Who: Natalie Strahorn, 37
Does: Owner, Xtend Barre Old Town
In middle school I started cheerleading on an all star squad, and in high school I was cheering for both a competitive all star squad and my high school. Our weight had to be under 110 pounds in order to go up in the air, so that was the first time in my life where suddenly a number on the scale became very important, and it pretty much ruled my thoughts from then on into my 30s. When I began watching my weight for cheerleading, I started restricting my calories, but what I thought was healthy was total crap. I went through years of bouncing between being super-strict and sticking to no more than 1,200 calories a day, and then I’d let up and my body would just store everything I ate because it was previously in starvation mode. What I didn’t know was that I was wrecking my metabolism.
Macro counting is what gave me the foundational knowledge I needed to follow an 80/20 diet—80 percent of my diet being clean eating and 20 percent of my diet being treats and splurges. When I decided to count macros, I was on the verge of opening my studio, working out, and teaching classes a ton, but still not 100 percent happy with myself. I called my best friend who worked with a lot of nutritionists and trainers and she told me macro counting was the answer. Counting macros means you’re counting the macronutrients—grams of proteins, fats, and carbs—that your body needs in a day to either lose weight, maintain weight, or bulk. It’s a lot of work and really effing tedious in the beginning, but if you want results, you have to put in the work. And I like that there is science behind it. Here are a few things I did while counting macros that I still do today:
- I bought a food scale to weigh my protein.
- I used the app My Macros+ to count and track macros. What’s nice is once you enter a meal or food item once, it’s in there for future use.
- I brought my lunch every day to work.
- I cut out beverages that are filled with calories. As much as I love Starbucks soy chai lattes, I love my wine more, so I kissed those goodbye.
- I plan my meals for the week on Sunday and meal-prep cooked chicken in the Crock-Pot to use all week for salads for lunch and with quinoa.
- Spices are your best friend. I buy Fusion Black Truffle Salt from Amazon and use it on everything.
- Eating the same things helps to keep me on track. At home we have broiled salmon marinated in soy Veri Veri Teriyaki Sauce and a kale Caesar salad every Monday, and turkey taco salads every Thursday. We still enjoy it and eating the same healthy meals allows us to splurge on whatever we want when we go out on the weekends.
My dessert is a handful of Snacking Bark or these home-made dark chocolate macaroons made with dates, coconut sugar, and cacao powder. I have dark chocolate and a glass of red wine almost every night. I budget my meals all day for this little treat. In college, I would polish off a pint of Ben & Jerry’s as my dinner. Now that I eat healthy, quality foods, I actually don’t enjoy processed foods or foods high in sugar.