First of all, if you’ve got just 10 more pounds to go to reach your weight-loss goal, good for you! You’re nearly there! But to successfully turn the corner, you’ll need to make a few tweaks to your lifestyle. Don’t worry, there’s nothing tricky here. Follow these rules, and you’ll drop those final pounds in no time.
Create no more than an 800- to 1,000-calorie deficit a day. Here’s the thing: People with 10 pounds or fewer to lose are likely already at a healthy weight, from a biological perspective. So your body may resist losing the remaining weight, especially if you’re overdoing it by eating too few calories or working out like crazy. That’s why you need to be mindful about not creating too much of a calorie deficit, based on your active metabolic rate. The max should be a deficit of 800 calories; otherwise, your body thinks you’re starving and holds on to that extra fat. So if you burn 2,400 calories a day, don’t eat fewer than 1,600 calories. Period.
Get your rear in gear with circuit training. To kick up your fat-burning, you’ll need to step away from that fitness routine you’ve been doing monotonously. The one method that will torch calories as quickly as possible is circuit training. It’s a combo of strength and cardio exercises done back to back, with little or no rest in between moves. The exercises themselves don’t have to be complicated. Take this one, for example:
Warm-up (cardio or dynamic stretches), 5 minutes
Push-Up’s, 30 seconds
Squats with a dumbbell shoulder press, 30 seconds
Bench triceps dips, 30 seconds
Jumping jacks, 30 seconds
Rest, optional, 30 seconds
Circuits should be done no more than four days a week, in training “splits” that focus on specific muscle groups. A sample Day 1 could consist of chest, triceps, quadriceps, lower abs and obliques; while Day 2 targets the back, shoulders, hamstrings, glutes and upper abs; and so on.
Don’t skimp on sleep. Here’s an easy one, right? OK, maybe not. But, hey, if I can fit in seven to eight hours a night with my crazy-busy schedule, certainly you can. Fact is, sleep is crucial for weight loss. It dramatically impacts your hormone balance. When you sleep, your body releases human growth hormone (HGH), a fat-burner that helps you maintain lean muscle mass, as well as leptin, which keeps your appetite in check. On the other hand, when you’re sleep deprived, your body releases cortisol, a stress hormone that stores fat, and ghrelin, which stimulates your appetite.
You can see how lack of sleep can lead to lots of late-night snacking — which can keep you from losing those last few pounds. The bottom line is when you’re faced with either working out but getting only five or so hours of sleep, or skipping the workout to get eight hours of sleep, the right choice is sleep.
Did you know you don’t have to skip all of your favorite foods to reach your goals? You can literally lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks through a healthy diet and by staying active.
We’ll look at how to lose those last few pounds, if it’s safe and provide easy tips to incorporate into your life.
- How to Lose 10 Pounds in 2 Weeks
- But honestly, that sounds crazy…
- Is Losing 10 Pounds in 2 Weeks Safe?
- Tips to Lose 10 Pounds in 2 Weeks Through A Healthy Diet
- One Thing Not to do to Lose 10 Pounds in 2 Weeks
- Why are you trying to lose 10lbs in 2 weeks?
- 3 Diet Hacks to Help You Lose 10 Pounds in 21 Days
- 1. Stop Doing Hours of Slow, Boring Cardio
- 2. Cut the Carbs
- 3. Ditch Diet Soda and Drink Lemon Water Instead
- 1. Your Metabolism Is slower
- 2. Your bedroom isn’t dark enough
- 3. You’re being less careful
- 4. Food tastes more delicious
- 5. Your “eating window” is too wide
- 6. You’re always on the road
- 7. The people around you are overweight
- 8. You eat too much salt
- 9. You don’t cheat often enough
- 10. You’re not eating enough fiber
- Exactly How 5 Real Women Lost the Last 10 Pounds
- Go back to food journaling. (Or start.)
- Stop mindless snacking.
- Have a smoothie for dinner.
- Enlist a few key motivators.
- Ward off water retention.
- Trade your dinner carbs for veggies.
- Look at your toxic load.
- Eat a little more.
- Prioritize sleep.
- Stop paying so much attention to the scale.
How to Lose 10 Pounds in 2 Weeks
The simplest way to look at weight loss is calories in and calories out.
Calories are a form of energy in food that our body uses. The more calories, the more leftover energy, the more weight, and vice versa.
So here’s the deal:
35,000 is about the equivalent of 10 pounds. So if we want to lose that in 2 weeks, we can divide that number by 2. So each week, we need to create a calorie deficit for 17,500 calories.
What does that really mean?
It means we need to create a daily calorie deficit of 2,500 calories per day (17,500 divided by 7).
But honestly, that sounds crazy…
A 2,500 calorie deficit is extreme. This number may be realistic if we were all consuming what we do on Thanksgiving or around the holidays, but most of us don’t not even consume 2500 calories, to begin with.
So now that?
We still need to keep our focus on our diet and workouts.
If you’ve not counted calories before, you may be surprised at how fast they add up especially eating out.
While we believe the 2,500 calorie deficit to be too extreme, finding out how many calories you should eat per day can be helpful with your weight loss.
The calculator above will show you how much you should eat to lose 1-2lbs. For us to hit 10lbs in 2 weeks, you’ll want to choose the 2lbs deficit number.
