Losing weight isn’t necessarily as complicated as many people make it out to be. That being said, there is no miracle cure either – it will take time, dedication, and hard work for you to meet your goals. If you’ve seen positive results with your weight loss plan, great! Keep it up! If you’re still struggling, however, you might need to take a closer look at your daily habits.
What many people don’t realize about weight loss is that you have to change your strategy as you go along. You’re probably already aware of your BMR – your basal metabolic rate or the minimum number of calories your body burns to maintain essential processes. What you might not know is that your BMR changes as you lose weight. This means that your calorie burn might decline as you lose weight – this is what makes it so difficult to lose those final 10 pounds.
Fortunately, there are some simple things you can do to get over this weight loss plateau. Keep reading to find out what they are!
- Make adjustments to your calorie intake. As you lose weight, your metabolism is going to adjust, and you may not burn as many calories as you were burning before – when there is less of you, it takes less energy to keep your body running. After you lose the first ten pounds, it is important to adjust your calorie goals and then keep adjusting them every ten pounds or so.
- Clean up your diet. Weight loss is a little more complicated than calories in versus calories out – it also matters what kind of food you are putting your body. If you’re focusing mostly on calorie count and exercise, but you’ve hit a plateau, try cleaning up your diet and focusing on more high-quality whole foods like lean protein, whole grains, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Switch up your workout routine. In the same way that your metabolism changes as you lose weight, your body also adapts to exercise which means that you won’t be burning as many calories doing the same workout now as you did a few months ago. High-intensity interval training is a great way to break up your workout routine and to burn some extra calories while you’re at it.
- Buckle down on snacking. A bite here and a nibble there may not seem like much, but those calories can really add up when you’re trying to shed those final ten pounds. Take a closer look at your daily diet to see if you’re getting extra calories somewhere that haven’t been accounted for. If you don’t already, consider keeping a food journal for a week to really track your intake.
- Get plenty of sleep and avoid stress. It may not seem like sleep and weight loss are connected, but the simple truth is that your body cannot function at its optimal level without sleep and your metabolism is part of that. Your body also resets its hormone balance while you sleep, so you don’t catch enough Z’s, you could end up making hormone imbalances worse which could inhibit your weight loss or even reverse it, causing you to gain weight.
- Start lifting weights. As you approach the final stretch of your weight loss journey, it’s time to start thinking about how you are going to maintain your results. If you simply go back to your old eating habits, you may end up gaining back all the weight you’d lost. To prevent that from happening, and to shed those final ten pounds, start incorporating strength training into your workout. Muscle burns more calories than fat, so having more lean muscle mass will help you maintain your new bodyweight.
- Eat more protein and fewer carbs. Adjusting your macronutrient intake is a good way to jump-start your metabolism to help you get over the plateau to shed those final ten pounds. Protein is particularly important because it will help you maintain the lean muscle mass you built from the previous step – plus, it has the highest thermic effect of food (TEF) which means that your body burns more calories digesting protein than it does for fat or carbohydrates.
- Stay properly hydrated. It is always a good idea to keep your body hydrated, but it is particularly important for weight loss. Not only does hydration help support healthy digestion, but it will also help to reduce your appetite and curb cravings. Try to drink at least 8 (8-ounce) glasses of water per day and drink extra on days where you work out.
- Keep an eye on portion sizes. You don’t necessarily have to count every calorie that passes your lips in order to lose weight, but you do need to be mindful of what and how much you are eating. If you’re following a healthy diet but still struggling to lose those final ten pounds, it may be that you are simply eating too much. Take the time to learn proper portion sizes and then follow them!
- Cut yourself some slack. If you’ve been dieting for a long time, you might feel like you’re starting to burn out and struggling to lose those final ten pounds can be very frustrating. It may help to give yourself a bit of a break – a weekend off where you enjoy the foods you like (in moderation) without obsessing about the calories. Taking a break can be good for your mental health and your motivation, plus a day or two isn’t going to completely through off your results.
Every person’s body is different, so you may have an easy time losing weight, or it could be very challenging for you. No matter what your individual circumstances may be, losing weight is a long-term goal that takes time to achieve. By following the tips above, you can reach your goal and avoid that weight loss plateau during the final ten pounds.