Nathalie King, From Anorexia to Personal Trainer

P1080146Nathalie King is a personal trainer who inspires women daily to take control of their health and live boldly and beautifully.  This 44 year old mom of two, lives in Annapolis, Maryland, with her husband of 16 years, their children and their Norwich Terrier, James Bond.

She grew up in Paris, France, the third of four children, and as you may have guessed, she is my younger sister!

When Nathalie was born I was in heaven!  God had given me a beautiful little sister, the perfect little doll and playmate.  But as we grew up I became a little resentful and envious.  My little sister often overshadowed me.  She was beautiful and smart, and seemed to do no wrong.  Everyone fawned over her and all I heard day in and day out  was how beautiful and perfect she was.

What no one realized at the time, is how detrimental this was for Nathalie.  All this adulation was a constant reminder that she needed to be perfect indeed.

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My sister and I in the summer of 1976

She was the apple of our father’s eye, his little princess through and through.  She was the star student who skipped a grade and remained at the top of her class.  She was tall and beautiful, gifted in many ways and yes, in my eyes, and that of many, she was perfect!  Almost too perfect.

By the time we became teens, she was also the one who attracted all the boys. By the age of 16 she was a dancer and a model.  She had also fallen prey to one of the most debilitating diseases that affects millions of young women every year: anorexia.

Caving in to the ever growing pressures of being thin she stopped eating.  But no one noticed.  She pushed her food around on her plate, keeping busy at meal time and finding all sorts of excuses to leave the table and dispose of the food everyone thought she was enjoying.  She’d always had a hearty appetite and ate copiously until her hormones kicked in and she began gaining weight… a normal thing when you become a teen, but horrifying for someone who needed to live up to everyone’s expectations that she be thin.  No matter how hard she tried Nathalie always felt that she was not good enough

By the time she graduated high school this 5’8″‘ beauty weighted no more than 90 pounds!  And as crazy as it may seem she decided to enter culinary school in Paris.  Although this turned out to be a blessing for her today, at the time, it presented her with a great struggle: reconciling her love of cooking with her need to control her weight  She prepared delicious dishes every time she was in school, and would spoil her family with her gourmet meals, while silently starving herself so as not to gain weight. But she also learned sound cooking principles, how to make healthy food choices and create wonderful recipes, a skill she now uses to feed healthy meals to her own family and to teach her clients sound nutrition habits.  Knowing that food was an essential part of health, Nathalie tried to conquer her anorexia and began eating a little more. The dishes she was learning to prepare were after all quite tempting! But she had starved herself for so long that any gain in weight was a major threat.  Feeling like she had lost control, she went from Anorexia to Bulimia and got dangerously sick.

After completing her culinary program, needing to escape the growing pains of being caught between two worlds,  she moved to Texas with our grandparents and began working as a sous-chef for the local Marriott.  This soon became another source of never ending pressure.  Nathalie who wanted nothing more than to be in the kitchen, cooking up lavish meals, was all too often “put on display” in the main dining room where she prepped simple meals in front of an adoring audience.  Once again, what seemed to matter most were her good looks, rather than her talents.

A year later she returned home to help dad care for mom who had become sick and entered the American University of Paris. At that point Nathalie was so malnourished she often passed out.  She’d also gone close to a year without menstruating.

When I came home from my sophomore year in college I was horrified by what I saw.  The cortisone triggered by the constant vomiting had turned my little sister into a giant puff ball!  Though I was relieved not to find the emaciated girl I had seen the summer before, with so little meat on her frame you could see every rib and her protruding hip bones, I knew she was still in trouble. I was also powerless to help.

Nathalie returned to Texas once again to enroll at Southwestern University, Austin.

During one of her summers in Paris Nathalie met “an Angel” Ariane, whom she credits for saving her life, and who remains to this day one of her very best friends.  Ariane’s attitude towards food was healthy and refreshing.  Through her example, she showed Nathalie how to develop a healthy relationship with food.  When Nathalie returned to SWU she befriended another “angel”, Kelly.  Kelly was a track star and health nut.  She helped Nathalie complete the long journey back to health that she had begun with Ariane.

Nathalie graduated with a degree in Psychology, a field that fascinated her and that would later prove to be a tremendous asset in her work with her clients.  After graduating, she began working for Southwest Airlines.


Pilates on the Beach in Costa Rica

She found herself in hotels 3 to 4 nights out of the week, and began frequenting the various gyms, and reading every health magazine she could get her hands on.  She paired up with a group of healthy flight attendants.  They shared recipes and began holding each other accountable, sharing techniques to stay healthy while away from home.  Nathalie had found her true passion:  Fitness!

She wanted to start a family soon after marrying Simon, the love of her life in 1996 and was craving more time at home.  Her husband encouraged her to become a personal trainer.   Her passion for Fitness and Health were obvious and it was a natural fit for Nathalie.  She loved her new career and felt blessed when she discovered that she could make such a powerful difference in the lives in the women she trained.  As a “new kid on the block” her training hours were inconsistent and irregular and she could not yet see a long term plan.

She needed something more.

When she discovered Pilates, it made so much sense to her, she quickly became certified to teach it as well.

