How To Lose The Last Stubborn 5 Pounds
Print Friendly, PDF & Email


While we certainly see a wide range of weight loss goals in our practice, you may find that the final few pounds you would like to lose are indeed the most stubborn. “If I could just drop 5 pounds” is a common statement we hear in our nutrition counselling practice.  Here are some things to consider if you have been struggling with the dilemma of what else you can do:

mane_on_scale_with_credit 1.    Why is the last few pounds the hardest to lose?

The closer you get to your body’s natural set point or weight that it prefers to be, the harder it is to budge the scale.  If you have a poor lifestyle habits and have significant weight to lose you will often lose weight at a faster rate than if you have been at it a long time and are trying to lose the last few pounds.

2.    Is changing my nutrition the best way to lose the final 5 pounds?

It may or may not be depending on your current eating habits.  Working with a registered dietitian for one-on-one nutrition counselling is one of the best ways to have custom feedback on if there are some additional changes that you could make to your diet or to assure you that you are on the right track.  The best self assessment tool you can find to get started yourself is to keep a food journal for a week and write down everything you are eating and take a good hard look at it.  Are there places that you could make changes or is your nutrition intake at a place that is healthy and removing or cutting back on anything else would lead to feelings of deprivation and be unsustainable for the long term?

3.    If my nutrition needs some work, what are the best strategies to focus on?

There are broadly two things to consider:

#1 Could I make changes to the TYPE of foods that I eat?

Take a good look at your pantry, fridge and plates of food.  If I were to visit your kitchen, eat lunch with you at work, sit down at your table at supper and eat snacks with you what would I say?  What would you be proud of and what might you change?  Since we often eat whatever is convenient start by managing your environment (what you stash in your cupboards, cars and at work).  A good place to start is thinking about having a supper plate with half a plate veggies, one-quarter plate grains/starches and one-quarter plate protein.

Remember you don’t need to be perfect but really take a hard look and consider what you could change with a bit better planning and focus.  Also consider what I call non-negotiables or foods chosen for fun such as sweets, savory foods – which ones are really worth it?

#2 Could I make changes to the AMOUNT of food that I eat?

If you are generally a healthy eater and make good choices chances are you could benefit from shifting your portion sizes.  Think about switching to smaller plates and bowls and taller slimmer glasses for calorie containing beverages.  When I eat ice cream as much as I would like to have a large soup bowl it will always result in scooping out a bigger portion than I really need. It is best to choose a smaller dessert bowl since the same amount of ice cream looks bigger in a smaller bowl and will “fill up our eyes.”  Purchase hard to manage foods in the smallest size packages possible and just at the time of purchase.  For example waiting to purchase a small individual bag of chips from the convenience store when you have a strong craving is far better than leaving a 2-pack of family size bags of chips home in your pantry.  Research shows when we have more we eat more.

4.    Why is having realistic expectations so important?

It is important to set ourselves up for success by recognizing our limitations and what good progress really looks like.  Research shows even being able to maintain our weight as we age is very good success.  I would also like you to consider if you are currently healthy and have good nutrition and exercise habits, what in your life would really change if you lost 5 pounds? Chances are nothing will change and you may want to give yourself a pat on the back for the health and strength of your body right now as is.  Consider replacing your “never enough” mindset with “good enough.”

I am also reminded of a research study from a few years ago in which 60 obese women were assessed for their goals, expectations and outcomes regarding their weight loss journey over 48 weeks.

Before starting they defined their goal weight, their ‘dream weight,’ ‘happy weight,’ ‘acceptable weight’ and ‘disappointed weight’. Their goal weights required an average loss of 32% of body weight! A 37 pounds weight loss was generally defined as ‘disappointed’; a 55 pound weight loss was merely seen as ‘acceptable’.

The results of the program showed that the participants lost an average of approximately 35 pounds.  Ironically despite amazing progress almost half (47%) of the patients did not feel that they had achieved even a ‘disappointed weight’.

Listen to episode 69 part one “How to Lose the Last Stubborn 5 Pounds” here:


Click here to download a printer-friendly PDF


Polivy J. The false hope syndrome: unrealistic expectations of self-change. International Journal of Obesity (2001) 25, Suppl 1, S80–S84 ß 2001.  http://www.nature.com/ijo/journal/v25/n1s/pdf/0801705a.pdf

Foster GD, Wadden TA, Vogt RA, Brewer G. What is a reasonable weight loss? Patients’ expectations and evaluations of obesity treatment outcomes. J Consult Clin Psychol 1997; 65: 79 – 85.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

