What’s stopping you from getting in shape? Whatever your biggest hurdles, our nutrition coaching clients have encountered them — and cleared them. So we asked them: How’d you do it? Here, the 22 biggest lessons from their weight loss success stories.
You wish you felt better, radiated good health, and maybe even weighed a little less. You wish you could still fit into your college jeans.
You wish you felt more confident, capable, and energetic. Perhaps you dream of the day where — as silly at it seems — you post vacation photos to Facebook and are actually excited to share them all. Including the swimsuit photos.
Maybe you’ve been saying or thinking these things for years. But when you want to create changes in your life, it can feel like there’s a big gap between where you are, and where you want to be.
So, if you’ve ever wondered “How do people actually do this?” or “How do you successfully lose weight, get stronger, and feel better?” here’s a tip:
The best people to ask are those who’ve recently done it.
They’ve experienced the same frustrations, doubts, and health concerns you have right now. (And these are fresh in their mind). They fought similar battles. They’ve come out the other side and changed their lives for the better.
So we decided to ask Precision Nutrition Coaching clients who’ve completed one year of coaching with us: How’d you do it?
It turns out they had answers for everything. Check out their stories — and the 22 most important lessons they learned.
1. Don’t think, just do.
“If it’s your time, and you’re sitting on the fence — you want to do it, you’re thinking of doing it, you’re not sure if you should do it — jump off that fence,” says Patrick, 35, who lost 152 pounds with Precision Nutrition. “And give it everything you’ve got. Why sit on the fence when you can be a part of life?”
Patrick realized he’d been sitting around waiting for the perfect time to make life changes, when all he really needed to do was take one small step forward… right now.
Lost 152 lbs and 20% body fat!
- Age: 35 years
- Weight Lost: 152 lbs (from 417 lbs to 265 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 20% (from 39.1% to 19.1%)
- Total Inches Lost: 73 inches (from 337 inches to 264 inches)
2. Appreciate your body for what it can do.
This deep appreciation for physical health is what allows many clients to maintain fitness regimens and weight loss over time.
After getting fit and fighting breast cancer, Sharon says, “My biggest regret about my earlier life is that I didn’t have the opportunity or understand what a precious gift my physicality was.”
You have permission to let go of the “sculpt your butt in 3 days” mainstream narrative. Just discover what your body can do. Enjoy it.
Lost 33 lbs and 13% body fat!
- Age: 46 years
- Weight Lost: 33 lbs (from 151 lbs to 118 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 13% (from 28% to 15%)
- Total Inches Lost: 18.5 inches (from 209.1 inches to 190.6 inches)
3. Imagine your future self.
We all have a specific motivation for wanting to lose fat and get fit. Keep that in mind. Whether it’s getting strong enough to play sports with your kids or looking great on your wedding day.
That last one is what helped 32-year-old Melissa lose 55 pounds.
“The whole time, I had this image of myself on my wedding day in my head,” Melissa says. “Walking tall, feeling amazing — feeling statuesque instead of soft around the edges.”
Don’t just think about how you want to look; think about how you want to feel.
“It’s not just about what you see in the mirror, it’s what you feel inside,” says Melissa.
How do you want to feel? Confident? Capable of handling anything that life throws at you? Free to try new things? Comfortable in your own skin?
Lost 55 lbs and 16% body fat!
- Age: 32 years
- Weight Lost: 55 lbs (from 231 lbs to 176 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 16% (from 34% to 18%)
- Total Inches Lost: 38 inches (from 242 inches to 204 inches)
4. Enjoy your food.
Most Precision Nutrition clients come to realize that they’ve been eating mindlessly — packing in calories without really tasting the food — for a long time.
“There’s nothing inherently wrong with dessert,” explains Yano, 35, who lost 76 pounds with Precision Nutrition. He still enjoys dessert occasionally, of course, and finds that having it only once in a while is the key to really appreciating it.
What happens when we really take the time to enjoy our food? We usually slow down. We become more conscious of our choices, and we choose better foods for our bodies.
Lost 76 lbs and 20.9% body fat!
- Age: 35 years
- Weight Lost: 76 lbs (from 256 lbs to 180 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 20.9% (from 34.1% to 13.2%)
- Waist Inches Lost: 10 inches (from 43 inches to 33 inches)
5. Pay attention to your environment.
When clients recognize how their surroundings might be creating unhealthy habits they usually have an “ah-ha” moment. They start seeing the relationship between what’s around them and who they think they are. This helps them change their self stories and start seeing real results.
