When you have a lot of weight to lose and you change your diet, the pounds melt off. But with time weight loss slows, and as you approach those last few pounds, things really slow to a crawl. That’s when it gets frustrating. You’re doing everything right. You’re watching what you eat and working out five days a week. Why is it so hard to lose those last five pounds?
Why Is It So Hard to Shed the Final Five?
When you first change your diet and start exercising, the weight drops off easily. But as you get closer and closer to your goal weight several things happen. For one, your calorie requirements decrease. After you lose weight, you’re lighter, and you no longer have the same calorie requirements you did at your old weight. When you weigh less and you walk around or exercise, you burn fewer calories. In addition, your body adapts to being lighter and your metabolism slows, especially if you were too aggressive about restricting calories. All of these factors add to the challenges of losing the last five pounds. Are there ways to kick start the weight loss process? Here are some tips.
Change Your Workout
When you do an aerobic workout, add high-intensity intervals on some days to challenge your body more. Exercising at an “all-out” intensity for short periods of time will cause you to burn more calories after you finish your workout due to the after-burn effect. Try my new low impact AfterBurn workout or my calorie blasting HiiT video to really shock your body.
When you weight train, circuit train where you move quickly from one strength exercise to the next with minimal rest between sets. This burns significantly more calories than resting between exercises. My new Total Body Tri-Sets workout is an excellent choice for this type of fat blasting workout. Do more compound exercises that use multiple muscle groups to burn additional calories. Just like your body adapts to weight loss, it also adapts to an exercise routine. Don’t let your workouts become too repetitious.
Reassess How Many Calories You Need
If you’re still eating the same number of calories you were 10 pounds ago, it’s time to reassess. Tap into an online calculator like our Workout Manager, and see what your current calorie needs are. You need fewer calories after you shed pounds, so make the adjustment. On the other hand, make sure you’re not going too far under your calorie requirements or you’ll slow your metabolism down.
Keep a Food Diary
Are you eating more than you think you are? Keep a food diary for two weeks, and make sure you’re staying on course. Write down everything you eat and drink. It’s easy to forget about those little nibbles here and there, the samples at the grocery store or that bite of fudge brownie, but they all count. Make sure you’re eating the number of calories you think you are.
Cheat a Little
If you’ve stayed on the straight and narrow for weeks on end, and your weight loss has slowed to a crawl, have a cheat meal. It may sound counterproductive, but a cheat meal helps to boost leptin levels that control hunger and metabolism. Leptin levels drop with long periods of calorie restriction, and this can slow down your metabolism. Enjoy a splurge meal where you eat higher calories foods you wouldn’t normally eat, and then go back to eating your regular diet. This helps to kick start the weight loss process for some people.
Make Sure Your Goals Are Realistic
If you’re trying to get down to a weight that’s unrealistic for you, you’ll have trouble reaching it and maintaining it. Make sure your goals are in line with what’s healthiest for your body and that you’re not trying to fit into a size zero. If you’re around your ideal body weight and you feel good, don’t keep losing.
The Bottom Line?
The last five pounds are the most challenging. Make sure your goals are realistic and that you’ll be able to maintain your new weight once you get there. You don’t want to engage in a constant battle with your body to maintain a weight that’s not healthy for you.