Please tell us a little bit about yourself.
Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I practiced and competed in the sport of Wushu (Chinese martial arts). I fell in love with competing and went on to compete at the Canadian Wushu Nationals from 2012-2018 and the World Wushu Championships in Kazan, Russia in 2017. In that time, I placed 9th at the World Wushu Championships in 2017 and medalled at numerous National Championships. Other than Wushu, I also enjoyed gymnastics and track and field throughout my childhood. Gymnastics was mainly for recreational enjoyment, however I competed at the Provincial level in track and field. Currently, my sporting interests have shifted towards endurance athletics such as long-distance running and triathlon. To me, physical activity is integral to living a full and healthy life. Exercise is as much a practice for the body as it is the mind. It allows you to push yourself to achieve feats that you once thought were out of reach. In this way, physical activity has always functioned as a way to center myself. It has always brought a sense of peace to my inner thoughts and helps me resolve larger issues in my life.
What is an issue or topic you are passionate about or would like to see changed?
I feel that nutrition education is highly undervalued in the current Canadian education system. Although food is central to life, people still need to be taught how to implement healthy habits into their everyday eating behaviors. During adolescence and teenage years, individuals are highly impressionable and may fall prey to social media platforms that further exacerbate social pressures. This can lead to negative body image and a troubled relationship with food.
I first became passionate about nutrition during my teenage years and this continued into university, where I specialized in nutrition and physiology. Before approaching my own nutrition from a scientific and wellness perspective, I too fell subject to misinformation and societal pressures surrounding eating habits and body image. It was only after finding proper nutrition education sources that I was able to view food as fuel and develop a truly informed and healthy relationship with food. It was during university that I also came to understand that many of my peers had suffered from similar negative relationships with food and their own body image.
So, while I understand that nutrition can be a taboo topic, I feel that a well-informed and sensitive approach could be helpful to many young people. Perhaps these programs could also dispel some of the toxic culture surrounding food in the high school atmosphere. Overall, I feel that these programs could have a larger impact on the overall health and physical/mental wellbeing throughout their lifetime.
What specific strategies would you like to see parents, coaches, or sport administrators do to improve diversity in sport or progress your cause?
First off, I realize that I was in a unique situation in that my father brought me to Wushu practices from a young age despite my disdain for what seemed to be hours of conditioning. Wushu is unique in that the community is very small and can be isolating to people who did not begin their practice as young children. In this light, I feel that smaller, exclusive sports such as wushu, gymnastics, triathlon and many others would benefit from breaking down their social and economic barriers to entry. Connecting this to my passions about nutrition and body image, I feel that these sports also need to be more accepting of people from all walks of life and of all shapes/sizes. This speaks a great deal about society at large and the “norms” that continue to be perpetuated in many institutions. Although society is slowly making progress towards wider acceptance, there is always room for improvement.
What is your favorite leadership quote?
“Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.” – Bruce Lee
If you had 25 words worth of advice to share, what would you say?
Be true to yourself.
This is a strong female voice with a passion for nutrition and fitness. She disseminates popular false information and goes into detail about her own struggles with eating, body image, and training. Not only is Natacha a scientist herself, but she is an amazing athlete and human-being. Through watching her youtube videos I have been inspired to live intentionally and have learnt so much about myself. I am always awe-struck by her drive and her sweet demeanor. She is truly my inspiration.