By Chere Lucett / www.divinecaroline.com
You are down to those last few pounds to lose and your scale refuses to budge! Sometimes what your body needs is a no-holds, barred shake-up, or a little extra oomph to power you through the plateau. Those ten pounds won’t know what hit them!
You have left the gym floor drenched every day since last week. You have denied yourself the tiniest of tasty morsels to get yourself over the hump, and all of your hard work, what has it amounted to? Ten lousy pounds left taunting you, reminding you that you are not done yet. Those last ten pounds are sticking to you like glue and short of a hunger-strike, you don’t know what your next move should be to rid yourself of them. Well we have the solution that adds up to blasting those ten pounds and keeping them away, never to bother you again!
1. Get on the ball! If you are not already using a stability ball during your workouts—trade in your machines for one. This is a small change that can make a big difference for your body and your weight. According to a study in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research [2006; 20(4):745-50], stability ball training can almost double activity in the abdominals and external obliques. More muscle activity means more calories burned during the exercise session, and who doesn’t want more bang for their buck?
2. Pick up the pace. Changing your routine can be as easy as adding in some intervals and picking up your pace a bit. Interval training can help you work harder without fear of overtraining. In addition, fifteen minutes of interval training can burn more calories than fifteen minutes of regular cardio and improve your cardiovascular health by challenging your heart to peak and recover. Not to mention, interval training has been linked to increased caloric burn after the exercise session is completed—so you are burning more calories at rest. Those ten pounds have met their match!
3. Fidget more. Yes—the pencil tapping and knee bopping can be distracting during a meeting, but in the end, research shows that those who tend to fidget more burn more calories. A few extra calories burned a day can lead to larger weight loss gains over the long run—so try swinging your feet or drumming your pen while you work. If you want those ten pounds to budge, you need a little extra burn to pry them away!
4. Quit fussing over the weight scale. The old wives tale, “a watched pot never boils” applies to the weight scale as well. Incessantly stepping on the scale each day can create disappointment or even dampen your exercise motivation, especially if you do not see results. Take a break from the weight scale and instead, use a food scale to help you through. Measuring your exact quantities of food may help you determine the cause of the ten pound standoff. Remember that weight loss occurs when you eat less than you move. Measure your food each day and head back to the weight scale once a week to see your progress.
5. Take a stand. Did you know that by standing during a ten minute phone call you can burn up to twenty extra calories? Try standing during a few more phone calls during your workday and that can add up to a big calorie burn each day—helping you increase your calorie deficit. This is one way to lose weight that doesn’t even seem like you are working hard!
6. Make it count. Your body has a calorie budget and it’s your job to stay within it. You may be measuring the calories that go in, but how do you know how many calories you burn every day? Using a helpful device like a calorie counter can help you determine your calorie expenditure allowing you to monitor your activity to make sure you are staying within or just under your daily budget. Fasten this tool to your arm or belt during the day—if you haven’t hit your calorie burn mark—the counter will let you know and then it’s up to you to get out a get moving!
7. A little goes a long way. If you haven’t already done so, break up your meals into smaller meals spread approximately 2–3 hours apart. Food is fuel and your body’s metabolism burns calories helping you digest that food. While what goes in matters (you want to keep your calories within the appropriate range for weight loss) keeping the fires of your metabolism stoked can help in burning a few extra calories along the way.
8. Add an additional ingredient. Whatever your weight loss solution is, adding an extra variable can help to get you over your ten-pound hump. If you are an avid cardio enthusiast, try adding in 10–15 minutes of resistance training. If you love to lift but can’t stand those cardio machines, take to the road and walk or run for a few minutes a day. The perfect weight loss combination balances nutrition, cardio, and resistance training. If one of those variables is missing from your current routine, add it in and watch what a little extra oomph can do for your waistline!
9. Take a timeout. Exercise fanatics may not want to hear this, but yes—there comes a time when you must take a vacation from your routine. I can hear the gasps! It is okay to take a break and allow your body time to recover and rejuvenate. Often, people who want to lose weight can overdo it, over-train, and exhaust their bodies. Stepping away from your exercise routine can help you focus your exercise strategy and work harder when you begin your routine again. This doesn’t mean you need to stop watching your calories, though! You will have to adjust your calorie intake to match your activity levels, but give your body the break it deserves and when you head back into your routine, you will be ready to attack exercise with the voracity you began with! This break can mean big changes in the end!
10. Forgo the workout and follow your folly. Sometimes the best exercise is the exercise you don’t know you are doing. If you are having fun being active and not focusing on burning calories, you might find that you burn more calories overall and your weight will adjust accordingly. Take a day each week to make fun a part of your routine. Go out dancing, or walk around a museum; shop for a few hours or play with your kids in the yard. The more you enjoy being active, the more likely you will stick with it and those ten pounds won’t stick with you!