You’re right there. You’ve worked your butt off (maybe even literally) and are thisclose to your weight-loss goal! Yet, the scale number won’t budge those last 5 pounds.
In reality, 5 pounds probably won’t change much, but it’s the principal. You set a goal, and you want to achieve it. So, on the frustration scale, this ranks up there with the person who repeatedly doesn’t wipe off the treadmill at the gym. Actually, it’s probably worse.
So, what can you do?
It’s time to really dial into the small changes that can push your body past homeostasis. Here’s five tips to ditch the final five.
- Switch up your exercising
Yes, this seems obvious, but it’s still true, especially is you’ve focused on cardio during your weight-loss efforts.
Cardio is great, but lifting weights can help build lean muscle, which will increase your metabolism. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does
, after all. And if you’re already lifting weights, lift differently. Go from high weight/low reps to low weight/high reps, or vice versa.
Remember, you’re trying to shock your body to give up those last ounces. A workout switch is critical.
- Start writing everything down. EVERYTHING
Something about writing things down can offer remarkable clarity, as you can actually see what is happening; see gaps or trends. So if you haven’t already been keeping logs of your efforts toward your goal, start.
Track your workouts – exercises, reps, sets, time – and track your meals/calories with one of the numerous food-tracking apps. And make sure to track EVERYTHING. Grabbing a handful of almonds or a cocktail here and there might not seem like a big deal, but tracking it may show you just how many extra calories you’re intaking.
- Avoid drastic measures
Significantly cutting calorie intake, going nuts with HIIT, buying more weight-loss pills – being so close to your goal, you might be willing to go to extremes to get there. Don’t!
Too much of a shock to the body, too much stress will release the hormone cortisol
, which can lead to fatigue, reduced performance, injuries and … weight gain.
- Don’t skip the post-workout shake/meal
Cutting calories is going to be part of the path toward cutting those last 5 pounds. Just don’t cut them right after your exercise.
Your body needs to refuel and repair after a good workout, and the only ways it knows how to do that are rest and fuel (ie: calories). So not eating after a workout can actually hurt your body (and thus your weight-loss goal) in the long term.
- Get more sleep!
Not only will more shut-eye prevent you from becoming a grouch, it also drastically helps with weight loss
A lack of sleep has shown time and again to mess with your hormones, most notably by causing levels of ghrelin (your "hunger hormone") to spike, and levels of leptin (your "satiety hormone") to dip. Throw in the fact you’ll be more fatigued and unable to exercise at your peak, and you can kiss your goal goodbye unless you prioritize sleep.