Photography by James Patrick
Our 2019 STRONG At Any Age special issue’s cover athlete, Natalie Jill, literally wrote the book on youthful aging. In just one decade, she completed a full overhaul of her life, clawing her way from the depths of a financial recession, newly single with her daughter in tow, and 60 lbs overweight. What could have been a perfect storm for throwing in the towel and letting these stresses rule her, Natalie did just the opposite. She cleaned up her eating habits, started an at-home workout program, and shared her journey with others online—a path that would catapult her career as she advised others on the knowledge she was building.
Now, at 48 years old, Natalie’s social media platforms reach over 2.5 million, she’s a published author, 12-time cover model, and hosts a popular podcast. But her true calling comes in the form of helping other women to do what she did—seemingly age in reverse, and overcome any adversity that may find them. Here, she shares her non-negotiables when it comes to radiating positivity and youthfulness inside and out.
1. Get in those phytonutrients.
Natalie credits that stunning bod to tons of fruits and veggies, and the powerhouse phytonutrients that come with them. “Phytonutrients are a staple in my book, Aging in Reverse. The more good stuff I can add in, the less room there is for anything else,” she says. “I even make it a game for myself: How many can I add in each day? I actually crave fruits and veggies when I don’t get enough now!”
2. Find out who you really are.
Natalie checked all the life boxes: Good schooling, a corporate job, marriage, and even a white-picket fence. But when the stock and housing markets crashed and she was in debt, going through a divorce, and was a newly single mom, she says she was in a situation where she had no idea who she was without the “supposed-to’s” that had defined her. “We only have one life to live. It’s critical to pivot if you feel like something is off or you’re lacking passion. I needed to reinvent myself—and I did.”
3. Keep your brain sharp.
Aging in reverse isn’t just about the way you look; staying young mentally is an important practice to make sure you’re constantly challenging yourself in new ways, and staving off listlessness. “Listen to a podcast, read, and make an effort to spend quality time with people you love—even if there’s only time for a quick, but non-interrupted, conversation,” she says. And stimulate your brain by getting into nature. Natalie won’t miss a walk outdoors with her dog, Flops.
4. The best is yet to come.
Do you dread another trip around the sun each year? Natalie says to ditch that negativity and view each birthday as a new opportunity to become wiser and deeper committed to getting to know yourself. “I learn more about myself and my purpose daily,” she says. “Each year, it just gets better and better.”
5. No excuses: Get moving!
Natalie moves her body every single day, and just one look at those abs, you know she’s grinding. “My workouts are primarily bodyweight training—lots of pull-ups, chin-ups, planks, and squats. I also love working with equipment such as a stability ball, BOSU, and weighted sled,” she says. But it’s not just about what she does in the gym; Natalie makes sure staying active is embedded into her lifestyle, and she’ll take every opportunity to stand or even walk instead of sitting throughout the day.