How to lose those last 10 pounds!
By Judy Torel
You have been consistent in your exercise program. You love working out on a regular basis, and for the most part, you eat a healthy diet; you never eat fast food and rarely engage in snack foods and sweets. Yet, there are those last 5-10 pounds that just won’t budge, no matter what you do and it’s frustrating.
In order to drop those last 10 pounds (35,000 calories worth of stored fat) you must have a great desire to achieve your goal AND you must back it up with real and consistent behavioral changes above and beyond what you have done to date. The following are behavioral strategies to move you out of your plateau and into the body you envision.
Changes to your mind
The power of the mind to direct your behavior and to change physical reality is unfathomable. In order to change your body you have to believe that it is possible. You probably have heard that the last 10 pounds are the hardest. If you believe this, then this is what you will manifest because your mind doesn’t know the difference between “objective reality” and what you tell it. Instead, tell yourself that you expect to reach your goal. Tell yourself that you are going to pick up speed and turn your body into a turbo fat burning machine!
Research has shown that people who see the world through “rose colored glasses” are generally less depressed and less daunted by tasks than others who view life more “realistically”. So put on your rose colored glasses, set your goal and expect results!
Changes to your exercise
Many people who have lost weight have done it through burning approximately 2,500 calories each week through aerobic exercise, according to the Weight Loss Registry, an online database of people who have successfully lost and maintained their weight. But, now it is time to add in some anaerobic work, in addition to your aerobic workouts in order to boost your metabolism and rev up your fat–burning furnaces in your body, otherwise known as your mitochondria. Mitochondria are the parts of the cell where fat and sugars are transformed into energy for work and heat. This is how we burn fat at the cellular level.
If you have been jogging outside on a specific route, an anaerobic cardio workout would be this:
• Change up your route to find one with a hill.
• Do your normal jog pace until you get “in the flow” your normal intensity during each jog.
• Then get to that hill and sprint up the hill as fast as you can. You will be extremely breathless if you do this in your anaerobic level.
• Jog back down easy and repeat this 4 times.
• Finish by jogging your normal pace back home.
These types of workouts won’t be as long in duration as the others you do each week. If you normally jog four miles at aerobic pace, continue that, but do the hill intervals two other times. You will keep the total distance of the hills shorter, maybe three miles. Both longer duration workouts, and shorter more intense ones, need to be included to get at those last 10 pounds. Before, the longer workouts were all you needed.
Don’t do this type of exertion every workout, but at least twice a week for results.
In the weight room, most people looking to get rid of those last 10 pounds tend to switch around the choice of exercise, but don’t change the intensity levels. Just like with cardio, you need to mix up the intensities not the exercises themselves. If you have been using 15 pounds for bicep curls and do 3 sets of 10 reps on your normal workout, now is the time to do one workout a week where you use 20 pound dumbbells and get as many of the 10 reps as you can and then “drop set” down to the 15 pounds to finish the reps. Most people think they have to complete a full set before they jump to the next weight, but you will never get there if you don’t do drop sets.
Even if you can’t complete 10 full reps using the heavier weights, you will still be loading your body in a way that will cause it to burn more calories per workout, continue to burn a higher calorie rate directly after the workout, and increase the lean muscle weight that burns more calories than the comparable amount of fat every day.
You won’t gain weight on the scale necessarily, because while you are increasing some muscle weight (very hard to do) you are also burning more fat weight. So, while the scale will often stay the same, your body composition will dramatically and positively improve.
Another exercise tip: Split your daily workouts into two workouts, one in the morning and one at night. If you have the scheduling ability to do this (even if it’s the same amount of exercise), you will be revving your body up two times per day, and each time you do you expend a little more energy going from resting to workout energy level. This will result in a small but significant net increase in energy burn for the day. Every little bit helps to turbo burn those last 10.
Changes to your diet
If you want to lose weight then you need to know how many calories a day your body is burning in order to determine how many calories a day you need to eat to achieve this.
You may be eating only the healthiest food only on the planet, but you can be eating portions that result in weight maintenance. You can get your metabolic rate analyzed at various fitness centers or through nutritional consultants. Some personal trainers can use sophisticated equations to determine your rate. You can also go online and look up Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) calculators. However, since these are the least individually accurate, I would caution against it.
In order to lose those last 10 pounds, the number of calories you burn in a day must be about 500 calories higher than the total amount of calories you eat in a day. If you have lost significant weight, then the number of calories you burn in a day is going to be lower as you approach the last 10 pounds because you weigh less and it requires less energy to cart your body around each day. You also burn less calories from your workouts because you weigh less and it requires less energy to do 30 minutes of the same intensity cardio as it did 20 pounds ago.
Once you know your metabolic rate, you can determine the correct portions of the healthy food you are eating, making losing those last few pounds almost effortless. But, don’t assume you know which foods are lower in calories than others. For example, a Caesar salad at Chili’s restaurant is 1,100 calories and their sirloin steak is 560! If you follow your assumptions without looking up the items beforehand, you may be falling victim to higher calorie choices that appear to be healthier. This happens with homecooked foods as well. Brown rice is very healthy, but at 240 calories a cup, you would do yourself a favor to mix it, which reduces the calories to 150 calories.
Knowing your caloric intake requires some homework, so go online and look up calorie amounts of all foods and many restaurant items.
If you are drinking your calories, you are less likely to be under your daily calorie burn by 500 calories. The average coffee drink is 350 calories and they can be as high as 900.
Even if you are drinking an eight-ounce coffee with splenda and one-ounce of fat-free creamer, check that creamer’s calorie amount. You may be taking in 50-100 calories each cup without knowing because you assume the fat-free creamer means calorie free (not!).
Even vitamin waters, energy drinks and juice all have calories that many people trying to lose weight don’t factor into their daily intake. These drinks may be marketed as healthy, but even healthy drinks have calories, so be sure to look it up.
Finally, if you take the same number of calories and eat them in five meals verses three, you will burn more net calories per day. Why? Because every time you eat your body expends energy to digest your food. So, if you eat 1,600 calories a day three times a day it may cost you 160 calories to break down the food, but if you eat it in five meals it will cost you more, approximately 180-200 to break it down. The difference may not appear to be much, but when you are working on those last 10 pounds every extra calorie burned goes towards burning it off!
Judy Torel is a therapist/personal trainer with a Master’s degree in psychology. She is certified through the American College of Sports Medicine as a fitness trainer and works out of Planet Fitness and Deb's Sweat Shop Extension. She can be reached at JTOREL2263@yahoo.com. Please visit her website www.judytorel.com for more information about metabolism.