Married for 10 years, Tom and Annemarie joined Precision Nutrition Coaching together in January 2010.
Hoping to lose fat and learn how to live healthier lives, Tom lost over 100 pounds. Annemarie lost over 25.
But it wasn’t just their bodies that changed. Through working out, eating delicious meals, and helping each other through the program, they strengthened their relationship, too.
Tom & Annemarie’s Transformation
As a general rule, holding hands while hiking up a mountain is a big no-no.
The trail can be steep and littered with pointy rocks and jutted branches, all of which conspire to trip you. Without both arms free to catch yourself, there’s more risk of rolling an ankle or, worst-case-scenario, sliding down the face of the mountain.
Thing is, that rule is flexible. Because there are times when another person’s hand can be the most important thing to you, one-thousand-foot drops be damned.
On a sharp incline, with loose, jagged rocks under your feet, a hand to help you up is welcomed, even necessary.
Or when the path widens and the trees loom over you and you know the hardest part of the climb is over. There, with the sun’s rays splintered across the dirt path and a hundred birds chirping, a hand to squeeze is heaven.
Tom and Annemarie know this. Married for 10 years, they’ve done their share of hikes up hills — in the woods and in daily life. They’ve been there for each other, to offer a hand and share the experience when life gets tough, beautiful, or is just plain old ordinary.
So it only makes sense they started Precision Nutrition Coaching program together.
After all, losing fat was just another mountain to climb.
Tom and Annemarie are sitting on their couch with an iPad between them. Both have one ear bud in so they can hear me. It’s all very cute.
“I don’t think sharing headphones like this would have been possible back then,” says Annemarie. She looks over at Tom and smiles.
It’s true. Before starting Precision Nutrition Coaching in January 2010, Tom was pushing 325 pounds. Now he sits at a comfortable and athletic 205. And although Annemarie wasn’t obese like her husband, she changed her body by losing 25 pounds of fat. That’s a combined 145 pounds lost. That’s a whole other person that could be sitting between them.
Tom smiles back and shrugs his shoulders.
For me, this is the first time I’ve interviewed a couple. I’m not sure how to start.
“We’ll just start from beginning,” says Annemarie. “And we’ll try not to interrupt each…”
“Yeah, the beginning,” says Tom, interrupting her.
So, the beginning. It goes like this: Tom was fat. OK, that’s obvious. But Tom was so fat, he couldn’t live a normal life.
“I was always uncomfortable,” he says.
Sure, his clothes didn’t fit well and he got winded going up the stairs. But the worst part of it all was the lack of sleep.
“It’d be three in the afternoon and I’d nearly pass out at my desk. I had no energy for anything but eating and sitting.”
And Tom’s lack of sleep wasn’t just affecting him.
“He used to snore like thunder,” says Annemarie. “There was no way I could sleep throughout the night.”
This went on for years.
Then, in January 2009, Tom got a machine to fix his sleep apnea. That first night, with his jaw open and the machine whirring, he and Annemarie slept a full eight hours.
“I told him, ‘Get used to wearing that thing,’” she says.
After a couple nights of quality sleep, Tom suddenly had energy. So with his sleep problem fixed, Tom decided to… well, he decided to do nothing.
“I was in denial about my health,” he says. “I was sleeping better, but I thought everything else was fine.”
Annemarie knew better. “I was very worried about him. I knew he needed to lose weight. And I thought I could stand to lose some, too.”
That’s when she started going to the gym. “I stepped on the scale in early ’09 and realized I weighed more than I ever had before,” she says.
A month into her workouts — after dropping a few pounds — she finally had a talk with Tom over dinner, their one big meal together.
She asked, “Instead of paying a physical therapist, massage therapist, and chiropractor to fix your problems, what if you hired a personal trainer?”
Tom liked the idea. So he hired a trainer. But after eight months of working out, Tom had only lost 20 pounds. He hadn’t even broken the 300-pound barrier.
“It was frustrating to work so hard and see very little results,” he says.
One day, while looking for healthy recipes online, Tom found Precision Nutrition Coaching. He talked with Annemarie. She agreed to sign up with him.
Which brings us to January 2010.
You can’t blame them for wanting to start fast.
They’re a Type A couple, the kind who sit at upscale coffee shops with their matching Macbooks and itemized to-do lists. The kind of couple with nice pans in the kitchen — real high-end gourmet stuff — next to unopened bottles of red wine.
And it’s there, in the kitchen, where they plot.
It’s the first week of Precision Nutrition Coaching and they have their new habit, the one habit everyone complains about when they start. They’re expecting the world and instead are given a bottle of fish oil and a good dose of reality. To drop fat and keep it off, they’re told, they need to follow one… thing… at a time.
But this high-tech couple can’t handle that. Not yet, anyway. And who can blame them? Like the rest of us, they had learned the way to change is to throw everything they have at the problem.
So Tom and Annemarie go out and buy one of Dr. Berardi’s books, the Metabolism Advantage Plan, and decide to follow it in conjunction with Precision Nutrition Coaching.
They meticulously plan their grocery list, down to the last clove of garlic. They shop and prepare all their meals and read pages upon pages of things they should do next.
