So, I Lost Weight. What the Heck Do I Do Now?

You did it.

Months and months (or even years and years) of hard work, proper habit building, smarter food choices, and quality exercising habits have lead you to reaching your goal weight and size!

First and foremost, congratulate yourself!  DING! You’ve leveled up.  Feel free to pat yourself on the back, post your message in the Woot Room, and look in the mirror with pride: you rescued the princess, defeated Ganon, saved Hyrule.

Now, once you reach this goal, you’re probably wondering what the next steps are.  After all, this goal of yours was the ‘carrot on the end of the stick’ that was dangled in front of you for so long…you might not really know what’s next!

  • “Do I keep trying to lose more weight?”
  • “What if I’m at my goal weight and like how I look, what now?”
  • “Do I just keep doing what I’m doing?”

Today I want to discuss what can do after reaching that first big milestone, how you can continue leveling up your life, and how you can keep going right.

But first, a cautionary tale...

Tony Stark and Iron Man

Lego Iron Man

I want to share with you the story of a man I’ve come to know very well over the past six months:

Tony Stark, AKA Iron Man.

When we first meet Mr. Stark, he’s building his first Iron Man suit, then rebuilding and perfecting it, pushing himself to become better, stronger, and faster.  He’s driven to succeed, and ultimately saves the world thanks to his hard work (and the genius of the Iron Man suit).  The movie ends with Tony Stark telling the press, “I am Iron Man.”

In the second movie, Tony grows complacent. He’s on top of the world, loves his famous life as a superhero, and begins to slack on his training.  He starts partying a bit too much, takes too many days off, stops practicing and honing his craft, and ultimately is almost wiped out by a newer, hungrier, more driven adversary.

Uhf.

Iron Man not your thing? How about Rocky III?  

After winning the Championship from Apollo Creed in Rocky II, something he spent years and years training for, Rocky has done it; he’s becomes the world’s greatest (and most famous) boxer.  Not surprisingly, as he starts to enjoy his newfound fame, Rocky abandons his training more and more because he thinks he’s the best, and takes on other boxers he’s almost assured to defeat.

Meanwhile, Rocky’s newest and worthiest adversary yet, Clubber Lang (played perfectly by Mr. T), is hungry for a shot at the title.  He trains with passion, anger, and ambition.  While Rocky continues to coast through easy matches, Clubber works his way up the ladder and finally gets a shot at Rocky.

Not surprisingly, the Champ, having grown complacent and refusing to challenge himself, gets his ass kicked.

In both instances, Tony Stark and Rocky lost their edge.  They grew complacent from their achievements, rather than understanding that we’re all happier and better off when we’re in the process of achieving, not when we’ve achieved.

We need to stay hungry. We need the Eye of the Tiger!  

The Eye of the Tiger

Eye of the Tiger

Fortunately for us moviegoers, both Tony and Rocky get hungry again:

Tony gets some sense knocked into him (literally) by his good friend, rebuilds himself and his suit to be better than ever, and once again saves the day!

Rocky enlists the help of his formal rival to go back to basics, gets the eye of the tiger back, and challenges himself harder than he’s ever pushed before.  What results is one of the greatest montages ever (along with one of the most awkward slow motion beach hugs).

This probably won’t come as a surprise, but it’s much easier to push yourself when you’re working towards a goal than when you’re already at the goal.  

Although Nerd Fitness has had some tremendous success stories over the years, the whole “before/after” thinking isn’t exactly accurate. Instead, you need to start thinking of these success stories as “Before/Now,” because we are never truly done.  There’s always a bigger mountain to climb, another race to run, another dragon to slay.

This is why you need to stay hungry, to look at your new situation as a “now” stage, not an “after” stage.

This is why “level up your life” is so damn true for us:

We LOVE making progress — it’s no coincidence that our lives are full of experience bars, skill trees, and achievement systems.

We love making progress so much that we can actually enjoy it more than getting the thing we wanted in the first place! It doesn’t need to be big progress, it just needs to be enough that we realize we are moving forward, improving. It’s why we love crossing things off of lists, it’s why we love grinding out experience points to get to the next level in World of Warcraft, it’s why we play a game long after it’s ceased being enjoyable just to get that 100% completion trophy.

Improvement can be addictive. These short term wins release dopamine into our system, making us want more and more.

So, what does this mean for you?  It means we need to make these addictions work in our favor when it comes to living a healthier life.

Take your new suit out for a spin

Test Your Suit Iron Man

Imagine you are Tony Stark, and you’ve spent the past few months building and perfecting your new suit.

