April 1, 2018 by Leanne Vogel October 2, 2018
Interview with Danielle Natoni, chatting about how to make terrifying changes not so terrifying, how to embrace where you are right now, the one belief that will get you out of the darkest places, and so much more.
One of the reasons I love having a podcast is that I get to connect with awesome people who can share their story and be vulnerable. It’s really easy for someone to speak about their current success and gloss over the obstacles they had to overcome in order to get to where they are — being honest takes guts.
I think that’s why vulnerability is so inspiring to me: it’s the brave thing to do. Being honest about the starting point (wherever that may be!) and honoring all the missteps along the way helps me to fully appreciate someone’s accomplishments and gain a better understanding of the whole picture.
Listening to someone else’s story encourages me to pause reflect on my own. There’s power in sharing your story, which is why I am so grateful for episodes like this.
In today’s podcast, I chat with our guest Danielle Natoni, former 5th grade math teacher turned full time fitness professional, wife, mom, and most importantly, an amazing human being.
This episode is all about how to get younger internally, how to deal with guilt, what a healthy mom looks like, how to tap into your power in order to better understand your purpose, and more.
Let’s get to the interview!
For podcast transcript, scroll down.
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Leanne Vogel: You’re listening to Episode Number 79 of The Keto Diet Podcast. Today, we’re chatting about how to make terrifying changes not so terrifying, how to embrace where you are right now, the one belief that will get you out of the darkest places, how to deal with guilt, and so much more, so stay tuned.
Hey, I’m Leanne from HealthfulPursuit.com, and this is The Keto Diet Podcast. Keto is a low-carb, high-fat diet where we’re switching from a sugar-burning state to becoming fat-burning machines. Starting keto and maintaining it long-term can be quite a challenge if you don’t feel supported.
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Hey, guys. Happy Sunday. I’m currently hanging out in a hotel room in Florida just a little bit outside of Orlando. It’s beautiful here. The sun was shining today, it’s pretty late right now, and we’re just trying to get through as many podcast episodes today, and there’s a lot of really exciting things happening on the podcast. This is the first of many recordings I will be doing from this location, and I’m pretty excited about it.The show notes and full transcript for today’s episode can be found at healthfulpursuit.com/podcast/e79. Let’s hear from one of our awesome partners.
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Okay. Today’s guest is Danielle Natoni. She is a former fifth grade math teacher turned full-time fitness professional who is obsessed with helping people, especially women, realize that they have it all and be fit, funky, and full of life. I found Danielle on Instagram where she was talking about how she prioritizes herself, her wellness, and her happiness, which ultimately leads to her feeling like she’s aging in reverse. Her tone and message really resonated with me, especially after all the research I’ve done for Happy Keto Body. Being a woman is super tough, and there are so many expectations from society about how we look, speak, and prioritize our time, so I wanted to chat with somebody who could share her own experience because we need to talk more about how to deal with the societal pressures of being a woman.
Just a note, there’s a little bit of swearing in this episode about halfway through, so I would recommend keeping this episode away from little ears.
Okay, without further ado, let’s cut over to this interview.
The Keto Diet Podcast, including show notes and links provides information in respect to healthy living, recipes, nutrition, and diet and is intended for informational purposes only. The information provided is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment, nor is it to be construed as such. We cannot guarantee that the information provided on The Keto Diet Podcast reflects the most up-to-date medical research. Information is provided without any representations or warranties of any kind. Please consult a qualified physician for medical advice and always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding your health and nutrition program.
Hey, Danielle. How’s it going?
Danielle Natoni: Great. How are you?
Leanne Vogel: I’m so good. Thanks for coming on The Keto Diet Podcast.
Danielle Natoni: Oh, my gosh. Thank you so much for asking me. I’m truly honored.
Leanne Vogel: Oh, that’s so cool. For listeners that may not be familiar with you, why don’t you start off by telling us a little bit about yourself?
Danielle Natoni: Sure. My name is Danielle Natoni, and I’m 39 years old. I live in Frisco, Texas, which is the burbs of Dallas, with my husband Darren. I have two kids, Adrianna and Bianca. Adrianna is 16, and Bianca is 12. We have a really soft but bad Bengal cat. His name is Chuma the Bengal, and we just love enjoying his mischievous adventures. I’m a former fifth grade math teacher turned full-time fitness professional who is obsessed with all things Rocky, French fries, chocolate chip cookies, and just living my best life possible.
Leanne Vogel: I love that. It’s so great. I love all of those things too.The reason I wanted to have you on the show today was because you did a really great Instagram post where you were talking about how you prioritize yourself, and your wellness, and your happiness. One piece of the conversation was aging in reverse. Can you tell us what that means to you?
