Sarah finds strength, inside and out
Precision Nutrition Coaching for Women

By John Berardi, Ph.D.

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It takes a special kind of woman to rappel down a 40-storey waterfall.

A woman of tremendous strength, resilience, and adventure. That woman is Sarah today.

To engage in this type of extreme sport is a new experience for Sarah — one that still leaves her a little bit breathless with amazement.

How did she become the kind of person who could take such risks with confidence and grace?

It started with Precision Nutrition Coaching.

Sarah's Transformation

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)

As a child, Sarah was active in sports.

Throughout high school, she skated competitively and went on to join her university’s boardercross team.

But throughout her childhood and adolescence, she also faced some significant challenges. She often lost touch with her athletic self. Worse yet, she developed a less-than-ideal relationship to food.

Her parents separated. The family moved a lot. Her mother worked hard to make ends meet, and conditions were sometimes unstable. Some afternoons, Sarah would come home from school to find the fridge empty. She’d open a cupboard, only to discover it was bare.

From an early age, she understood that she would need to work. And work she did. In fact, at various times throughout her adolescence and young adulthood, Sarah took on jobs as a painter, landscaper, lifeguard — even, one memorable summer, as an industrial cleaner in a factory.

Meanwhile, like countless other teens, she also worked in the fast food industry.

Juggling multiple jobs helped fund Sarah’s education — an important goal. It also allowed her to keep up with what her friends were doing, ensuring that she maintained a circle of support. And it set the foundation for her hard-working, determined character.

Yet in the long run, the situation hurt her as much as it helped her.

First, she was shouldering an unhealthy burden of stress. Too much or the wrong kind of stress is never good for our bodies or our souls.

Not only that, but — as she has since come to recognize — the environment of her workplaces may have kindled an unhealthy relationship with food.

Long hours, physically demanding work, short breaks. And, at the restaurants, the ever-present aroma of salty, high-fat, and sweet things to eat — already cooked, and priced to sell. Sometimes discounted for employees. Sometimes even free.

Is it any wonder that food became Sarah’s escape, and her biggest, most reliable comfort?

Looking back, she’s not surprised that her weight began to fluctuate.

Sometimes, it crept as high as 200 pounds. Then, during an active summer of landscaping, painting, or other physical labor she’d shed 20 or 30 pounds. Which Sarah was she — the larger one, or the smaller one?

“My body image evolved throughout my teens, but I always felt quite uncomfortable in my skin,” she says.

“I didn’t really know who I was. As a result, even when I lost weight when I was more active — either at work or playing sports — I always felt like I was ‘borrowing’ a new identity temporarily.”

That fragile sense of herself as a fit person was one reason that Sarah continued to struggle with her weight.

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It was almost as if she couldn’t trust her own body.

Luckily, she could trust the man who eventually became her partner, Claudio. It was Claudio who signed her up for Precision Nutrition Coaching the first time.

In fact, he signed them both up. Tired of feeling overweight and out of shape, he figured that if they did this as a couple, they had a greater chance of success.

He was right.

Sarah, true to her hard-working nature, completed the six-month program with flying colors. In fact, she lost 28 pounds and emerged a finalist.

“I had no expectations,” she says. “This was my first experience with weight training and nutritional coaching in a more structured and programmed manner.”

She simply followed the workouts diligently and her naturally athletic body responded.

Of course, she was delighted with the results.

A glance at the photos taken then shows why. She smiles for the camera. Her eyes sparkle. She’s confident and full of joy.

And why not? At 26, her whole life lay ahead of her. Attractive, healthy, and smart — you’d think that nothing could stop her.

But flash forward two years — and Sarah was miserable. Not only that, but at 192 pounds, she was heavier than she wanted to be. Again.

Where had that happy young woman gone? What had happened to derail her?

Shortly after her first round of Precision Nutrition Coaching ended, Sarah endured a sudden, traumatic life event.

And in the wake of that trauma, she did what her entire life’s experience had trained her to do. First, she buried herself in work. And second, she ate.

Working hard was a way for Sarah to distract herself. It was familiar, and strangely comforting; after all, she’d been doing it since her teens.

While she was working, she could forget about or try to ignore the pain.

Working hard was also a way to claim a bit of power and some self-protection.

But — as many of us know — hard work can also become a trap, taking over all our waking hours, causing us to lose touch with our deepest values. And that’s what happened to Sarah.

She worked so hard that her life lost balance.

Instead of feeling powerful, she felt weaker. Instead of feeling capable, she felt numb.

Her eyes brimmed with tears that she couldn’t acknowledge. And underneath her increasingly heavy shell, she was cut off from the people she loved.

She ate for comfort, for solace, and in a desperate attempt to regain some of the energy she felt leeching away.

In hindsight, she says, she also ate to shield her body, to prevent the attention from others. To protect a wound that was still raw.

And little by little, she stopped going to the gym. The result was predictable. She gained fat, lost strength — and felt worse.

It takes a special kind of woman to admit she needs help.

A woman of tremendous strength — and an equal measure of hope.

When Sarah was at her lowest point, a good friend sat her down and asked her when she had felt her happiest and strongest, both emotionally and physically. The answer came instantly. Easily. Sarah didn’t even have to think about it.

She recalled a particular run she’d gone on while traveling on the west coast. Fresh sea air, towering evergreens, the sound of waves measuring her steps.

“I felt strong, determined, full of fire,” she says. “Unstoppable.”

And when did that run take place?