When coaching with us, 29-year-old Sarah realized that years of work in fast food restaurants made more of an impact on her life than she cared to admit.
Something shifted for her when she asked herself:
“What do I really care about? What gives me joy? How can I get more of that?”
Together with her partner, Sarah started to change where they spent their time, and who they spent it with. They started trying more things.
“We did yoga, treetop trekking, rock climbing, Olympic weightlifting. Instead of going for drinks and dinner, we started getting more creative with how we spent our time. Our social life started to change.”
What could you remove from your environment or add to your environment to create a healthier life for yourself?
Lost 52 lbs and 14.2% body fat!
- Age: 29 years
- Weight Lost: 52 lbs (from 191 lbs to 139 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 14.2% (from 26.3% to 12.1%)
- Total Inches Lost: 50 inches (from 239 inches to 189 inches)
6. Stray from the herd.
“It turns out that a lot of people have health and weight issues, just like I used to have,” Yano says. “And often they don’t want to eat poorly; they just do it because everyone else — friends, family, the people around them — is doing it. That was my problem for a long time.”
When you make a decision about what to eat, it’s worth asking, “what do I need?” instead of “what do they want?” This helped Yano (above) lose 76 pounds.
7. Dive below the surface.
We can skim the top of our diet issues and see some small, fleeting changes on the scale, or we can really dig into our relationship with food, what motivates it, and how to make it better.
For Sarah (above), letting herself get vulnerable as she went through Precision Nutrition Coaching turned into her greatest strength, opening her up to the process of self-questioning.
“How have trying times brought me to where I am now, and how have I coped?” “What do I really care about? What gives me joy? How can I get more of that?” This helped her lose 52 pounds.
8. Say goodbye to the old you.
This isn’t some meaningless cliche. We’ve found that many people harbor an invisible fear of losing themselves if they lose weight.
Celebrate (and consciously mourn) your old self as you greet the healthier you.
Many Precision Nutrition clients have been able to recognize (and minimize) certain anxieties this way.
9. Stay connected to all the things you love about yourself.
“Just remember, you deserve all of the amazing insights, strength gains, friendships, learning — whatever you take from this program— as you find and discover a new and best version of yourself,” Sarah (above) says.
“You are worthy.”
It’s easy to get hung up on all the things you want to change about yourself. That’ll drag you down. Instead, celebrate yourself — even your smallest successes — along the way to keep up the momentum.
10. Redefine “knowing”.
“It’s about realizing that no matter how smart I am and how much I know about exercise, if I’m not living it, I don’t really know it,” says Kevin, 40, who lost 37 pounds with Precision Nutrition Coaching.
In fact, you might find value in thinking of yourself as a beginner.
To your family and friends, you might be the go-to person for questions of health and fitness. But if you can find a way to wipe that slate clean and make way for new insights and advice — or even just for hearing them with fresh ears — then you’re much more likely to succeed.
Lost 37 lbs and 12.8% body fat!
- Age: 40 years
- Weight Lost: 37 lbs (from 177 lbs to 140 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 12.8% (from 20.1% to 7.3%)
- Waist Inches Lost: 21 inches (from 226 inches to 205 inches)
11. Find accountability.
“The truth is, I probably knew three quarters of Precision Nutrition’s dietary recommendations before I started,” says Peter, 52, who dropped 33 pounds.
“But the secret to losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight is consistency,” he says. Get someone to breathe down your neck, and you’ll make healthy choices your habit.
In other words, it’s not about knowing, it’s about doing.
Our clients’ lightbulb moment: Relinquishing control to coaches, who offer the practical lifestyle advice, daily habits, and — this is key — accountability that’s needed to create real change.
If you already know what to do but you’re not doing it, get yourself some accountability.
Lost 33 lbs and 11% body fat!
- Age: 52 years
- Weight Lost: 33 lbs (from 180 lbs to 147 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 11% (from 18% to 7%)
- Waist Inches Lost: 5 inches (from 35 inches to 30 inches)
12. Recognize that there’s no such thing as “too busy”.
Some of our most successful clients are the ones with the least amount of time.
Take Lisanne, who lost 38 pounds on the Precision Nutrition program while taking care of three small children — including a nursing infant — and getting certified as a yoga instructor and doula.
Lisanne says, “at first I wondered if this was a crazy time to start. But then I thought — why not?”