Your workouts also burn calories! So our next step is to add a 30+ workout per day. This could be anything you like from walking to dancing to kickboxing.
We love Beachbody on Demand because it allows us to pick from 700+ workouts to stream! Plus you can get a 2 Week Free Trial!
An average workout will burn about 10 calories per minute for an average adult. A heart rate monitor can provide a better estimation of your calorie burn.
So, in theory, you’ll burn 300 calories in 30 minutes. This will result in creating an additional deficit and getting you to that 5lbs per week mark!
Related: At Home Workouts & Which Beachbody Workout is Right for You?
Is Losing 10 Pounds in 2 Weeks Safe?
Honestly? It really depends on how you get there. The difference between safe and harmful is what you have to do to lose the weight versus the number.
Someone that has been eating a high number of calories for weeks or months could see the weigh “fall off” when they make some simple changes like not eating out or giving up Cokes. This would be a healthy weight loss because the person is making small, healthy changes.
On the other hand, someone that just drinks lemon water and maple syrup for 2 weeks will lose weight, but that’s not safe.
We know the number is important, but really the habits should be our focus.
Focus on eating clean foods and working out 30 minutes per day to see a safe weight loss.
Related: What is Clean Eating? Tips, Meal Plans and Recipes
So now that we know the right way to lose weight, let’s dig into those 5 tips!
Tips to Lose 10 Pounds in 2 Weeks Through A Healthy Diet
Below you’ll find our best tips along with some of our favorite products who we are affiliates for. Everything is our own honest opinion.
1. Stop focusing on everything you should eliminate from your diet.
When you are starting a new diet, focus on what you can add to a healthy diet that will make you feel healthier and happier. Eliminating implies negativity whereas adding implies positivity.
Focus on favorite healthy foods and trying new recipes. Then, you’ll set yourself to have fun and enjoying your foods instead of always feeling hungry.
2. Create a Plan Every Week.
The whole “failing to plan is planning to fail” cliche is so true. If I don’t use one of my weekly meal plans or create a new one, I find myself searching the pantry for something by day 3 or 4.
I have several meal plans you can choose from as well.
If you would like even more meal ideas, check out Amazon (affiliate links) for Oxygen magazine, Eating Clean magazine, Well Fed. Both are really great resources for new recipes and meal planning. I also love to use Pinterest especially for Whole 30 or Paleo meal plans.
Hate meal prep? Check out our NutriSystem Review!
There are a few great workouts that are 30 minutes or less now that burn just as many calories as the traditional hour-long workouts! T25, P90X3, and the 21 Day Fix all use interval training to help you get the most out of every workout, and they also include a variety of cardio, strength, and flexibility.
If you don’t have time for a workout yet, you can always create a short 3-5 minute interval workout for yourself. An example would be doing a minute each of jumping jacks, abs, and push-ups; add it to your morning schedule or as you watch television tonight.
Every small step to being active will help you lose those 10 pounds in 2 weeks! (Check out 9 Ways to Whittle Your Waist At a Desk Job)
4. Be specific about your goals.
By setting a goal with specifics, like “I will lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks through a healthy diet and being more active on a daily basis,” helps your brain stay focused on what you want to achieve.
During the 21 Day Fix, I knew exactly what I wanted to lose and look like at the end of the program. Every day during every workout or craving, I focused on my goal and reminded myself I could do this for X amount of days.
After those X amount of days were up, I had to set another specific goal with a deadline to make sure I kept pushing forward instead of reverting back to bad habits though. Always know where you are trying to go, and you will get there.
5. Team up with someone else.
My accountability group has really changed how I exercise and eat. I personally like the online group of people with the same goals and challenges I have. For me, telling a friend or boyfriend worried me because I was just spitting out a goal that they may or may not understand as much as someone with the same goal.
Learn More About Our 21 Day Challenge Group
While someone can lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks, don’t be discouraged if you lose 1-2lbs. This is a great pace especially if you’ve already been eating well and working out. On average, 1 to 2 lb weight loss is a great pace to lose weight and keep it off.
It is nice to have a jump start though, and if you are making small, consistent changes in your habits — you could lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks. I lost about 10 pounds during the 21 Day Fix in October within the first 2 weeks. I was eating healthy, not depriving myself, and only working out for 30 minutes a day.
One Thing Not to do to Lose 10 Pounds in 2 Weeks
You shouldn’t ever do a starvation or crash diet or a liquid cleanses lasting over 3 days. Your body goes into starvation mode if you don’t get enough calories. Starvation mode sounds like you would lose weight but in a very unhealthy way.
The opposite is true though.
When your body enters starvation mode, it holds onto all of its fat cells because it doesn’t know when to expect food again. It also slows your metabolism down. On top of that, it can break down your muscle for energy.
I do use a 3-day Refresh about twice a year, but you are eating all day long. I actually feel like I eat more on that particular cleanse than I normally would. It’s a great choice for a big event!
You may also like: Simple 10 Day No Sugar Diet
Why are you trying to lose 10lbs in 2 weeks?
