Are you struggling to shed those last pesky five kilos? In any weight loss mission, the last 3-5 kilos are the hardest to lose. Here's how to overcome the plateau and reach your goal weight.

Reaching your weight loss goal

When you’re waging a war against weight, it’s normal to plateau when you’re almost at the finish line. Your body just gets used to everything. Here’s how to jump over the hurdle and reach that dream number on the scales.

Clean eating

We’ve heard it before: Losing weight is 70 per cent nutrition and 30 per cent exercise. With stats like that, it makes sense to see if your eating patterns can be improved in any way. If you’re not "clean eating" already, it’s time to start. This involves upping your vegie and lean protein intake and cutting the "crap": caffeine, refined sugar, alcohol and processed foods. If you love a glass of wine or a couple of squares of chocolate at the end of the day, try cutting down bit by bit until you’re only treating yourself once or twice a week.

Want to keep your eating on track? Check out food diaries: the ultimate weight loss tool >> 

Up the intensity

If your workouts are getting stale or easy, they’re probably not doing much for your body anymore. When you just need to shift a few stubborn kilos, one of the best things you can do is take your exercise to another level. In other words, push yourself a little harder! If you were training four days a week, add another two sessions. If you were working out for 45 minutes, increase it to an hour. And do something challenging: Weights, intervals and sprints are all major fat blasters. It’s hard work, but if you stick to a tough regime, your skinny jeans will zip up easy in a few weeks time.

Build your strength

Do you want a lovely lean, toned body? If you’ve only got a few kilos to lose, chances are your dream body is not too far away! To torch serious kilojoules, add some strength sessions to your workouts. Throw in some push ups, sit ups, tricep dips, squats and lunges every day and you’ll be burning fat long after you’ve left the gym.

Smash out some intervals

Personal trainers rave about interval training and they have every right to. Intervals are an absolute weapon when it comes to burning kilojoules, building muscle and — you guessed it — losing weight. Why? Because they "shock" the body and force your heart rate to go up and down, which takes a bit of energy on your body’s behalf. Instead of jogging at the same boring pace for 30 minutes, mix it up with intervals. Try jogging for two minutes, then sprinting as fast as you can for a minute. The treadmill is a great place to start, but intervals work just as well on the bike and rower.

Be more incidental

Do you want to hear about the simplest way to lose weight? Of course you do. Here it is: Increase your incidental exercise. Every little bit counts, so just make an effort to move more throughout the day. Try taking the stairs, walking part of the way to work, stretching every hour and paying colleagues a desk visit instead of sending them an email. It all adds up.

Smart carbs

When it comes to losing weight, carbs aren’t always the devil — only sometimes! If you normally start your day with toast or muesli, switch to a low-carb brekkie that’s loaded with lean protein and good fats. Eggs, omelettes, salmon, nuts and avocado are all great energy boosters that will keep you fuller for longer. Then, eat a carb-y meal right after you train. By doing so, you’ll fuel your muscles and that delicious rice/bread/pasta won’t go straight to your thighs. It’s a win-win, really.

Other ways to whittle your waistline:

  • Hit the hay earlier — eight or more hours is ideal
  • Replace your office chair with a Swiss ball — your abs will thank you!
  • Use light dumbbells wherever you can
  • Decrease your portion sizes
  • Start drinking protein shakes
  • Most of all, don’t give up! You’re nearly there.

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Tags: exercise and fitness weight loss plateau

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