Danielle Natoni: For sure. I honestly feel the best I have ever felt in my life. This year, I’ll turn 40, which does not scare me at all, but I remember when my mom turned 40, thinking that that was so old. When I think about turning 40 now, I’m like, “Dude, I’m so young, and I’m just getting started.”
I think the reason I say I’m aging in reverse is because, as I’m getting older, I’m getting so much smarter. I am smarter about the way I eat. I’m smarter about the way I move my body. I make better choices when it comes to my sleep, and my stress levels, and my finances, and so, in turn, instead of growing old gracefully, I’m actually getting younger internally. My skin feels really clean, and I don’t feel like I look my age. I’ve got energy for days. It’s just really incredible what being completely aware of all the things you put in your body, how you move it, and just really trying to live your absolute best life, the effect that has on your overall wellness. I may be coming up on 40, but I feel like 40’s the new 20, and I’m pretty stoked for it.
Leanne Vogel: I love that. I’m assuming you didn’t always think this way, right? What was the turning point of you seeing life in a different way? How did that go for you?
Danielle Natoni: For sure. I got married young. I was 22. I was a little bit pregnant, and so then I got a little bit married because when you’re 22 and broke and pregnant, you figure, well, that’s the next logical step.
In doing so, I made a lot of poor financial decisions. Honestly, with that also comes a lot of bad nutritional decisions, right? Really cheap food is often really bad for you. I wound up being in an unhealthy relationship, two-way unhealthy, but I would up with two kids who I absolutely wouldn’t change anything that I’ve done in my history because I have the most amazing children. But where I found myself was with two kids, and no money in the bank, a seemingly great job as a elementary school teacher, but often having to just go to Wendy’s and their dollar menu night after night to put food in everybody’s bellies because I was nine credit cards maxed out, nine payday loans, just in financial ruin. I was stressed, and I was unhappy.
What I found is, when you’re emotionally broken, you’re often broken in other areas, so I was emotionally broken, financially broken. Outwardly, I looked the part. I’m one of those annoying girls who pretty much has been the same size her whole life, so the outward physical appearance wasn’t the problem, but I had to use a restroom after every time I ate. I thought that was normal. I constantly had anxiety. I didn’t get great sleep because I was always worried. I think the turning point for me was just one of those moments where you’re like, “Is this it? Is this really my life? Is this why I’m on this planet?” I found myself with two kids, an elementary school teacher, no money, and needing a second stream of income.
When I decided that I was going to have to go get another job, I had always had a side hustle of tending bar or waiting tables, and I just didn’t want that anymore. I actually really enjoyed fitness. I always went to the gym. I bought every fitness magazine there was. I used to watch Denise Austin of Lifetime. I don’t know if you know who she is, but that was kind of my first gig into home videos.
I thought, “I wonder if there’s a way for me to make a secondary stream of income in fitness?” Honestly, that was the gateway. That was the door that, when I made that step over into like, “Okay, I’m just going to do this to bring in some extra cash,” I started to meet new people, and I started to learn new things.
Honestly, that simple decision to, “Can I make extra money in the fitness space?” is what opened the door and opened my eyes to so many new opportunities. With each piece of research I learned, with each person I met, I just soaked it all in and started making changes over time that have led me to where I’m at today.
Leanne Vogel: I love that, and I can completely relate. For women that are listening that are like, “But that sounds terrifying,” did you deal with any fear with that? Because that’s a huge change and something that … It really sounded like it took a leap to get to that space. What was that like?
Danielle Natoni: Yeah. It’s, for sure, scary, and I talk about that with women all the time. Here’s the one thing. One of the things that you hear a lot is, “I’m just too afraid,” because I also left my unhealthy marriage. That was one of the things I learned too, right? One of the things you’ll hear women, especially who are moms, say is, “Well, I want to stay for my children.” I always argue I left for my children. What I knew is that I wanted my girls to see what a healthy mom really looked like. I wanted my girls to be able to see what a truly healthy relationship was so that when they sought out their own relationships, they had something great to model it after.
Honestly, that’s why I knew that my relationship wasn’t right, because my parents have been together since they were 14, and they have one of those storybook loves, one of those loves that you’re not really sure exists. My mom got really sick last year. She’s much better now, but watching my dad over her was like something out of The Notebook, knowing that, God forbid something happened to her, he would crumble too, and so I knew I wanted to leave for my kids. That was thing number one.
Thing number two was I also knew … They say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Well, I also knew, “Here I am. This is it. I’ve got no money. If I keep doing what I’m doing, that’s not going to change.”
I also knew, “I’ve got to do something, and so why not this?” Why just settle for what I already knew? Why not take this leap of faith? Because my other thought was, “What’s the worst that can happen? I’m kind of already rock bottom. I have no money. I constantly have to borrow from friends, families, and neighbors. Creditors are calling me nonstop. My stomach is in constant pain. I can’t sleep. So what could be worse, right?”