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3 Diet Hacks to Help You Lose 10 Pounds in 21 Days
Weight loss doesn’t have to be a slow process that takes months on end of bland foods and long, boring workouts. You can safely lose a significant amount of weight in less than a month. This article shows you how. Following the tips in this article will help you lose 10 (or more) pounds in just 21 days. I’m not going to recommend a “miracle” nutritional supplement, expensive workout equipment, or hokey gimmick either. Just 3 things that work, quickly.
The weight loss tips in this article are supported by scientific research and don’t require you to buy anything, starve yourself, or do anything that’s dangerous or downright silly. All you have to do is make a few changes to the way you exercise and eat.
1. Stop Doing Hours of Slow, Boring Cardio
Forget about spending hours every day on the treadmill to burn calories. Doing this doesn’t work. Walking at a moderate (brisk) pace will only burn about 295 calories an hour. Do this every day for a week and you won’t lose a pound. The better way to exercise for weight and fat loss is to do interval style resistance training workouts .
Also referred to as circuit training, this style of workout burns twice as many calories. Studies also show that doing some type of resistance training (calisthenics, kettlebells, weights, etc.) is also superior to cardio for burning off fat, especially abdominal fat which hurts your health and hides your 6 pack.
When you workout this way your body will continue to burn calories from your stored body fat for up to 36 hours post-workout. This means you’ll continue to lose weight after your workout is done. These workouts will help you build muscle too which will have you looking better when the weight you want to lose is off.
Circuit style workouts are easy to perform. You can do them barbells, dumbbells, and machines at your gym. One of the best way is to do bodyweight workouts. This is because they can be done anywhere, are really effective, and don’t require any equipment.
When you train this way the key is to choose exercises that train several muscle groups (squats, push ups, pull ups, shoulder presses, etc.). This will make the workout more challenging and burn more calories. Select 4-5 exercises so ensure all of your major muscle groups are being trained. This can include: squats (legs), push ups (chest/shoulders/arms), pull ups (back/biceps), and military press (shoulders).
You’ll perform each exercise one after the other with no rest between sets. Only rest after you’ve performed the last exercise of the circuit. Rest as little as possible between circuits. Do 8-10 reps per set and repeat 3-5 times every workout.
Below is a sample bodyweight exercise circuit training workout for fat loss.
- Push Ups
- Pull Ups
Here’s a circuit workout that can be done with a dumbbell or kettlebell.
- Two Handed Swings
- Standing Shoulder Press
- 1 Arm Rows
If you are just getting started or back into a workout routine give yourself a chance to get used to the intensity of these workouts. Rest as long as you have to between circuits and do as many reps as you can with 10 per exercise being your goal. Stick to it and you’ll be doing these workouts like a pro.
2. Cut the Carbs
This is probably the most important tip to follow. It alone can help you lose 10 or more pounds in 21 days. Eating a low carbohydrate diet turns on the fat loss switch in your body and by getting it to use your stored body fat as energy. You’ll also lose excess water weight too. Best of all you don’t have to obsess over calories or reading labels.
When I write cut the carbs I don’t mean that you have to avoid them entirely. You simply need to limit certain types. Once you lose the weight you can even eat them albeit in limited quantities.
The foods you need to really limit for the next 21 days include processed carbohydrates (bread, cookies, pasta, rice) and simple sugars (candy, fruit juice, and soda). You can pretty much each all of the vegetables you like. Fruits in small amounts are okay too. All in all, your daily carbohydrate quota should not exceed 75 grams. Don’t worry about counting carbohydrates excessively or reading the label for every food you eat. Instead follow this simple tip, if it’s white or comes in a bag or box don’t eat it and you’re most likely eating the right amount. If you do want to count carbohydrates, use one of the many websites or apps that does the counting for you. I recommend reading this Lifehack article for more great tips to eliminate grains from your diet.
In addition to limiting certain types of carbohydrates, the next thing you need to make sure of is that you eat plenty of protein and healthy fats. High protein foods you should eat at every meal include eggs, fish, pork, and red meat. You do not have to count grams of protein either. Just make sure the protein you eat is about the size of the palm of your hand at every meal and you’ll be on track to get enough every day. Last but not least, eat plenty of fat at every meal. You’ll stay full longer between meals. Fat also makes your food taste better too. Limit corn and other vegetable oils and instead make sure you get your fat from avocados, coconut, and olive oil. Almonds and macadamia nuts are also good sources of healthy fats.
3. Ditch Diet Soda and Drink Lemon Water Instead
I know, diet sodas don’t have calories and taste good. The way their bubbles make your mouth tingle feels great too. Unfortunately, they can kill your weight loss progress. Studies show that drinking diet soda can actually make you eat more and gain weight. Scientists believe this is because the artificial sweeteners in these drinks send signals to your brain that make you want to eat, even if you’re not hungry.
Instead of drinking diet soda I suggest you drink cold lemon water. Doing so has many benefits. You’ll feel full longer between meals and because of the lemon juice in the water you’re body will digest food slower and can even help keep your energy levels stable. One study shows drinking cold water can help you burn more calories too.
Drinking your water before you eat may also help you eat less at every meal.
Make these 3 tips part of your life for 21 days and you’ll easily lose 10 pounds. More important, they will become habits that you follow for the days, weeks, and months to follow. Then you’ll really reap their benefits that go beyond weight loss to healthier, stronger, more energetic you!
