The last 5 pounds are the hardest… Here’s some information on the best ways to lose weight

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Anyone who has tried to lose weight will know these depressing words: The last five pounds are the hardest to lose.

You’re about to reach your goal weight, but suddenly the scale doesn’t move, even though you’re still following the same healthy diet, lifestyle, and exercise routine.

There is a scientific basis for why losing those last few pounds is so difficult, called the weight loss plateau.

But before you contact Google for one of those programs promising to help you shed those last five pounds, here’s some important information about why it’s happening, and five simple things you can do to hack it.

When your body senses something that threatens its survival, it automatically triggers a series of physiological responses to protect itself against the threat.

So when we adjust our diet and reduce our calorie intake, our body registers that we are losing weight and thinks it is under threat. It makes protective adjustments, lowers our metabolic rate, burns less energy and slows the pace of weight loss.

It also releases higher levels of the appetite hormone called ghrelin, which is known to increase hunger and help maintain fat stores.

Research has shown that this plateau begins to set in between three and six months of weight loss, after which weight regain usually occurs. So, for those who need to lose a lot of weight, the plateau will be evident before the last five pounds.

It can be difficult to break through the plateau phase. Regardless of the delay, it’s a sign that your previously successful approach to weight loss needs to be changed.

1. Reconsider your weight loss goal

The first and most important thing you may need to adjust when you hit a plateau is your definition of a healthy body weight.

Ask yourself: what defines the weight I’m trying to achieve?

Many people use BMI to set a weight loss goal, but the number on the scale — and the result you get when you enter your weight and height into the BMI calculator — is nonsense. It doesn’t tell the whole story of what it means to be at a healthy weight.

This is because the BMI calculator misses two more important measures: body fat percentage and body fat distribution.

If you exercise regularly as part of a weight loss plan, you will gain muscle or improve your muscle to fat ratio. Muscle is heavier than body fat, which affects the number on the scale .

It is also possible that you have changed the distribution of fat in your body, which reduces the amount of unhealthy fat stored around the stomach, near the organs, thus reducing the risk of disease.

So grab a tape measure, check how your clothes fit, and think about how you feel to confirm if you really need to shed those last few pounds. Work on a waist circumference of around 80cm for women and around 90-94cm for men.

2. Focus on meal size throughout the day

The current fad is intermittent fasting. This often means that breakfast is the first meal to be eliminated from the menu in an effort to cut calories from the diet and shorten the time you are allowed to eat throughout the day.

Controlled research studies have shown that this is when your body makes the best use of the calories you eat – in fact, it burns calories from a meal two and a half times more efficiently in the morning than in the evening.

And instead of reducing the meal period, eat breakfast and reduce the size of your evening meal.

3. Consider more muscle-strengthening exercises

Relying on diet alone for weight loss can reduce muscle and body fat. This slows down your metabolism and makes it difficult to maintain weight over the long term.

Any physical activity will go a long way to preserving your muscle mass, but it’s important that you incorporate two days of muscle-strengthening exercises into your weekly workout routine.

Bodyweight exercises such as push-ups, pull-ups, planks, and overhead squats are just as effective as lifting weights in the gym.

4. Review the quality of your food

When you lose weight, your body needs less fuel, so it’s essential to review and adjust your calorie intake when you hit a plateau.

In general, you need to consume about 10% fewer calories when you lose 10% of your weight, just to maintain your new weight. But this does not mean deprivation or starvation.

Instead, you should focus on an abundance of nutrient-dense foods and limit prepared meals to just once a week.

5. Check your stress

Stress will hinder your weight loss success. Stress increases the body’s production of cortisol, which promotes fat storage and leads to cravings for unhealthy foods. The best type of stress management is exercise. (Scientific Alert)







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