INSIGHTS

Turn Setbacks into Setups

You Might Not Lose Those Last 5 Pounds

July 19, 2019

When you first set out to lose weight—especially if you’re going for 20 pounds or more—you might find that it’s almost easy.


After all, the path forward is obvious: diet changes and exercise add-ins. And sure, you’re making a serious effort, but you can see the reward as those pounds seem to just fall off.


Unfortunately, the last 5 pounds are notorious for being the hardest to lose. As we get closer to our target weight, the path forward isn’t always as clear. We’ve already made all the big changes—so why isn’t our plan working as well as it did right off the bat? 


Why are those last few pounds so hard, anyway?


As you get stronger and healthier, all of those workouts that initially burned a ton of calories aren’t quite as effective anymore—mostly because you don’t have to put quite as much work in. At a lighter weight, you both consume and expend fewer calories throughout the day in general. In other words, walking a mile was more of a trial when you were 30 pounds heavier…but now you don’t expend as much energy (or as many calories) in the effort. 


Essentially, you’re really going to be fighting your body to part with those last few pounds. And, it’ll call for some very small, nuanced lifestyle changes. 


So what can you do about it?


As tricky as reaching your goal might be, there’s certainly nothing wrong with trying. After all, you’ll never know whether it’s possible if you don’t give it a shot. Try really honing in on your strategies, playing with changes until you find something that works well for you. To start, see if any of these tried-and-tested strategies work for you:


  • Keep a food journal. Sometimes, those last few steps are all about very deliberately sticking to your nutrition plan, without falling off the wagon. The best way to do that is by logging your food each day to make sure you actually know what you’re eating.
  • Get some sleep. Getting quality shut-eye is crucial if you want to lose weight. Sleep helps keep your hunger and satiety hormones in check, which can help you ditch those cravings for sweets.
  • Consider intermittent fasting. Studies are beginning to support the idea that fasting for longer periods can help some people lose weight, rather than cutting calories across the board.
  • Lift some weights. We often turn to cardio for weight loss, but weight lifting can really boost the number of calories burned. Plus, muscles burn more calories than fat when at rest, meaning you’ll burn more calories in general over the course of your day.

Of course, if you can’t lose weight after a reasonable amount of time, it may simply be your body’s way of telling you that you’re chasing an unrealistic or even unhealthy ideal. It might be time to make peace with the fact that you don’t actually have 5 pounds to lose, and that you’re absolutely fine just as you are. 
At the end of the day, whether you test out a few new strategies or accept your weight as it is, it’s all about how you feel in your own skin. And maybe it’s time to start appreciating what your body can do now that you’ve lost weight, rather than the number on the scale.