(Photo credit: Diet via )
Can you lose 10 pounds in 2 weeks? The short answer to this question is yes! Although, there are many factors that go into shedding pounds fast. If you want to drop 10 pounds within two weeks, there are two main areas of focus: food intake and exercise. Naturally, other factors that affect weight are hormone levels, getting enough sleep and increasing your metabolic rate.
Recently, BlackDoctor.org had the opportunity to chop it up with Fitness Guru and Fitness As A Lifestyle CEO, Corey S. Taylor, who broke down some quick tips on how to stay motivated and meet your weight loss goals in a pinch.
“Your goals have to be bigger than your ego. Most people fail because their goals aren’t big enough. Make sure that your reason for losing weight is big enough to drive you to work past your pride and personality, otherwise you’ll eventually get to a point where you either get complacent and stop working as hard or just say why bother,” explains Taylor, who recently appeared on A+E’s “Fat2Fit.”
Of course, when breaking down the numbers, truth of the matter is, if you’re not motivated, you’re at a loss. A pound of fat contains approximately 3,500 calories. If you want to lose 10 pounds, that is 35,000 calories to lose from your body in just two weeks.
In order to lose 5 pounds in one week, you need to be in a calorie deficit every week of 17,500 calories (5 pounds: 3,500 x 5 = 17,500 calories). That turns into a deficit of 2,500 calories per day (17,500 calories / 7). In other words, you have to WANT it!
“Time is your only weapon. There are 24 hours in each day. If you’re not executing effort each hour (mind, body, diet, activity) then you’re not going to reach your goal as fast as you’d like. Invest time, don’t waste it. Utilize your weekends, evenings and early mornings,” Taylor added.
So, how does one cut 35,000 calories in two weeks without feeling like you’re starving yourself? Here’s how:
- Keep your sugar intake under 100 grams under a day.
- Up your fiber. Taylor says, “The more greens you eat the flatter your stomach will become.” In other words, eating 30 grams of fiber a day is key to snatching your waist.
- Shy away from dips, dressings, sodium.
- Opt for whole grains (toast or pasta), low calorie but flavorful meats like lean turkey, chicken and salmon.
- An apple a day not only keeps the doctor away. Taylor says, “you can have unlimited fruits and veggies throughout the day.”
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The last few pounds are always the hardest to lose – but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to do! Use the following tips to clean up your diet and drop those final few pounds.
The Truth: The body struggles to hold on to that last bit of fat for survival purposes, so while it is tough to lose the last five to 10 pounds, it’s definitely doable.
You know what I like to call those last 10 or 15 pounds that won’t come off no matter what you do? Vanity pounds. The term describes our desire to lose weight that, as far as our bodies are concerned, actually feels healthy. Personally, I have gained and lost the same five vanity pounds more times than I care to admit. Losing your first 50 pounds might have been tough, but believe me, dropping those final few stubborn pounds is a whole different challenge. Here are a few rules to follow:
Completely cut out processed foods. The best way to lose weight, even those last 10 pounds, is by eating CLEAN. This means absolutely NO processed foods! While you may have been watching what you were eating before, now is the time to truly crack down. Processed food is anything that has been altered from its natural state, such as fruit that has been canned to make it last longer or refined grains. Try to restrict yourself to eat only fresh organic fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and dairy, as well as whole grains. Check the labels on all of the food you buy. If you see ingredients that are questionable — don’t buy it! If you can’t pronounce something on the ingredient list — leave it on the shelf.
Cut your sodium intake and drink more water. Just because you’re not reaching for the salt shaker at every meal doesn’t mean you’re watching your sodium intake! Salt is in nearly every food — some of the worst culprits are breads, cold cuts/cured meats, sandwiches, pizza, poultry and soup. To commit to dropping your vanity pounds, you should keep a close eye on your sodium intake and cut it down to 1,000 mg per day. Once you start looking at food labels, you may realize this is harder than you thought, but it’s possible — trust me. Also, up your water intake. Eighty ounces is equal to 10 cups of water and I would like that to be your goal each day. It won’t be hard to hit if you’re working out!
Abstain from alcohol. Booze can sabotage your weight-loss efforts. It releases estrogen into your bloodstream, promotes fat storage, and decreases muscle growth. It makes you hungry and loosens your inhibitions — so you’re more likely to give into temptations, like unhealthy food. Plus, alcoholic beverages contain more calories than most people think. If you’re serious about losing this weight, it’s best to avoid alcohol until you’re in maintenance mode.
Train at 85 percent of your maximum heart rate for 1 hour, 5 times a week. You have to exercise to lose weight, and to lose those last 10 pounds you’ll need to push yourself. Up the intensity of your workouts and make sure you’re fitting them in at least five times a week.
Make sure not to create a calorie deficit of over 500 calories a day. When you are already healthy, but want to remove those last few pounds of fat, your body isn’t too keen. Creating a large calorie deficit will make your body think it’s in survival mode – as in energy supplies are in shortage and energy output is being maxed. This will signal your system to release hormones that slow metabolism and store fat. By burning no more than around 500 calories a day you can slowly burn off those vanity pounds without triggering your body’s survival mechanism.
After finally committing to a clean diet and regular fitness routine, the pounds starting flying off and your abs started shining through. But then, disaster struck! The scale stopped tipping in your favor—despite your commitment to your program.
