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Stuck in a Rut? Tips to Losing those Last 10 Lbs

posted Oct 5, 2015, 9:49 AM by Walk Strong Calgary   [ updated Oct 5, 2015, 11:05 AM ]
There are many factors that can influence your progress when trying to lose weight, and one of the most frustrating things is when you just can't seem to lose those last pesky 10 pounds or so. I've been there. 

One of the best things you can do if you're at this stage is to re-examine your goals - are they realistic and attainable? Have you been doing what you need to do to meet them each week? Have you been accountable to yourself or to a friend? 

Here are some tips to breaking that 10-lb barrier:

1. Add variety to your workouts and make sure you're strength training

If your workout is the same routine all the time, your body has very likely adapted to the activity. This was a key in my own weight loss journey. I was walking, running and biking regularly but could only seem to get to a certain point with weight loss. What I didn't realize was that I was using the same muscles in the same way all the time, and once my body got used to that, I was burning fewer calories.  I also wasn't strength training, which is a key element in losing weight and keeping it off. Toned muscle means a higher metabolic rate - you burn more calories. Bear in mind that building muscle can offset burned fat to some extent, so the scale may not tell the true story - pay attention to how you feel and how your clothes fit. Once I found a program that used cross-functional training, my muscles never knew what was coming... I lost those last 10 lbs in six weeks and have maintained that for almost 4 years. Change your workout by adding a variety of activities that use every major muscle group in the body across all planes of motion. It might just be what the doctor ordered.

2. Deal with stress and anxiety

It is really quite amazing the impact these two factors can have on your body. Stress attacks the
immune system, and one of the side effects of anxiety is exhaustion. We weren't designed to be in a state of constant stress - the fight or flight instinct. Prolonged stress means your body's relaxation response isn't activated to allow the body to return to a normal state. Higher levels of cortisol for prolonged periods in the blood stream can result in decreased bone density and muscle tissue, high blood pressure, blood glucose imbalances, impaired cognitive function, and more. There are many ways to deal with stress and anxiety, and exercise is one of the best! Talk to your doctor about other options as well.

3. Are you getting enough (or too much) sleep?

Sleep is a critical function of the body. Lack of sleep impacts your appetite hormones among other things, and if you're up late, you have more time to eat. Not enough sleep can result in depression and lack of desire to work out let alone not having the energy to do it. You can be getting too much sleep, too, and 'like begets like' - the more you sleep, the more your body wants to sleep. On the other hand, the more energy you expend, the more energy you have. Regular physical activity combined with balanced whole food nutrition can help you sleep more soundly. 

4. Have you become complacent?

Sometimes as we approach our goal we start to get a bit lax in our routine. We skip workouts. Increase our portion sizes. Fall back into old habits... Like eating ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and supper... I confess! It's my biggest weakness! ha ha... The next thing you know, you're noticing your clothes are a bit tighter again... that pot belly is getting a bit bigger again... It's time to rein yourself in and get back on track! 

5. Extra calories are sneaking into your diet

Know what you're eating and what's in the food you're eating. This can be tough if you eat out a lot. Sauces and dressing are often the culprits - ask for dressing on the side so you can control how much goes into your salad. Select grilled over fried meats. If the restaurant serves large portions, eat half and take the rest home for later. Watch how much 'good fat' you're getting in your diet - avocados are very healthy, but too much of a good thing can result in weight gain. Oh, and are you drinking extra calories? Alcoholic beverages, sugary juices, and soft drinks can add more calories than you realize. Opt for water or herbal teas. 

6. You're not moving enough throughout the day

Research has shown that prolonged sitting increases mortality rate... yes, even if you work out every day. The body was not designed to sit for long periods of time and you increase your chances of an early death if you're not getting up to move. It also hinders weight loss efforts. Take opportunities to get more movement in by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, park farther away from the mall entrance... even drinking more water can help because you'll be getting up 'to go' more. You'll be more productive as well if you get up and walk for a few minutes at regular intervals. 

If you've tried all of these and more and still are not having the realistic results you'd like to see, be sure to check with your doctor, with whom you should be working already anyway. There could be metabolic factors hindering your progress or other medical issues involved. 

Nancy Ehle is a Certified Walk Leader, Group Fitness Instructor and Health Coach. She holds several industry specialties as well. Her enthusiasm and passion for healthy living is infectious! Join her on Facebook: Walk Strong Calgary

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