As a former college athlete and a high school football coach, David Sell knew his way around a gym. He was even an active participant on the PN Forums. So why was his weight creeping higher, and why did he feel so lousy?
Precision Nutrition Coaching gave him the answers, and left him a whopping 82 pounds lighter, a whole lot healthier, $10,000 richer — and a better coach (and husband) along the way. Read on to learn his story.
Lost 82 lbs and 12% body fat!
- Age: 31 years
- Weight Lost: 82 lbs (from 322 lbs to 240 lbs)
- % Body Fat Lost: 12% (from 25% to 13%)
- Waist Inches Lost: 16 inches (from 55 inches to 39 inches)
David had always been a big guy.
As a college level athlete, he’d built his identity around his size. After all, offensive linemen are supposed to be huge.
But ten years out of college, he wasn’t huge and strong or huge and fit anymore. He was just … big. Too big. And increasingly unhappy about it.
In his role as a coach, he sometimes demonstrated exercises to his team. But he hadn’t worked out consistently in a decade. He ate more donuts in a week than he did push-ups.
When he signed on with Precision Nutrition Coaching, David weighed in at 322 pounds. He wasn’t the heaviest he’d ever been — but he was the most miserable he’d ever been.
“Enough is enough,” he told himself. “Something’s got to change.”
David had been a member of the PN community for a while before signing up for coaching. He’d even bought the PN binder. He knew the system, and had tried to go it alone.
But going it alone meant trying to do too much, too fast. It doomed him to failure.
“The beautiful thing about Precision Nutrition Coaching is they give you one thing at a time,” he says. “For me, that was the secret.”
Once the program began, he started losing weight right away, and continued to lose at a slow but steady pace, just by following the workouts and habits.
“I liked the workouts,” he says. “They seemed easy at first, so at times I wondered how they could possibly be effective. But it all comes down to trust.
“I trusted my coach. I trusted the process.”
And he gave it everything he had.
“He’s a genuinely nice guy,” his coach, Jay Bonn says. “What I noticed about him early on was that he always focused on what he could do, not on what he couldn’t do.”
That was a good thing, because as the program continued, David faced more than his fair share of challenges.
Problems showed up first at home.
Like many spouses and partners of Precision Nutrition Coaching clients, David’s wife, Maria, didn’t exactly cheer when he told her he’d signed up for the program.
To begin with, she was worried about the cost. She and David had a young family, and $99 a month seemed like a big expense, especially since David had tried several other programs, only to give up on them after a couple of weeks.
“We’d start a ‘diet’ together,” David admits. “And I was always the one who fell off the wagon first and never got back on it.”
Their second daughter had just turned one, and Maria’s focus was understandably more on mothering than on losing weight.
“Actually, if I’m remembering correctly, when I told her I’d joined she said something like: ‘Whatever.’”
Especially during football season, when David worked extra long hours, Maria cooked most of the family’s meals. And as he got more and more committed to the program, he wasn’t always happy with what she prepared.
One Friday, David got home to discover that Maria had gone to some trouble to prepare a special supper. Chicken enchiladas. “With flour tortillas, cheese and heavy cream. All the extras.”
Mmmm. Sounds delicious.
The problem? It wasn’t Precision Nutrition Coaching compliant. Most of the ingredients were processed, which conflicted with the current coaching habit.
“That’s not whole food,” David complained.
Needless to say, this led to a little argument. Despite the fact that he very generously offered to fix himself some fresh veggies. Ooops!
As uncomfortable as it was, the incident did open communication between them. And it helped David recognize something:
By trying to be perfect, he had been making his wife miserable.
“I didn’t want to harm our relationship,” he says. “That was the bottom line.”
Funny thing — once Maria understood that, something shifted in her. “When you started, I didn’t think you’d see it through,” she told David. But now the pounds were melting off him, steadily enough to make her sit up and take notice.
What happened next came as a surprise to David — but wouldn’t have surprised his coach, because it’s a fairly common pattern in Precision Nutrition Coaching.
Maria got into the act.
She started following the program right alongside him.
“I’d make her lunches or Super Shakes,” he says. “She’d tell me, ‘I’m watching my carbs this week; let’s do it together!’”
To date, Maria has lost 40 pounds.