Do you leave the suit in its glass case and admire it from your couch?

HELL NO! You strap that suit on and find out what it’s capable of!

Take a few minutes and write down all of the things you can do (or try) now that you couldn’t do before:

  • Run up a set of stairs? Sure, why not!
  • Walk for hours at a time without getting tired? Awesome!
  • Do a freaking pull up?  BOOYAH!

Rather than keeping your focus on weight loss or just trying to maintain your weight, try shifting your focus to performance based goals.  Working towards these new goals give you a new ‘mountain’ to climb and give you something to look forward to.

What sort of goals am I talking about?  Allow me to explain!

“But Steve, I’m just interested in looking good and feeling better about myself.”  Don’t forget, appearance is a consequence of fitness.  By staying hungry and working on new TYPES of goals, your body will follow suit by continuing to look better and better, and you’ll feel stronger and stronger.

Challenge yourself

Challenge yourself

When you change your goals from visual (I want to lose more weight) to performance based, workouts and activities start to become more exciting:

  • Instead of “I need to work out today,” it becomes: “I wonder if I’ll be able to pick up that weight that I couldn’t pick up last time”
  • Instead of “I hope I’ve lost weight” it becomes: “I wonder if I can hold a handstand for longer than 30 seconds.”
  • Instead of “I’m eating this to slim my waistline,” it becomes: “I’m eating this way to further my performance in [insert activity here].”

Here are my favorite ways to change to performance based goals:

Movement and Flexibility: I have fallen in love with gymnastics training over the past few months, learning from guys like Jim Bathurst, Ryan from Gold Medal Bodies, and Anthony Mychal.  I’m working on handstands, strict muscle ups, front levers, planches, and more.  Ever seen a gymnast that doesn’t look like a greek god?  Nope, me neither.  Remember: appearance is a consequence of fitness! Plus, with gymnastics, you get to learn some sweet party tricks!

Strength:  Our bodies constantly adapt to the stresses we place upon them. For that reason, in order for us to get better and healthier, we need to get stronger.  Work on getting stronger by taking your strength training to the next level: start reading more about proper strength training, learn olympic lifts, hire a coach, join a lifting club, or start competing. Whatever keeps you pushing to build a stronger body.

Speed: Maybe you enjoy running, and you incorporated running into your weight loss program.  Maybe you ran your first 5k , and now you’re ready to kick things up a notch.  Why not try to see how much faster you can run that race?

Sports: You’ve built this new body, why not pick up a new sport to try out your newly increased strength and agility?  Try tennis, ultimate frisbee, or basketball!  Who cares if you suck?  That just means you have an even better chance of seeing progress more quickly.

Step outside of your comfort zone

Comfort Zone

Beyond these four new avenues, there are HUNDREDS of other things you can identify to level up your life further.

Try to learn a new skill.  Once you’re athletic and have built an athletic body (or are on your way towards one), you can be prepared for everything and learn anything.  There’s no reason you can’t learn a new skill or pick up a new class or try out something new, no matter your age.

You’re full of momentum and awesome, use your 20 seconds of courage and sign up for a new challenge:

Martial arts: tae kwon do or capoeria.

Dancing: swing dancing, ballroom dancing, breakdancing, salsa, or tango.

Alternative training: Parkour, rock climbing, or Ninja Warrior training.

It’s amazing just how much further you can go, how much more confidence you can develop, and how much happier you can be when you are working towards accomplishing a specific goal that coincides with learning a new skill.

If you’re well on your way towards a leveled up life, how are you staying motivated after reaching your initial beginner goals?  Your fellow Rebels would love to hear how you’re doing it!

I want Nerd Fitness to be the place where beginners can go when seeking advice to get started, but I also want to make sure our ‘graduated’ rebels have quality resources as well.  Veteran Rebels: Are there any topics I haven’t covered yet that you’d like to see addressed?

So, let’s hear it!

-Steve

Today’s Rebel Hero: Chris O from southern Georgia:

Screen Shot 2013-04-11 at 10.36.30 AM

From Chris’s email: “Dude, I’m a Catholic priest. Now I don’t say that as a way to try and convert or push religion on you or whatever. Just want to let you know that your site is effecting all walks of life to live better.  Just wanted to give you a heads up that you have had an effect in this priest’s life too. No pressure to use the split shot. Just sharing for fun. Sometimes when I go out running or work out,  I feel like Kal-El; living on earth as Clark Kent and Superman. Both of them are him, yet not everyone sees that. I walk around doing my priest thing, and yet not everyone sees this other side of me desiring to be healthier and live better.”