We’re not going to sugar coat it, weight loss plateaus, straight up suck. And they’re made even more annoying by the fact that they always seem to come around when the finish line is finally in sight; when there are just 10 pesky pounds left to lose. If that sounds like your struggle, you’re definitely not alone. A quick Google on the topic is all it takes to see that tons of dieters are having trouble shedding the last few pounds. Is there a logical explanation? Yes. In fact, there are actually a few of them. Is it actually possible to reach your goal weight? Absolutely—so long as you gain some insight into why your plateau occurred in the first place.
To shed some light onto what may be to blame, we checked in with leading weight loss experts and dug through the science of stalled weight loss. Read on to find out what we uncovered and how you can finally get back on track towards your goal weight.
1. Your Metabolism Is slower
It’s a little-known fact but the lighter you are, the fewer calories your body burns at rest, according to weight loss expert, Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D. In fact, for every 5 pounds you lose, Fernstrom says you’ll need to consume about 100 fewer calories to continue shrinking your gut. That means that if you needed to consume about 2,300 calories a day at the beginning of your program, you may only need 1,900 after you’ve shed 20 pounds. But these figures are just estimates. If you want to find out exactly how many calories your body needs to continue trimming down, you’ll need to take a metabolic test. This will reveal exactly how many calories your body burns at rest. Many dietitians and high-end gyms offer this service and, yes, it’s totally worth the cash.
2. Your bedroom isn’t dark enough
If you live someplace with a lot of light pollution (like a big city), you may want to think about springing for some blackout curtains or a sleeping mask. When you don’t sleep in a dark enough room, your body can’t produce the necessary amounts of melatonin for a good night’s rest. And when you don’t sleep soundly, you’re more likely to be overweight. In fact, an American Journal of Epidemiology study found that people who slept in the darkest rooms were 21 percent less likely to be obese than those snoozing in the lightest rooms. Isabel Smith, a registered dietitian who was not involved with the study, explains that this is likely due to the connection between hunger hormones and sleep. “When you don’t get quality shut-eye, you may feel less satisfied by your food, which can contribute to overeating. And aim to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep in a dark and quiet space whenever possible,” Smith suggests.
3. You’re being less careful
When you first set out to lose weight, you likely thought about—and maybe even recorded—every single morsel of food that passed your lips. Over time, however, it’s natural to become less careful, which could be slowing your progress. “After a while dieters lose interest in following their meal plan,” Christine M. Palumbo, MBA, RDN, FAND, tells us, adding, “At the beginning of a new program, weight is typically shed quickly. This initial weight loss is exciting and often keeps a dieter motivated. But as time passes and the weight loss slows, so, too can the motivation to stay on track with a diet.” The worst part is, you may not even realize that you’ve loosed the reins. To get back on track Palumbo suggests upping your protein intake to ward off excess snacking. Another way to stay motivated: reward yourself! “For every week that you’re at least 90 percent compliant with your weight loss plan, celebrate by buying tickets to a movie or concert, getting a massage, or buying a new pair of running shoes. There are many great ways to celebrate as your physique changes!”
4. Food tastes more delicious
Chew on this: As you lose weight, a hormonal shift occurs that affects how your taste buds communicate with the brain, found a Stanford University study. As a result, things like burgers and chips taste far more delicious after you’ve dropped a pant size or two. Which is both a good thing and a bad thing. The better these indulgences taste, the more you’ll enjoy them but the harder they may become to eat in moderation. To avoid overdoing it and stalling your weight loss, drink 16-ounces of water before you chow down. One clinical trial found that research participants who followed this strategy consumed between 75 and 90 fewer calories during their meal. Another thing that may help: chewing gum or popping a mint once you begin to feel full. This will keep your mouth busy so you don’t go back for more grub your body doesn’t need.
5. Your “eating window” is too wide
While eating every three or four hours may help ward off hunger and blood sugar dips that can lead to overeating and poor diet decisions, if you nosh all day right up until you go to sleep you may not progress as quickly as you’d like, explains Palumbo, who suggests sticking to a 12-hour eating window. “Rodent research published in the journal *Cell Metabolism* found that the time span in which food is eaten can majorly influence metabolism. In the study, they found that confining food consumption to a 12-hour window aided weight loss, even if no other changes were made to the animals’ diets. The clock begins once you eat or drink anything with calories, such as a cup of coffee with sugar or milk. If you drink it at 6:30 a.m., you should be done eating or drinking 12 hours later at 6:30 p.m.,” she explains.
6. You’re always on the road
If you spend a lot of time on the road for work, there’s a very good chance that’s why you can’t ditch those last stubborn pounds, accord to a Columbia University study. The intellects behind the report say those who travel for work are more likely to make poor food choices than those with a more standard routine. The same report also found that those who travel for work two weeks or more each month have higher BMI and higher rates of obesity. To keep the pounds at bay while on the road, Smith recommends eating fruit- and veggie-centric snacks every 3 to 4 hours and keeping a reusable water bottle by your side to reach your fluid goals. “Vegetable consumption and water intake are two things that majorly impact weight loss,” she explains. For even more stay lean tips don’t miss these 9 Ways to Stay Lean on Business Trips.
