In the beginning of a weight-loss journey, pounds melt away like ice on a hot Summer's day. But as you get closer to your goal, it's not unusual to hit a plateau. Here's how to keep those pounds dropping and keep the weight off for good.
- Beef up your workouts: If you've been steadily working out and following the same routine, your body has probably grown accustomed to the routine. Rattle your body's chain a little and kick up the intensity of your workouts to further challenge your muscles. Work out longer or harder, increase the size weights you're lifting, do more reps of strength-training moves and vary the order, or try doing two workouts in one day.
- Go for fiber: Since your metabolism is already working pretty efficiently, eat fibrous foods that take longer to digest, so your body has to expend more energy to break them down. Fruits, veggies, whole grains, nuts, and legumes are where it's at, but focus on these foods with the highest amounts of fiber.
- Include these foods: Imbalances in your digestive tract have been linked to weight gain, so to restore the balance of bacteria in your gut, eat nonfat yogurt for the probiotics. Lack of calcium as well as vitamin D can also make it harder to lose weight, so be sure to eat dairy products and these calcium-rich fruits and veggies, as well as these foods high in vitamin D. Omega-3s are also vital for a healthy metabolism, so include fish, eggs, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds in your diet too.
- Get your z's: Not getting adequate sleep (at least six hours) can also decrease leptin, the hormone that makes you feel satiated, while it increases ghrelin, the hunger hormone. Research shows that feeling sluggish the following day causes you to eat an average of 549 extra calories without even realizing it. Lack of sleep also slows down your metabolism, making you burn 20 percent fewer calories a day.
- Cut out the cocktails: Boozy beverages not only offer your body empty calories, but since your body is working so hard to get rid of toxins, they also inhibit the production of glucose, which is needed for maintaining normal blood sugar levels and in turn slows down your metabolism. Not to mention, getting a little tipsy also clouds your judgment so you're more likely to say yes to another cosmo and a slice of cheesecake to go with it. Go for water or metabolism-boosting green tea instead.