Thanks Chris!

Want to be the next Rebel Hero?  Send us a photo of you doing something epic in your Nerd Fitness gear to [email protected] so we can feature you on the site!

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photo source: iron man suit, lego iron man, tiger eye, lake, wrestler lego, upside down

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  • Douhti

    I lost roughly 100 pounds over a year, and have put back on almost 40. I’m not quite sure if I remember how to find my eye of the tiger.

  • ishmickbob01

    Thank you so much for this post! This could not have come at a better time for me, personally. I just completed a Spartan Super race (spartanrace.com), and felt like I was at the peak of my health and body goals. I spent about 5 weeks 90% paleo (with the exception of beer), then 4 weeks before the race I cut out all beer. I attached my before and after below! However, since the end of the race I planned to drop paleo for a week as a celebration. One turned to three and I gained a little back. All of this to say, that I really needed to see this particular article at this particular time. So, thank you Steve! I am looking forward to completing the Spartan Beast in Texas this December!

  • Benny

    First off, I just want to thank you Steve for having an amazing blog. Such a rarity I cannot find anywhere else. Well done, sir!

    To continue, this post reflects exactly what happened to me a couple years ago. I was working hard, every day, p90x, insanity, whatever and was shredded. I looked amazing, I felt amazing, and I had never had people turn and check me out before. I did this all for my first year at University.

    Then I let myself go. I was done, set, succeeded. I reached my goal, beat the game, but didn’t choose a New Game +. I went back at it the next summer and cut back down, working harder and harder. Back at school then laid off again, not as bad but still not what I wanted. I didn’t know where to go.

    Now, I’ve found my New Game +. Strength and Conditioning, CrossFit, Triathalons, BIG BIG challenges to work up to and smash it to bits.

    I’m currently signed up to learn to row and working towards completing my first triathalon.

    Thanks again for such an awesome blog Steve. Keep on playin the game of life! (Not the board game)

  • Benny

    The cycle is frustrating. Especially since you’ve reached the goal, the next step is confusing. For me, the eye of the tiger rose again when I joined a strength and conditioning club. The group met several times a week and it was motivational and an ass-kicking good time. If you’ve been going through the weight loss process yourself, try starting back up in a group environment. Crossfit gyms are the best for group fitness. (Make sure to find a good gym if you choose crossfit, many suck).

    Keep leveling up Douhti!

  • http://www.facebook.com/ladyhawk74 Jen Mackenzie

    Oh thank you so much for this.. needed a kick in the pants.. have worked mega hard the last 4 months getting fit and pushing to get selected in our top squad at hockey.. got it.. lost weight.. gained muscle.. feeling really strong.. then the last couple of weeks motivation just hit rock bottom.. so perfect timing.. kids go back to school on Monday and I go back to the gym… AND the biggest challenge yet.. stopping smoking woot woot bring on the dragons

  • Danelle

    Good to be reminded that there is a huge difference between being reckless with fitness/nutrition and being the best you can be. It is finally, in my 30′s, sinking in that I am only comparing me to me: “before and now”. Keeping a record of goals and personal achievement is important to remind me of where I have traveld from and where I am aiming, “if you aim at nothing you will succeed each time.” Thanks so much for your awesome blog and NERD FITNESS ROCKS!!!

  • http://twitter.com/Higeboshi Brian Boling

    I shared this blog post on Facebook, and one of my friends replied, “This is what you do now: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IZCbSbfY0K4

    I… uh… I’ll keep that in mind as a goal, but I still think I need to gain quite a few more levels.

  • Brian

    Perfect timing! I just ran my first Tough Mudder in Atlanta this past weekend, and after a few days of intentionally lazing about I’ve been getting more and more restless. This is exactly the mentality that I needed to have!

  • elikingfitness

    This is a great article! Thanks so much – Just what I needed to hear today. Sometimes a change in perspective does wonders! :)

  • Benny

    Amazing transformation man! Don’t give up!

  • http://www.facebook.com/yoovie Bri Hansen

    Thank you Steve. Also thank you for loving legos so much.

  • ishmickbob01

    Thanks a lot, man. It took a couple years of making some mistakes, figuring things out, and finally finding what worked best for me, but I was finally able to get there. Now its about getting back on the grind, and overcoming the next challenge! Hopefully the next 6-week challenge will be a motivator

  • turling

    As the great middleweight champion Marvelous Marvin Hagler once said, “it’s hard to get up and run at 4 am when you’re sleeping in silk pajamas.” Notice he didn’t say impossible.

