The biggest struggle in any weight loss challenge is losing the last 5, 10, and even 15 pounds. These are referred to as “vanity pounds” because the extra weight you had on before was not healthy, while those last pounds are more related to how you want to see yourself in a bikini on the beach. They aren’t harmful to your body, but let’s face it: you want to look and feel your best in those skinny jeans!
While they may be the most stubborn pounds to lose, do not despair! Just a few tweaks to your daily lifestyle can help you drop those last few pounds. Here’s the steps to get you started:
Watch Your Sodium Intake
While it may surprise you, some of those last pounds could simply be water weight. If you have that little black dress that you can’t wait to wear, but feel too “bloated” to wear it, it could be that your sodium intake is higher than it should be. A few simple tips: keep your sodium intake NO higher than 1000mg a day for best little black dress results. Skip the frozen pizzas and dinners and pizza rolls, Chinese food, soups with a higher sodium amount of 600mg or more, and other salty snacks like pretzels.
Super weight loss tip: Drink cold ice water with fresh lemon juice or infused with watermelon, berries, and cucumber. This promotes a safe diluting effect that flushes out the extra salt in your body and makes losing the water weight a whole lot easier. This is also beneficial during times of your cycle when you feel the most bloated as well!
Pump Up Your Interval Workouts By 15-20 Minutes
Still not seeing the scale budge or the inches go down? Bring it up a notch! (And by a notch, I mean only 15-20 extra minutes.) If you usually work out for 30-45 minutes, bring it up to 60 minutes, same amount of times a week. This should preferably be interval training, which simply means going as fast as you can in that activity for same 1:1 ratio as slowing down. For instance, when swimming, do one lap at a moderate pace and the next lap with all your strength. This burns calories as an extraordinary rate than if you simply exercised for the same amount of time at the same pace the entire time.
Super weight loss tip: If you haven’t added strength training to your regimen already, now is the time to do it! Muscle burns fat and aerobic activities are NOT the gods of weight loss. You must add 2-3 strength training sessions a week to your workouts, only estimating at 20-30 minutes per session. On those strength training days, I advise doing 40 minutes of some kind of favorite aerobic activity such as kickboxing, running, swimming, biking, and the like and then spending 20 minutes on those bicep curls, lunges, squats, sit-ups, and push-ups! Your body will be warm from the aerobic activity, allowing your body to contract muscle tissue more easily and get a more effective workout.
Switch Up Your Workouts
Even though you may be the most devoted Zumba or yoga fan, it’s time to explore new territory. If you have been doing the same types of workouts for more than six weeks, it’s time to change it up and keep your body guessing. The more you switch your workouts up each day, the better your results will be. Have you tried some of the most talked about workout programs yet? What looks like fun that you’ve never tried before? Surfing? Weight lifting? Beating your best time on your laps in the pool? Set a new goal for yourself to try something that you’ve always wanted to do as your workout or explore uncharted territory you’ve been a little hesitant to try. You may be surprised that you love it just as much AND burn more calories!
Super weight loss tip: Pick 4-5 workouts a week, ranging from 30-60 minutes, depending on your fitness level and time restraints. Choose two of those workouts to be your favorite “go-to” workouts that you’ve been always doing and then add three new workouts. This could be a workout DVD, a class you’ve never tried, or a program.
Start (or Continue) Journal Your Food Intake
I know it’s tedious and boring work, but logging what you are eating – from your lunch to those small bites you stole off your child’s plate – can keep you on track and allow you to make tweaks in your “calorie bank” to know how many calories you eat in a day and what you have left over. Your goal: create a 500 calorie deficit each day. This could be a 500 calorie burn workout, 250 calories cut from your diet and 250 calories burned during a workout, whatever it takes to get that math circled in success each day to reach your weight loss goal.
Super weight loss tip: Get some extra rest! Our bodies need 7-8 hours of restful sleep to keep our hormones and moods in check. We rely so heavily on sleep for weight loss, simply because our bodies crave simple carbohydrates (like sugar) when we don’t get enough sleep. You could be eating more bread, pasta, desserts, and other white “fat-storaging” foods than we believe! Log your food this, next week and log more hours of sleep to see better weight loss results.
Check Your Thyroid And Hormone Levels
This one may surprise you! Did you know that your thyroid and your hormone levels are responsible for how fast you burn fat and how easy you can gain weight? If you have been feeling sluggish, losing more hair in the shower, feeling much colder than usual, and easily gaining weight and/or having a difficult time losing weight, you may have a slow thyroid – which can destroy any weight loss goals. Hormones are like a symphony. If one gets out of whack – such as estrogen, testosterone, T3/T4 levels in your thyroid, and the like – your metabolism can be slowed to a halt.
Pregnancy, aging, genetics, diet, and lifestyle can all contribute to a messed up hormonal system. Get all your levels tested to rule out any of these issues and get on any medications or supplements your doctor prescribes. This could solve the problem of why you can’t lose weight, simply with that!
Follow these tips and you may be pleasantly surprised with the results! Remember: the last 5, 10, 15 pounds are the hardest to lose but they are NOT impossible to reach. Keep up your hard work and remember how far you’ve come – you are worth it!
Credit: Mommy Edition