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At the start of a new fitness program, you clean up your diet and hit the workouts, and the weight seems to fall off. Cutting calories too low will cause your body to think it's starving, and it will hold on to the fat you're trying so hard to lose. The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. It's an unfortunate law of weight loss: The last 10 pounds are harder to shed than the first 30. By clicking "Sign in", you confirm that you accept our terms of service and have read and understand privacy policy. By clicking "Create Account", you confirm that you accept our terms of service and have read and understand privacy policy. You can apply this principle to any workout, whether you're power walking, jogging, or using an elliptical machine: Alternate between a moderate effort that makes you slightly breathless and a vigorous pace that makes speaking more than a couple of words difficult. If you're having a hard time shedding weight, you might be focusing too much on counting calories and not enough on protein. All of the fitness and health experts we reached out to shared one common thread: lift weights, and don't be afraid of heavy weights! Esther Blum explains that lifting heavy weights raises our body's hormone levels, offering your body the "natural ability to burn fat for a full 24 hours after your workout." If that's not enough proof to head to the weight room, I don't know what is! If your gym routine is feeling ineffective and you're not sure how to make the proper changes, group fitness expert Aimee Nicotera says that hiring a personal trainer can make a huge difference. Just the word "fat" makes some people steer clear, but adding more healthy fats to your diet can help your body shed weight. Cleaning up your diet is essential on any weight-loss journey, but whatever processed foods are still lurking in your diet have got to go! Drinking water before meals helps you eat less and keeps belly bloat in check, but staying hydrated all day long can actually help you burn more calories. Lack of sleep wreaks havoc on your emotional state, but it also affects your physical body big time. Going solo on a weight-loss journey can work for some, but many folks find that building a support system is essential to staying on track. But when you get down to the last 5, 10, or 15 pounds you want to lose, the scale may suddenly refuse to budge. Working out longer will cut into your personal time and probably won't help you drop those last few pounds anyway. That's because the slimmer you become, the fewer calories you burn just going about your day, explains Madelyn Fernstrom, PhD, founding director of the Weight Management Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and author of The Runner's Diet.
However, many of our readers have noted that those last 10 pounds are some of the hardest to take off. Canadian researchers found that when women did 10 sets alternating a 4-minute burst of intense cycling followed by 2 minutes of easy pedaling, they burned up to 66% more fat during subsequent aerobic workouts. In a 30-minute interval workout, you'll burn 20% more calories than if you maintained a steady pace—and you'll keep burning more fat afterward. However, many of our readers have noted that those last five kilos are some of the hardest to take off. According to Esther Blum, MS, RD, CDN, CNS, and author of Cavewomen Don't Get Fat, high-protein foods take more work to "digest, metabolise, and use, which means you burn more calories processing them." Esther says that eating adequate protein also ensures that you keep your precious muscle tissue — something that is often lost with a low-calorie diet. Former Canyon Ranch director and group fitness expert Aimee Nicotera says that lifting heavier weights than you're used to might be the "nudge your body needs to change"; she also promises you won't bulk up from this shift.

