Tips to lose those last 5 pounds
When you first start a weight-loss journey, the pounds often come off fast. But as you get closer to your goal, it's not unusual to hit a plateau. Here are some tips to help you drop those last 5 (or more) pounds and reach your goal.
Change Up Your Workouts
If you follow the same workout schedule, your body has probably grown accustomed to the routine. Mix things up a little and kick up the intensity of your workouts to further challenge your muscles. Work out longer or harder, increase the size weights you're lifting, or do more reps of strength-training moves and vary the order.
Go For Fiber
Since your metabolism is already working pretty efficiently, eat fibrous foods that take longer to digest so your body has to expend more energy to break them down. Fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and legumes are good example, but focus on these foods with the highest amounts of fiber.
Get Your Sleep
Not getting enough sleep can also decrease leptin, the hormone that makes you feel full, while it increases ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Research shows that feeling sluggish the following day causes you to eat an average of 549 extra calories without even realizing it. Lack of sleep also slows down your metabolism, making you burn 20 percent fewer calories a day.
Cut Out the Cocktails
Alcoholic beverages are empty calories, and, since your body is working so hard to get rid of toxins, they also inhibit the production of glucose, which is needed for maintaining normal blood sugar levels and in turn slows down your metabolism.
Lose the "Low-Fat" Labels
Many dieters fill their kitchens with foods branded as "low fat" – but that label doesn't necessarily mean healthy. To improve their flavor, manufacturers tend to add more sugar, flour and thickeners to fat-free products, which can boost calorie content. The fats in these foods are replaced with low-performing white carbs that digest quickly and are rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream. This causes the classic sugar high and crash followed by a hunger rebound.
Rev Your Metabolism
Add Protein and Greens – Digesting high-fiber green vegetables is an easy way to make your metabolism work harder, and it can kill cravings for unhealthy foods. Likewise, your body burns twice as many calories by digesting proteins than it does when digesting carbs. Add more protein to your diet with two fish-based meals per week. Packed with protein, fish, such as halibut or salmon, also contains omega-3 fatty acids, which increase fat-burning enzymes in the body.
Vary Your Caloric Intake
Once your body gets used to consuming the same amount of calories every day, your weight loss naturally levels off to match what you burn. For example, your body simply adapts to 1800 calories and stops slimming down. To keep your body working hard at shedding pounds, vary your caloric intake. Consume 1800 calories one day; then reduce to 1600 calories the next day; and 1700 the following day. Keep this pattern going, and your body will have to exert more energy to make adjustments, which can trigger bigger weight loss.