The last five pounds of your diet is always the hardest. It isn’t just a myth, or an old wives tale, either. There’s a reason why it gets harder and harder to lose body fat.
Everyone has specific fat deposits that are resistant, or stubborn, to being utilized. At the end of your diet, after losing 10-20 pounds, what remains are these fat stores that won’t seem to go away.
Often, these are around the midsection in the form of love handles or a slight belly. To get rid of this fat, you’ll need a strategy for the hormones trying to keep what’s left of your body fat.
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Hormones & Metabolism
When you’re near the finish line, and you only have a few pounds left to lose, you have to factor in the role hormones play in your diet. It isn’t just about calories and exercise anymore.
After several months of dieting, hormones will begin to slow your progress making it harder to finish off those last few pounds.
Ghrelin is produced in the stomach and influences your hunger cravings, appetite and fat storage. When ghrelin levels are high you’ll feel hungry soon after a meal, and you’re more likely to store calories as fat.
When you’re on a calorie restrictive diet, for long durations, your ghrelin levels are likely to be elevated.
Leptin is produced in your fat cells and tells your brain you’re full, everything is normal, and you can burn calories and body fat regularly. When Leptin levels are high, you’re more likely to burn excess body fat.
Low calorie diets, however, will cause your leptin levels to decrease making it harder to burn off body fat.
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A refeed day is what most fitness professionals and bodybuilders will do to continue burning fat without hitting a plateau. It’s intended to influence your leptin production which will keep your metabolism revving, limit hunger in the subsequent days, and tell your body to keep burning fat.
How To Do It
If you’re on any kind of calorie restrictive diet, your leptin levels are likely to be low. You can get a temporary spike with an influx of calories, also known as the refeed day.
Day 1-6: You’ll want to be in a calorie deficit for six straight days.
– No Sugar
– No Dairy
– Low Carbs
Day 7: You’ll want to increase your calories by 50-75%. If you’re eating 2,000 calories on day 1-6, you would then eat 3,000-3,500 calories on day 7.
– High carbs
– Low Fat (studies show excessive fat can disrupts leptin effectiveness)
You may also want to incorporate some fasted workouts to influence fat stores. Your body will always have a preference to finding and utilizing energy and it’s most likely to choose the path of least resistance.
When you have readily available calories to utilize from food, your body is more likely to utilize these calories rather than breaking down body fat.
You can influence your body to utilize fat stores with fasted workouts, and it’s exactly as it sounds. You want to exercise on an empty stomach, when you don’t have easily accessible calories from food.
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