Why The Last 10 Pounds Are The Hardest To Lose…

May 3, 2019

You’ve been noticing your pants are fitting tighter around the waist, you’re stretching shirts in all the wrong places, and the last “easy” hike you went on with friends, felt like hiking Everest.

All the fast food, skipped trips to the gym and extra drinks after a long day are being worn on your waistline, and you commit to losing some weight and getting back in shape.

You change how you eat, and exercise, more vegetables, more protein and less fast food with a few trips to the gym after work each week.

A few weeks later clothes are fitting better and scale is dropping on a consistent basis.  

Eating clean and removing all processed foods is now a regular part of your routine, and you look forward to going to the gym after work.

Questions from friends and co-workers about what you’ve been doing different pop up now because they’re noticing a difference in how you look, and carry yourself.

For the first  time ever you feel really encouraged by your progress in your fitness!

That ideal physique and shape you’ve thought about for so long is getting closer by the week, and you’re excited!

But then…

The results start to slow down and the scale isn’t going down as quick as before.

Some weeks after doing everything by the books eating clean and hitting the gym your weight randomly spikes for a day or two.

The ups and downs of this process are starting to wear on your mindset  and confidence.

Eventually you have a big “cheat meal”, and that turns into a “cheat day”, and you vow to get back on track and eat super clean this entire week to make up for it.

You’re confused because you’ve been doing everything by the books, except  a few cheat days but you earned those so that can’t be it.

You don’t understand why things have stopped working.

You’re so close to your goal, and you just need to lose that last ten pounds to get there…

This is a common scenario I’m sure you’ve run into some facet of, and haven’t been able to solve.

Today however we’re going to cover why those last ten pounds are the most difficult to lose, and how to solve this problem.

Why The Last Ten Pounds Are The Hardest To Lose

1.) A Smaller Body Burns Fewer Calories

This makes perfect sense when you take a step back and look at this situation logically, but when you start to view the bathroom scale as your nemesis and feel confused and frustrated, it’s easy to let emotions take over.

The less you weigh and smaller your body is, the fewer calories will be burned to support your tissues, organs and daily movement.

Both body fat and muscle mass require calories to maintain and if you lose a significant amount of either one, or both over a period of time the body doesn’t require as many calories to maintain them.

Solution: Stay Around Your Ideal Weight

Prevention is always the best measure, and not allowing yourself to get too far out of shape in the first place will remove a lot of the temptation to use extreme diet and exercise to achieve your goals.

Maintaining low levels of body fat year round isn’t really conducive to a fun and full life so if you can stay  within five to seven pounds of your ideal body weight you’re in a great position to lose with a few small changes.

By staying closer to your ideal body weight you also have a much better idea of how much you need to eat to maintain, or chip away at calories if you’d like to lose a few pounds.

2.) Slip Ups Add Up

As you’re getting deeper into your weight loss diet you’ll have less room for slip ups and overindulgences in your nutrition.

This doesn’t mean you need to live like a nun or monk and only eat chicken and broccoli, but the smaller details of your nutrition, and portion/calorie awareness get increasingly important.

The cruel joke is the longer you’re dieting to lose weight the stronger your hunger, cravings and fatigue will be, making you want to overindulge in foods.

However those small slips ups over time can add up to a stall or plateau without you even realizing it.  

Another aspect to keep in mind is that the longer you’re on a specific nutrition plan the more comfortable you get at estimating or guessing, but those guesstimates can be coming back to bite you.

Solution: Take Inventory And Recalibrate

Choose a period of one to two weeks and  commit to a period of tracking every last morsel you drink and eat to make sure you’re actually eating the same amount you think you are.

As you go on dieting there’s bound to be samples, bites, lick and snacks that sneak in and when you catch them it helps you to rule out the low hanging fat loss fruit.

This also helps you connect how much you’re eating with how much you’re losing to determine what changes you need to make.

If you’re not and you’ve been accurate with your food intake then I’d recommend reducing your calories by 5-8%.

3.) Your Patience Will Be Tested

When it comes to weight loss if you can’t be patient in times when progress is slower, you won’t reach your goal.

I know you expect to step on the scale and see a lower number consistently but having worked with hundreds of clients I can tell you it doesn’t work like that for anyone.

What you have to keep in mind is that you gained this weight over years, and while it might not take you years to lose the weight, it won’t happen in a few weeks either.
Commit to the habits and the process, and you will achieve the outcome.

This is where having a coach like the world class ones at Vigor Ground Fitness to help you stay on course and keep chipping away at your goal is absolutely crucial to your success.

Solution: Shift The Focus To Habit Based Goals

In any weight loss journey the reality is you don’t directly have control over the outcome, but you have control over the habits that influence the outcome.

You can’t control the number on the scale, but you have total control over your habits.

By shifting your focus to habit based goals you allow yourself to see progress on a daily basis, and celebrate the real wins that add up to your weight loss goal.