“What better time, when you think about it?”
Other clients work multiple jobs or have to travel five days a week and never know where they’ll be staying next. They tell us that structure is the secret to making it happen.
Lost 38 lbs and 14% body fat!
- Age: 39 years
- Weight Lost: 38 lbs (from 160 lbs to 122 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 14% (from 36% to 22%)
- Total Inches Lost: 41 inches (from 229 inches to 188 inches)
13. Focus on what you can do right now.
Forget what you can’t do. Figure out what you’re capable of in this moment, and build from there.
“I had to find it within me to accept that it was okay to do things a bit differently, says Richard, 49, who dropped 103 pounds in our yearlong program. “I had to accept that it was okay to do what I was capable of.”
Eventually, Precision Nutrition clients internalize this mantra: Start wherever you are. Use whatever you have. Do whatever you can.
Lost 103 lbs and 20% body fat!
- Age: 49 years
- Weight Lost: 103 lbs (from 318 lbs to 215 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 20% (from 40.9% to 20.9%)
- Total Inches Lost: 30 inches (from 285 inches to 255 inches)
14. Imagine yourself as a role model.
Now go be that person.
“I want my kids to be healthy and happy and proud of the way they’re living their lives,” Lisanne (above) says. “It’s not enough for me to pay lip service to that idea — I have to be an example.”
Consider: What does “role model you” do each day? What does their morning routine look like? How do they keep the family fit and healthy?
15. Stop thinking you have to dedicate your whole life to losing weight.
Sure, some of the changes you have to make will be fundamental. But the truth is that you only need a few hours per week to build a great body.
By getting the right kind of help and following simple yet powerful daily practices, anyone can lose weight, get healthy, and feel better.
That’s what Kia realized, and she lost 61 pounds. The big revelation for her:
“No one ever tells you that getting in shape is simple. That you only need a few hours per week to build a great body. That by getting the right kind of help and following simple yet powerful habits, anyone can lose weight, get healthy, and feel better.”
Lost 61 lbs and 19% body fat!
- Age: 34 years
- Weight Lost: 61 lbs (from 199 lbs to 138 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 19% (from 37% to 18%)
- Total Inches Lost: 50 inches (from 252 inches to 202 inches)
16. Find your route at the grocery store.
Many people working on new eating habits get derailed by the abundance of processed food, especially when shopping. Our clients learn how to navigate the supermarket to avoid these temptations.
You’ve heard it before, but it works: Stay on the perimeter.
Calorie-packed chips, cookies, pasta, sauces, and dressings are in the middle. The good stuff like vegetables, meats, eggs, and fruits are stocked on the outside, away from the aisles.
That’s what 46-year-old John learned, and he lost 106 pounds. Instead of being led by shiny packages and tempting marketing tricks, John decides what flavors he’s in the mood for.
“I ask myself, ‘Where do my taste-buds want to go today?’”. Then he buys real, fresh ingredients (like spices, herbs, fruits, vegetables, etc.) to build a meal around his own inspiration. Not a marketer’s.
Lost 106 lbs and 13% body fat!
- Age: 46 years
- Weight Lost: 106 lbs (from 332 lbs to 226 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 13% (from 39% to 26%)
- Waist Inches Lost: 12 inches (from 50 inches to 38 inches)
17. Own your decisions.
“What I learned was that I had to take responsibility for my own decisions,” says Heather, 37, who lost 47 pounds in Precision Nutrition Coaching.
“I had to get real with myself. I learned the difference between thinking, ‘I have to do x,’ and ‘I choose to do x,’ and ‘I’m doing x.’”
Everyone has to work at it. We’re all imperfect, and so are our lives. So the best thing we can do is to just get out there and do our best.
Lost 47 lbs and 10% body fat!
- Age: 37 years
- Weight Lost: 47 lbs (from 219 lbs to 172 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 10% (from 38% to 28%)
- Total Inches Lost: 43 inches (from 253 inches to 210 inches)
18. Make health programs bend to your needs.
Too often, people become discouraged when exercise and nutrition programs feel like they’ve been written for someone else. And that’s understandable. Because most of them were.
Everyone has different needs. So, for sustainable weight loss, there’s no “one size fits all”.
For example, Cheryl lost 68 pounds despite the fact that she was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease — and was asked to avoid strength training — for most of her Precision Nutrition Coaching experience.
No heavy lifting? No problem. We helped her modify the workouts.
