As you lose weight, your body needs fewer calories to maintain the new you. This reduced need for calories makes it especially hard to lose the last 10 pounds. Try some of these tips to push through a plateau and reach your goal weight.
Move more throughout the day.
The calories burned by adding small bouts of movement to your day add up. Do everything you can to keep moving. Take a quick break from the computer, and walk a flight of stairs at the office. When watching television, do some push-ups or crunches during the commercials.
Add a workout.
Consider adding an extra workout to your week to boost calorie burn. If you simply can’t squeeze in another walk or fitness class, get up a few minutes early and do a 15 minute circuit workout. Pick several exercises such as jumping jacks, squat jumps, planks, front kicks, and bicycle crunches, and do each exercise for 30 seconds. Repeat the circuit until you have completed 15 minutes.
Change your exercise intensity.
A small change in your normal intensity will boost calorie burn. If you walk for 30 minutes per day, add speed intervals. Walk very fast (like you are late for an appointment) for 1 minute, and then recover by walking at your normal pace for 3 minutes. Continue this pattern for the entire workout. The same can be done with cardio machines, biking, or running. Adding a new route that includes hills is another way to increase intensity.
Challenge your strength.
It is easy to get into a rut with strength training, but muscles must be challenged with increased weight and new movement to strengthen and grow. You can increase the number of repetitions, or the amount of weight, or better yet, try some new moves. Trade weights and machines for challenging exercises using your body weight such as side planks, plank push-ups, wall-sits, reverse lunges, and jump squats.
Alter your pattern.
Do you exercise in the mornings? Morning workouts are effective because you are less likely to skip out later in the day, but it isn’t the best time to exercise for everyone. Maybe you wake up sleepy and don’t push as hard as you would if you exercised in the afternoon or evening. Regardless of your regular workout time, try switching two or three of your workouts to a different time of day to boost calorie burn.
Cut out alcohol.
A glass of wine can halt weight loss, even if it fits into your calorie budget. When acetate from alcohol is available for energy, it becomes much more difficult for the body to burn fat. Try cutting out alcohol completely for a few weeks to reach your goal weight.
Refresh your snacks.
Limit your snacks to 200 calories or less, and make sure they are a balance of protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fat. Add more fresh fruits and vegetables to your snacks. The water they contain will hydrate you, and the fiber will help you feel full longer.
Eat more fresh foods.
Does your diet consist of many packaged and pre-made foods? Even “diet” varieties can contain hidden salt and preservatives that make you retain water and feel bloated. Add more fresh foods to your meal plan. If you don’t have time to make them yourself, take advantage of salad bars, and healthy wraps and sandwiches in the deli of health food stores. Changing your diet to include more fresh foods and fewer foods from a package may be the nutritional boost you need to get past those last 10 pounds.
Eat more often.
Have you given up between-meal and bedtime snacks in order to cut calories? It might be time to add them back in. A well-balanced snack between your meals, or a bedtime snack, gives you energy and reduces hunger. That extra energy will help you push through tough workouts so you’ll burn more calories, and you will be less likely to overeat at meals.
Re-evaluate and recommit.
Weight loss can be a long journey and as you near your goal weight, it is easy to let minor distractions get you off track. Take time to assess your current situation. Maybe you are already within your healthy weight range, and losing those last 10 lbs is no longer necessary. It’s okay to reevaluate your goal weight throughout the weight loss process. If you decide they do need to go, recommit to the healthy habits that got you to where you are now, and those last few pounds will be history.