The Last 10 Pounds: Tips To Reach Your Weight-Loss Goal Safely

The Huffington Post Canada   First Posted: 09/15/2011 7:27 am EDT Updated: 12/13/2012 1:49 pm EST

The last 10 pounds of a weight-loss goal can be the most difficult to shed, so it's important to treat your mind and body with kindness when you hit this weight-loss plateau. Celebrate what you've lost and be proud of what you've already accomplished.

Before tackling the last bit of weight, reflect and figure out if you really need to lose weight. Often, we can get caught up in the idea of losing "more" when we've already lost enough to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

While tracking everything you eat and exactly how much you exercise can be a bad idea, analyzing your patterns at this weight-loss point is an excellent way to discover whether or not you're pushing yourself too hard. Remember, if you don't eat enough, your body will hold onto excess weight.

One program to try is the Lose It Program -- available for iPhone users as an app. The plan tracks your exercise and caloric intake, allowing you to choose how much weight you're looking to lose. It then shows you on a daily and weekly basis how you're doing.

Things to keep in mind on this last stretch:

Strength Training
Your body adapts to routine, and strength training is an essential part of weight-loss (the more muscle you build, the more calories you'll burn all day). When your body has adapted to its newfound muscle, your metabolism will plateau, so it's important to increase muscle strength (this will, in turn, boost your metabolism). This doesn't mean you need to turn into the Incredible Hulk -- you can increase your strength by increasing your repetitions (and adding a little more weight). For example, do 75 squats instead of 50. Remember to always give yourself 48 to 72 hours of rest between sessions.

Interesting fact: If you don't include strength training in your weight loss protocol, approximately 1/4 of your weight loss comes from muscle loss.

Cardio
To lose weight, you need to burn more calories, but that doesn't mean you have to work longer -- just harder. Increase your intensity, try interval training, work out on a different machine. Give your body 24 hours to rest between sessions.

Meditation
Take five minutes every day to put yourself at peace, whether you lock yourself in the bathroom and sit on the edge of the tub or stand outside in the sunshine. Take five minutes to breathe and reset. Start with 10 deep breaths to clear your mind (if your mind starts to wander, continue to focus on your breath). A peaceful body will help you let go of what you don't need (that includes excess body fat).

Eat Less and Drink More Water
A well-hydrated body will function better. When you're hydrated you can distinguish between hunger and thirst -- a common cause of overeating. You'll also regulate your blood sugar, which will make you feel more energetic.

Interesting fact: Being just five per cent dehydrated can cause significant fatigue. A fatigued body will not lose weight.

Reducing your caloric intake by 250 to 500 calories a week will result in an average 10-pound loss in four to five months. If you increase exercise and reduce stress (with sleep, yoga and meditation) you will see these results faster.

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