I get it. It can be really, really scary, but I promise you this: if you’re in a situation right now where you want to make a change, even if it’s not a relationship change, but any change at all, what happens on the other side of fear? Absolutely nothing. You don’t die. It’s like that meme, right? But did you die? No, of course not, so sometimes I think you just have to close your eyes, take a really big deep breath, and jump into the deep end because you will come out of the water, and you will come out on top if you just work for it, so that’s what I did. I just figured why not me? It was one of the best things I ever did.
Leanne Vogel: That is such an amazing and empowering story. While you were going through this process, did you ever feel impatient with it? Did you have an end goal in mind, and were you like, “If I could just push harder”? How did you embrace where you were in that moment of just every day embracing where you were?
Danielle Natoni: Yeah, so I have always has a really strong work ethic. I always say that I have no superpower. I truly believe I am no more special or talented than anyone else on this planet, that the only thing I am really good at is I am consistent. I show up every single day no matter what.
Honestly, that was my goal through my process, and it still is my goal every day, is if I can just wake up and show up, I know that I will move forward. Does that make sense? I really truly believe that it’s not these big grand things that we have to do, that it is the small, daily, unsexy, consistent behaviors that lead to big change over time.
I literally woke up every day and thought, “I’m going to do what I’ve got to do today, and then I’m going to wake up tomorrow, and I’m going to do that again.” Of course, I set goals along the way, “Okay, can I get out of debt? Okay, great, next. Can I earn enough money to have a savings? Okay, great, next. Now can I start paying off all this bad negative debt to build my credit? Okay, next,” but I really look at life, even still with all the success that I’ve had … Every day, I just wake up and I’m like, “I’ve got to do today’s daily things because that’s what it takes to get to the next day.”
Matter of fact, I’m working just on a really big goal, and I hit a piece of it last week, and I made a post on Instagram that said, “What do you do on a day where you hit a really big goal? The same stuff you do every day.” I just truly believe it, so small, consistent, unsexy behaviors day in and day out, and so if you can attack whatever it is that you’re trying to achieve and just think, “I’ve got to do what I’ve got to do today, and I’m going to wake up, and tomorrow, and I’m going to do that,” and I promise you, little by little, you’ll get there.
To answer your question, no, I wasn’t ever really impatient. That’s not to say that I’m not flawed in my mindset. I do have days where I get stuck in the comparison game, or maybe I see other people doing things that I wish I had done, or somebody had done something faster. For the most part, I’m pretty patient with my progress because it’s my progress. It’s the rate at which I go. Nobody gets to decide what’s the right or wrong pace for my life, and for my goals, and for what I’m doing, so I’ve really been able to kind of set that mindset of like, all right, if I can show up every day, I’m doing the necessary behaviors in life to succeed.
Leanne Vogel: Yes, just all yes to everything you said. I mean if anyone listening didn’t quite catch that, just rewind two minutes and listen to that over and over again because there was so much power in what you just said of just being in your own. I think a lot of women don’t see the value in that. Maybe we chat a little bit about what your life is like now so that people can kind of get a sense of why it matters. Why does this matter? It sounds like the core of everything you’ve worked on is really embracing yourself in this current stage of life and every stage that you’re in. Maybe you can share a little bit about what your life looks like now.
Danielle Natoni: Sure. I would never say that I have the perfect life, because we all know that perfect, first of all, is in the eye of the beholder, and there’s also no such thing, but it is pretty dang close. I am in a healthy, loving relationship. My husband is just the perfect life partner. He is my number one cheerleader, number one supporter. He’s pretty darn-tooting good looking. We also work together, and he’s just a great business partner. He’s a great bonus dad to my girls in that he doesn’t try to step over their father’s toes, but also wants to be a great role model for them.
I’m healthy. I’m debt free. I’m financially free. I have a career that is thriving that lifts me up every single day. I wake up feeling passionate and purposeful. My stress level is pretty low key, and that’s not to say that we don’t have struggles in our life. It’s just that, when they come, I’m so much more mentally equipped to handle them that it doesn’t even really faze me.
What I think is really important is that I always knew, no matter my darkest moment, that I mattered. I think that that’s something that a lot of women struggle with is that they don’t think that they’re worth it. It’s interesting. I may be going off on a tangent, but a question I get asked a lot is, “How do you do it all?” or, “How do you balance it all?” or, “How to you have time to work out?” or all these different things and … or, “What’s your number one priority?” I’m always like, “I’m my number one priority.”
I think that that’s the thing that has really carried me through is that I come first. I cannot be a good wife, I cannot be a good mother, I can’t be a good coach, a friend, a trainer, a daughter if I am subpar myself, so when I put myself first, I am better for those who need me around me.
