According to Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, founding director of the Weight Management Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and author of The Runner’s Diet, the last 10 pounds are harder to lose than the first 30.
Because the more weight you lose, the fewer calories you burn throughout the day.
“All of us have a built-in mechanism that protects against starvation. When caloric intake falls below caloric expenditure, a series of metabolic and physiological responses kick in to preserve and replenish energy stores,” explains Barry Levin, MD, professor and vice chair of the department of neurology and neurosciences at the New Jersey Medical School in Newark.
So here we present 10 simple tips on losing those stubborn last ten pounds, gleaned from various sources across the web.
10) Stand, Jump, Walk, But Move!
If your destination is only one or two floors, try walking up stairs when you normally would take an elevator. Also, stand an extra hour a day, and/or jump around. Small changes in standing versus sitting can add up. “A study from Iowa State University found that obese women stood for 2 hours less than their lean counterparts — a simple habit researchers say could make a difference of 300 calories a day.”
9) Never Eat Carbs Past 3 p.m.
Writing for Dr. Oz, Lisa Lynn suggests thinking green and beige for dinner: a serving of protein and a large salad with fat-free dressing. Load up on healthy fats. “It satiates you, which in turn quells sugar and white flour cravings. Find good-for-you fats in avocado, olive oil, and fish.”
8) Use Substitutions
Eat cottage cheese in place of sour cream; dip bread in olive oil instead of adding butter. Order tomatoes slices as a side dish instead of fries. It all adds up. And avoid creamy foods. According to research from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, flavoring oatmeal, cereal, and coffee with cinnamon may control the insulin spikes that often occur after eating.
7) Eat an Apple Before Meals
Pennsylvania State University researchers suggest an apple a day keeps the pounds away. Julie Flood, PhD, a nutrition researcher formerly with Penn State, claims starting a meal with a lower-calorie food leaves less room for high-calorie entrées, so you naturally eat less.
6) Stoke The Body Furnace With More Muscle
GQ’s Mark Kirby points out that muscle cells have twice the metabolic activity of fat cells, which means the higher your ratio of muscle to fat, the higher your baseline metabolism and the more calories you burn at rest. Lift weights or firm up with calisthenics.
5) Drink Lots of Water
One study suggests an effective weight-loss aid is water. Drinking two 8-ounce glasses of water before breakfast, lunch, and dinner while also cutting back on portions may help you lose weight and keep it off for at least a year, according to research presented at the American Chemical Society in Boston.
“As part of a prudent, low-calorie weight-loss diet, adding water may help with weight-loss success,” says Brenda Davy, Ph.D., the lead author of the study and an associate professor of nutrition at Virginia Tech, in Blacksburg.
4) Stop Eating When You’re 80% Full
A Dr. Oz article claims an extra 3 ounces of chicken means an extra 7 grams of fat or having an extra serving of rice or pasta can mean overeating by as much as 300 calories – and that’s more than you burn in your workouts most of the time.
3) Fat-Free Dressing
Eat your salads with fat-free dressings. Each tablespoon of oil that you use is 120 calories and 14 grams of fat! If you are eating too much fat, your body will not burn it.
However, one related comment noted that if you use a fat-free dressing you are better off not even eating a salad.
“Much of the nutritional value in a salad is absorbed only if consumed with a fat (ie. some vitamins are fat soluble like vitamins A, D, E and K) so be aware to use a quality olive oil with your salad and avoid adding the high sugar found in some dressings.”
2) Reassess Your Goal Weight
According to Judith S. Beck, PhD, director of the Beck Institute for Cognitive Therapy and Research in Philadelphia and author of The Beck Diet Solution. you may not need to lose any more pounds.
“Perhaps you can reach your number. But the question to ask yourself is, once you get there, can you maintain approximately the same exercise and diet pace for the rest of your life?” she says.
Instead of aiming for your lowest achievable weight, you might want to shoot for your lowest maintainable weight. “It’s not giving up,” she adds. “It’s being realistic and shifting to a maintenance strategy before you get completely demoralized.”
1) When All Else Fails, Increase Meal Size
A dieter’s body eventually adapts to receiving fewer calories without losing weight. So although it may seem counter-intuitive, Dr. Caroline J. Cederquist, a metabolic expert and board-certified medical weight management specialist, recommends something she calls a “metabolic adjustment phase.”
Instead of reducing calories, she suggests a two-week period of increased meal sizes. “During this phase, the goal is not to lose weight, but to readjust your body’s ability to metabolize an increasing number of calories, by increasing portion sizes and bumping up caloric intake.”
When your weight begins to decrease, slowly resume your diet again.