Heather Nelson had tried everything — including weight loss surgery — to regain her health and get into better shape. But nothing worked — or nothing worked for long.
Then she found Precision Nutrition Coaching. And, after one year, she was 47 pounds lighter, healthier, and more confident than she’d ever thought possible.
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)
The yo-yo effect
There’s something about Heather Nelson’s voice that transmits warmth and capability. From her first few words you can tell that this woman is smart and down-to-earth. She’s not the kind of person who messes around.
Yet for years, when it came to her weight and her health, Heather just couldn’t get it together.
It hadn’t always been that way. As a teen, she’d stayed fit through swimming, biking and running. And in college, while she may have gained the proverbial “freshman 15″, she also managed to lose it through working out.
But after graduation, Heather seemed to lose her discipline. “I just didn’t have the internal drive to keep at it,” she says.
Or maybe she had too much else to focus on. As a consultant, she was traveling a lot, working long hours, eating at strange times, eating out. And with such a busy schedule, she was often stressed.
The result was predictable. Her weight ballooned up, and then bounced down. She’d gain 10 pounds. Lose 12. Go up 25. Down 15.
Call it the good ol’ (or bad ol’) yo-yo effect.
Like many folks in her position, Heather tried many strategies to lose weight.
Mostly, she restricted her eating, flirting for a while with meal replacements and vegetarianism. Anything to keep her intake in check.
And she actually got pretty good at reining herself in. She even managed to shed 42 pounds before heading off to grad school at age 25.
The trouble was, she couldn’t stay consistent.
And once she hit the age of 30, it was harder to shed those extra pounds, even with serious effort — seeing a trainer, trying much more consciously to eat well. But no matter what she did, the weight just seemed to creep up. And up.
It was tough to recognize herself in a mirror. Sometimes, she could hardly bear to look at herself at all.
By August, 2010, Heather was discouraged and utterly disappointed in her weight loss failures. Her health was no better. Her blood pressure had ballooned from the normal 125/74 to an abnormal 154/108; her waist circumference had increased over 10 inches.
She was diagnosed as pre-diabetic.
Things were bad.
That’s when she took the drastic step of undergoing weight loss surgery.
Bariatric surgery reduces the size of the stomach, either by removing some of it, by re-routing the intestines to a small pouch, or by implanting a device called a gastric band.
Recommended by the U.S. National Institutes of Health for those with a BMI of over 40, it can be especially valuable for those suffering from co-existing medical conditions such as diabetes. But like any surgical procedure, it involves risks, so responsible doctors won’t recommend it lightly.
In other words, to be a candidate for weight loss surgery, you have to show that you’ve genuinely tried — and failed — at other weight loss strategies.
And after surgery, you must agree to participate in a medical weight loss program.
Heather had no problem going along with that. Determined to succeed at last, she read all the recommended articles. She knew that controlling her portion sizes would be key.
“If I can just eat meals the size of a pack of playing cards,” she remembers thinking. “Then I’ll be able to lose.”
But one year later, she still hadn’t reached her ideal weight. In fact, she hadn’t made much progress at all.
At that point, most people would be tempted to give up.
But Heather is made of stronger stuff.
A few years earlier, one of her trainers suggested she check out a company called Precision Nutrition. Impressed with the recommendation, she’d ordered a copy of the PN System.
“Thing is, that book just sat there in its plastic wrapper on the shelf for about a year,” she admits now, with a laugh.
Sound familiar? It should. Heather’s hardly the first person to fall into that trap. Starting a program on our own can be intimidating.
But by June 2011, Heather had begun to look at that shrink-wrapped package with different eyes. Something had shifted inside her. After all, she’d reached the end of her other options.
“I’ve tried everything else,” she thought. “Why not this?”
Naturally, given all her negative experiences in the past, she remained skeptical. Still, something urged her to open the book. Something told her it was worth a try. Tentatively, she checked out the PN forums. She even tried out a couple of recipes.
Finally, she signed herself up for the Precision Nutrition Coaching presale list — kick-starting the process of change that she had wanted to make for a long, long time.
What struck Heather most profoundly at the beginning of Precision Nutrition Coaching was the measured and do-able pace of the program.
There was nothing rushed about it.
“At first it was all new, interesting, a bit scary sometimes,” she says. “But I liked the one-day-at-a-time approach.”
She started to lose weight almost immediately. 6 pounds down in her first few weeks.
“You have to understand,” she says. “Any loss was great, coming from where I’d been. So I was really, really pleased.”