For me, the space that I am in now, this life that I am living is I know that when I wake up every day, my number one job is to be the absolute freaking best me possible. When I do that, when I am the healthiest me by putting the best food in my body, and when I’m the healthiest me by moving my body in ways that make sense, and when I’m the healthiest me by ensuring I get eight hours of sleep, and all these different things, when I do that, I’m going to make better financial decisions. I’m going to be a more patient mother, a more loving wife, make better decisions about my job, and my career, and all these other areas of life.
I think I kind of went big circle all the way around that question, but where I’m at now is at a space of I am just really at peace with who I am, and I wish that for so many more women in the world.
Leanne Vogel: More on my interview with Danielle Natoni after this message from one of our podcast partners.
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Being at peace is such a great way of summing up the energy that I get from you, so that’s so great. There are two questions that kind of came up what you just said, and I know there are some women listening that are like, “But how do you do that?” As mothers listening, especially, or even dog moms or busy ladies, how do you make yourself a number one priority and not … how to you get through that guilt? Because I know that a lot of us will feel guilty of like, “Yeah, but Sally has soccer practice, and I need to be there for that, and what about the dishes in the sink and the guilt that can come from that if I just need to go to a yoga class and skip soccer?” How did you deal with that guilt? Did you ever have that guilt? How do you process that?
Danielle Natoni: Yeah, so I get it. Listen, we’re all riddled with guilt whether you have kids or don’t have kids. It’s just kind of the nature of how we’re hardwired, right? Even early on, though, even when I was 22 and Adrianna was a baby, I would put her in the gym daycare for 30 minutes and do a workout and have some me time because here’s the reality: you’re not going to miss every soccer game. Matter of fact, I’d love for you to reflect back right now and tell me all the times your mom missed a game. Do you remember the specific game that she missed? Of course not, unless it was that your mom was never at a game, right? You don’t miss the few times that your parents don’t make it.
Also, the other piece of it, to me, is that it is 30 minutes to an hour. If you can’t give yourself 30 minutes to an hour, something is also really misaligned with how you’re arranging your day and how you’re running your family. The other thing that really holds me to it and allows me to do things guilt-free is because it’s not only about me in this moment. What I am doing is also shaping my daughters’ future, and so what I don’t want my daughters to see is a frazzled mom who can’t keep her stuff together because what will happen then is we perpetuate that cycle, right? If I can’t put myself first, guess who else can’t put themselves first when they become a wife, a mom, a student, whatever it is?
The thing that reminds me to get good sleep, the thing that reminds me to be the absolute best me possible, the thing that makes it okay for me to miss a volleyball game, because volleyball’s our sport in our house, from time to time, is reminding myself that what they see is what they repeat. I want my girls to grow up being empowered females who will be able to give themselves one hour a day, 30 minutes a morning, 15 minutes with a quiet cup of coffee and some meditation. If we can’t model that, then we are just perpetuating this cycle, and we’re teaching our future generations that it’s okay for them to not take care of themselves too. That, honestly, is all the reminder I need.
Leanne Vogel: Thank you so much for bringing that up. I want to tell a little story. It’s really short, but-
Danielle Natoni: Sure!
Leanne Vogel: My sister and I grew up in a household where my mom … My mom was born with one hand, and she chose not to have prosthetics or anything, so she had this Mary-can-do attitude. Her name is Mary. If there was something that somebody said she couldn’t do with one hand, she’d be like, “Watch me.”
She did everything on her own. She pushed really hard, and so my work ethic, and even my sister’s work ethic, we call it the Vogel curse because we are the people on the team that everyone just relies on to do stuff, and we’ll be the ones that just do it all because we have that Mary-can-do attitude and that’s where we learnt. I love that my mom taught me that. It’s like if somebody says I can’t do something, I can do it even better, and I’m always trying to push and be better and better.
The problem with that that I’m learning, especially recently, is I never learnt how to take care of myself because my mom is such a strong and independent woman that will do everything, and never say no, and never take time for herself. Always, she does it with a smile, but it’s never ending, and she never ever took time for herself ever.
My sister and I were chatting about this last week, actually, of like I’m just so tired. I’m just so tired, and I’m trying to figure out why can’t I put myself first? What is this? My sister was saying the same thing, and we’re like, “Oh, my gosh, totally.” We never saw our parents do it. They were always pushing, and pushing, and pushing, and pushing, and trying hard.
We came from very, very, very little when we were small. I remember my mom saying little prayers before she went into the freezer to find something for dinner because we didn’t have a lot, and she would pray that there would be food in the freezer. For them to be able to push themselves to a better place, it took a lot of work, but they never took care of themselves, and something they struggle with now that they’re older, trying to figure out, “How do we care for ourselves, and how does that work?”
