During her recent interview on the After the Bell podcast WWE star and former women’s champion Natalya Neidhart spoke about her past battles with eating disorders, and how the sport of pro-wrestling would eventually be the solution that changed her life. Highlights, including her thoughts about NXT’s Nikkita Lyons’ positive body image, can be found below.
Says she is not concerned about what others think of her body:
“When I started just being myself and not worrying about, you know, worrying about what everybody else thinks about me, it’s when I really started to do my best work. I actually told that to Nikkita [Lyons] when I was in NXT … I was like, ‘I love your body. Like, you have such a people body’. I was like, ‘People just love that’. I said, ‘You don’t realize how many men, especially, love women with curves. Don’t feel like you have to change. You look bad*ss.’ [Lyons] embraces it. She loves being curvy, loves being sexy. It’s such a good example to show other women that you don’t have to be real thin. If you are really thin, great. But if you’re not, like for me, I’m 160 pounds. I used to be so scared of that number. I used to be terrified of ever really talking about that number. You know, most professional athletes, most of us have come close to having eating disorders or struggle with eating disorders, especially women in sports.”
How other WWE stars have struggled with body image:
“I know Bianca has talked about it, I know Alexa Bliss has talked about it. So many women in our locker room have talked about like, struggling with body image and eating disorders, and when I was 18/19, I had really serious eating disorder, and I look back on that time and I was like, ‘Oh my gosh, I didn’t look good.’”
Details her past struggles with eating disorders:
“My eating disorder after my uncle passed away — it was a very tragic time for our family after our uncle, Owen [Hart], passed away. After Owen passed away, like, our family just went through this really traumatic time, and for me, it was about like, gaining control. I was trying in some way in my life to gain control and so like, that summer, I had lost like 40 pounds in two months and it was really extreme. And I went through this struggle for about three years. The turning point for me was wrestling. It was when I decided I wanted to start wrestling that I realized that I couldn’t be that skinny. Like, I was wearing kids clothes. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t bump … I remember everything really hurt because I had no meat on me. I was just like, emaciated. So, I realized, ‘I love this wrestling thing. I want to do this wrestling thing, I feel this, but I can’t do it if I’m anorexic. Like, I just can’t do it, my body can’t sustain it’. So it was like, wrestling was really what I feel like change my life, changed my career, and kind of saved me.”
(H/T and transcribed by Wrestling Inc.)