You've sweated your ass off, lost a pile of stubborn fat, and you feel really damn good about it. You're stronger, leaner, fitter and more confident than you've ever been, but, to your mind, you've still got to lose a little more. Around 10lbs, to be exact, and despite keeping up with your regular exercise and balanced diet, the scale—it ain't budging. It's discouraging AF, right?
It is, and while it sucks, it doesn't mean that you're doomed to carry around that pesky extra poundage forever. 10lbs isn't much—let’s be clear about that—but if you've been training like a beast and trying to eat as clean as possible so you can glimpse your hardwon abs or see the cut definition in your back muscles, then 10lbs can be the difference between noticing your gains, and not.
So, what gives? Why is the last 10 lbs the hardest to lose?
Vanity pounds, fit friends. There's a reason the last 10 lbs (or roughly that amount) is called vanity pounds: you want it gone for aesthetic reasons, but as far as your body is concerned, you're at a perfectly healthy weight. In fact, we all have set points for our weight, and while each set point is different depending on your age, body type, muscle mass, and sex, the fact remains that these set points exist. You can move between a 20 pound range in your set point and still be healthy. So, a person can be as healthy at 140lbs as they are at 160lbs. 140lbs would be at the low end of the set point and would still allow this person to eat a 80/20 diet, wherein 80% of the diet comes from clean, whole foods and the rest from less than perfectly clean choices. At 140lbs, this person would need to be exercising at 4-5 days a week, too. At 160lbs, that number could be as little as 3 days. But again, from a biological standpoint, the person is still healthy at both weights. However, if this person wants to drop to 130lbs, losing that extra 10 lbs would require extra effort.
Your body doesn't want to lose these vanity pounds. From a survival standpoint, having this tiny bit extra fat makes good sense: it's fuel in case food becomes scarce. But from your aesthetic standpoint, you're not too worried about starving and you want abs you can do your laundry on.
Fair enough. As we've said before, there's nothing wrong with exercising for vanity's sake. It's a damn good motivator and while losing that last 10lbs will take extra effort, it likely won't do your health any harm, either—as long as you do it in a healthy way, and don't overtrain or don't deprive your body of any essential nutrients.
How do you do this, exactly? Keep reading! Here are our top tips for losing the last 10 lbs.
If you need help cleaning up your diet and still actually enjoying the foods you eat, snag our Nutrition Guide and Meal Plan Bundle. It's got everything you need to reach your goals, without depriving your mind or body of the delicious foods it needs to thrive. Remember: you're not going to be eating LESS food. You're just going to be eating cleaner food.
People who IF often find they can lose the fat, without having to be as strict about what they eat, just when they eat. This said, if you're trying to lose the last 10 lbs, you will still have to eat a mostly clean diet, but you may be able to stick with your 80/20 split and not have to move to 90/10. If you’re interested in learning more, read this article we wrote on easing into intermittent fasting.
As with any change to your dietary lifestyle, get the OK from your doctor before you try IF.
We get it: life isn’t perfect and you may not be able to adopt all these strategies. The good news is, you likely won’t need to. Maybe you already are doing some of these things and just need a tweak here and there. Maybe doing IF is enough and the last 10 lbs falls off, or maybe just cutting out your nightly glass of wine and replacing it with a herbal tea is enough. Yes, seriously, losing the last 10 lbs can be as simple as that. The trick is to be patient and embrace a period of trial and error, but chances are, at least one of these tips will offer a solution.
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