I think that it’s so important for parents to pass it on to their kids, so I’m really happy that you’ve seen that and you are forging the way for your daughters to be like, “Wait a minute. I can take 15 minutes to reconnect, and have a coffee, and look out the window, and just be by myself and be comfortable with that.” It’s taken me a very long time to actually be comfortable alone sitting by myself without having some stimulation, so I just want to thank you for doing that for your children, because that’s a big deal.
Danielle Natoni: Thank you. Yeah. It’s something that I think is going to be a constant struggle, especially in the world we live in today, right? We’re a microwave society. We want it quick. We want it fast. We want it now. We’re overly stimulated with all the media and devices in our hands, and so it really is important to kind of almost figure out, “Where do I get those pockets of time for just me?”
The other piece of it too is that the moment I decided to become a wife or the moment I decided to become a mom doesn’t mean I gave up my right to be me. Does that make sense? When you take on the role of wife, or mom, or even coworker, fur baby mom, or devoted sister, whatever it is, when you take on that role, you don’t hand in the keys to your own self, and I think that that’s important to remember. I still get to be Danielle even though I’m Adrianna and Bianca’s mom. I still am Danielle even though I’m Darren’s wife. I still have me, and I don’t want to lose her because she’s important.
Leanne Vogel: Yes, and something I think a lot of women need to hear over and over and over again because there’s this culture of do more, be more, be there for others, but I’ve seen that be very detrimental to many women, and they completely lose themselves.
You mentioned just a little bit earlier, because life isn’t perfect … No life is perfect. Anyone who says their life is perfect, you have my permission to run in the opposite direction because it’s not true, but how do you deal with setbacks? I’m sure bad things happen in your life. There’s frustrations. There’s things that happen. How do you deal with that setback with this more positive outlook on your life?
Danielle Natoni: Sure. Without telling you the whole story, I will give you a quick example. It may seem like a First World problem, but it is a real problem, and I shared it on Instagram recently. On February 28th of 2017, so that’s over a year ago, I got in a car accident, and I still do not have that car back. The faster version of the story is it’s a Tesla and so it takes longer for parts to come in, and while they were repairing it, there was a huge hail storm in Texas, and the car was left outside, and it basically totaled it. The insurance company refused to total it, and so here I am 14 months later. I still don’t have my car back. We’ve fought legally. We have battled. It has just been a nonstop nightmare, been in five different rental cars. You name it. It doesn’t sound like a lot right now, but it has been very stressful, right?
At the end of the day, we’ve made it through no problem because my thought process is this. I have this saying, which is, “When the shit hits the fan, throwing more shit on it only makes it shittier,” so my deal is this. Okay, yeah, doesn’t it suck that here I am 14 months later still driving around a rental car, paying for gas when I, on purpose, bought a car that was electric because I did not want to contribute to … I wanted to have less of a carbon footprint on this Earth? Yeah, that sucks. Does it suck that we spent thousands upon thousands of dollars in legal fees trying to battle this insurance company who does not care that we’re still not in our car even though we’re paying the car payments of this car? Yeah, all that sucks, but if I choose to be negative about it, if I choose to sit and wallow in that, all I do is make the situation worse, and so our kind of family philosophy is is when the shit hits the fan, turn the fan off. Find something to be positive about.
We also had another situation where, literally, over $400,000 was stolen from us in a house buying process, and we did not get it back. This builder did it to 25 other families, went bankrupt, and is now operating under a new name with absolutely no repercussions. Again, most people would not be able to make it through that, and we smiled through it all because, at the end of the day, he’s a bad man, and bad things happen to bad people, and I’m still living a good life.
While it sounds very Suzie Mary Sunshine, unicorn dust, fairy juice, whatever, the reality is is how I make it through tough situations is I remember that being negative gets me nowhere. Being negative just makes an already bad situation worse. Sitting in it, wallowing in it only makes the situation at hand that much more unbearable, so we find anything possible to be positive about.
There is something positive in your life no matter how dismal or miserable it seems. There is something good. There is always one, at least one, positive thing to focus on, and that’s what we choose to do to get through the tough times, so when the shit hits the fan, turn the fan off and find something to smile about.
Leanne Vogel: I love that. It’s something I could have probably heard a bunch of times. I had a similar house experience where I lost a ton of money. I was young, and it was my first house, and it was a nightmare. I was by myself, and I didn’t know what to do. I could have really used that because I think many of us, and myself included, I’m very good at focusing on the negative.
Something I’ve been trying lately is just breathe in and out three times and just focus on something in your life that you really, really love right now. I started doing that with more body positivity years ago of like, “Oh, I hate my stomach. It’s so whatever,” I would say at that point, and then I’d be like, “But my arms, I really like my arms,” and I would just refocus my energy on something else. I’ve been trying that just with life, and it seems to work. Are there any books or podcasts that you like listening to that have helped you get to this point?