Julie says that when our bodies are under stress, "our adrenal glands pump out excessive amounts of the stress hormone cortisol, causing an imbalance in our bodies' natural hormonal rhythms." This imbalance reduces your ability to burn fat, hindering your body from reaching that goal weight.
She recognises that this isn't an easy financial decision for most people, but a good trainer will "meet your individual needs, hold you accountable, and challenge you." Even a handful of sessions with a professional can totally revamp your workout routine and help you reach your goals. Julie Barrett, MS, RD, says to eat more fat from organic plant sources like "coconut oil and nuts" and to choose "grass-fed, organic, pasture-raised animal sources." Many sources of healthy fats like avocados, olive oil, salmon, and walnuts offer the added bonus of being high in omega-3 fatty acids, which can help fight inflammation. Not only does it stop your body from hitting a hard plateau, but you'll also be less likely to get burnt out. Healthy living guru and dietitian Cynthia Sass, MPH, RD, recommends that "if anything you eat comes in a package, read the ingredient list first. One study showed that people who drank eight to 12 glasses of water a day burned more fat than those who only drank four. Research shows that feeling sluggish the day after a poor night's sleep causes people to eat an average of 549 extra calories without even realising it.
Many of our readers have found that Weight Watchers meetings have helped hold them accountable, and there are plenty of online forums out there where you can grow your healthy network and meet people with similar struggles, goals, and accomplishments to celebrate!
You might be tempted to drastically reduce calories or increase the amount of time you spend working out.
A simple, short-term trick to losing weight is to cut back on carbs until you're at your goal. No matter what workout program you're doing, you will lose weight faster if you kick up the intensity. If you've already increased the intensity of your workout program and still find that your weight loss has slowed, it might be time to try something different. Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that lean people spend 2 more hours per day on their feet than overweight people. Cycling your calories, also known as zigzagging, is the process of eating more on certain days and less on others. You may not realize how important water is for weight loss—it's not just a tool to help you eat less. If you're dealing with a similar predicament, these expert tips offer the advice you need to hit your weight-loss goal — and keep it off for good. Julie recognises that "not all stress is bad" (and we can't completely eliminate stress from our lives), but there are some stressors we have control over such as "poorly controlled blood sugar, excessive caffeine consumption, over training, and poor digestion." If you start working through stressors, you'll start seeing results. Esther Blum says that the same old workouts week after week will only "maintain your fitness levels and make no strength or muscle gains whatsoever." If you want to see changes, you've got to make changes. It should read like a recipe you could whip up in your own kitchen." If you haven't been fastidious about reading labels in the past, you might be very surprised at the slew of chemicals and additives that go into even the most common processed foods. In addition, lack of sleep also slows down your metabolism, making you burn 20 percent fewer calories a day. Researchers at Tufts University followed 160 people on four different weight loss plans and found that the type of diet participants were on didn't matter as much as the participants' willingness to stick to their diets.
Eat lean protein and vegetables at every meal and limit carbs to before and after your workouts, and you'll probably see the scale shift rather quickly. Jump higher, squat lower, and increase the weight you're lifting to burn more calories, rev your metabolism, and stoke the fat-burning fire. When you perform the same exercises over and over, your body becomes more efficient at them. Participants in the study who stood, paced, and fidgeted burned as many as 350 extra calories a day and were much leaner than those who didn't move as much.

A 165-pound woman who works out three to five times a week may require 2,300 calories per day to maintain her weight, but the same woman at 125 pounds may only need 2,000 calories for maintenance.
Being properly hydrated will balance your energy levels, which allows you to exercise with intensity. If your workouts are very intense and your diet is too strict, you could overtrain and burn out.
Losing weight is not easy, and you've already accomplished a great deal—so enjoy your success. No reproduction, transmission or display is permitted without the written permissions of Rodale Inc. But we do have some good news: Easy tweaks to the good habits you've already established can push you past your plateau and help you reach your final weight loss goal. If you've always wanted to start running, kick off your program with our 35-minute interval plan that alternates between walking and running. Not only will proper hydration help with weight loss, but it will also keep you healthier all year long.
If you deal with insomnia or have been having a hard time sleeping lately, check out these 25 sleep tips, full of effective solutions. If you've been dieting for a while, you might have become a little lax with your food choices and portions, so tighten them up again. Easy, low-carb meal ideas include egg-white omelettes with vegetables, Whey Protein Powder shakes made with water, salads with lean protein (chicken, tuna, or turkey), and grilled or broiled lean beef, poultry, or fish with vegetables.
Get up from your desk at work, talk on the phone while standing, and stay on your feet in waiting rooms—the simplest effort will yield an extra calorie burn that may help you shed those remaining pounds. The next step is to ask yourself if the "magic" number on the scale is really the best weight for you.
To lose those last pesky pounds, stick to unprocessed foods (the kind that don't come in a box) and choose lean protein, vegetables, fruit, and whole grains. By starting a new fitness routine, you'll shock your muscles, reignite your metabolism, and get the scale moving again. You do not need to make radical changes, however; if you're already increasing the intensity of your workouts and eating a clean, whole-foods diet, you could probably see the scale move with a modest 100-calorie reduction per day. Much like shocking your muscles into working harder by introducing new exercises, it's possible to shock your metabolism by zigzagging your calories. Muscles need rest to repair and grow, and sometimes your brain needs a break from constant calorie counting and worrying about the last few pounds. Perhaps you've lost fat and gained a lot of muscle; your new hard body might be healthier and happier with a few more pounds on it. Keeping a food journal will help you track everything you eat and get your calories under control.
Instead of becoming frustrated and diving into a box of cookies, try to relax and reduce the intensity for a little while. You may be surprised to find the scale moving again when you give your mind and body a rest.

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