7. The people around you are overweight
“If you’re surrounded by people who constantly eat fries and burgers there’s a very good chance you’ll give into the urge to eat junk, too,” cautions Smith. Scientists concur. According to a review published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, people conform to the “eating norms” of those around them. To help the scale start dipping in your favor, always keep healthy snacks on hand (being hungry makes it near impossible to stick to your guns around junk food) and don’t worry about being the odd-man out. Next time you go out to eat, order first. This way you won’t be tempted to say “make that three” when your dining companions all spring for the deep dish and ale.
8. You eat too much salt
You may already know that eating too much sodium can cause water retention and bloat, but what you may not know is that salt can cause actual weight gain, too. And that’s because consuming too much sodium can lead to fatty foods cravings and binges, according to two Deakin University studies. Salt has also been shown to mess with the body’s satiety signals, which can make it more difficult to cut yourself off before you consume more calories than your body needs. To stick to the recommended upper limit intake of 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, limit your intake of restaurant food and cut back on sodium-filled grocery items like chips, soup, frozen meals, beef jerky, tomato sauce, and soda.
9. You don’t cheat often enough
Not only can a cheat meal help ward off the monotony of grilled chicken, veggies, and protein shakes, it can help keep your hormones in check, too. “When you lose fat, production of leptin—the satiety hormone—decreases to prevent starvation,” explains Palumbo. That means you may feel more hungry than when you were heavier. “This may prevent a person from losing weight or keeping it off,” cautions Palumbo. Sure, prescription medications can help to counteract this, but some experts believe that a carb-rich cheat meal can also do the trick because it tells your brain that you’re not actually starving. As a result, the body begins burning calories at a normal rate again. While we can’t guarantee this will work for everyone, it’s definitely worth trying once or twice to see how it affects your progress.
10. You’re not eating enough fiber
Many dieters focus on consuming more protein and don’t give fiber much thought—which is a big mistake. “Many of us are still short on fiber, a nutrient that may affect our ability to lose weight,” cautions Palumbo, adding, “In addition to whole grains, eating plenty of vegetables can easily up your fiber intake. Other foods surprisingly packed with fiber include beans, oatmeal, berries, and pears.”
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Exactly How 5 Real Women Lost the Last 10 Pounds
Hey, we think you look gorgeous just as you are. But we totally understand feeling a little blah when you’re carrying a little bit more weight than you’d like. Just ask these five women: They’ve been there—lost that. These are the subtle tweaks (getting honest about portions, actually eating dessert) that helped them achieve their happy weight even when a few extra pounds were hanging tough. As for you? Experts agree that these changes can get your body burning again too.
Move more outside of the gym
When Sarah Grant hit a plateau before reaching her goal weight, the working mom of two zeroed in on the long periods she spent parked at her desk. “Even though I was working out outside of the office and eating healthy, it didn’t make up for the hours a day I spent sedentary,” says Grant, 41, the chief financial officer for a South Florida restaurant group.
She made a simple vow to walk more, all day, every day. “It’s an easy, free activity that you can do anywhere,” Grant points out. In addition to weight training in the morning, she added in a walk on her lunch hour and an after-dinner stroll with her son and daughter. “There is a point at which eating less isn’t the best option,” Grant says. “This gave me the ability to avoid having to continually slash calories to lose weight.”
She’s on to something: The more energy you have moving through your system, the better your metabolism functions, says Holly Wyatt, MD, head of the metabolism and obesity clinic at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Health and Wellness Center. “Adding mini movement blocks to your day sporadically will help you burn more energy than you’re consuming,” Dr. Wyatt says.
Try picking a coffee joint that’s about a 15-minute walk away from your home or office and take a walking break any days that you can; walking for 30 minutes (15 in each direction) at a quick pace burns around 150 calories.
RELATED: These Are the Best Walking Workouts, According to Fitness Experts
Don’t make any foods off limits
Long days of meal sampling at events and restaurants made it all too easy for food blogger Dara Pollak to hold on to an extra five to 10 pounds. “I could be tasting four to five different decadent dishes at a single restaurant,” explains Pollak, 33, the creator of The Skinny Pig blog. To balance the “bad” meals, she would skip breakfast. “I went to events starving and would end up overeating, and then feeling food guilt.”
Pollak has changed her mind-set so that she doesn’t consider any foods restricted, and instead taste-tests just a few bites of everything. “I eat slowly and mindfully and savor a few bites I take of, say, the french fries I’m sampling,” she says. And she eats a hearty breakfast of overnight oats daily. “It curbs my hunger, and even though I might still crave the yummy foods in front of me, I can eat them with more control and joy.”
Chris Mohr, RD, an exercise physiologist, nutritionist, and co-owner of Mohr Results, agrees that telling yourself you can’t have a certain treat sets you up to binge later on. “Then all you can think about is that forbidden fruit,” he says. So next time your friend suggests splitting dessert, go for it. When you give yourself permission to indulge in moderation, you may realize you crave only a bite or two, or none at all.
RELATED: How to Stop Beating Yourself Up About What You Eat
Clean up your weekends
Heather Muir Maffei, Health’s beauty director, wanted to lose a bit of weight and get toned up before her wedding two years ago. One key lifestyle adjustment that helped her knock off the last 10—and keep it off? Not loosening up too much when the weekend hits.
