If you’re trying to figure out how to lose 5 pounds in a sustainable, healthy way, look to these expert-approved weight-loss strategies.
Anyone with a long-term weight-loss goal knows how amazing it feels to see your hard work reflected on the scale — and how frustrating it is when that number gets stuck just a 5 pounds from your target weight. Sometimes, figuring out how to lose 5 pounds feels even more challenging than 50.
When you first set out to lose 15, 20, or even 30-plus 5 pounds, lifestyle changes like swapping out your go-to sugary caffeine fix with a lower-calorie version or upping your daily step total from 1,500 to the recommended 10,000 can help you meet your goals.
Why It’s Harder to Lose the Last 5 Pounds
Losing weight can be a challenging journey, especially when trying to shed those last 5 pounds. This is because the body tends to hold onto fat more stubbornly as a person nears their ideal weight. As a person loses weight, their metabolism may slow down, making it harder for them to burn calories and lose additional weight.
The body may also start to conserve energy and reduce the number of calories it burns each day, making it harder to create a calorie deficit necessary for weight loss. In addition, losing those last 5 pounds often requires stricter dietary measures and more intense exercise routines, which can be difficult to maintain over the long term.
The body may also start to adapt to the exercise routine, making it less effective over time. Finally, genetics and individual differences in body composition may also play a role in why it’s harder to lose those last 5 pounds. In some cases, it may be necessary to seek professional guidance to help overcome these challenges and achieve the desired weight loss goals.
Tip #1: Lift Weights
Cardio is great; it may have even helped you get this far in your weight-loss journey. (Congrats!) But if you keep bypassing the weight rack in favor of the treadmill or elliptical, you’ll miss out on the unique weight-loss benefits you can only get from lifting iron.
Muscle-Building Activities Increase Metabolism
Muscle-building activities, such as weight lifting and resistance training, are known to increase metabolism. This is because muscle tissue requires more energy to maintain than fat tissue. When a person engages in muscle-building activities, they create small tears in their muscle fibers. As these fibers heal and grow, the body requires more energy to repair and maintain them, which leads to an increase in metabolism.
Additionally, muscle tissue is more metabolically active than fat tissue, meaning that it burns more calories at rest. This means that as a person builds more muscle, their body will naturally burn more calories throughout the day, even when they are not engaged in physical activity. This increased metabolism can help with weight loss and weight management, as it allows a person to burn more calories even when they are not actively exercising.
It’s important to note that while muscle-building activities can increase metabolism, they should be combined with a healthy diet and other forms of physical activity for maximum benefits. Additionally, it’s important to engage in muscle-building activities safely and with proper form to prevent injury and achieve optimal results.
Tip #2: Keep a Food Journal
Keeping a food journal is a useful tool for those looking to improve their nutrition, track their eating habits, and achieve weight loss goals. By writing down everything that is consumed, including portion sizes and any snacks or drinks, a person can gain a better understanding of their eating habits and identify areas for improvement.
Food journals also provide a visual representation of a person’s dietary patterns, allowing them to identify areas where they may be consuming too much or too little of certain foods. This can help a person make more informed choices when it comes to meal planning and grocery shopping. Additionally, keeping a food journal can help a person become more mindful of their food choices and eating behaviors, which can help prevent mindless snacking and overeating.
By recording the details of each meal and snack, a person can also identify potential triggers for overeating, such as stress or boredom. Overall, keeping a food journal is a simple yet effective way to gain insight into one’s dietary habits, make more informed choices, and track progress towards weight loss or other health goals.
Track Your Drinks, Too
When it comes to tracking one’s diet and nutrition, it’s important to remember to track drinks as well as food. Many beverages can be high in calories, sugar, and other unhealthy ingredients, which can contribute to weight gain and other health issues. By tracking drinks, a person can gain a better understanding of their overall calorie and nutrient intake, as well as identify areas for improvement.
Some drinks that are commonly high in calories and sugar include soda, sports drinks, fruit juice, and specialty coffee drinks. Even seemingly healthy drinks like smoothies and protein shakes can be high in calories if not properly portioned. Tracking drinks can also help a person identify areas where they may be consuming too much alcohol, which can contribute to weight gain and other health problems.
Additionally, drinking enough water is essential for overall health and well-being, and tracking water intake can help ensure that a person is staying properly hydrated throughout the day. Overall, tracking drinks as well as food is an important part of maintaining a healthy and balanced diet, and can help individuals make more informed choices when it comes to their beverage choices.
Tip #3: Do Less HIIT
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) has become a popular form of exercise due to its ability to burn calories in a short amount of time. However, it’s important to remember that while HIIT can be an effective way to improve cardiovascular health and burn fat, it’s not suitable for everyone, and doing too much of it can lead to burnout, injury, and overtraining. In fact, research has shown that overdoing HIIT can actually lead to decreased performance and increased risk of injury.