After suffering several miscarriages, a brutal consequence of her many years of malnourishment, she finally became pregnant with her first child.  During pregnancy she discovered “Body for Life” by Bill Phillips.  Nathalie had found what she needed: A PLAN!  In this book Bill Phillips brought fitness and health into a whole new world: he had a thought out plan with a progression that made sense, and included not just exercise but meal planning and much more.  Nathalie also discovered Tosca Reno, a typical American mom who changed her life and now inspires women all over the world to re-gain their health and happiness. Tosca’s simple and realistic approach to health inspired Nathalie to change the way she trained her clients.  This eventually led to the creation of her own program “Bikini Body Boot Camp” (BBBC)

“After hearing my clients say the same thing over and over ( I don’t have time to workout,I don’t know how/what to cook, I don’t think I can do push ups, burpees….), I needed to create a program that what simple, yet challenging, yielding results and creating a community of fabulous women, stronger in Mind, Body and Spirit. If your kid had a 2 week camp would you get them there on time EVERYDAY, pack their meals, cheer for their successes? Why shouldn’t you do the same for you? Everyday I am blessed to work with amazing strong women. Some have more challenges than others ( wheelchair bound, knee replacement, hernia…) yet they all show up ON TIME and ready to give 110% because they know they will get 110% back and then some.”


Avon walk for Breast cancer with her clients

Her main goal through BBBC is to provide her clients with the tools to live a Healthy Happy Life.  What is BBC? A two week program where you will learn to PLAN your meals, cook healthy, simple meals ( shopping list and recipes provided), take 5 classes a week that will push you beyond what you ever thought you could do ( empowerment) , Specific 20 minute Cardio routines ( short, to the point and effective), and daily emails with Positive Affirmations.

Her greatest reward: knowing she has touched her clients’ lives in a special way.


I just wanted to thank you so much for the wonderful influence you have had on my life!! My taste buds are totally alive and everything tastes so good, I feel amazing, my skin is totally glowing, it has made me realize I want to feel like this all of the time. I am so glad I met you and that I took your amazing class which has truly transformed my life!!

-Christy-BB Graduate

At 44, Nathalie is fulfilled!  She has turned some of the most damaging years of her life into her greatest victory.  Although she’s cut way back on her flying, she commits to an overnight trip once in a while, to savor a little “me” time and recharge her battery. She spends weekends with family and friends and takes 2 hours every Sunday for yoga and a sauna.  Her family knows the value of  this personal time and are happy to let her go.

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Snorkeling in Costa Rica

Last year Nathalie launched a special BBBC:  a 7 day experience in Costa Rica!  It brings her great joy to provide women of all ages the best kind of vacation, a time that is all about nurturing themselves, breaking bad habits and learning new ones.  BBBC Costa Rica is all about Health, Fitness and FUN!

How would you like to attend a “Scrumptious Moms Retreat” in beautiful Costa Rica?!!

Nathalie’s Scrumptious Tips:

1. PLAN! Planning brings you power and freedom.

2. Learn to forgive yourself.  We’ve all made mistakes, some more damaging than others, but unless you learn the power of forgiveness, you’ll never taste life in all of it’s beauty!

Kings at Hemingways

Nathalie and her beautiful family

As the mother of three girls, Nathalie’s story never leaves me.  I know all too well the devastating effects that the wrong kind of flattery can bring and try hard to let my daughters know how beautiful they are inside and out.  It is their spirit I nurture and admire, not their looks.  Living in LA where “looks” are so important, the wrong kind of influences are ever present in their lives.  I keep an open dialogue with my daughters, but as I’ve learned from my sister’s story, it’s easy to develop life threatening habits without anyone noticing… at least not before you’ve done a significant amount of damage.

I pray her story inspires you to fight the dangerous stereotypes young girls are subjugated to every day.

As you can imagine I’m grateful for Nathalie’s inner strength and the angels that held her hand when she needed it most.  Although she has lived through her own little hell on earth, she has transformed her life in the most beautiful way.  She is an inspiration and a true hero, and it brings me great joy to share this extraordinary lady with you!


  1. Such a beautiful story, Valerie! I love when God gives us an angel for a particular need we have… (I have my own “angel story”!) Thank you for sharing your sister and her amazing story.

  2. I am so thankful your sister is healthy and fit today! What a great story that will help many. Thank you for sharing.

  3. I love the name of the dog (James Bond).

    The need for girls to be thin in the US is so prevalent. Yet we have heard for years how much those in Europe are so much healthier than we are. Based on this story, it shows that people are people no matter where they are from. We are all subject to the same maladies and troubles and pressures.

    • I take it James Bond is your favorite spy as well Jon?
      I do think that overall there is a healthier attitude towards weight in Europe, but we are not immune from the American ideal that shows up everywhere, movies, ads, etc… In the case of my sister, because she was a dancer and a model, there was definitely pressure from those 2 industries that she be thin… unfortunately I think these industries universally set unattainable “beauty” standards. I do agree with you that anyone and everyone is vulnerable to the pressures of society, today probably more than ever because of this lovely world we love so much.. the internet!

  4. What an inspirational story!! Outward beauty is something that is so scrutinized in our society. Your sister was torn between this social bullying and her passion. She is so lucky that she had her angel to help her through.

    • Thank you Susan. I’m grateful that God places angels in our lives to keep us safe! And I do hope that as a society we will learn to cherish inner beauty more than looks… that is what counts and what is real! I get so upset when the modeling industry labels a young woman who is wholesome and normal in weight and size as a “plus-size” model. It is so misguided!

  5. Valerie,

    Wow what a great story. I am so happy for your sister. It is a shame what society can do to the image of young and old women alike. I am happy for her.


    • Thank you Jennifer. I do think it’s a shame that despite the awareness we have of the damage that the standards we hold women and young women to are so damaging, we don’t change as a society. As the mother of 3 daughters, I find myself confronted with that daily. It makes me cringe when I hear some of the things that teens say to one other, as one word from the “right” person could have devastating consequences.

  6. Loved the story and inspiration. She’s stunning, healthy and aware. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Patti Barela says:

    What a great, well-written story! I loved it from beginning to end! Thanks Valerie and Nathalie, for sharing.

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