How I Got This Body: She Went from 126 Pounds to 108 Post-Baby With Barre, Macros, Wine, and Support from the Hubs

How I Got This Body: She Went from 126 Pounds to 108 Post-Baby With Barre, Macros, Wine, and Support from the Hubs
All photos courtesy of Natalie Strahorn.

Want to share your transformation story? Whether you lost weight or gained muscle, I want to hear from you! Email me at kolsen@washingtonian.com.

Who: Natalie Strahorn, 37, owner, Xtend Barre Old Town
Lives: Alexandria
Height: 5’3″
Start weight: This is more like, heaviest weight, in my 20s, around 126 pounds.
Current weight: 108 pounds, post-baby, might I add!

How long it took: Once I started counting macros, I saw results—I lost five pounds in one week. But, if I didn’t stick with it over the weekend, my weight jumped right back up. After about three months of strict macro counting, I saw the results I wanted from a weight perspective and felt ready to follow intuitive eating. Regular exercise played a large part, too. I want strong arms, lean legs, a flat stomach, and a perky tush. It’s truly the regular exercise—at least five days a week—combined with macro counting for about three months that gave me the goal I wanted, and I’ve been maintaining ever since.

Exercise: Barre classes at my studio, Xtend Barre Old Town, plus either our HIIT class once a week or strength training at the gym once a week, where I’ll do circuits of weights with cardio bursts in between, like jumping rope.

Diet: Macro counting is what gave me the foundational knowledge I needed to follow an 80/20 diet: 80 percent of my diet is clean eating and 20 percent of my diet is treats and splurges. Macro counting is 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 counting macros. It means you’re counting the macro nutrients—proteins, fats, and carbs—that your body needs in a day to either lose weight, maintain weight, or bulk.

Fave splurge: Red wine, dark chocolate, peanut butter, French fries, and… this is sad, but I love Domino’s pepperoni pizza and during my pregnancy I ate it once a week. I still aim for that goal.

Newfound self-respect?: Hell-freaking-yes. Especially as a mom. I slimmed down crazy fast after my pregnancy. I gained just under 25 pounds by sticking to my normal diet, but splurging a tiny bit more when I had cravings. A few months post-baby, I couldn’t do what I was used to doing in class or at the gym. After about six months, not only was I back, but actually leaner than before! So now I’m doubly-proud because I taught myself how to have a balanced diet and not starve myself, and am also happy with my body, post-baby, and am possibly even stronger.

My husband really helps me to stick to my goals when I’m not feeling into it. It’s not in a pushy way at all. It’s more in a way that he knows me and knows I’ll be happier if I stick with it. During my pregnancy, we had plans to go to the gym together, and when we got to the gym after a day of running errands, I had zero energy. Honestly, I went into the locker room and ate half a Perfect Bar and read People magazine, then finally emerged from the locker room and did 20 minutes on the elliptical.  I just wasn’t into it, but hey, something is better than nothing!

Then vs. now: I mentally obsessed about food and my weight ALL THE TIME. It was mental prison. I didn’t like the way I looked and it was a constant struggle. I hated hating on myself, but I didn’t know how not to. The most empowering, best feeling isn’t just the physical. It’s the mental freedom. Now, I know my limits and I also enjoy eating things that are good for me. I feel it not just in my body, but in my sleep, skin, and mental clarity.

Workout wisdom: You have to be truly willing to stick with something for a good six months in order to see results. There are no short cuts or fast tricks. Eating healthy and getting the body you want requires a long-term plan that you can stick with for life. Consider your eating habits like a food budget—no one gets rich spending all their cash.  Budget for the things you want and you’ll enjoy them that much more.

This interview has been edited and condensed. 

Want to share your transformation story? Whether you lost weight or gained muscle, I want to hear from you! Email me at kolsen@washingtonian.com.


Kim Olsen
Associate Editor

Kim Olsen joined Washingtonian in 2016 after moving to DC from Pittsburgh, where she earned an MFA in nonfiction writing at the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in Alexandria.