True Health
Good Health Magazine Australia|March 2020
FITNESS INSTRUCTOR NATS LEVI TALKS TO ERIN FISHER ABOUT UNREALISTIC BODY IMAGE GOALS AND THE HEALTH SCARE THAT PUT AN END TO HER EXCESSIVE EXERCISING
ERIN FISHER

Looks can be deceiving. An eye-catching book cover doesn’t always mean a life-changing read, and just because a person’s body looks fit and healthy on the outside, doesn’t necessarily mean their daily habits are.

For Nats Levi, the boost of self-belief, confidence and empowerment she experienced through movement was the bait that got her hooked, and it wasn’t long before she went from the shy participant at the back of a gym class, to a Les Mills group fitness instructor, sometimes teaching in front of hundreds of people around the world.

Her schedule at times was jam-packed with 15 to 20 group classes to teach each week, plus her personal client database and her personal workout regime on top of that. Yet even with all the high-intensity hours she was clocking up on the gym floor, the sense of pressure to perform better athletically and look the part with a leaner and “fitter” physique was relentless.

When Nats and her husband wanted to start a family, her light and irregular menstrual cycle suddenly became a concern, and an appointment with her endocrinologist was the wake-up call she needed. She was diagnosed with Female Athlete Triad syndrome – a combination of three components; low energy availability (ie not enough food for the amount of exercise), loss of menstrual cycle and decreased bone density.

Too much

“We are bombarded with images of what healthy looks like, and I realised that while I was driving my body so hard to try and perform, and present this picture of health, I wasn’t truly fuelling my body and treating it healthily.”

“People would tell me I looked great, fit and healthy, and while in those moments I probably looked quite lean, I wasn’t so healthy. My body was in such a stressed state that it was affecting my gut health, my hormones and my mental clarity, but I was so used to just pushing through it.”

After taking timeout to dial back the training and focus on nutrition and recovery, her body slowly found its happy place. Her menstrual cycles returned, the heavy brain fog lifted, her energy levels were restored and she began to cultivate a more balanced approach to training.

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