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  • Natalie Bonkowski

Five Years Ago...A Stage, a Bikini and a Tan

Updated: Jul 27

Five years ago, yesterday, I walked on stage in a bikini and dark tan for a transformation contest. I worked really hard the 6 months prior to transform my body. I should have been proud of myself. But I remember that day being so disappointed in myself for not doing better. I remember still being so insecure and worrying about what everyone was thinking about me. My sister and friends tagged me on Facebook and I remember hiding those pictures from my timeline. I didn’t want anyone to see me.

This transformation was huge for me. I won 5th place. The lowest of my adult weight, ever. I should have been so happy.

I remember the week after the contest and going back to the gym to workout. I sat and cried with my trainer for an hour. I was miserable. I hated me. I couldn’t control myself around food. I was eating, and my body was gaining quickly. The next year I gained 50 pounds back.

Somewhere in that year after the contest, I promised to never, ever lose weight again until I could figure out why I couldn’t keep it off. Why would I go through all that work again, for nothing? This was the cycle of my life. I’ve successfully done every diet since I was 16. But never, kept it off.

One day I stumbled across Health Coach Institute. Their program promised I’d find what’s been stopping me from keeping weight off and how I could help others. Their program was amazing. I learned so much about the power of hormones, the way wrong foods can control the brain, and how our bodies are unique to everyone else. I was privileged to practice coaching techniques with so many other soon-to-be coaches and in the process learn so much about myself.

I learned there was work to be done on my heart, my thoughts of myself and my foundation. I had to find true love for me. I had to throw diets out the window and find a way of sustainable eating for me. I knew I had to truly put Jesus first in my life and trust that he would help me find my healthy way.

Over the last few years, I have done so much personal development. Between books, devotions, the Bible, prayer, Facebook feeds of positive people, I am finally happy with myself. The number on the scale doesn't matter and I am finding health and wellness without obsessing about dieting or what I look like. I am focusing on foods that make me feel good and movement (exercise) that's fun. My journey has never been easy and I know it will always be something I must work towards. But, I am dedicated to continuing to find my way and bettering myself.

I completed my Health Coaching Certification in 2016 and just recently my Life Coaching Certification. I am so excited to help others on their health and wellness journey. If my story resonates at all with you, follow my journey here on my website. I am trying to post multiple times a week. It’s been hard to be so honest about my feelings, but I know letting my story out, will free me and hopefully help you in the process!

5th Place - Transformation Contest 2013

This is one of the pictures hidden from my Facebook feed. I should have been so proud of my journey. But instead I was ashamed. I never thought I was good enough.

#balanceandbabysteps #healthandwellness #healthcoach

About Me

After 20 years of dieting, frustration, self-confidence and body image issues, I found myself as a contestant in a transformation contest. I stepped on stage in a bikini and dark tan and won 5th place. Walked off stage, started eating, and gained 50 pounds in a year. I felt so defeated, lost, miserable, and out of control.  

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Matthew 17:20

"Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

A Health Coach or Life Coach is a tool to help you realize your goals, support you, and help you create habit change. We are not doctors or nutritionists. We cannot provide professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. The information you receive from me is based on my personal experiences, studies of others, and training received from health coach and life coach school. Always consult with your doctor before making changes to your health and wellness plan.

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