  • EquallyYolked

    This is great. I think a lot of times people get stuck in the cycle of “getting in shape” and the losing it and then “getting back in shape” cycle. It’s good to read a post encouraging us to make sure we’re constantly challenging ourselves. Recently I’ve been looking into some sort of further training like Crossfit or some form of Martial Arts…seems like that stuff can get pretty expensive so I’m just waiting for a good Groupon to pop up, haha. In the meantime, I’ll be working on my pull-ups.

  • http://www.the365effect.com/ Alan

    Great stuff today Steve – Loved your (GMB podcast interview as well).

    “Take your NEW SUIT out for a spin” – I love that line.
    I can’t say it enough – Unless you are constantly pushing forward, reaching further and testing the limits of the known and unknown you are simply not evolving. We NEED to evolve, we NEED to find new comforts and we NEED to break stuff now and then. If we don’t “test” these new suits we are building then we will never know. Go lift something stupidly heavy, do 1000 Double Unders or enter a pie eating contest – Just test yourself.

    Thanks for the motivation today.
    Best,
    Alan

  • Jay

    Sir! how can you write articles that relate both with my struggle in academia and struggle to fitness simultaneously? I am reading your blog since two months and whenever you write [body] i read it as [grades] /* though that makes me nerdiest*/ My grades are improving!!!!!!!!

  • Jon

    Thanks for the article Steve!
    It’s all about finding that next expansion pack to add onto your life :)

  • Douhti

    Thanks… I’ll try Benny. It’s been rough though… really rough.

  • sharon

    Thanks Steve, this is very timely..I have just reached my weight loss goal…I am now 63 kgs and fitter, healthier and stronger than I’ve ever been. Twelve months ago I started running and boxing, I was 78kg….I now feel I can do anything, this week I started training for my first half marathon.. :) I just love feeling so energized!!!

  • Emskiruns

    Great post – Loved it! And it’s inspired me to watch both those movies -( yes I know I know you can’t believe I’ve not seen them)

    I have been making small goals that are not weight related throughout my fitness/weight loss journey & today I smashed one of those goals. In November when I started running I could barely run 1km & today I took part in my first ever parkrun (a timed 5k) and I beat my previous personally timed runs by over two minutes, Also finally getting below my personal goal of sub 40 minutes – I was thrilled and it’s keeping me going to my next goal of sub35!

  • oldworldbowyer

    I think an article on the withdrawal some people fo threw qhen switching to the paleo diet

  • Hankiii85

    Over the past couple of years I’ve been able to get into some of the best shape I have ever been in. I finally hit a point in my fitness where I stopped and asked my self “Ok, what next?.” So I decided to do the MS150 a 150 mile bike ride from Houston to Austin. After that I competed and finished the Houston Marathon. My next goal will be to compete in a triathlon and one day an Ironman competition. I guess my point to all this, is having that next big goal as a motivational tool to reach a higher level of fitness or to “level up” as NF puts it, is the best way to keeping moving forward in your fitness lifestyle.

  • Pat

    Great article Steve. Very true and relevant. I have certainly done it before – achieved my target and then slacked off. Well, I’m there again so now it’s new challenges, targets, goals… to keep going. Thanks so much!!

  • Talea Botha

    Great Article Steve! You wrote this in such a interesting way. I followed this product http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D7dGAbUhFMQ and the result was awesome.

  • musajen

    I’m nowhere near my weight loss goals and have been stagnant the last two months in tackling those goals. Boo. I’ve been kicking around the idea of doing a Mudathalon at the end of the summer (3 miles packed with 40 obstacles) that seems doable. This post helped kick me over the edge. Going to go get myself signed up and start training. BOOYAH!

  • http://manbicep.com/ Cori

    Great post! I definitely suffer from the “I’ve accomplished something now what’s next syndrome.” As soon as I’ve accomplished something, I need to set another goal otherwise I feel like I’m standing still. I’ve actually been working on taking a moment to pause and celebrate before I move on. While it’s important to stay hungry, it is important to celebrate our victories.

    I also like your recommendation to set performance goals and step outside your comfort zone. Most people come in because they want to lose weight but they find they love the healthy lifestyle once they really start focusing on other things besides just aesthetics! Long-term commitment can’t come from weight loss goals but finding something you enjoy and constantly challenging yourself to grow!