It’s important to listen to one’s body and incorporate rest days and low-impact activities into a fitness routine to prevent burnout and injury. Additionally, it’s important to properly warm up before a HIIT workout and gradually increase the intensity over time to prevent injury.
For those who are new to exercise or have existing health conditions, it may be more beneficial to start with low-impact activities like walking or cycling and gradually work up to more intense forms of exercise. Remember, exercise should be a sustainable and enjoyable part of a healthy lifestyle, and finding a balance between high-intensity and low-impact activities is key to long-term success.
Tip #4: Don’t Skip Your Post-Workout Meal
After a workout, it’s important to refuel your body with a nutritious post-workout meal. This meal should ideally be consumed within 30 minutes to an hour after exercising, as this is when the body is most receptive to absorbing nutrients. Skipping a post-workout meal can lead to decreased muscle recovery and glycogen replenishment, as well as increased muscle soreness and fatigue.
The ideal post-workout meal should include a balance of protein and carbohydrates to help repair and rebuild muscle tissue and replenish energy stores. Good protein sources include lean meats, poultry, fish, tofu, and legumes, while good carbohydrate sources include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and sweet potatoes.
Adding healthy fats like nuts, seeds, or avocado can also provide additional nutrients and promote satiety. It’s important to avoid processed or high-fat foods, as these can slow down the absorption of nutrients and hinder muscle recovery. Remember, the post-workout meal is an important part of the workout process, and neglecting it can have negative effects on performance and recovery.
Eating After a Workout Repairs the Body
Eating after a workout is essential for repairing and rebuilding the body. Exercise causes small tears in muscle fibers, and consuming the right nutrients after a workout helps to repair and strengthen these fibers. In addition, exercise depletes the body’s glycogen stores, which are the primary source of energy during exercise.
Eating carbohydrates after a workout helps to replenish these stores, providing the body with the energy it needs for future workouts. Protein is also important for muscle repair and growth, as it provides the amino acids needed for muscle synthesis. Consuming a combination of protein and carbohydrates after a workout can also help to reduce muscle soreness and fatigue. Additionally, hydration is important after a workout, as exercise can lead to dehydration and electrolyte imbalances.
Drinking water and electrolyte-rich fluids like coconut water or sports drinks can help to rehydrate the body and restore electrolyte balance. In summary, eating after a workout is crucial for repairing and rebuilding the body, replenishing energy stores, and reducing muscle soreness and fatigue. By consuming the right nutrients and staying hydrated, individuals can maximize the benefits of their workouts and promote overall health and wellness.
Tip #5: Make Sleep a Priority
Sleep is a crucial aspect of overall health and wellness, and it should be a top priority for everyone. Getting enough sleep is important for many reasons, including improving memory and concentration, reducing stress and anxiety, regulating hormones, and boosting immune function. Lack of sleep has also been linked to a higher risk of chronic health conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
To make sleep a priority, it’s important to establish a consistent sleep schedule and create a relaxing sleep environment. This includes setting a regular bedtime and wake-up time, avoiding screens and stimulating activities before bedtime, and keeping the bedroom cool, dark, and quiet. Additionally, practicing relaxation techniques like meditation or deep breathing before bed can help to promote relaxation and prepare the body for sleep.
It’s also important to prioritize sleep over other activities that can disrupt sleep, such as late-night work or socializing. Remember, getting enough quality sleep is essential for overall health and well-being, and should be a top priority for everyone. By making sleep a priority, individuals can improve their physical and mental health, enhance their productivity and creativity, and enjoy a better quality of life.
Lack of Sleep Increases Cravings
Lack of sleep can have many negative effects on the body, including increasing cravings for unhealthy foods. When we don’t get enough sleep, our bodies produce more of the hormone ghrelin, which stimulates hunger, and less of the hormone leptin, which signals fullness. This imbalance can lead to increased appetite and cravings for high-calorie, high-carbohydrate foods like sweets, snacks, and fast food.
Additionally, lack of sleep can affect the brain’s reward center, making us more susceptible to food cravings and impulsive eating behaviors. This can lead to weight gain and an increased risk of obesity, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions. To prevent cravings caused by lack of sleep, it’s important to prioritize sleep and establish healthy sleep habits. This includes getting 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night, creating a relaxing sleep environment, and avoiding caffeine and stimulating activities before bedtime.
Additionally, eating a balanced diet that includes plenty of protein, fiber, and healthy fats can help to stabilize blood sugar and reduce cravings throughout the day. Remember, lack of sleep can have negative effects on the body, including increasing cravings for unhealthy foods. By prioritizing sleep and establishing healthy habits, individuals can reduce their risk of weight gain and chronic health conditions and enjoy better overall health and well-being.