Common Threads in Successful Weight Loss

“Thanks so much, Ilana. I love the ease of my nutrition plan, the way I eat is so easy and convenient, and my energy levels are out the roof.”      ….   Deidre

“I just wanted to express my sincere gratitude to you – your nutrition plan has truly changed my life for the better. You were an integral part of making my last marathon an experience to remember with joy. I attain the success to my nutrition and now as a way of life, marathoning is memorable for all the right reasons 🙂   ”     ….   Elizabeth

Kona – Ironman World Championship – That was just an amazing day for me…hell, it’s been an amazing 12 weeks working with you leading up to that day!  ….   Randy

These are just a few of the many awesome and humbling comments that make my job so rewarding. I am on cloud nine when I receive one of these emails from one of you. You can see more messages on my website, and I promise, not one word has been edited:  Success Stories.

As losing weight is always at the top of the New Year’s Resolution list and “losing 10 pounds” is often at the top of the  “what I would change about myself” list, it seems that losing weight is extremely difficult for most people.  And yet it seems so simple: eat less, move more.  Is it that simple? I guess not or we would all be successful with it.

Based on the testimonials above, some people do find weight loss success. (I’m using the term “weight loss” but you know me and you know I mean “fat loss”.)

I decided to go through my client emails and compile a list: what is the common thread amongst these success stories. I worked with many of these people for a minimum of two to three months, so I got to know them well. I saw how they took my nutrition coaching, scientific findings and nutrition philosophy and adapted it to their situation.

So here is the list:


The first one has already been addressed – yes TIME. As mentioned, many of the most successful clients are those that made themselves accountable. They saw this was a work in progress, definitely not a quick fix, and decided right up front to treat it that way.

Commit to a time period, become accountable, decide that no matter what you will stick with it for the committed time period. All these clients above committed to at least a 3 month program for starters!


Objective means measurable. It makes more sense to aim at a target than to aim an arrow into mid air and just shoot. Plus there is a school of thought that having a goal and visualizing yourself achieving the goal, makes it real and more likely that you will achieve it.  When you picture yourself as having achieved the goal you are directing yourself to BE the person with the goal achieved. BE the person who makes the new plan a way of life.


The old cliché of “if you fail to plan, you plan to fail” holds true. BUT planning does not have to be made into a stumbling block. I get the common failure pit to be “I am just not a planner… I always lose it when I am required to plan.”  My unique take on this is to plan according to what suits your lifestyle best… it does not have to absorb every last free minute.  Planning your meals does not have to be a bind, it can be as simple as having a shopping list so you are not caught at the store wandering the aisles, or as simple as jotting down when you are going to eat each day.


Once you have preplanned, even if it was five minutes in the morning of thinking about and visualizing your day, take what you need to put your plan into action along with you when you leave home.

Avoid the trap of being faced with temptation because you were hungry and needed to grab something quick and convenient. If you have it with you, there are no fuzzy lines… there is no room for the devil saying “well just this meal… I will start over on my plan after this one”.


Track your progress. Just like any other science, without the data you cannot fix the problem. It’s all very well arriving at your weigh in and feeling gung ho that the scale or body fat measure is going to be hugely in your favour – after all you have had 3 excellent days in a row. And guess what, numbers are up.

Firstly, 3 days is not enough to expect miracles, and secondly, the data tells all. Yes the last 3 days may have been phenomenal, but the rest of the week may have been a free for all, knowing that you were starting over after you had weighed in anyway.

Data can help you determine patterns in the food that causes your weight to go up. It can also reveal trigger foods, and time lulls. Data is the most valuable tool for any science and weight management is no exception.


Definitely easier said than done… but people, once and for all, do not obsess over numbers. Stop dieting, start relaxing – have things available, and eat them when appropriate. The vicious  cycle of obsession and worrying causes you to hold on to fat – why, just think about it – genetics… hunters and gathers (the basis of our gene pool) had to fight off stress factors by either fight or flight… so stress factors require energy. Our physiology is an amazing science, we still store energy under stressful conditions, because even though modern stress may not require a fist fight or running away from a situation, the instinct of fight or flight remains; the genes thus say “Stress- I need energy,” equates to “Stress  – I need to store fat”.


Most successful people have made a commitment to themselves, made it a valuable commitment by hiring a professional and made themselves accountable not only to themselves but to someone else. I admit I don’t like being the food police but if you need me to I will.  I can share with you research and experience you don’t have and together we can knock this out of the park.

Michael Phelps still has a nutrition coach over and above his swimming coach, how about you?