At the same time, she continued to reserve judgement. “Once I lose 25 or 30 pounds,” she told herself. “Then I’ll be a believer.”
In the meantime, it was wait, and watch.
Wait, watch… and do the workouts.
Heather’s biggest surprise: the journey was not a straight line.
As with any personal journey, progress in Precision Nutrition Coaching isn’t linear. You don’t just keep progressing at a measured and predictable pace. It’s more like a crazy, twisted line of progress, regress, progress, and lessons learned along the way.
“I mean, I got that, intellectually,” she says. “Of course I did. But emotionally…”
Her emotions were a different thing altogether. Especially when faced with the recurring question: Were you truly compliant to today’s health and fitness activities?
No other weight loss program pushed Heather to “get honest” this way. No other weight loss program had confronted her so regularly with her own choices.
“What I learned was that I had to take responsibility for my own decisions,” she says. “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.’”
“In the past, I might have been fixated on doing the one ‘right thing,’” she adds. Making sure to eat this magic food, or to do that magic exercise. Or making sure to avoid this or that “bad” food.
“But in Precision Nutrition Coaching I learned that there is no single ‘right thing’ or ‘wrong thing.’ There are no shoulds.”
Instead, there are choices. Choices you can make in the next three minutes, three hours, or three days that will affect your weight and health.
“And once you’ve made a choice, you need to take responsibility for it.”
Two choices facilitated her progress.
First, she switched jobs. Her new position was in the same field but it didn’t require as much travel. She was still on the road, but her schedule was more predictable. This helped with everything from sleep to nutrition. She simply had more energy to focus on her goals
She also had more support, in the form of a relationship with Demetrius, the man who has since become her husband.
“He’s a marathoner. So he really motivated me and cheered me on.” On days where Heather considered avoiding the gym, Demetrius subtly suggested they work out.
But while external supports like her new job and new relationship were important to Heather, ultimately, in order to lose the weight and keep it off, what she really needed to do was address her inner saboteurs.
For Heather, one of the toughest moments came about halfway through the program.
What was that moment?
Asking for help.
“As women, we tend to take on the world,” she says. We’re always looking after everybody else, making sure that other people’s needs are met.
Meanwhile, we tend to ignore or dismiss our own needs.
And over the long run, that’s what gets us into trouble.
About halfway into the program, the holiday season hit. The stores were full of goodies. People were baking. The sweet smell of chocolate and cinnamon and cloves filled the air. And Demetrius was stocking up on a few of his favorite treats.
Meanwhile, Heather had learned that certain foods spelled danger to her. If she had these foods in the house, she would eat them. If she ate them, she’d be further from her goals. And she wouldn’t feel good about herself.
She knew she had to ask Demetrius to stop bringing these foods into the house. But making that request was far from easy. As women, our smallest requests can sometimes feel like demands, and we’re conditioned not to make demands. So asking for help like this took guts as well as humility.
The payoff was worth it.
One day Heather stood at a mirror and liked what she saw.
One day, as she was nearing the end of the program, she suddenly realized that she was proud of her accomplishments.
“I had my confidence back,” she says. “I could look in the mirror and smile.”
Her voice cracks with emotion as she remembers. “That was something I had not been able to do for a very long time.”
Not only that, but in September, 2012, Heather got married, wearing a couture Valentino gown.
“Me, in Valentino!” she crows, with a hint of awe. Since fashion designers are hardly known for catering to the larger-than-average sized woman, Heather’s amazement is partly justified.
But the truth is, by the time she got married, Heather — the woman who had once qualified for weight loss surgery — was no longer larger-than-average.
In fact, she’d lost fifteen additional pounds and had gone down two full dress sizes between her first fitting and the day she walked down the aisle. The seamstress kept pinching the fabric along the sides of the gown to make it fit.
“You look so happy,” people told her, on her wedding day.
She looked happy because she was happy.
“There’s no mystery, really, when people gain weight or can’t lose it,” Heather says now. “It all comes down to choices, environment, habits.”
What people need is some help to “unravel the string that’s been wound up in the brain for so long.”
For Heather, Precision Nutrition Coaching provided that support.
Today, moving forward, she’s glad to be able to share her insights with others.
“You can do it,” she says. “You can unravel that string. There’s so much room for growth.”
Want to read more great stories like Heather’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 54% and secure a spot 24 hours early.
We’ll be opening up spots in our next Precision Nutrition Coaching on Wednesday, July 19th, 2023.
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].