Melanie Douglass, R.D.
Studio 5 Health & Fitness Contributor
If you are reading this because you’ve struggled with “the last 10” – either now or in the past – you are not alone! I’ve had countless friends, family and clients over the years with this struggle; it is real, it’s biological, and it can be a constant source of stress for many people in America.
So first of all, remember that if you take good care of your body with healthy foods and regular exercise, your body might be healthier and stronger than you give it credit for. And your body might be happy weighing what it weighs… you may be at your ideal, functioning weight that allows your body to survive, fuel your workouts and fight environmental stresses. So don’t be too hard on yourself! Something that always breaks my heart is when people lose a lot of excess weight (they’ve just accomplished an amazing task that took months or years)… then when the last 10 don’t come off, they lose hope, give up and often regain all the weight they fought so hard to lose. Don’t let this happen to you. If you are taking care of your body, then be happy with the way it is… which is amazing! Feeling content with your good health and vitality will always be more fulfilling than numbers on a scale.
Secondly, if you are doing everything right and you are still certain your body could weigh 10 pounds less, then here are two basic steps that help shed cling-on pounds:
1. Try a completely new type of workout – at least two days per week.
If you already work out and can’t drop the last 10 pounds, there’s a good chance your body is just too used to your program; your body has mastered the moves, figured out how to most efficiently fuel the muscles, and how to be ready to perform your favorite moves day after day. What does it all mean? You just have to incorporate completely different muscular demands… and least 2 days per week. So if you are triathlete – try zumba; try more weight training; try kickboxing… try something way outside your comfort zone.
Not sure if this small change can really make a difference? Think about the many times you’ve had a friend enthusiastically tell you about their “new” workout program – and how they’ve dropped weight by doing this brand new program. Remember when people started doing P90X and losing tons of weight? Body for Life? Zumba? Studio cycling? All these workout formats are GREAT forms of exercise – but when they were “new”… a bunch of people “tried something new” and had very positive results.
2. Shock Your Metabolism
When it comes to the stubborn last 10 or pounds, diet is a key contributing factor. In fact, for people who totally own the workout portion (like working out 1 – 2 hours a day – which is plenty!) but still can’t lose, it’s likely foods consumed that cause the problem.
Shocking your metabolism isn’t about going on a crash diet… it’s not starving, or even dieting for that matter. It’s similar to the exercise portion: you have to do something different.
Here’s a good “shock your metabolism” plan for the average American who works out, eats all types of foods in moderation and still can’t seem to lose:
1) Eat any of the following foods for 5 days:
a. Fresh fruit
b. Plain Greek yogurt with a few drops of honey
c. Tons and tons and tons of vegetables
d. Raw nuts
e. Beans (this will likely be your source of sodium),
f. Season/top with olive oil and pepper (or sodium-free herb blends)
2) If your not sure about how to combine these foods and need recipes, just search for recipes with these basic ingredients – or, because this is only for a few days to shock your system – just forget about recipes. Big salads with beans or nuts and fruits with yogurt are EASY – no recipe required.
3) Commit to do this for 5 days straight! Just 5 days.
The likely outcome is that you will eat different food combinations, learn to like a few new things, learn how great fruits and vegetables make you feel, and realize what a plant-based healthy diet is like. You’ll feel lighter and leaner after just 5 days… and whether or not you stick with this, even if you eat this way every other day, or twice a week, or as much as you can – it will make a HUGE difference in your ability to shed lingering fat.