“In some ways, the diagnosis was a relief,” Cheryl says. “It became okay for me to admit that I was skipping out on what others were doing in the gym because of pain.”
Just because long distance running worked for your friends, or just because the trainer at your gym tells you to “go heavy or go home”, doesn’t mean that’s what you have to do.
Lost 68 lbs and 20% body fat!
- Age: 49 years
- Weight Lost: 68 lbs (from 245 lbs to 177 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 20% (from 44% to 24%)
- Total Inches Lost: 65 inches (from 280 inches to 215 inches)
19. Concentrate on your behaviors, not outcomes.
For Precision Nutrition Coaching client Katey, this was an essential lesson from the program:
“You can’t focus on weight loss – that’s not something you can control. What you can control is the process. Your choices. Enough good ones built up over time will lead you to your goals. Work hard on the healthy behaviors, let the rest fall into place.”
Katey read that over a dozen times. “It was such a huge key to… everything. It was something I’d missed before. It was at that moment I stopped focusing on what I wanted to happen and started focusing on the next step.”
If you’ve found yourself obsessing about outcomes — trying to get the scale to budge on a daily basis, for example — try focusing on actions instead. What are you doing today to help encourage a different outcome later?
Lost 116 lbs and 21% body fat!
- Age: 36 years
- Weight Lost: 116 lbs (from 255 lbs to 139 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 21% (from 39% to 18%)
- Total Inches Lost: 65 inches (from 260 inches to 195 inches)
20. Clean the slate every day.
“I realized I could have a clean slate every time I messed up because this was about my healthy lifestyle, and not just a diet,” says Patricia, 46, who lost 69 pounds with Precision Nutrition.
“Precision Nutrition Coaching taught me habits and changed the way I view my body and the food I put in it. It’s a life plan, and it’s something I know I can manage forever.”
Whether it’s years of yo-yo dieting, or the pizza-and-wings combo you had for dinner last night, you might have some regrets about past behavior.
Don’t beat yourself up, don’t obsess, don’t punish yourself. Wipe the slate clean each day and concentrate on now.
Lost 69 lbs and 25% body fat!
- Age: 46 years
- Weight Lost: 69 lbs (from 250 lbs to 181 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 25% (from 50% to 25%)
- Total Inches Lost: 35 inches (from 250 inches to 215 inches)
21. Don’t expect unbroken enthusiasm.
At times it’s a slog — and that’s true for everyone.
“I learned that sometimes you have to drag your a$s to the gym, even if you don’t feel like going. And learning it lifted a huge burden off me,” says Kim, 25, who lost 24 pounds with Precision Nutrition Coaching.
“While the workout may be slow moving and uninspired at first, once you’re there it’s super easy to finish.”
Sometimes workouts feel great. Sometimes the stars align and we cook a perfectly healthy, well-balanced, delicious meal.
Other times, healthy living feels like work. That’s okay.
Love it when it feels good. Let it suck when it sucks. The main thing is to just keep going.
Lost 24 lbs and 16.3% body fat!
- Age: 25 years
- Weight Lost: 24 lbs (from 160 lbs to 136 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 16.3% (from 29.5% to 13.2%)
22. Be brave.
Amazing things can happen when you find the courage to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Says Precision Nutrition Coaching client and grand prize winner Lisa:
“I learned to be courageous with the activities I try. To have the courage to take time for myself. And to have the courage to be kind to myself, when I need a break or when I look in the mirror.”
Think about what feels scary or uncomfortable for you. How could you just take on a tiny piece of that thing?
Imagine what you might accomplish if you are willing to try.
Lost 54.1 lbs and 48.7 total inches!
- Age: 40 years
- Weight Lost: 54.1 lbs (from 222.5 lbs to 168.4 lbs)
- Total Inches Lost: 48.7 inches (from 256 inches to 207.3 inches)
Take the first step. Then let us take over.
For most people, getting started is the hardest thing. Figuring out what to do first. Overcoming inertia. Taking that first step into the unknown.
Precision Nutrition Coaching clients come to us for smart solutions and support with lifestyle changes they’ve been trying to make for a long time. Our coaches help them figure out how to get fit and healthy in the context of real, messy human life — and how to stay that way: capable, confident, and free.
We’ll soon be opening the Precision Nutrition Coaching program for new clients. Spots usually sell out in a matter of hours, but if you put your name on the presale list below, we’ll let you sign up 24 hours before everyone else.