What’s stopping you from getting in shape?
Here, eight answers to that question
35 lessons from Precision Nutrition’s most successful clients.
How they took the first step, lost the weight, and kept it off.
You wish you felt more confident, capable, and energetic. Perhaps you dream of the day where—as silly at it seems — you post your vacation photos to Facebook and are actually excited to share them all. Including the swimsuit photos.
Maybe you’ve been saying or thinking all these things for years.
If so, we know you’re not alone.
Here at Precision Nutrition, we’ve worked with thousands of clients who felt the same way. Now, they’re the women you see projecting confidence and walking tall. You might even see some of them chasing their kids around in a bikini this summer.
They’re the guys with flat stomachs and a totally clean bill of health. Maybe even middle-aged dudes playing shirtless beach volleyball like they don’t have a care in the world.
They came into Precision Nutrition Coaching with all the frustrations, doubts, and health concerns you may be worried about right now. But then they lost fat. They built up their health. And they took control of their fitness for the first time in their lives.
So we decided to ask them: How’d you do it?
It turns out they had answers for everything. Read on to see the common hurdles they cleared — and exactly how they did it.
Click HERE to train with Precision Nutrition Coach Gordon Palmer – Project Body Smart
You can never seem to get started.
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?”
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. You’re turned off by every weight-loss program and tip you see.
Ignore mainstream advice
Unrealistic (and, frankly, insulting) click bait like “Flatten Your Tummy in 5 Minutes a Day” and “Sculpt Your Butt While Sitting Still” are meant to drive ad sales, not get you in shape. Most of our clients, once they see Precision Nutrition’s positive, practice-based approach, realize that the negative tone of health and fitness media was holding them back for years.
Find trustworthy friends or acquaintances who lost weight, and do what they did
Why reinvent the wheel? When you see a true success story unfold before your eyes, copycat away. That’s how 46-year-old Sharon D’Arcy found Precision Nutrition, and she ended up losing more than 30 pounds. (Click here for her story, which includes a bit of surprising inspiration.)
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. You can’t seem to get your heart in it.
Stop living in “coulda, woulda, shoulda”
To make true progress, allow yourself to focus exclusively on what you can do now. Not in some hypothetical future where everything is perfect. Just do the best you can with what you’ve got right now. It’s what allowed Sharon to lose weight and fight cancer — all in the same year.
Have your reason
Keep your specific motivation in mind, whether it’s getting fit 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.”
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)
Feel more than you see
Sure, wanting to look better is what motivates most clients to sign up for Precision Nutrition’s program. But it’s not what gets them to oh-my-god-you-look-amazing transformations. Healthy eating habits end up improving how they feel — how they move, think and generally enjoy life — which leads to continued healthy eating and dozens of pounds lost over time.
Focus on the joy of movement
“Enjoy your body,” Sharon says. “Take pleasure in movement. Take pride in what you can do.” This deep appreciation for physical health is what allows many clients to maintain fitness regimens and weight loss over time.
Recognize true enjoyment
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.
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)
4. You sense you’re not being true to yourself.
Pay attention to your environment
Recognizing how their surroundings might have caused unhealthy habits to develop — like 29-year-old Sarah’s years of work in fast food restaurants — allows many Precision Nutrition clients to discover the why of who they are and start zeroing in on the power of how to change it.
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)
Don’t fall to pack mentality
“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.”
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, letting herself get vulnerable as she went through Precision Nutrition’s program 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?” She lost 52 pounds.
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 a bunch of weight. Consciously mourn your old self as you greet the healthier you. Lots of Precision Nutrition clients were able to recognize and minimize certain anxieties this way.
Stay connected to what 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 says. “You are worthy.”
5. You’re exhausted just thinking about how much work you’ll have to do.
De-emphasize the “work” in “working out”
So many Precision Nutrition clients say that one outcome of our program — and something that helps them maintain an optimal exercise schedule — is coming to see movement as play, as fun, as release. Find the activities you love, and moving your body will become something you seek out, not dread.
Know that everyone — everyone — has to work at it
Fit, healthy people who look like they’ve got it all figured out have to put effort into eating right, too. We know, because Precision Nutrition coaches themselves talk about it a lot. Clients say getting to know them is comforting, because you can see how they’re so focused on learning, growing, and becoming the best versions of themselves.
Let others fuel you
Forget envy and intimidation. Precision Nutrition clients notice that the program allows them to stop saying, “That could never be me” and start thinking of others’ success stories as inspiration. Lots of Precision Nutrition clients come to the program with significant health issues to solve. Talk to them and let their energy fuel you.
Discover the value of trying
“Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try,” Sarah says.