On Saturdays, Muir Maffei and her husband, Dave Maffei, have an “eat whatever we want” meal for dinner—“even if that means Five Guys followed by doughnuts,” says Muir Maffei, 33. “It gives us something to look forward to, yet when we’re done, we feel like eating well again.”
They also hike, run, or walk their dogs, plus do a Saturday morning weigh-in together. “It keeps me accountable,” Muir Maffei says. And this weekend ritual assists in setting the tone for the workweek: “We love eating whole-wheat protein pancakes for breakfast, so Dave preps the batter on Sunday, and we use it for the week ahead.”
All of this is to say, the weekends really count. Data shows that most people do have a weight cycle that involves losing a bit on weekdays only to gain it back over the weekend. One study found that adults ages 19 to 50 consume an extra 115 calories on each weekend day, as well as more fat and alcohol, than on Monday through Thursday. With this in mind, take a move from Heather’s playbook and limit your all-out eating to one meal—instead of two full days of going off your plan.
Be meticulous about portion sizes
Allison Constantino, 69, eats healthy and is super active, but she notices her weight creep up if she gets lax about the sizes of her meals and snacks (even when they’re healthy). “I can run circles around many people my age, but I can’t deny the fact that I’m older and I don’t burn calories the way I used to,” she says. “If I overeat even a little bit the calories seem to hang onto me.”
Constantino now reads nutrition labels more than ever; she also uses a food scale and measuring cups. “I will look at a label for a healthy bag of nuts, and I will see that 10 pieces is a serving and put them in a bowl or baggy,” she explains. “Without measuring it out, I can easily do damage and gain weight, even those it’s a healthy snack.”
Misjudging portions is a common weight-loss speedbump, says Mohr. But if cups and scales sound too tedious, he recommends pre-portioned dishes (think summer and those BBQ divided plates!) from time to time to reorient yourself with accurate meal portions.
Or, use your hands: One handful of carbohydrate, two handfuls of veggies and/or fruit, and one palm-sized piece of protein is a no-fuss way to balance your meal. As for snacks? Shop for single-serving packs or think “golf-ball size” when pouring from a family-size bag.
RELATED: 8 Tips for Controlling Portion Sizes
Start lifting weights
When Anna Laura Sommer began grad school, she found it tough to maintain a healthy lifestyle. “I carried an extra layer of ‘fluff’ around my midsection,” says the 27-year-old, who is now a fitness and health coach in Philadelphia. “I was never overweight, per se, but I knew I didn’t feel my best.”
She started lifting weights as a form of stress relief (“I called it my beast-mode time and took it all out on the weights”), but in about a month she noticed the fluff melt away and muscle begin to show. “I was seeing so much more change in my body from shorter strength sessions compared with long cardio workouts,” she says.
There’s science behind her results: “In general, the more lean muscle mass you carry, the faster your resting metabolism is—and you don’t build muscle by only focusing on cardio,” explains Michelle Lovitt, an exercise physiologist based in Los Angeles. So head for those dumbbells at the gym, or add body-weight exercises to your routine.
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How much does 10 lbs. really matter?
Carrying a few extra pounds actually isn’t the biggest deal (as long as 10 doesn’t turn into 20, and so on!). “If a woman is a normal weight and puts on a few pounds, and her BMI is still in a healthy zone, those 10 pounds probably don’t have a huge impact on her risk factors for things like diabetes and metabolic syndrome,” Dr. Wyatt notes.
So ask why you want to slim down: Do you just feel better and more confident when your jeans are less snug? Do you feel stronger and more energized during workouts? “If losing a little weight achieves that for you, that’s great,” she says.
You set out to lose weight, and you’ve been working hard to make serious progress towards your target number. Then when you’re this close, the scale stops budging—even though you’re still doing everything right.
It’s a cruel fact that the closer you get to your goal weight, the harder it becomes to slim down. Now that you’re smaller, your body needs less energy to maintain its new size. So to shed those last few pounds, you might need to buckle down even more.
(Got 10 minutes? Then you’ve got time to lose the weight for good with Prevention’s new 10-minute workouts and 10-minute meals. Get Fit in 10: Slim and Strong for Life now!)
It’s annoying, sure. But it doesn’t have to be painful. We chatted with 10 nutrition experts to find out what you can do to reach the finish line. Here are their smart—and surprisingly easy to follow—tips.
Go back to food journaling. (Or start.)
If you kept a food journal at the start of your weight loss journey but started getting lazy once the pounds began coming off, try picking that habit back up. Food journaling helps identify a lot of behaviors you might be doing without realizing it—like having a second helping at dinner or snacking mindlessly, says registered dietitian Keri Gans. “Until you reach your goal weight, and even for a while afterward, keeping a food journal can be key,” she says.
MORE: Exactly What I Ate To Lose 50+ Pounds
Stop mindless snacking.
They may be small, but those little bites, tastes, and licks we all take carry extra calories we don’t need—and make it harder to lose those last couple pounds. Not sure how to break the habit? Every time you have the urge to put something in your mouth that wasn’t planned (like the extra fry off of your friend’s plate or candy from a co-worker’s desk), put those foods in a plastic bag instead. (Or at the very least, jot it down in the notes section of your iPhone.) Sure, it sounds a little weird. But once you gather your mindless eats for one entire day, you’ll probably be surprised by how much extra food—and calories—you avoided eating, says registered dietitian Jennifer McDaniel. (These 16 simple ways to eat less can also help you hit your goal.)
