One of my best friends implored me: “write about those last ten pounds!”  If somebody could just solve that, weight loss would be so much more successful.

I have been struggling with that assignment since that evening – over a delicious Italian meal, by the way.  Such a great question!  It is at the core of the diet challenge.

How do we lose those last ten pounds?  There is, obviously, no easy answer to that query.  I mean, accordingly to the US Government, two out of three Americans are either obese or overweight. That startling statistic is based on the BMI scale – which in itself is somewhat controversial.  But let’s not get bogged down in all these numbers.  The bottom line is what is a weight that you and your doctor think is healthy for you and possible to maintain?  Once you determine that, let the change begin.

If this were an easy answer, we wouldn’t need to spend BILLIONS to figure out how best to lose weight.  So, forgive me as I ramble a bit on this challenge.

This is what I have come to.  You lose the last ten pounds the same way you lose the first ten pounds.  There is actually an explanation for why those last pounds are so difficult to shed.  This from Fitness Magazine:

There’s a good reason so many of us hit the “final 10” wall. In a word: biology. “All of us have a built-in mechanism that protects against starvation. When caloric intake falls below caloric expenditure, a series of metabolic and physiological responses kick in to preserve and replenish energy stores,” explains Barry Levin, MD, professor and vice chair of the department of neurology and neurosciences at the New Jersey Medical School in Newark. So when you first begin to shed pounds, your metabolic rate slows, your energy use becomes more efficient, and your brain starts sending SOS messages that you’re hungry. By the time you’re down to the last 10 pounds? Your body is fighting to recover and will hang on to every ounce tighter and tighter.

If you have used your weight loss journey as a time to relearn your bad eating habits, build up an exercise program, and embrace the day-to-day process needed to eat sensibly, the pounds will ultimately come off.

The object of a diet is not to lose weight.  Not to see those numbers go down on the scale.  That’s the flaw of quick-fix diets.   Forget the numbers, you want to end bad habits and build new ones.  If you have gotten to the final 10 and are frustrated, have a heart to heart with yourself.  Have you picked a goal that is realistic for you.  Forget the BMI, pay attention to how you feel, where you are carrying your fat, consider if this is a weight that you often get to and stay (your set point.) I have heard so many people, usually women, set a goal for the weight they weighed when they were 20 years old.  You might want to rethink that.

The bottom line is to get yourself to a healthy place.  Remember how you felt when you started your journey, how you were willing to give it all the time it takes?  It is normal to want to sprint to the finish line.  But, you’re not finished.  This is it, baby.  So you might as well keep on keepin’ on.  And, enjoy yourself.