by Nevine Baligh
You’ve been on a weight-loss mission since New Year’s Eve. It’s now summertime and you are mere inches away from your goal weight (literally). You’re right on the same track you’ve been on for the past 6 months, but the steady, delightful decline of the number on the scale has slowed down to a crawl. After a couple of weeks of trying what feels like everything to make it budge again, you realize you’ve hit what is commonly known as a weight-loss plateau.
The sad but true fact is that the closer you get to your target weight, the harder it becomes to lose even more kilos. Generally speaking, your smaller body needs less energy to sustain its new weight. But simply eating even less isn’t always the healthiest or easiest way to go.
Here are some tips and tricks that can help you to finally whittle down those last few pesky pounds:
Preparing weekly meals and snacks in advance is an excellent way to help you stay on track. It’s easy to reach for the first packaged snack you see when you’re back home and hungry after a long day without a grilled chicken breast in sight. Grocery shop and meal prep over the weekend so that your fridge is always stocked with nutritious, ready-to-eat chow.
Fill Up on Fiber
If you’re feeling hungry way too often, try including more fiber in your diet. When you’re full and happy you’re a lot less likely to deal with sudden cravings.
Cut Calories … But Not Too Much!
You may simply need a lower calorie intake to get the scale moving again, but make sure (preferably under the guidance of a professional) that you’re not cutting too drastically, which could ultimately result in muscle mass loss and a slowdown of metabolic rate.
Experiment in the Kitchen
Getting stuck in a rut of the same plain meals of a grilled something with a side of mixed greens can make one finally give in to food that is a lot tastier and more calorie dense. The good news is, there are plenty of apps and food blogs that offer a wealth of delicious, waist-friendly recipes that will leave you craving kale.
Keep a Journal
If you haven’t kept a food journal yet during your weight-loss journey, now is the time to do it. A daily diary of what you’re eating and when is an incredibly effective and simple tool that can help you identify and work on eating patterns and behaviors that could be hindering your efforts.
Support from a friend or partner who is also going through the same journey can make all the difference in the world to getting you where you want to be. Sometimes when all you want to do is give up, that person can be the one to help you off the floor and steer you towards the salad bar.
Never underestimate the power of motivation. As you’re nearing the finish line, you’ve come a long way and need a pick-me-up. Be it a pair of beloved pants you wish to fit into or an overall feeling of being lean and energetic, choose your incentive and hang its picture on a vision board in your bedroom.
Try Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent Fasting, or IF, has gained plenty of popularity in recent years and for good reason; it works. What’s great about it is that it’s not a “diet’, but rather a tool for facilitating adherence to any diet you choose to follow. There are several approaches to IF, you just choose the one that fits your lifestyle.
Yes, you read that right. Sometimes all it takes to get that metabolic engine revving is to slightly increase your caloric intake for a short time before bringing it down again. That’s an extra healthy snack a day, not a large pizza with extra cheese.
Try to get a regular amount of uninterrupted, good-quality sleep. Even if not for the health benefits, stress and sleep deprivation can lead to the midnight munchies when you’re too tired to peel an orange so you opt for the bag of chips
You may already have the perfect fitness routine, but don’t underestimate the accumulative fat-burning effect of moving your body more with day-to-day tasks like taking the stairs, vacuuming, and chasing the toddler to bed.
Skip the Weekend Binge
A weekend of binging on every meal can often offset a whole week’s efforts at creating a calorie deficit to lose weight. By all means do enjoy a hearty meal or dessert with friends, but try to eat light the rest of the time
Don’t Restrict Yourself
Don’t get too carried away with dieting and losing weight that you forget to indulge once in a while in moderation. Long-term restriction of what you perceive as “bad” or “guilt-inducing” treats can lead to quite the opposite result of what you wish to accomplish; the Boomerang Effect.
Watch Your Portions
Many people begin to lose weight effortlessly when they decide to start eating less processed and more wholesome food. However, even with nutritious whole-grains, raw nuts and heart-healthy fats, over-consumption of such calorie-dense foods will eventually lead to weight gain. Being aware of your portions in general can help you lose even more inches.
Redefine Your Goal
It’s always a good idea to reassess your goal every now and then. You might realize that all you have to do is to simply give yourself some extra time or perhaps a new goal in order to feel rightfully proud of how far you’d come, how much you’ve already accomplished, and to believe that making it is not a matter of IF, but WHEN.