Danielle Natoni: Oh, my gosh. There’s so many books and so many podcasts. I’m just constantly soaking it all in. I love Lewis Howes’ podcast, that’s for sure a favorite.
You know what’s interesting? This is not a podcast that helps in this particular situation, but it kind of does, I’ll make it relevant. One of my favorite podcasts is this podcast called How I Built This. It’s an NPR podcast, and it tells the stories of brands that are well-known brands and how they got to where they are. The reason it’s relevant to the topic we’re talking about is because every single one of those stories has a major downfall in it, and so if those brands had chosen to focus on the negative, to have not looked at the positive, to have not seen the light at the end of the tunnel, they would have never made it to where they were.
Sometimes, yes, there’s so many great books and podcasts out there. The 5 Second Rule is great and all these … Gabby Bernstein’s great. All those things are great, but sometimes, for me at least, it’s the more practical ones that really hit home for me, and it’s like, “Well, shoot, if Drybar or Kate Spade can make it through all of that, if Spanx creator can make it through all of that, well, I can make it through my tough times.”
Sometimes it’s those stories of hearing that when the chips were down and someone chose to still fight their way to the top, that’s where I really find my biggest motivation and inspiration is in those moments.
Yeah, there’s tons of books out there that kind of focus on this, and there’s lots of great podcasts, but I think the thing that … For me, I’ve been obsessed with Rocky my whole life. I literally have, I’m actually staring at them now, these two giant murals in my office of Sylvester Stallone standing at the top of those stairs. I think the reason that I have always identified so much with that storyline and that character is that it’s the underdog fighting their way to the top. It’s the underdog choosing to not give up, to see the light at the end of the tunnel, to go the distance, to realize that when you have heart and when you have hustle, you can overcome any obstacle that comes your way. For me, that has also been one of those guiding pieces for me, which is just remember Rocky. Remember that you will be able to come out on top, and stand upon those steps, and be able to be victorious, but you just have to believe that you can.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, I love that. I totally love that. Don’t judge me, but I just watched Rocky for the first time last year.
Danielle Natoni: Girl, there are so many of y’all. It’s funny. My husband hadn’t either, and so I made him watch from the first one all the way through five, then Rocky Balboa, then Creed. I’m just saying, not to get everyone all excited, but Creed II comes out this year as well.
For me, it’s also what Sylvester Stallone represents, his story of being completely broke, having to sell his dog, them not wanting to cast him as the lead role in this movie, and him holding out and saying, “No. I absolutely will not sell it to you unless you’re the lead.” Look at him now, right? He could have given up. He could have said, “No. I can’t do this,” but instead, he chose to hold out. He chose to see his worth. Because of that, he has written a story that will forever last the test of time.
I just think it’s important reminders. There are visual clues all around us reminding us that we are powerful, we have purpose, and that we matter, and that we are stronger than any challenge that is thrown our way.
Leanne Vogel: I was just takin notes because what you said was really great, and I’ll probably name the podcast that.
Danielle Natoni: Oh, cool. I was like where did she go?
Leanne Vogel: Is she okay? Is she dead? Sylvester Stallone actually just posted, I don’t know if you saw it, on Instagram. I think he’s like … he’s 70 or something?
Danielle Natoni: Yeah, he’s so amazing. I have to meet him at some point in my life.
Leanne Vogel: Right? Seriously. He said, “You’re only as old as your joints.”
Danielle Natoni: Yeah.
Leanne Vogel: He was like … I won’t even know which … chin-ups with weight on his ankles like beast man. I’m like, “Seriously, yes.” Age is just a number, and he’s proving it every day.
To kind of pull in the whole age piece, I’d love to kind of pick your brain on some aging in reverse strategies that perhaps you’ve come across in your life. Cool with it?
Danielle Natoni: For sure.
Leanne Vogel: Okay.
Danielle Natoni: It’s interesting. One thing that I get asked a lot is about my skincare, right? I know I remember my mom putting on all this eye cream, and doing all these crazy night rituals, and I don’t have any of those. When people ask me, “What is your skincare routine?” I’m almost embarrassed because I’m like, “I wash my face in the shower.” I honestly think that my number one secret to aging in reverse in water. I know that that sounds so silly, but I drink nothing but water. I gave up alcohol almost two years ago completely, and I also gave up coffee like four months ago. I just feel the best I’ve ever felt.
Now, listen, if you love your cup of coffee, I’m not telling you you can’t have coffee. I just found, when I stopped, that my stomach also felt better. I feel like the acidity in it was just kind of messing with me.
Now that I literally only drink water, I drink sparkling water with my meals, and then regular water throughout the day, and then just wash my face, I … Knock on wood. Watch me get a pimple tomorrow, but I can’t tell you the last time I had a blemish on my skin. I do have some fine lines here and there, but I’m also … don’t plan on getting rid of those. I am proud of my smile lines, and I don’t ever want to look frozen in time. I would say that, probably, one of my number one things about aging in reverse has been really just cleaning up the things I put in my body, so starting with … I mean I just am really well hydrated.
