Perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing fit women today is taking off those last 10 stubborn pounds. Give or take a few pounds, this is one of the most common struggles I have seen as a professional in the fitness industry for over 23 years. Learning how to help has become my one of my greatest pleasures and a source of much fulfillment. When a client finally reaches her goal weight number, she is always ecstatic, as am I! When the goal is accomplished healthfully and safely, the weight will definitely stay off. The lessons learned along the journey are what will keep you looking fit and feeling fabulous–for good!
Please keep in mind, if you have more than 10 or 15 pounds to lose, these lessons and tips can still be applied. Tailor them to suit your needs, and NEVER GIVE UP! With your doctor, choose a weight loss goal that is both realistic and healthful for you, and give yourself enough time to reach it. Slow and steady wins the race. Be patient with yourself, and you will reach the finish line. So, what are the keys to losing the last 10 pounds? Here is what I have learned by helping countless women do just that!
Tip #1: Cardio is King (or Queen)
If you really want to see those last stubborn pounds melt off, you need to step up your aerobic activity. The Centers for Disease Control recommends 30 minutes of aerobic activity on most days of the week. This is the minimum for health and wellness as well as for disease prevention and control. If you want to see results on the scale, adequate cardio is a must. A minimum of 150 minutes per week is required. If you can do 45 or 60 minutes at a clip, that’s even better for weight loss.
Aerobic activity burns calories and fat and torches the metabolism during and after your workout. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) turns your metabolism on fire! Bouts of higher intensity activity—such as sprints on a treadmill or other cardio equipment—for 30-60 seconds followed by 1- to 2-minute intervals of lower intensity activity, like brisk walking or light jogging, is a fat loss super-weapon. Studies show that this type of training ups your metabolism and EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption) for up to 72 hours after your workout.
Two or three of your weekly aerobic sessions can be HIIT, either in the form of a class or on your own. It will increase growth hormone and help you burn fat, sculpt lean muscle, and strengthen bones. On the other 4-5 days of the week, find a way to do your SSC (steady state cardio). Walking, biking, cardiovascular classes–even a brisk walk with your pet–all count as SSC.
If you must, break up your SSC into three 10-minute segments throughout your day. Just get it done. Schedule it into your appointment book like you would anything else, and stick to it. By being consistent, you will increase your body’s production of PYY, an amino acid that decreases hunger. This will help curb cravings and make sticking to a healthful eating and weight loss plan much easier.