iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Stuck in a weight-loss rut? Turns out you're not alone. Those last five to 10 pounds are often the hardest to lose.
MyFitnessPal -- the largest digital health company with more than 50 million users -- surveyed its users to find out what's keeping them from reaching their ultimate goal. Turns out there's five primary reasons those last few pounds seems to stick around longer than the ones before.
Elle Penner, MyFitnessPal's registered dietician, came up with tips to combat each and every one of those pitfalls that's keeping the number on your scale from going down:
Strong Sweet Tooth
Fifty-four percent of MyFitnessPal users say dessert is a major obstacle to weight loss. Penner said it's important to keep a tally of miniature treats. Three to four "snack-size" treats and a handful of M&Ms can quickly add up to the fat and calories of full-size desserts. "Even if you don't have time to track every morsel of food you eat throughout the day, a little snacking insight can go a long way in preventing sneaky weight gain," she said.
People Hate Veggies
Nearly 1 in 10 people said not eating vegetables is the culprit. Try to get your fruit and veggie servings in early in the day, said Penner. "The oh-so-popular green smoothie is the perfect way to get in a serving of veggies before you even get to the office. Try adding low-fat yogurt, milk or nut butter. It will up the protein and help keep you satisfied and focused throughout the morning," she said.
Carbs Are the Devil
Forty-seven percent say love for bread and pasta keeps them off-track. So, Penner said, consider taking a temporary weight loss vacation. Put it on the back burner for a week or so, just aim not to gain any weight, and come back with a fresh mind to reset your habits, she said. "When life gets really busy or stressful, avoiding additional weight gain is an achievement in itself," she said. "Set yourself up for success and pick back up on your weight loss efforts when you have the time and energy to dedicate to doing it healthfully."
Turns out more than half of us blame binges on mood swings. Penner said getting new workout gear could help. It sounds superficial, but nice workout gear really can make you feel better during a workout, and be an incentive to get you moving. "Rather than rewarding yourself with an indulgent meal when you hit a new health goal," she said, "invest in your next one by adding a new item to your workout wardrobe."
No Me Time
More than 20 percent of users report they don't have the time to cook or exercise. Penner said to stock the pantry. "When they're on sale, stock up on canned beans and tomatoes, herbs and spices, nuts and whole grains like quinoa, rolled oats and whole wheat pasta. Having a stash of healthy pantry staples will save time and money," she said. Instead of buying packaged convenience foods, filling your pantry with these healthy staples will give you a solid foundation for preparing more nutritious meals at home.
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