I Lost Fat. Now What?
Written by Fritz Nugent
Imagine for a moment that you used to weigh 300lbs and you have since lost 120lbs, and have kept it off for over 3 years. You are still dealing with the mental and physical repercussions of such a dramatic shift in self-image, health, physical ability, confidence, and a number of other factors.
I have worked with some clients who have lived this story or one similar. Something that stands out in the mindset of these people is a persistent fear of slipping back to how they were before – gaining all the weight back. So many of these people hold on as tightly as possible to their gains. This translates to them exercising excessively and eating very little. While this strategy was initially successful in transforming them to their current state, it may not continue to serve them. Oftentimes this pedal-to-the-metal approach leads to injury and burnout, and some or all of the weight IS gained back.
Something that I have found to help people relax is helping them understand that they are not the same person any longer. They don’t need to exercise excessively and eat like a bird. They can learn to eat enough food to maintain their body weight without fear of gaining all the body fat and weight back again. They can reduce weekly training time from 10 hours to 3-4 hours and continue to see positive body composition changes and strength gains.
When we want to transition from where we are to another place or another version of ourselves, this takes large and consistent effort. I conceptualize this through the simplicity of Newtonian physics – an object (your body) will not change its current state or motion until acted upon. So you act massively, and your body begins to change its state. Once you have momentum, however, you no longer need to push as hard.
Imagine helping to push a car with a dead battery out of an intersection. Initially, to get the thing moving, you have to push with high force. Once the car is moving, you no longer need to push as hard. You simply need to keep pushing at a rate that keeps the car moving to get it out of the intersection.
Our bodies are similar! Once you lose 150lbs (or 10-20lbs…for many of those in our tribe!), to maintain that fat and weight loss, you don’t need to push yourself to the extreme anymore. Once you are at a good place for yourself, now you can seek balance between all of the important factors of health, fitness, and lifestyle: sleep, food and water, training and movement, and of course, your unique life stressors and stress-reducers.
Let me know what questions you have! Often, your questions provoke an interesting conversation that ends up being useful and helpful to others!