What they don’t do is follow the Precision Nutrition Coaching suggestions.
“I swear we spent 30 hours that first week trying to figure all that stuff out,” says Tom. “Of course, we had no idea how it was all supposed to work.”
The long hours and careful planning nearly kills their enthusiasm.
“It was like, ‘Oh, my god, how are we going to do this?'” says Annemarie.
And that’s when their coaches stepped in.
Precision Nutrition Coaches know: sometimes you have to let people learn in their own way and be there for them when they need help the most.
“We each got an email from our coach after that first week,” says Tom. “They said, ‘What are you doing? Are you sure this is sustainable? Just focus on following your one habit at a time and leave the rest to us. Trust the process.”
So Tom and Annemarie plotted their new strategy.
Immediately, their 30-hour per week commitment disappeared. Now they could incorporate the Precision Nutrition Coaching lessons into their life one at a time.
They fixed breakfast together and talked about the lessons over omelets and coffee. Annemarie loved the psychology behind the material; Tom loved the science.
They both loved the results.
The gym became their “third home”, a place they’d go a few hours per week to follow their training programs, looking like synchronized swimmers while doing lunges in time with each other.
As the workouts progressed and the men’s and women’s programs changed, they’d meet at the gym then go their separate ways. Still, they found ways to support each other.
In between sets of squats, Annemarie would spot Tom doing chin-ups in the corner. They’d catch eyes and she’d do a little dance to try and get him to smile.
It became clear to both of them that eating healthy food and going to the gym is easy when your partner’s doing it with you.
Change is easier, they learned, when there’s a hand to hold.
Lose a third of your body weight and people start to notice.
One day Tom is walking through the halls of his office building. So far, he’s lost over 100 pounds. He stops to grab a drink of water when a colleague interrupts him.
“This guy is probably the heaviest guy in the company,” says Tom. “I could tell he was in a lot of discomfort.”
“Listen,” the guy tells Tom. “You better stop losing so much weight. You’re gonna get sick, man.”
This isn’t out of the ordinary.
The overweight lady at the cafeteria checkout counter. The bank teller. The friend he hadn’t seen in over a year. They all have the same reaction: You better stop losing weight, man. You’re gonna get sick.
But Tom is the opposite of sick. Tom looks and feels fantastic.
After a while, he learns to crank the tuner down a frequency, learns to listen between the static to see what’s really being said: “Your successful weight loss is making us uncomfortable because it means that change is possible. And we’re not sure if we want to change or even how to do it.”
Tom’s close friends and family, however, are enthusiastic. “Keep going,” they say. “You’re kicking ass.”
Annemarie is his biggest supporter because she knows what Tom is going through. After losing 25 pounds and slimming up, she’s getting questions from well-meaning women who want to lose fat.
The women who want the quick fix or miraculous drug, their eyes glaze over when Annemarie tells them what she’s doing. But a few take notes and visit the Precision Nutrition site.
Tom has the same luck.
“I can tell you without a word of a lie that there are about 5 people that I know of that signed up for Precision Nutrition Coaching based on asking us about it,” he says. “And those are just the ones I know of.”
But why are Tom and Annemarie so excited to share their strategies?
“When you look at the obesity rates and see the way people struggle — especially some of our friends and family — you want to become a sort of prophet about this stuff,” says Annemarie. “You know there’s a way for them a better experience in their lives.”
While Tom and Annemarie worked together through Precision Nutrition Coaching and saw tremendous success, they’re fundamentally different people.
Tom’s a self-proclaimed “super-keener”, someone who likes to chat and share stories and be a part of everything. Annemarie keeps to herself, lurks on the forums, and prefers to do her own thing.
Precision Nutrition Coaching helped both of them.
“The great thing about Precision Nutrition Coaching is that it works regardless of your personality type,” she says. “It’s not just accountability — it’s about becoming a part of a community that’s based on change and support. And working through it with your partner or just seeing what people on the forums are doing, you recognize everyone’s struggles and successes. You can take what you need and put it work for you.”
Sure, Tom and Annemarie are busy. But now they have a commitment to not only their health and fitness, but to their relationship as well.
Just the other morning Tom and Annemarie paddled to get groceries.
You see, a block from their apartment in Vancouver is a harbor. An inlet, False Creek, runs from outside of their house across the way to the Granville Island Farmer’s Market.
So they decided to grab the canoe and drag it down to the water.
For 30 minutes they paddled, enjoying the sunshine and fresh air. They talked about their Precision Nutrition Coaching journey and what their next steps are. (Tom wants to compete in adventure-race competitions. Annemarie is following a new workout program and building even more confidence in the gym.)
The sun, the water, the fresh, clean air. It was all very serene.
When they got to the market, Tom got out first and tied the boat to the dock. The canoe rocked gently, rising and falling with the water.
He reached down and helped pull Annemarie up.
Then they walked along the pier, fingers intertwined, into the new day.
Want to read more great stories like Tom and Annemarie’s? Then come meet a few other men, women, and couples who lost weight, started eating better, and took control of their health.
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If you’re ready to change your body, and your life, with help from the world’s best coaches, this is your chance.
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