industry before expanding her career in New York.
The move to New York brought a 40-pound weight gain. “Every time I opened the TV I saw an ad about food. I also discovered delivery service when I moved to the states,” she explained. “We don’t have that so much in Europe and we don’t have as many processed foods. Fifteen years ago I was shocked when I went to the grocery store in New York. Every apple was the same size, shape and color.”
So, the relocation triggered a weight loss campaign, not for the first time in her life. “I actually started dieting when I was 10 at boarding school in Switzerland. It’s not that I was fat, but all the girls there were dieting so obviously I had to do it, too, to be ‘in’,” Nathalie said.
Fitting “in” and being thin is essential to fashion industry success. In that field, she said, “You have to be skinny, and I thought I looked like a monster with an extra 40 pounds. I began dedicating my life to losing weight. I tried every single diet in the world with no success. I would lose a little and then gain double.”
Nathalie defined her yo-yo dieting as sparkling periods and black periods, reflecting her life’s connection to food. “I thought that happiness was linked to weight loss,” she explained.
Sparkling times were filled with traveling, going out and sharing good meals with family and friends. During black periods, she focused on raw vegetables for dinner or injecting herself with hormones on the controversial HCG diet.
“One day I said, you know what, this is crazy. I have to stop the cycle, but first I have to work on myself,” she continued, taking her psychology knowledge out of her pocket.
“Once I was happy with myself and not obsessed with food, or anything else, I just let go and the weight went. It was cool because to be very honest, everyone around me was shocked. Some said ‘you lost too much weight.’ But most asked if I would write a book and talk about my diet? My answer was ‘I don’t have a diet. I am living the way I think.’ I’m more into eating healthy. If I have five extra pounds I don’t even care because I look healthy. You know, when you enter a room with self-confidence, no one would dare tell you that you looked like you gained weight.”
Now a certified health coach, with an emphasis on holistic living, The Bon-Vivant Girl strives for balance. “If I do anything in excess, I know I’ll get bored,” she said “I’m single and living in New York City, a great place for a bon-vivant girl, but balance is everything. If I do everything good I’ll get bored or do everything bad I’ll get bored. One day I can work out all day long and eat very, very light. The next day I could spend the day on my couch watching TV and eat—no, I don’t eat chips or chocolate —ßa pizza slice or a burger. I learned not to cut any food. I don’t eat chips because they don’t make me feel good. Otherwise I would eat them. I taught myself how to eat delicious, healthy, but clean food. I definitely can feel the difference between French fries that I make at home or French fries that I buy somewhere else.”
If you are looking to lose weight or searching for a way to be a bon-vivant girl, you will find scores of tips, techniques and recipes at www.thebon-vivantgirl.com. “If You Are What You Eat, Should I Eat a Skinny Girl?” will help, too, but don’t think of it as a diet guide. “My book is about losing weight,” she explained. “By the time you get to the end, I hope you realize that you first have to be happy to be able to do anything. Happiness and weight loss do not go together. That’s wrong, because every skinny person in this world would be happy and they aren’t.”
I am living the way I think. I’m more into eating healthy. If I have five extra pounds I don’t even care because I look healthy. You know, when you enter a room with self-confidence, no one would dare tell you that you looked like you gained weight.”