  • Guest

    Love this post and so fitting for where I am at right now

  • http://www.facebook.com/joanne.parker.357284 Joanne Parker

    I love this post – so fitting for where I am at right now. in 2011 I lost 15kgs and have managed to keep it off. I entered and completed a few fun runs last year including my first half marathon – but this year I was looking for something more. I enjoy training but without the weight loss goal to keep motivated it was becoming harder to stay consistent with my training. I needed a new goal.

    Well – as of April 1st I have one. I have set myself a 3755km challenge to complete between now and December 1st – and to raise money for CARE Australia! I’m onto week 2 and 179km down!! You can check it out here

    https://www.facebook.com/Train4Timor

  • jr

    Hey guys Im a young blogger, Im documenting my bulk and my experience with it. come check out my website themuscleexperience.com

  • Loren B

    Thank you for your honesty and great information. So many people try to lose weight without thinking about what happens after… they just go back to old habits which don’t serve them very well at all.
    Weight loss requires a lifestyle change. Goals for losing weight should be for the long term and fitness.. not just for short term satisfaction. For example, you can’t lose and keep off the weight just to get into the swim suit this summer, you lose weight because you will feel and look healthy with all the benefits that entails.
    Thanks Steve for all your important insight into fitness!
    (http://intermittentfastingandweightloss.com)

  • Todd Snyder

    I love your blog style! The spacing of pictures and text is compelling
    and makes me want to keep working on my blog until it looks this great
    (www.howtogetaflatterstomach.com). I also wanted to mention I did a
    spartan race as well, but injured my knee doing it…so be careful what
    kind of goals you set. I’m aiming for increased frequency of exercise
    now. I’ve heard once per day is not as good as a minute here and there
    while you work at a sedentary job.

  • beanace

    This is a great post!!!
    it’s really hard to know what to do next…
    i got so many pointers here.
    if you want to see morw info just try:
    http://www.howtogetoffatstomach.com

  • http://provailenreviewer.org/ Jenni

    Great Post. I’ve always struggled with my weight but have managed to loss some fat over the last few months. I now focus myself on definition and i also signed up for women’s kickboxing class to stay fit and healthy :).

  • laurie

    thank you for being “real” for those of us who are trying to make a change! our family is looking to do Paleo….but as I tend be over zealous in all things new… it can be a bit stressful and overwhelming to start! Thanks for being an encouragement to so many!

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  • devyon parker

    I read many articles on weight loss, but none of them shared about how to manage weight after reaching the weight loss goal.This article given the complete information regarding how the weight loss goals should be and provided the useful information of long term weight loss goals.

  • Vivs

    I’m so close to goal weight, and I have never been skinny, so I really don’t know how to diet for maintenance, I have been thinking about “what’s next” just after I read this article, (loved it, by the way), and I already have my next goal! I practice aikido and I will do my black belt exam soon. Also, I used to do parkour before an injury, and now that I’m fine and lighter, I’ll train to become better at it, or the best!

  • Samuel Young

    Hi Parker… I really I agree with you, I put 20
    months of efforts to reach my weight loss goals. Once I reached my weight loss
    goal, now I am getting so many queries regarding weight loss. The main query
    is, my present diet is helpful me to reduce weight; but no need to reduce
    weight for that how many more calories I need to consume to maintain my present
    weight. Here I got some idea, how many more I need to consume. Would you
    provide some more information regarding my queries please…

  • panika

    Hi, I am 23 years old and I always try to keep slim body and loss my wight.. Thanks for your inspiring post..

  • MamaD

    Wow. Your post and this comment pretty much sum it up for me as well. And the timing…. This is JUST what I needed to read. I am getting so close to my weight goal and have been so focused on it for 57 lbs now that I find myself sabotaging because I “was” scared that I wouldn’t know what to do once I got there.
    I too, went grain free and was feeling better than ever. I celebrated my sons birthday and had a cheat, which turned into a cheat day and then into 3 whole weeks of cheating at every corner.
    I am now back on track and my goal is within reach. And before I even get there I am gonna start setting performance goals that I can start working towards now. I now love the idea of not being so focused on that number on the scale but rather focus on the unlimited potential I have.
    Not only did this post make me realize that the weight was just one small step in this journey. I am excited to see what this body can do. First, I think I will learn to do a cartwheel. I’ve always wanted to do that. And when I do hit my goal I will know how to do a cartwheel to celebrate.

  • ishmickbob01

    That’s awesome that you are focusing on the potential rather than on numbers. I also fell off the paleo wagon for a bit, but have been staying strong for the past two months, and it makes a complete difference. Good luck on that cartwheel. Get someone to video tape your celebratory cartwheel. I want to see it!

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