Whether you have been on a long weight loss journey and have come quite a ways from your starting weight or you just have a couple of pounds to lose, losing the last 10 pounds can sometimes feel just as hard as all of the work that came before it.
People often describe the difficulty in how to lose the last 10 pounds as “the stubborn last 10 pounds“; they don’t seem to respond to the normal diet and exercise plan that helped them get within 10 pounds of their goal weight.
So, how do you lose the last 10 pounds? What are the best tips for how to lose the last 10 pounds on your weight loss journey, and why is it so hard to lose the last 10 pounds?
In this guide, we will discuss why losing the last 10 pounds to reach your goal weight can feel so difficult and give tips for how to lose the last 10 pounds before you hit your goal weight.
We will cover:
- Why Can’t I Lose the Last 10 Pounds?
- How To Lose the Last 10 Pounds
Let’s dive in!
Why Can’t I Lose the Last 10 Pounds?
Particularly if you have been on a long weight loss journey and lost a lot of weight, it can be frustrating and confusing as to why you are struggling to lose the last 10 pounds before hitting your target goal weight.
However, if you find yourself asking, “Why can’t I lose the last 10 pounds to hit my target weight, or why is losing the last 10 pounds so hard for me?“ you are not alone.
One of the most common questions that people who have been on a successful weight loss plan ask is: “Why have I stopped losing weight now that I only have 10 pounds to lose?”
Even if you haven’t had much weight to lose, or you are only about 10 pounds overweight or have a weight loss goal of 10 pounds overall, losing the final 10 pounds before you hit your target weight is notoriously the hardest weight to lose.But why is this? Why is it difficult to lose the last 10 pounds?
There are several reasons why losing the last 10 pounds or even fluctuating within 10 pounds of your goal weight seems to be a common struggle.
In general, if you have lost a lot of weight, you may find that you need advice on how to lose the last 10 pounds because your previous weight loss plan—whatever diet and exercise routine helped you get within 10 pounds of your goal weight—has stopped working well.
This phenomenon is called hitting a weight loss plateau, which essentially means that weight loss has stalled despite trying to follow what you believe to be an effective weight loss diet and workout routine.
Breaking a weight loss plateau is ultimately how you need to lose the last 10 pounds, and although we will address tips for losing the last 10 pounds shortly, it helps to understand why you may have hit a weight loss plateau.
There are several reasons why you might hit a weight loss plateau or struggle in general to lose the final 10 pounds to hit your ideal body weight.
Typically, one of two things is going on, or potentially both issues occur simultaneously:
- Either you have become a little less careful in your “calorie math“ in terms of what you are eating and what you are burning, or you have subtly started adding calories back in by making small upward adjustments to your portion sizes over time.
- Your metabolism has slowed, and you are burning fewer calories than you think. This can happen if you lose weight too quickly and you lose a fair amount of lean body mass (muscle tissue) with your fat loss, which will lower your basal metabolic rate (BMR).
Therefore, as we address the best strategies for how to lose the last 10 pounds, we will provide weight loss tips that address both potential arms of the conundrum of struggling to lose the last 10 pounds.
How To Lose the Last 10 Pounds
Here are some tips for how to lose the last 10 pounds to hit your goal weight or break a weight loss plateau:
#1: Recalculate Your Caloric Needs
If you have lost a lot of weight, you may need to re-calculate how many calories you are burning in a day because as your body size decreases, your caloric expenditure both at rest (BMR) and while active decreases.
If you think that you have lost some muscle mass on your weight loss diet, you may want to even adjust downward a bit because muscle tissue is far more metabolically active than fat tissue, and most fitness watches and online calorie calculators assume a certain percentage of body fat for your body weight (female vs male).
You may also consider getting your body fat percentage measured so that you can be more accurate in your caloric expenditure.
To lose one pound per week, you need to burn 500 calories more per day than you eat.
#2: Start Tracking Again
After you have assessed your caloric needs, you should start tracking your food intake and energy expenditure again, particularly if you have stopped doing so as you have lost weight.
Most people who are trying to lose the last 10 pounds have been successful in some form with their diet and exercise routine, so you may have stopped using a weight loss tracker app or recording what you eat because you have become routinized in your diet.
However, this harkens back to the first reason stated above why it is hard to lose the final 10 pounds and why you may have hit a weight loss plateau: we tend to surreptitiously start adding calories to the diet without even really being cognizant of it.
Start recording everything and measuring your portion sizes either with measuring cups or a food scale to really be precise in your weight loss diet calories.
#3: Increase Your Activity Level
Aside from doing deliberate workouts for weight loss, a great strategy for how to lose the last 10 pounds is to increase your daily activity level.
This will help keep your metabolism revving and burn more calories without necessarily registering in your brain that you have done “exercise“ and need to eat more food.
In this way, you can be an “activity ninja” and burn calories on the sly without your body trying to get you to eat more.
Sneak in as much movement as possible throughout the day, and try to avoid long periods of time when you are sedentary.
Walk more, consider getting a standing desk or exercise desk, and add little exercise hacks to your routine, like doing squats every time you go to use the bathroom.
At a minimum, set an alarm to get up every hour and walk around for five minutes or do a little bit of jogging in place or desk exercises.
#4: Add Strength Training
To combat the second reason why losing the last 10 pounds is hard—slower metabolism from muscle loss— adding strength training is one of the best ways to lose the last 10 pounds.
But, you need to strength train with a purpose: lift heavier weights, aiming for maxing out with 8 to 12 repetitions in order to build muscle.
If you have been routinely strength training all along, it may be time to increase the weights that you are using.
#5: Drink More Water
Drinking water will help boost your metabolic rate and can help you feel full if you need to cut calories further when losing the last 10 pounds.
#6: Cut Out Alcohol
Studies have found that cutting back on alcohol intake can help minimize overeating, and evidence has demonstrated that alcohol consumption inhibits fat burning and may increase the accumulation of belly fat.
Try to eliminate alcohol as much as possible if you are struggling to lose the last 10 pounds.
#7: Vary Your Workout Routine
If you’ve been doing the same workout routine consistently, your body will adapt over time and burn fewer calories even though your fitness watch may tell you you are still burning just as much.
Try a new form of exercise to stimulate your body to churn through more calories when you exercise, and up the intensity, if possible.
#8: Switch Your Diet
Your body can also become too accustomed and efficient with your diet.
#9: Reduce Stress
Do your best to stay positive and reduce stress where possible.
You have come so far; you only have 10 pounds to lose, so feel the confidence within yourself that you can do this! For more information on breaking a weight loss plateau, click here.