Have a smoothie for dinner.
Try trading your plate for a blended drink three nights a week, recommends registered dietitian Martha McKittrick. “Meal replacements can help with weight loss because they’re portion controlled. And, a homemade meal replacement is the cleanest kind,” she says. Worried you’ll go hungry? Even though many smoothies are lower in calories than the average dinner entrée, all the protein, fiber, and liquid makes them super filling. Aim for a smoothie with 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt or a scoop of plant-based protein powder, 3/4 cup frozen berries, a handful of leafy greens, a tablespoon of chia or flaxseeds, and enough unsweetened almond milk to make the smoothie the consistency you want.
MORE: 5 Ways Your Smoothie Is Making You Gain Weight—And How To Fix It
This banana almond protein smoothie will keep you full for hours:
Enlist a few key motivators.
David Jakle/Getty Images
After weeks (or months) of working to lose weight, it’s normal for your enthusiasm to start to drag. But skipping workouts may be what’s preventing you from reaching your goal. To stay on track, find a friend or family member who can hold you accountable when it comes to your workout schedule, recommends registered dietitian nutritionist Sara Haas. (You may also want to read up on these 31 ways to never skip another workout.) You may also want to consider meeting with a registered dietician to see if your diet plan could be what’s holding you back. “It might be that you’re not actually eating enough, or that you’re not eating at the right times, or that your new favorite snack isn’t as nutritious as you think it is,” she says.
Ward off water retention.
Holding onto extra water can cause the scale to stay put—or even nudge upwards. But taking a few simple steps can help ward off water retention, and the bloating that can come with it, says registered dietitian Sarah Pflugradt. “Don’t sip through straws, eat slowly, and cut back on salty foods. And of course, drink plenty of water throughout the day,” she suggests. (Hate the taste of water? Fill up a pitcher of water and add fresh fruits like oranges, limes, and berries. It will lend the liquid a hint of flavor and make sipping a bit more enjoyable. For even more ideas, don’t miss these 25 flat belly sassy water recipes.)
Trade your dinner carbs for veggies.
Having complex carbs with breakfast and lunch can give you the energy you need to get through your day. But by dinnertime, you no longer need that extra boost. So swap out the carbs for a serving of non-starchy veggies—like leafy greens, broccoli, mushrooms, or peppers, suggests registered dietitian Isabel Smith. “This has helped a lot of my clients have better weight loss results. The veggies deliver the same filling volume, but for fewer calories.”
PREVENTION PREMIUM: 6 Tips To Get The Best Food From The Farmers’ Market At The Lowest Prices
Look at your toxic load.
Hoxton/Tom Merton/Getty Images
Obesogenic chemicals like BPA, phthalates (one of these 12 most toxic chemicals in your home), parabens, and PCBs (a known carcinogen) could be making it harder to reach your goal weight. “They disrupt the endocrine system and increase estrogen production,” explains clinical nutritionist Jennifer Cassetta. “That can lead to reduced insulin sensitivity, disrupt satiety-regulating hormones, and inhibit thyroid function, which can all lead to weight gain.” It can be tough to avoid these chemicals completely, but you can take steps to reduce your exposure by using glass instead of plastic, choosing seafood with lower levels of contaminants, and opting for paraben-free personal care products. (FYI: Tarte Cosmetics, Burt’s Bees, and May Lindstrom Skin are all paraben-free.)
Eat a little more.
It seems counterintuitive, but upping your portions could actually help you lose more weight. Over time, restricting your food intake can cause your metabolism to slow down. But your body burns energy digesting food—so eating a bit more can actually boost your metabolic rate overall, explains Angel Planells, registered dietician and Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson. Of course, that doesn’t mean devouring a cupcake or a slice of pizza. Adding back 100 extra calories should do the trick, Planells says. And they should be from clean foods. Add an extra ounce or two of chicken on your salad, or another tablespoon of nut butter with your apple. (These 5 power foods that will help you eat your way to a smaller size are also worth adding to your plate.)
MORE: 7 Signs You Need To Eat More To Lose Weight
Getting enough sleep is an underappreciated—but highly effective—tool for weight loss. “Heading to bed an hour earlier can reduce the window of time when people are most prone to snacking on high-calorie foods,” says registered dietitian Georgie Fear. Plus, when you get enough rest at night, you have more energy to make healthy food choices and hit the gym the next day. (Tend to have trouble falling asleep? Try some of these 20 ways to sleep better every night.)
Stop paying so much attention to the scale.
Yes, we all have a number that we want to see when we step on, but sometimes, our bodies have another plan, says registered dietitian nutritionist Marisa Moore. “You might consider focusing instead on inches lost, the way your new clothes fit, or your increased energy or endurance as a new measure of success.”
MORE: I Lost 125 Pounds By Making This Simple Change To My Diet
Marygrace Taylor Marygrace Taylor is a health and wellness writer for Prevention, Parade, Women’s Health, Redbook, and others.
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.