The other thing is being super hyper aware of toxins, not only in my food, but in my environment. We switched to organic sheets. We are also really trying to watch EMF now in our house, so I stopped wearing my Apple Watch, just really trying to be smart about … Even the detergent we use, obviously, is fragrance-free and making sure that the shampoo, even the beauty products I put on my face just are as clean as they can be with … as possible.
I’m rambling little bit, but I would also say a second one would be just being well-educated. By being well-educated, I mean do research. Listen to podcasts like yours. Listen to as many podcasts as you can, read as many books and articles, and then decide what makes sense for you because I also think what makes sense for me may not make sense for you, right? What works for me and anti-aging me may not work exactly for you.
For me, it’s I drink water. I don’t drink alcohol or coffee. I eat pretty clean. I do love a good chocolate chip cookie, but I won’t eat one that’s bought at the store. I make it with better-for-me ingredients. I do love French fries, but that’s what a good air fryer is for. I really try to eat a lot of nutrient-dense food with limited processing, and meat that is responsibly raised is really important to me as well, and using cleaning products in my home that are toxin-free, and just really trying to clean up my environment.
The other thing that I will say is sleep, sleep, sleep, sleep, and more sleep. Back to a book, Sleep Smarter by Shawn Stevenson, obviously, is like a Bible in our house, another great podcast as well where we’ve just gotten so much great information. I know, in my younger years, I did not sleep enough, and I’m like, “Oh, it’s fine. I don’t need a lot of sleep,” or, “Oh, I’m so energetic. I’m fine.” The reality is is that, in the order of importance, it should be sleep, nutrition, and then food, and so it is a big deal in our house. We have to go to bed eight hours before we’re supposed to wake up the next day. Without question it is … Nobody in this house can get away with only five hours of sleep. We’re just not having because what we know is that the body gets healthier during rest, not during work, and so we need our sleep.
To kind of wrap it up with a pretty bow since I rambled, it’s definitely water, sleep, and education are probably my three number one tips for aging in reverse.
Leanne Vogel: I love that. Something that I have definitely seen helpful is the sleep aspect. I think it’s hard when you have a full-time job. I found it really, really difficult when I had to be at the office at certain times, and that was really hard for me. I know it is possible, because the last year that I was working in an office, I tried really hard. Just like you said, if I need to wake up at 7:00, I need to go to bed at 11:00 pm. There’s no if, ands or buts about it. It’s non-negotiable.
Now I find that I do best going to bed when I’m tired, waking up just when the sun comes up, and that’s really amazing that I’m able to do that, but I think that sleep piece is really, really great, so I’ll definitely link out to the Sleep Smarter piece that you were chatting about.
More on my interview with Danielle Natoni after this message from one of our podcast partners.
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You mentioned removing coffee from your life. I’d love to just ask you, from your standpoint, how you remove foods from your life without going totally crazy, because as a girl who used to drink three pots of coffee … Yes, I said three pots of coffee a day, I can tell you it’s really hard to remove coffee from your life. How did you do it, and what was that process like for you?
Danielle Natoni: Yeah. First of all, coffee wasn’t hard for me because, actually, it was never really about the coffee itself. It was more about the routine. I actually starting drinking coffee when I was an elementary school teacher only because it was free in the teachers’ lounge, and so I would drink it because it was there, and then it just kind of became part of my morning habit, so that one was pretty easy for me to give up.
I am a little alien in that if I decide that something’s not good for me, I just stop. Literally, the day my husband and I were like, “Maybe we should just not drink alcohol anymore,” that was it. It was never a question. It wasn’t like we struggled or I was like, “Oh, man. I really want it.” Same thing with coffee. I’d had a cup of coffee every morning for probably, I don’t know, 15-plus years, right? The morning I decided, “I think I’m going to give up coffee,” I just did.
Now, I am aware that that’s not a normal mind frame. I am well aware of that, but that’s kind of how my … I have gotten to a place in my life where is if I find out something is bad for me, I’m going to stop.
Let me use this example. This is actually my husband’s example. If somebody went up to you right now and said, “If you drink one more cup of coffee, you will die tomorrow,” would you have a problem not drinking that coffee? No. You’d be like, “Oh, well, shoot. I want to live, so I’m not going to drink that cup of coffee.” For me, if I find out, for whatever reason, or if I make a decision that that’s not good for me personally, or I don’t want to do that anymore, I kind of take it from that mind frame. I know that that’s easier said than done, and some people maybe need to set small goals, “Okay, let me see if I can make it a week.” Then once they make it a week, maybe they’re like, “Okay, I made it one week. Maybe let’s see if I can make it another week.”
