I have struggled with my weight for the majority of my life and in turn have made my life’s work to investigate and test every type of diet, tool and fad that comes along in order to help others (and myself) achieve their goals. In over 15 years as an expert in the weight loss industry I have helped countless people lose weight and get past those last 10, and personally have had to lose those pesky last pounds more times than I would like to admit. Most of us have either had the opportunity to lose the last 10 several times, and many have never gotten past them. These are formidable pounds, but they are not impossible. In my coaching and teaching I truly believe that if you can change your mindset and perspective on this part of your weight loss journey you can get to where you want to be. Here are my sevenrules for the last 10:
1. Weigh Yourself Daily and Graph It
As you enter the realm of the last 10 pounds you will need to begin to understand just how much the body can fluctuate in a day. We have the ability to sway up or down by between 2-4 pounds just based on hydration levels. That said, as you begin to weigh yourself daily you will understand that you never are at any exact given number day in and day out, but instead live in a RANGE of numbers for a period of time. I personally believe that you are your lowest recorded weight during this time. As you work your way down the last 10 pounds, that lowest number keeps creeping to a new low and the days surrounding it have highs that are in it’s range. Even as I have hit my goal weight I don’t ever weigh in at an exact number day in and day out. Instead, as long as I am within a pound or two up or down of that number, I know I am still “at goal”. I then choose an upper threshold that signals that it is time to stop playing around and tighten up again.
2. Change from Pounds to Percentages
Losing the last 10 requires new math. I hear all the time that it feels “so slow”. Your weight loss has not slowed as much as you have gotten smaller and are losing nearly the same percentage of weight as you were, but the body is a smaller being, so the numbers are smaller. So, for instance if you are 200 pounds and lose 4 pounds you have lost 2%. If you are 130 pounds that same 2% weight loss is just 2.6 pounds. Keep your mind open and calculate percentages rather than pounds near the end. It will make you feel better.
3. Recheck Calorie and Macronutrient Intake
Another mistake I see readily made as one approaches the last 10 is that they do not recalculate their caloric intake and macronutrient needs. With the proliferation of so many great apps and websites to the market it is simple to go in and recalculate what your caloric need is at your now lower body weight. As a smaller machine you will need far fewer calories. Many of the apps actually change your intake numbers automatically, but many don’t alert you to the changes that are taking place. Reinvestigate how you are spending those calories and go back to checking labels and making sure you are within a deficit that will continue to give weight loss
4. Return to the Beginning
The last 10 pounds have a strange way of making us comfortable. We are likely pretty happy with our progress at this point and people are really noticing, so I see a softening of the vigilance that is needed to power through these pounds. I ask my clients to remember and return to their strict behaviors from the very first weeks they were on their weight loss journey. They calculated and managed every bite because they were in a desperate place to make a change. As we get closer to our goals those behaviors relax. We assume we know everything and we often can be sloppier than we know. This part of the journey calls for more attention than any other time.
5. Get More Sleep and Reduce Stress
These two pieces of advice are critical. Research is pointing more and more to the fact that lack of sleep and stress are responsible for hormone imbalances that cause weight to accumulate and stay put. I recommend investigating your sleep patterns and implementing meditation and other forms of stress relieving exercise at this time. I like Yoga and Pilates. Download easy self-guided meditations on your phone and try to spend 3-5 minutes on them daily.
6. Eat More Healthy Fat
Fats are satisfying in every way. They not only add a feeling of richness to our foods, but they have a staying power that helps reduce cravings and keep us full longer. Healthy fats, like avocados and nuts will seem to gobble up calories, but you will notice, by adding them, they eliminate or push out added sugars and some processed foods that can stall weight loss progress. Avoid low-fat and no-fat versions of foods to avoid calories, but instead carefully portion full-fat versions for satisfaction and satiety.
7. Measure Body Fat Changes
What I notice in my gym as I train people is that with every pound that comes off there are performance increases. Understandably, as your body gets smaller and lighter you are able to run faster and push harder. With those performance increases the body begins to transfer body fat to lean muscle. Especially in the last 10 pounds I see that transfer pick up with increased ability. I recommend either purchasing a body fat scale (moderately accurate) or asking at your gym for a body fat measurement every 4-6 weeks during these last 10. As your fitness increases and lean mass is transferred in you will be shrinking in size although maybe not on the scale. I have personally lost up to a size in clothing while not losing a pound on the scale. Having these measurements will help you understand that progress is happening, along with clothing getting looser. This measurement may ultimately make you change your goal weight as well. If you are happy with the way you look and are at a healthy body fat percentage the number on the scale may be one you were not expecting to be happy with, but now are.