This is a success story about escaping life inside the thin cage—that is, when you lose weight “successfully,” but you end up more obsessed with food, diet and weight scales and numbers.
This was what Andreas P was wrestling with when he first hired me.
He had lost fat, but he found himself thinking too much about food, fitness, and “staying” thin. It was a struggle when it shouldn’t have been.
By the time he’d hired me as his Coach, Andreas already been through several others who’d given him “their” diet and training approaches. Not only that, but Andreas himself is certified in pretty much every high level fitness accreditation there is. He knew his stuff… yet he was still struggling.
Many in the fitness industry will relate to this.
Many who’ve lost a lot of weight will be able to relate to this.
Like many others who’ve lost a lot of weight, Andreas had a big fear of regaining that weight, and that fear was hard to let go of.
For example, in his initial assessment and diet/training history, he wrote, “always had a fear of carbs in my early days till I knew better, better late than never.” He’d take supplements because he wanted to make sure he was optimizing everything he could. He would workout to burnout—and you can guess where that lead. He would do bulking and cutting cycles even though he was past the point where a true “bulk” would help him.
Andreas at his biggest. (He'd already lost a lot of this weight when he first came to me.)
When I read his initial assessment, I knew my Coaching would be less about what specific diet or training program I assigned him and more about getting him away from what Andreas himself referred to as his diet “OCD.”
(For those who are curious, I started him on a 6-day training program and one of my standard client start-up diet protocol for men, just tweaking the portion sizes that I thought best suited him. From there, it was all about pointing out those moments when he was getting too focused on minutiae, and getting him to trust his own body’s signals and biofeedback.)
I focused on showing him that the way he was living his fitness journey wasn’t about personal growth and freedom; instead, it was about limitation, rigidity, and life inside the thin cage.
Andreas knew this too. Thankfully, he bought in. That’s why he succeeded. There were months of Coaching back and forths where I would point out to him where he was still being OCD or ADD about this or that aspect of his diet and training, but I also showed him how he could channel and challenge his mind to a different and more constructive approach.
And he did. He put in the work and it paid off.
Here are some of the things Andreas has accomplished:
- He’s trained and dieted for photoshoots in healthy, intelligent ways.
- He’s been on several different types of training programs, with each one building on the previous one.
- He’s learned the ins and outs of The Cycle Diet (and how to read his own biofeedback when using a Cycle Diet approach).
- He’s also moved from an omnivore diet to a whole foods, plants-based approach in the Cycle Diet format with one full refeed day each week.
That last one is important, because in the early days this might have caused him stress and anxiety. (“What about the protein!?” etc.) But this was Andreas’ choice and the switch was seamless because it came from a place of confidence and because he had support.
These days, Andreas will bounce his ideas off me for feedback. I’m not just dictating what to do. He’s reading his own body’s signals and responding to them intelligently: how to dial-in for a photoshoot, when to take time off training, when to have a cheat day or refeed, and so on.
Mastery is when you own and control the thing you do; obsession is when that thing owns and controls you. Andreas has moved from obsession to mastery. He’s turned away from seeing what fitness and diet could do to his life; now, he lives the fitness lifestyle according to what they can do for his life.
Before Scott, oh boy, I tried every vogue trend and nonsensical approach that’s out there. I tried every diet under the sun: ketogenic diets, intermittent fasting, etc. For supplements I was like a guinea pig spending way too much money on all of it.
One-on-one coaching gave me accountability and helped me stay on track when I felt like just throwing in the towel or trying something new. It’s great to have someone like Scott right there to give you clarification and the confidence that you’re heading in the right direction. Anyone can get fitness coaching online these days, but a great Coach also guides you, teaches you and lets you learn for yourself. Scott did that. Scott taught me that coaching goes further than just getting the right diets and programs. It’s about fitness progress that aligns with both mind, body and spirit.
Scott taught me how to stop obsessing, over-analyzing and worrying about every little detail. He taught me to read my own biofeedback, and to shift my mindset toward the deeper elements of health and fitness. With Scott I learnt genius lies in simplicity and that the most important key to a diet serving you long-term was about reading your own biofeedback and knowing what buttons to press and when to dial things back. This took me a year or more to master, but when I finally “got it” I was able to stop with the stressing or obsessing. “Staying lean” came without even having to think about it.
I saw that the tweaks Scott made (and continues to make) were actually very simple. There were no magic formulas, no magic foods, no magic training programs or anything fancy. It was about how everything fit together. Focusing on this bigger picture helped me nurture good habits and consistency. This is how I live now in my day-to-day fitness lifestyle, using the Cycle Diet with regular spike/refeed days based on what my biofeedback says.
I gauge my own biofeedback and I have Scott there as a guiding light, just in case I might miss the mark; he’ll always be there to fine-tune things.
I’m grateful to be able to feel and trust that connection with my coach, to communicate with him and to feel like he’s a shield of armor, even online and across oceans.
I’m grateful to no longer fear food or obsess over it and enjoy the balance of the whole trajectory and not making it a stress. And Scott’s programs keep it effective but also fun and exciting.
I now have a fitness foundation that is no longer paranoid but actually joyful.