You were just about at your goal weight, but then those last five pounds just keep lingering. Don’t they know they’ve overstayed their welcome? How rude.
If you’ve been in a clean-eating zone and you’re spending more time with your spin instructor than your spouse, but you just can’t shake those last few pounds, you may need to do a little digging to find out what's going on. Here are six things to think about:
1. Pay attention to detail.
You were diligent when it came to losing 20 pounds (or 10 pounds), and you’re just as focused now, so what gives? Those pesky last five pounds can often be the toughest and you may need to take it up a notch. Yes, even more.
No, you don't have to start counting calories or drinking only lemon water, but when it comes to dropping the last few pounds, even the piece of candy here (perhaps while getting a manicure?) to the extra bites of chocolate there (think chocolates on your pillow) can make a world (or five pounds) of a difference.
How to take note of these mindless quick treats? Food journal like it’s your job. Write down everything and you will likely find those places where “extras” are sneaking in. Already have a diet that rivals a fitness model's daily meals? Try switching up your workout to something new.
2. Improve your gut health.
There’s a lot of science that shows your gut health can majorly affect your overall health. What does this mean for weight loss? Healthy gut equals a healthy bod, making sure that all systems are a "go" for getting rid of those last few pounds. The best way to do it? Eating as many fibrous veggies (microbes feast on the prebiotic fiber) and fermented foods as possible is key (think sauerkraut, kimchi and kefir), and consider taking a high-quality probiotic, since it can also benefit your digestive and immune systems.
3. Regulate your sleep schedule.
Sleep is important for weight loss (and living a healthy life) as is eating from an empowered place and adding sweat sessions to your weekly routine. The research is pretty clear. If you’re not getting enough zzz’s (or enough quality zzz’s) it could be the one factor holding you back from shedding those last few pounds.
Create a bedtime routine that you can do every night. Your mind will begin to get used to preparing for bed, helping your body feel more ready to relax and sleep. This could include having a cup of chamomile tea, lavender bath or even taking a magnesium supplement.
4. Check your sugar.
Excess and added sugars hide in all forms under the wrapping of most packaged foods. This one sneaky ingredient can be what’s holding you back from feeling amazing after zipping up that little black dress. Do your own sugar detox. Read your labels and avoid all added sugar (yes, even your jarred pasta sauce, yogurt and ketchup are culprits of sneaking in the sweet stuff). Eat as many whole, real, unprocessed foods as possible and you’ll automatically be reducing your added sugar intake.
5. Watch your sodium.
A diet laden with sodium causes your body to retain water. You know that feeling after a sushi meal? Yes, bloating and sluggishness, but the puffy feeling that lasts into the next morning is water retention. The last few pounds of weight you’re trying your hardest to get rid of could be caused solely by fluid. Getting rid of it for good can make all of the difference in how good you feel when you throw on your favorite jeans in the morning.
Toss the salt shaker and hit the spice rack to your heart's content. High-sodium culprits include canned soup and cured meats like deli meat, which also contain nitrates (compounds that cause inflammation). If meat is a staple in your diet, skip the deli slices and grill your own at home with a low-sodium marinade, or use spices to make your own dry rub.
6. Get veggies in at every meal.
This is the easiest way to feel empowered eating until you’re satisfied without piling on excess unwanted calories. You’ll also reap the benefits of antioxidants from these nutrient-rich foods. Non-starchy vegetables are also water dense, meaning that you’ll get the extra dose of hydration, which keeps your metabolism revving at full speed, and that much closer to losing those last five pounds.