You’ve made lasting changes to your diet, you have a regular workout regimen and you’ve lost some weight—it’s great news for hard-working dieters. For most people, though, there comes a point when the dropping numbers on the scale begin to stabilize or worse, start ticking back up.
When you hit that plateau, the steps you take next define whether or not you’ll continue losing weight. As so many health professionals say, the last few pounds are always the hardest to lose, but with the right knowledge and follow-through you can get that much closer to your goal.
Whether you need to change up your workout plan or you need to readjust your diet, there are a slew of factors that could be holding you back from hitting your weight loss goal. Perhaps most important of all, though, is that you need to choose a healthy and realistic goal.
Registered Dietitian and writer Abby Langer said she rarely ever weighs her clients because she doesn’t believe in an ideal weight. Instead, your ideal weight should come through a healthy and happy lifestyle. “By getting you off the scale and away from the numbers, you can better focus on establishing good habits. The healthy weight for you will likely follow.”
If you do have an attainable goal, though, you might be missing another piece of the puzzle. We asked dietitians, nutritionists and health and fitness experts about the most common reasons why people can’t lose the last 10 pounds and what they said might surprise you.
You Haven’t Embraced Strength Training
“I always say that weight is lost in the kitchen, and toning happens in the gym. But if you're not active at all, you're not reaching your full calorie-burning potential,” said Registered Dietitian and writer Abby Langer. “Weight training will add muscle that can increase how many calories you burn at rest. And let's face it—people who are active tend to be healthier, happier, and less stressed.”
You Haven’t Been Adjusting Your Diet
“When people lose weight, they reduce their body size, which means that they are burning fewer calories at their new weight. This means that in order to keep losing, they need to keep lowering their calorie level,” said Christen Cooper, a Registered Dietitian and doctoral candidate in nutrition and education at Columbia University. “Particularly for people who have been dieting for quite a while, this often means going to a calorie level that is very low and difficult to achieve. What the diet may need is a shake-up. Sometimes adding protein and taking away carbohydrate can help. Sometimes, believe it or not, adding some fat back to the diet (while taking away something else) can help.”