6. You know a lot about health and nutrition, but you still can’t seem to lose the weight.
“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 on the Precision Nutrition program.
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)
Think 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.
Let others take the helm
A whole lot of Precision Nutrition clients know a whole lot about health and nutrition coming into our program. They think, with all this know-how — a lot of them are fitness instructors and health professionals themselves — why’s the weight still sticking to them? Their 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.
“The truth is, I probably knew three quarters of Precision Nutrition Coaching’s dietary recommendations before I started,” says Peter, 52, who dropped 33 pounds with Precision Nutrition. “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.
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)
7. You can’t figure out how to work it into your busy life.
Realize there’s no such thing as “too busy”
Precision Nutrition’s program is practically custom-designed for people who suffer the “I don’t have time” delusion. Oftentimes they’re our most successful clients. Lisanne, 39, lost 38 pounds on the Precision Nutrition program while taking care of three small kids — including a nursing infant — and getting certified as a yoga instructor and doula. Other clients work multiple jobs or have to travel five days a week and never know where they’ll be staying next. What they tell us is that Precision Nutrition coaching actually ends up easing their schedule by lending structure to their lives.
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)
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)
Picture the health role model you want for your kids
Now be that. “I want my kids to be healthy and happy and proud of the way they’re living their lives,” Lisanne says. “It’s not enough for me to pay lip service to that idea — I have to be an example.”
Don’t confuse selfishness with self-love
A lot of Precision Nutrition clients worry that prioritizing themselves will take them away from the people who need them, potentially damaging professional or personal relationships. Then they discover that the opposite is true: Caring for themselves by addressing their diet and lifestyle makes them look and feel better — and that actually makes them more accessible and present for other people.
Stop thinking you have to dedicate your whole life to losing weight
Sure, some of the changes you have to make to get healthy 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 34-year-old Kia realized, and she lost 61 pounds.
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)
8. You get frustrated and quit.
Recognize that progress isn’t usually a straight line
If you’re gauging success based on how much you weigh each morning, you’re bound to give up before you can establish healthy habits or see real change. Almost as a rule, Precision Nutrition clients’ chart looks like a crazy, twisted line of progress, regress, more progress, and lessons learned along the way (we know, because our software tracks it for them so they can follow along the whole time). A year later, dozens of pounds lost — for good. Worth the roller coaster ride, for sure.
Find your route at the grocery store
So many people trying to “eat clean” get derailed by the mere sight of processed food. Precision Nutrition clients learn how to navigate the supermarket to avoid temptation. The secret: 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.
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)
Stop blaming external factors
“What I learned was that I had to take responsibility for my own decisions,” saysHeather, 37, who lost 47 pounds on the Precision Nutrition program. “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.’”
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)
Ask the people in your life for help
Precision Nutrition clients are always coming to us with these amazing stories about how their family and friends rallied for them. Most people are so hesitant to ask, but when they do find the courage and humility to speak up, they often get better results. The best part? It can be something small, like “please stop bringing cupcakes into the house.”
Make health programs bend to your needs
Too often, people trying to get fit become discouraged because exercise and nutrition programs seem to have been written for someone else. You know why? Because they were. To really lose weight in a lasting way, your plan has to be customized to a T. That’s what Precision Nutrition coaches help with. So 49-year-old Cheryl lost 68 pounds — despite the fact that she was diagnosed with degenerative disc disease part way through the Precision Nutrition program. No heavy lifting? No problem. We helped her modify the workouts. “In some ways, the diagnosis was a relief,” Cheryl says. “At least it was okay for me to admit that I hadn’t been doing what others were doing in the gym.”
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)
Rewrite the basics
“When I was in the middle of it, losing weight was at the forefront of my mind; now, everything is a habit,” says 36-year-old Katey, who despite having virtually no compliance with the Precision Nutrition program for the first 90 days went on to lose an impressive 116 pounds. The key? Allowing herself to make truly fundamental lifestyle changes. “It feels a lot more like living,” she says.
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)
Take the good days with the bad
Some days will be better than others, and it’s crucial not to let your inevitable disappointments spoil successes. Stride after stride, you learn about yourself. Keep the pace steady, choose the salad more times than you choose the burrito. Realizing she didn’t have to be perfect all the time helped Kia, 34, drop 61 pounds with Precision Nutrition.
Don’t let one cookie derail you
“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.”
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)
Don’t expect unbroken enthusiasm
Look, at times it’s a slog — and that’s true for everyone. “I learned that sometimes you have to drag your ass to the gym, even if you don’t feel like going, and it was a huge burden that got lifted off me,” says Kim, 25, who lost 24 pounds with Precision Nutrition. “And while the workout may be slow moving and uninspired at first, once you’re there it’s super easy to finish.”