“It’s been neat to watch her,” David says, with evident pride. This is how I feel when my linemen suddenly ‘get’ the blocking scheme I’ve been explaining. This is probably how the PN coaches feel! She looks amazing.”
With his home support system in place, David was better positioned to keep up the strong work he’d already shown in the program.
Yet social situations could still be awkward.
“During football season there are always donuts around at work on the weekends. Guys were always going out for lunch at places where it’s really tough to make healthy choices.”
But that was nothing. In March, David had to face a new, and much more serious obstacle — the diagnosis of Crohn’s Disease.
People with Crohn’s suffer from inflammation of the gastrointestinal tract, with frequent pain or bloating. There’s no cure, but symptoms can be relieved with medication, dietary changes, and careful monitoring.
Trouble was, despite his clean and mostly whole foods diet, David’s symptoms still bothered him. It was Maria who pinpointed a possible cause.
“She has a friend who’s got celiac disease. She was reading a book and started noticing some overlaps between my flare-ups and times we’d eat gluten.”
So, having already removed most processed foods from his diet, in September, David removed gluten — and sure enough, he started to feel better. Now, if he happens mistakenly to ingest some, he pays for it in lethargy and digestive problems.
Yes, it was tough to give up on breads and pastas and other starchy gluten-containing treats. It was even tougher to adjust to eating at home all the time or to bringing his food with him — since it often proved complicated to get gluten free food when he was out.
But “no donut is worth it,” he says. “I don’t like feeling that way.”
And it turns out that it’s easier than he imagined to prepare wholesome, nutritious food that tastes great and doesn’t stimulate his autoimmune response.
“The coaching forum was great for that,” he says. “I loved trading recipes and meal ideas with the other guys.”
These days, with careful planning, he even manages to dine out a few times a week.
So his social life is going strong — and he’s able to genuinely enjoy his family and friends.
“People sometimes use illness as an excuse not to complete the program,” coach Jay Bonn says. “But David didn’t do that. He used it as an opportunity to learn and grow.”
“The guys I coach are my biggest cheerleaders.”
It’s the second game of the season. David — two-thirds of the way into his Precision Nutrition Coaching journey — is out on the sidelines. A couple of former students are in the stands.
As they watch the game they start looking for their former position coach. But they can’t find him. They know he’s still with the team, so where the heck is he?
Finally they turn to David’s colleague, who happens to be sitting nearby. “Where’s Coach Sell?”
“He’s right there,” she answers, in surprise.
“Can’t you see him? There, on the 35 yard line talking to Chavana.”
Eyes popping and mouths agape, the boys manage to splutter, “No way! No way! That’s not Coach Sell. It can’t be him. Coach Sell has a big gut!”
Later, David chuckles as he relates the story. “Not any more, I don’t.”
“Winning was never the goal,” David says. (Although we imagine getting a surprise visit from Coach Jay Bonn plus a $10,000 check felt pretty darn good.)
“The prize was getting to where I’m at. I still feel that way.”
Recently, reflecting on his experience, he had an epiphany. Because they’d been high school and college athletes, he and Maria unconsciously associated fitness with sport; if they weren’t competing, they didn’t see any reason to work out. So they simply stopped — with predictable results.
“Now I see that I don’t need a sport. My health is the reason now. Being there for my kids and my grandchildren — that’s the goal. And the way I feel every day is motivation enough.”
As a coach and a mentor for the current cohort of Precision Nutrition Coaching clients, David naturally wants to share that motivation.
And with his warmth, enthusiasm, and his lineman’s instinct for overcoming obstacles, he shows how anyone can win at weight loss — with the right attitude — and the right support.
Want help finally getting the healthy, energetic body you’re after?
For many people, improved eating and lifestyle habits can seem impossible to sustain, especially when progress feels non-existent. What the experts know: Progress is always happening, you have to know what to look for.
That’s why we work closely with Precision Nutrition Coaching clients to help them stay energized and motivated, and get in the best shape of their lives… no matter what other 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 help their own clients recognize progress and stay motivated through the same challenges.
Interested in Precision Nutrition Coaching? Join the presale list; you’ll save up to 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.
We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, January 17th, 2024.
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 you’ll save up to 54% off the general public price, 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.
If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.
[Note: If your health and fitness are already sorted out, but you’re interested in helping others, check out our Precision Nutrition Level 1 Certification program].