So you’ve been exercising every day (or at least a few times a week) and watching what you’re eating, and you’ve had great weight loss success. Then, all of a sudden, you hit a plateau, and that last stubborn ten pounds just won’t come off. If this scenario sounds all too familiar, don’t worry.
Lots of people go through plateaus when it comes to their fitness goals. The workout and diet regime that you have been using for weeks or even months might have worked at first, but now it’s time to shake things up because your body has gotten used to your routine and it’s no longer working.
Remember that when it comes to weight loss, there is one simple formula that works every time. You will lose weight if you burn more calories than you consume. So if you’ve stopped losing weight, then it means that you’re probably no longer responding metabolically to your exercise routine the way you use to. This is a perfect time to try some new things. While you want to monitor your weight loss and do it in a healthy way, it can be hard to be patient. Losing too much weight at one time is not good for your body, nor is it sustainable, but there are things you can do to accelerate your goals and get to where you want to be. Here’s how to lose ten pounds fast using healthy tips to sustain your weight loss so that you can keep it off for good.
1. DON’T DIET
Sure, it sounds contradictory not to diet when you’re trying to lose weight, but there are several perfectly acceptable reasons why you should. First of all, dieting is restrictive, which means that you’ll resent not being able to eat the things that you enjoy. This could cause your weight loss goals to backfire by sneaking in treats every once and while. Next, dieting is not sustainable. No one should be expected to follow a strict food regimen for the rest of their life. It’s just not realistic. The best way to lose weight and keep it off for good is to think of your new food plan as a way of life. Dieting often means that you’ll do it for a short period of time and then return to your normal eating habits. But if you change the way you eat for good, you won’t have a meal plan to fall back on.
2. MAKE LIFELONG CHANGES INSTEAD
Focus on making lifelong healthy changes, such as eating more fruits and vegetables. Try to get in at least one serving of each every time you eat. Save your treats and unhealthy snacks for a cheat day once a week. You’ll be far more likely to stick to your weight loss goals knowing that you’re allowed to have ice cream at the end of the week as opposed to never again. On the six days of the week that you don’t allow yourself to cheat, concentrate on making smarter food choices. Start by cutting your portion sizes in half. Small changes have a big impact on your life when you do them consistently. On the other hand, making drastic changes over a short period of time might get you results quickly, but they won’t be sustainable. Pretty soon, that last ten pounds will be history, and you will feel like you haven’t worked that hard for it!
3. SWITCH UP YOUR EXERCISE REGIMEN
If you haven’t changed up your go-to workout at the gym since you started going, then it’s time for a change. Once your muscles become adapted to a certain exercise, it stops becoming a challenge, which means that you stop seeing results. To drop that extra ten pounds, you need to push yourself physically. Try adding in some workouts to your routine that you’ve never tried before or are even a bit scared to try because they look hard. For example, if you’ve been doing the elliptical for 20 minutes and then hitting the weight machines, try running or swimming instead and then focus on targeting different muscle groups when you lift weights.
4. DO BURPEES
Burpees are a great full-body workout because they get your heart pumping and they burn massive amounts of calories. Plus, you’ll work your upper body, lower body, and midsection all at once. It’s the total body exercise move that you can do just about anywhere. To do a burpee, stand with your feet shoulder-width apart. Bend down or squat down and put the palms of your hands on the floor in front of you, near the outsides of your feet in a quick motion. Remember that you want to get your heart rate up, so movements need to be fast. Then jump both of your feet back until you’re in a push-up or plank position with all your weight evenly distributed over all four limbs. Once you’re in this position, do a push up by dropping your chest to the floor so that it touches. If you can’t do a regular push up, you can lower your knees here so that they reach the floor. But make sure you bring your knees back up when you get ready to return to the starting position. After you do the push-up, jump your feet back toward your hands and firmly plant then underneath your body. Explosively jump up into the air and reach your arms above your head. Jump as high as you can and when you come back down, start the move over. Sound too easy? Try doing a bunch of these in a row!
5. WRITE DOWN WHAT YOU EAT
Sometimes you don’t realize how much you’re eating in a day until you write it down. Then you’re forced to take a good, hard look at your diet so you can see where you need to make improvements. Keep a notebook with you in your car or at your desk so that you can track everything you eat, including the time you ate it, how much, what the portion sizes were, and where you ate it. You might notice that you eat more when you watch TV or sit in front of the computer during meal time, so making this small change in your day can help you reduce the calories that you need to drop a few pounds. It also helps to note where your food came from. For example, did you stop at a sandwich shop for lunch or did you bring one from home? Packing a lunch or eating at home can help you make healthier decisions as you know exactly what’s going in your food. Sometimes there are added sauces or ingredients in your store-bought foods that tack on calories that can be making it harder for you to lose weight.
6. USE SELF CHECKOUT
Admit it. Every once and awhile sometimes unhealthy sneaks into your shopping cart, and you have no idea how it got there. Ok, so maybe you put it there. But that doesn’t mean you can’t take it out at the last minute. Use self-checkout to think about whether or not you really need that bag of candy.
7. SIP GREEN TEA
Green tea is one of the best things you can drink when you’re trying to lose weight. Research shows that green tea contains a compound known as EGCG that has powerful metabolism boosting and fat burning properties. Green tea works especially well when you pair it with an exercise program. One study found that men who took green tea every day and exercised burned 17 percent more fat than those who did not take green tea but still exercised. Another study found that green tea can help you burn as many as eight percent more calories even at rest. Sip on some in the morning instead of coffee and enjoy another cup in the afternoon to help you get through the rest of the day. Some people like to drink it before working out because the caffeine gives them a natural boost.
8. GET SOME REST
Most people don’t realize it, but sleep is an important part of the weight loss process, especially if you workout. During sleep, your body’s cells clean themselves out and remove dysfunctional proteins and other waste, so it’s important to make sure you’re getting your ZZZ’s. Peak levels of human growth hormone are also released at night when you’re sleeping, which is needed to help you build lean muscle mass that burns calories even when you’re not working out. Studies show that people who get eight to nine hours of sleep have better weight loss results than people who only get five or six hours at night. Sleep deprivation also causes you to crave comfort foods that make it harder for you to lose weight, and it reduces your ability to utilize insulin and other important hormones that are needed to control appetite. Try going to bed at the same time every night and waking at the same time every day to help set a schedule, even on weekends.
9. GIVE UP PROCESSED FOODS
If the pesky ten pounds that you’re trying to lose is in your abdominal area, then the best thing you can do is give up processed foods, such as chips, granola bars, fast foods, macaroni and cheese box mixes, hot dogs, and sweets, just to name a few. Research shows that these foods contain twice as many calories as naturally unrefined whole foods, which means that you’re getting way more calories than you bargained for when you eat them. Plus, processed foods often come in large packages and they are easy to eat a lot of. So staying away from them, in general, is a good idea. Not to mention, processed foods cause inflammation that is linked to obesity, diabetes, and other chronic conditions.
10. CUT YOUR PORTIONS IN HALF
An easy trick that you can use to help you lose that extra ten pounds is to take everything you eat and cut it in half. This is especially good advice when you eat out because the portion sizes that you’re served at restaurants are usually huge! If you order food out, cut it in half as soon as it comes to your table and put the other half in a to-go box before you start eating. This way, you won’t be tempted to eat it, and you’ll have lunch or dinner for the next day.