The Fastest (and Safest) Way to Lose Those Last 15 Pounds

You’ve joined multiple gyms, tried the best diets the internet has to offer, and hired a nutritionist — and you still can’t seem to shake the last few pounds.

If all that’s keeping you from your goals is the last of your stubborn weight hanging on for dear life, read on. We have the fastest ways to help you lose those last 15 pounds that won’t compromise your health.

Cut out drinking

Glasses and shots with different colored cocktails

The calories in alcohol can certainly add up. | Tsuguliev/Getty Images

Despite our better judgment, we all know that alcohol offers few benefits past helping to facilitate a good time. Fight past deceiving options like Skinny Girl margarita mix and low-calorie beers if you really want to lose the last of your goal weight.

According to Livestrong.com, alcohol alone contains 7 calories per gram – nearly double the amount per gram you get from proteins and healthier nutrients. While red wine may have health benefits, the average 6-ounce glass still packs 150 calories. By cutting out alcohol for the time being, you’ll increase your ability to shed the last few pounds.

Spread out your meals

Asparagus with smoked salmon on a white plate

Big meals will weigh you down and cause you to overeat. | Hlphoto/iStock/Getty Images

Strict diets may have you watching the clock and counting down the minutes until your next meal. Healthy, right? Not necessarily. The longer you wait to satisfy your hunger, the more prone you are to overeating once the time comes.

Just because you spread out and slim down your meals doesn’t mean they should lack the appropriate proteins, fats, and nutrients. Eating consistently and taking in a healthy amount of calories is crucial to losing weight. And eating too few calories will slow your metabolism, at which point you’ll retain weight.

Think thin (and healthy) to be thin

Avocado toast with kale and radish over rustic wood on a wooden table

Nourish your body the right way. | Jenifoto/iStock/Getty Images

The wellness world has been trending away from weight loss and more toward healthy living. Utilizing your brain in addition to your body has become crucial to toning and dropping pounds.

“Everything we feel and every behavior we engage in — including what and how much we choose to eat — are the results of brain activity,” says neuroscientist Stephan J. Guyenet, author of The Hungry Brain. Help your brain feel full by eating foods high in protein and fiber, which will provide more satiety per calorie then their sugary counterparts.

Switch up how and when you exercise

A group of women doing planks on mats

Give your body a challenge to prevent weight-loss plateaus. | Bojan89/iStock/Getty Images Plus

The enemy of consistent weight loss is often, ironically, routine. If you’re prone to sticking to one exercise class and a strict diet, your body will adapt to it, resulting in a stagnant weight and an ineffective regimen. By switching up both your exercise plan and schedule, you can trick your body back into losing weight.

When your weight loss begins to flatline, consider adding in a new type of cardio or focusing on a different muscle group for a week. Break through your weight-loss plateau while varying aerobic exercise, strength training, and stretching.

Get more sleep

A young woman sleeps in her bed

Getting enough sleep should be a priority. | Twinsterphoto/iStock/Getty Images

Often we lack enough time in the day to fit in work, exercise, commuting, and a personal life. These habits combined with meal-prepping and extensive exercise can interfere with the healthy sleep cycle that is crucial for weight loss.

Sleeping longer burns more calories (and prevents you from late-night snacking). When you’re lacking sleep, your body produces more ghrelin, which is what signals your brain that it’s time to eat. Leptin, which signals your brain when to stop eating, plummets when you’re sleep-deprived.

Stop stressing about the weight

A woman looks at a scale while holding her head

Instead of worrying about your weight gain, focus on ways to can make your lifestyle healthier. | Tetmc/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Similar to sleep, stress and its associated hormones — primarily cortisol — can affect your weight-loss progress. Mayo Clinic lists the various dangers of cortisol, which include digestive and sleep problems as well as weight gain.

This catch-22 leaves you in a weight-loss limbo; to lose the weight, stop focusing so much on it! Losing weight should still be a priority, but focus on ways to make your exercise and diet enjoyable. Don’t sweat the small stuff while trying to sweat off the last few pounds.

Put the scale away

Two feet standing on a scale

The number on the scale shouldn’t be the only signifier of a healthy lifestyle. | Nensuria/iStock/Getty Images

Weighing yourself is a consistent way to measure your progress. However, it can have a detrimental effect on your weight loss if you aren’t careful. Not only can the number on the scale set you into a self-doubting, judgmental cycle, but it isn’t always an accurate indication of your progress.

When you weigh yourself you’re measuring everything on your body that has weight, not just the fat. This includes your muscle, bone tissue, water weight (which can fluctuate), undigested food, and waste.

Most importantly, remember that weight is just a numbernot a definition. Whether it takes you a few weeks or months to make it to your goal, your health should be your first priority.

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