When you use habit based goals you can celebrate daily wins, and feel good about the entire process rather than waiting to see a number on a scale.

4.) You’re Nutrition Plan Isn’t Sustainable

When you’re trying to lose weight and get  healthy it helps to eat mostly unprocessed whole foods.

This ensures you’re managing your appetite, and staying full while getting lots of fiber and  micronutrients.

You can go too far with the clean eating craze though so it backfires.

When you get too strict with your nutrition and deny yourself any of the foods you enjoy eating, eventually that restriction catches up with you.

Cravings will increase, you’ll start  to think about the foods you want but have denied yourself this whole time and there’s a point where most people will go off the rails and have a “cheat day”

You’ll compensate by trying to eat as clean as possible and go back to restricting until you have another “cheat day.”

In the end this unplanned and “cheat day” can undo the weeks progress and leave you feeling pissed and frustrated.

Luckily we’re covering how to fit foods you love into your plan so “cheat days” don’t wreck your progress!

Solution: Use A More Flexible Approach

At the end of the day when it comes to fat loss you need to be burning more calories than you’re eating to lose weight.

There is no one food that can stop you from losing weight when you’re burning more calories than you’re eating.

This isn’t to say that food quality doesn’t matter because, it absolutely does and you should be eating a diet that’s mostly nutrient dense whole foods.

By recognizing that there is no one food that can stop you from losing fat, it means you don’t have to be so restrictive with your nutrition and can fit in some foods you really like.

To do this you track how many calories you need to be eating on a daily basis to lose weight, and strategically fit in some of those more fun foods inside those calories.

If it causes you to go over your calories for that day, you can borrow some calories from tomorrow, and end up at the same place calorie wise at the end of the week and with the same weight loss.

To do this it might mean you mostly focus on lean protein and vegetables for the day so you have a calorie buffer for that meal or dessert.

Long term using a more flexible approach will lead to better results because you’ll still have the calorie awareness but less temptation to have those uncontrolled cheat days because you haven’t deprived yourself.

5.) You’re Exercising At A Lower Intensity

As you eat less and go to the gym you’re giving the body less fuel to use, yet asking it to work hard and burn more energy which is a scarce resource at the moment.

As a way to make your body more efficient when there’s less food being eaten, your body will actually make you burn fewer calories during exercise.

Muscular contractions and intensity become more efficient, meaning you’re not able to contract your muscle as intensely causing you to burn fewer calories.

With any weight loss diet there will times when you’re more fatigued and as a result  motivation and intensity will be lacking.

Due to lack of motivation and fatigue you might miss a few workouts, cut sessions short, or not put forth the same effort as before.

The calories burned in the gym add up over the weeks, months and years which can chip away at your fat loss goals.

If any of these signs sounds like something you’ve experienced when trying to lose those last ten pounds then stay tuned because in the next  blog I’ll show you the solutions to these issues so you can lose that last ten pounds!

Solution: Optimize Pre Workout Nutrition

A big part of the fatigue and decreased motivation when it comes to training can be solved by having your pre workout nutrition squared away.

Part of it is physiology, but also psychology too!

Eating a pre workout snack leaves most people with more energy and pop in their training session so let’s look at what you could eat.

Caffeine can be great pre workout to give your workout a boost, and help to fight off any fatigue you may have.

It’s one of the best known and studied performance enhancers and helps with energy, endurance and alertness during exercise.

Usually somewhere in the realm of 100-200mg of caffeine like you’d find in a cup of coffee is sufficient, but depends on your individual tolerance.

Next up is carbs, from a physical and psychological standpoint people tend to perform better in  the gym when they have some carbs around their workouts.

The source of carbs you do best with is going to be an individual preference but a  few things that work well for a lot of people are things like rice, rice cakes, toast with jam or even a carb drink.

Usually 30-50 grams of carbs is enough to get  you through a normal sixty to ninety minute workout with some pop on your training.

Having some protein is can help with making sure you have amino acids in your system for muscle repair too, and something in the realm of 20-30 grams of protein pre workout is a great option.

To help maximize things having 100-200 mg of caffeine and 30-50 grams of carbs and 20-30 gram of protein can really help shake off some of that fatigue and give you the energy to keep pushing in the gym.

In Conclusion

There’s a number of reasons why the last ten pounds are the hardest to lose, and most people will repeat the same dieting cycles without ever breaking through.

You now have the solutions and actionable steps for the most common problems you’re going to run into when it comes to losing that last 10 pounds.

By using these solutions and putting them into action you can save yourself a ton time and headache wondering why progress isn’t happening.

As always to get the fast track, with the support and guidance necessary to reach your goals without all the confusion and frustration stop into Vigor Ground Fitness and have an intro session with one of the world class coaches!


Get the coaching, support and guidance (you need) to help you get lean, build muscle and take control of your body. The accountability, community, tools, and strategies for you to keep the results for good.

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