t’s a tale as old as time. You’ve come far in your weight loss, found a diet and exercise that work for you, and shed your goal weight — well, most of it. The last five to 10 pounds can be the hardest to shake, and often the old tricks don’t work.
There’s a method behind the madness; the slimmer you become, the fewer calories you burn just going about your day, explains Madelyn Fernstrom, Ph.D., and founding director of the Weight Management Center at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. For every pound you lose, your metabolism slows by up to 20 calories a day. Here are some simple, day-to-day changes you can make to drastically improve your chances of dropping that last bit of weight.

Change your coffee order

Give the sugary coffee a rest. | iStock.com/loooby
A plain cup of black coffee can do wonders for your weight loss, but is significantly less tempting than a blended, flavorful coffee or latte.
Frappuccinos, breves, and flavored lattes pack higher calories and cost more than zero-calorie black coffee. Opt for a skim, soy, or low-fat cappuccino, doppio, or sugar-free flavors if black coffee won’t do it for you. Registered dietitians agree that it’s also important to regulate liquid calories when trying to lose weight.

Track your progress

Keeping a food journal will help you stay on track. | iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages
A study found that keeping a food diary six days a week helped dieters lose around twice as much weight as those who only recorded their meals once or twice.
Food journaling helps you remain accountable for your choices while figuring out where those extra, sneaky calories may be coming from. Write as you go and track your cheat meals, too, for the best results.

Load up on chia

You can use chia seeds in a variety of recipes. | iStock.com
Chia, an edible seed that reportedly controls hunger, is high in dietary fiber, which is proven to jump-start weight loss and rev up your metabolism.
“Chia seeds have a total natural phenolic (antioxidant activity) that has been shown to stop up to 70 percent of free radical activity, making chia seeds one of nature’s highest antioxidant containing foods,” says Jessica Young, Chef & Head of Product at Daily Harvest. Work chia seeds into your morning oatmeal or smoothie for a healthy breakfast that’ll help you shed pounds.

Eat less meat

Meat may be delicious … but you should still cut back. | JPphoto1992/iStock/Getty Images
Eating less meat or replacing your meals with fish is a great way to reduce your fat intake and lose those last few pounds. The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine condones using a vegetarian and vegan diet to lose weight, and points out that cutting out food that’s high in fat and devoid of fiber, like certain meat products, is a safe and easy way to shed pounds.
You don’t need to adopt a full vegetarian diet, however; eating less meat will do the trick. A Brigham Young University study found that 53% of women who ate about 10 ounces of meat a day were overweight, compared with 16% of those who ate less than 6 ounces.

Get the appetizer salad

Starting off with a salad will help you eat less. | iStock.com/Martinina
Losing weight doesn’t just entail changing up what you eat. It helps to alter how and when you eat, too. Starting your meal with a salad will lead you to eat less calories in one sitting according to a study from Pennsylvania State University.

Women who ate salads topped with low-fat mozzarella and low-calorie Italian dressing instead of high-fat alternatives ate 10% fewer calories over the course of the day. It’s crucial that the salads are low-fat; participants who ate large portions of salad with regular dressing actually increased calorie consumption during meals by 17%.

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