The other thing is that, when I first started drinking coffee, I used to drink, basically, creamer with a splash of coffee. I eventually learned to drink it black. How I did that was slowly over time, right? A little less creamer, a little less creamer, a little less creamer until there was no creamer and sugar, and it was just black.
The other piece is that … Well, I didn’t do it this way. If you’re trying to give up something, perhaps it’s that, instead of giving up every day, you go down to three days a week, right? Then once you’ve been doing three days a week for like a month, maybe you do it two days a week until, eventually, it’s not that big of a part of your life. I just have always taken the mindset of, once I make a decision, I’m going to stick to that decision.
The other piece that makes it really cool is tell it on Instagram because there’s nothing worse than knowing that you went back on something you posted, right? Every time I’ve given up something, I make a public declaration because then I also know there’s people out there watching me, and I don’t want to let them down, and so I’m far less likely to “cheat.” I hate that word, but I’m far less likely to fall off the wagon, let’s say, if I know that the Insta world is watching me.
Leanne Vogel: I love that and just keeping accountable. Do you think that maybe you’re able to do these things quicker because you have a reason that’s fueled behind you? I find that people that say, “Well, I just … I can’t give up coffee. I’ve tried before. It’s just too hard,” they’re doing it for the wrong reasons, and they don’t actually know why they’re giving up coffee. They just heard coffee’s bad for you and then, just as an example, and they’re like, “Okay, I’ll stop drinking coffee,” but there’s not a reason behind that, so they struggle. Do you find that that could be?
Danielle Natoni: Absolutely. One of the reasons that I decided to give up coffee was also because my husband has listened to a podcast on the Ben Greenfield show where it was talking about coffee and it’s relation to totipotent stem cells, which are these kind of regenerative stem cells or whatever. I don’t even remember exactly what he said to me, but he came back very fired up about this podcast and its relation to coffee and him wanting me to be around to live old with him. That was all I needed.
Okay, you know what? I listened to the podcast, and I didn’t quite take it as serious as he did, but for me, my husband said he loves me enough and wants me to grow old with him, so all right, I can give up coffee. I think you’re absolutely right. I think when there is more of an emotional attachment to the reason behind the giving up piece then, yes, you’re far more likely to stick to it.
Leanne Vogel: I love it. Well, thank you so much for coming on the show. Where can people find you?
Danielle Natoni: Sure, so @daniellenatoni. Danielle is spelled with two Ls and an E. The reason I say that is because every time I go anywhere where they write your name, I’m always Daniel.
Leanne Vogel: Really?
Danielle Natoni: So that’s D-A-N-I-E-L-L-E. Yeah, and my last name is Natoni, N-A-T-O-N-I. You can find me in Instagram or Facebook there. My website is daniellenatoni.com right now. It just says coming soon. That’s because we’ve been working behind the scenes on refreshing it and updating it, but I’m going to give you that site because it will be up in the next week or two, and that’s where you want to check me out. Just look for my name, and you’ll find me.
Leanne Vogel: Congratulations. That’s a lot of work. Building a website is grueling, so congratulations. That’s awesome.
Danielle Natoni: I don’t have to do it. My husband … I always joke that everyone needs a Darren. He can do all things, so he’s the website builder, and the editor, and the videographer. He’s just is one of those freaks of nature that knows how to do all the things.
Leanne Vogel: I have one of those.
Danielle Natoni: I always joke that I’m just a pretty face, and he’s the brilliance behind all the madness.
Leanne Vogel: Yeah, that’s exactly Kevin and my relationship. He knows how to do all the things.
Danielle Natoni: Yeah. That’s awesome.
Leanne Vogel: He’s totally a freak of nature. He knows the answer to every question. He could tell you what a caterpillar does. I don’t even understand how he knows all of these things.
Danielle Natoni: I love it.
Leanne Vogel: Well, thanks again for coming on the show, Danielle. I really appreciate it. The show notes and full transcript for today’s episode can be found at HealthfulPursuit.com/podcast/e79. Thanks again.
Danielle Natoni: Thank you.
Leanne Vogel: That does it for another episode of The Keto Diet Podcast. Thanks for listening in. You can follow me on Instagram by searching Healthful Pursuit where you’ll find daily keto eats and other fun things. Check out all of my keto supportive programs, bundles, guides and other cool things over at HealthfulPursuit.com/shop. I’ll see you next Sunday. Bye.
I work on finding the best products that have quality ingredients, care about their customers, and have integrity. The brand(s) I’ve shared here are awesome, and I stand behind them 100%. Opinions in this blog post are never ever influenced by the partner. Like, never!
HI! I’M LEANNE
Nutrition educator + keto enthusiast. I want to live in a world where every woman loves her body, nourishing fats are enjoyed at every meal, and the word “restriction” isn’t in the dictionary.