Shortly after she finished Precision Nutrition Coaching.

The minute she answered her friend, Sarah knew exactly what she had to do.

Precision Nutrition Coaching, Round Two, was completely different from Sarah’s first time through the program.

“I was a good student, an A student, my first time through,” Sarah says now.

“But, looking back, I know that I was doing the program on the surface. I didn’t connect to my identity as an athlete. And I wasn’t looking at my past and how it might have contributed to unhealthy eating patterns.”

The second time, she came to the program numb, sad and vulnerable — downright raw.

Yet that vulnerability turned into her greatest strength, as she opened herself to the process of self-questioning, and began to reflect on her deepest and most important values.

“How have trying times brought me to where I am now, and how have I coped?” she asked herself. And: “What do I really care about? What gives me joy? How can I get more of that?”

In the process, she rediscovered her long-lost athletic self.

“Working out” — with the emphasis on “work” — wasn’t the point, Sarah began to see. Instead, movement could be play. Fun. Release.

She just had to find the activities that made her heart sing.

For instance, in the past, she’d never been much of a runner. “I didn’t think I was much good at it,” she admits.

But by paying attention to her body’s signals and noticing what gave her genuine pleasure, she discovered that she loved being outside, in nature. So she and Claudio signed up for their first obstacle race.

“We weren’t superstars or anything,” she says. “But we did well.”

Racing with Claudio reignited Sarah’s competitive spark. She could feel herself starting to wake up and come alive. The creaky armor was crumbling away.

And as they found their joy in movement, Sarah and Claudio started losing weight again — and gaining strength.

“I’m open to trying anything now,” she adds. “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.”

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Sarah was reclaiming her body. Not to mention her soul.

“My first time through the program, I was a pretty independent learner,” she says. “I didn’t really take advantage of the forums.”

But her second time through, she made connections to the other women in her group. She even attended the Precision Nutrition Coaching gathering in Naperville. There, she saw our coaches.

“That was a big aha for me,” she says. “Listening to Krista Scott-Dixon, Krista Schaus, Kate Kline, and the others talk about their lives, I saw the evolution of their athletic personae, their insightfulness, and collective desire always to grow, learn, and become the best versions of themselves. I saw how they kept evolving and changing, and that was something I would develop over the years as I move forward in life.”

What’s more, in getting to know the women in her group, she began to understand, on a deep level, that she was not the only person who’d gained weight after significant trauma. She could put what had happened to her into context. She could recognize a pattern of response.

She could see that she wasn’t alone.

“Hearing the stories of the other women at Naperville, I was so impressed by their resilience,” Sarah says.

“Hey,” she thought. “You’ve done this. You’ve succeeded. And now, your energy is fueling me.”

These days, Sarah’s the one providing the fuel.

As a winner of the 2012 Precision Nutrition Coaching Women’s program and mentor to a whole new cohort of clients, she shares her strategies for meal preparation, negotiating tough social situations, and motivation.

Her mantra? “Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try.”

“It’s so important to take that first step,” she says.

“You may be feeling a bit anxious, unsure, sad, scared. But we were all there with you at one point. It’s okay.”

“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.”

And Precision Nutrition Coaching can be such an opportunity and adventure.

For Sarah, it opened a new chapter and sport — Crossfit.

“Crossfit has been an amazing next step for me. It continues to push me, fuels my competitive nature, and has the structure, community and healthy values I look for.”

That isn’t the only happy news in her life these days. While in Costa Rica celebrating Sarah’s Precision Nutrition Coaching win, her long-time partner, Claudio, proposed.

And, considering he’d been with her every step of the way, rappelling down that waterfall seemed a fitting way to celebrate the upcoming adventure of their marriage.

It takes a special kind of woman to share the depth of her experience with others.

A woman of enormous strength — and an equal portion of resilience and insight.

That woman is Sarah today.

Thanks, in part, to Precision Nutrition Coaching.

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Want to read more great stories like Sarah’s? Then come meet a few other men, women, and couples who lost weight, started eating better, and took control of their health.

Want help finally getting the healthy, energetic body you’re after?

Most people know that regular movement, eating well, sleep, and stress management are important for looking and feeling better. Yet they need help applying that knowledge in the context of their busy, sometimes stressful lives.

That’s why we work closely with Precision Nutrition Coaching clients to help them lose fat, get stronger, and improve their health…no matter what challenges they’re dealing with.

It’s also why we work with health and fitness pros (through our Level 1 and Level 2 Certification programs) to teach them how to coach their own clients through the same challenges.

Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 45% and secure a spot 24 hrs early.

If you’re interested in coaching and want to find out more, I’d encourage you to join our presale list below. Being on the list gives you two special advantages.

  • You’ll pay less than everyone else. At Precision Nutrition we like to reward the most interested and motivated people because they always make the best clients. Join the presale list and we’ll give you over 45% off the monthly cost of Precision Nutrition Coaching, which is the lowest price we’ve ever offered.
  • You’re more likely to get a spot. To give clients the personal care and attention they deserve, we only open up the program twice a year. Last time we opened registration, we sold out within minutes. By joining the presale list you’ll get the opportunity to register 24 hours before everyone else, increasing your chances of getting in.

In the end, if you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.

Get on the PN Coaching presale list today

If you're interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching, we strongly recommend you join the presale list below. Choose your program and add your name to the list. We'll send you more about the program and give you the chance to register 24 hours before everyone else. You'll also get our lowest price ever — $97 USD per month — a 45% savings off the general public price.