As seen in


Success stories

"I am a psychologist in private practice and it is very important to me that my clients have the best care with other health care professionals. For that reason Health Stand Nutrition is my only source for exceptional Dietitians. Andrea and her team provide highly knowledgeable, compassionate, and real world support to my clients who require assistance with food lifestyle. I trust my clients to them and you would be in excellent hands making them part of your health care team."
Adele Fox, Psychologist
“This is the first time I feel satisfied; my cravings have diminished dramatically and I have a whole new relationship with food. I am eating guilt-free for the first time in my life. My energy has also dramatically increased and I feel great!
Rhonda Jenkins, Nutrition Counseling Client
“The Dieticians at Health Stand Nutrition help you to take action on the science behind eating well by making it practical, understandable, and fun. Their office is cozy and not at all clinical or intimidating. I felt like I was sitting down with a really smart, caring friend who wanted to help me make the best choices for my lifestyle and food preferences. They really are the best in the business.”
Marty Avery, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I have come to think of the program as a one stop shopping excursion for everything one needs to know about creating a joyous relationship with food and our bodies. In a single word, the course has gifted me with freedom from the punishing rigidity of disordered eating, old stories that never were true, and body dysmorphia that did nothing but make me lose sight of a body that has done everything I've asked, despite my careless dismissal of her needs. Now when I look in the mirror I find myself shifting from harsh criticism to gentle gratitude.”
Lynn Haley, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“I spent 3 hours when first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I learned more from my Dietitian about food in those 3 hours than I had learned in all the years of my life. I also love the newsletter, there is always something to learn.”
Peter Whitehead, Nutrition Counseling Client
“I didn’t realize how strong my “diet mentality” was, and all the rules I had in my head about food. I was in a cycle of reward/punish/binge/cringe. I booked with your business very reluctantly, on the repeated advice of my doctor, to get my slowly rising cholesterol levels in check. I thought I knew everything about food, and my behaviour with food, but I was definitely re-schooled. My weight is creeping down, I feel good about my diet, exercise, body image, and lifestyle.”
Amy Floyd, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Thanks Andrea for an amazing presentation, I have heard all positive remarks from attendees and the evaluations show the same sentiment. It is really gratifying when a speaker does their “homework” and weaves in our profession’s day to day challenges within their content, you did an awesome job of this! You truly took the “die” out of Dietician! Your information on healthy eating and simplifying how we can work towards this as we are all so busy really hit the mark. Andrea connects very well with her audience; she is energetic, funny, and very approachable.”
Carole Ann LaGrange, Transfusion Medicine Safety Officer

Event Planner for Laboratory Diagnostic Imaging Annual Event

I am a family physician who sees patients with a myriad of eating concerns – from wanting to know how to plan healthy meals for active families, to weight loss, to eating disorders, and so on. I cannot recommend the Health Stand team highly enough. I have worked with (and been to!) other Dieticians in the past and too often find that they just ask for food logs and make suggestions that are easily obtained online or in books. The Dieticians at Health Stand offer much more than just telling clients what they “should be eating.” In contrast, the team really does more of a counselling practice, and they work hard to help their clients learn more about why their eating habits may be off track and not optimal for them, as well as helping people to effect change at a deep level that, most importantly, is sustainable for lifetime health.”
Dr. Deb Putnam, Family Physician

Nutrition Counseling Client & Referring Physician

“I am a busy mom, with kids in high level sports, working full-time downtown, and running our home acreage outside the City. I now have the knowledge and tools I need to plan for and manage the chaos of meal planning.”
Gillian Gray, Pursuit of Healthiness Online Course Participant
“As a construction company, we select speakers who can relate to our industry and its employees. Andrea’s message was delivered with humor and empathy. She makes people feel as though they can make changes without leaving behind every favorite food. Andrea focused her presentation on healthy eating as a way to keep energy high throughout the day. This message and the way it was delivered resonated with our predominantly male, blue collar culture. I would highly recommend Andrea as a speaker for groups such as ours. She will get your message across without alienating anyone in your audience – which is a huge hurdle when trying to introduce a wellness program in the workplace!”
Stephanie Wood, HR and Safety Manager

Fisher Construction Group, Burlington, WA

I found my Dietitian warm, funny, and skilled at teaching nutrition concepts without the overwhelm. The general approach of each session was to mix science with emotion, which was exceedingly effective in helping me shift my perspective on food from one of anxiety to one of joy and curiosity.”
Erin Kronstedt, Nutrition Counseling Client
“Excellent presentation! What a refreshing change to have a speaker inspire rather than “lecture” about nutrition. Your captivating stories, tips and overall approach to healthy eating uplifts and puts people at ease. It was great to hear we don’t need to strive to be perfect eaters, and that small changes really can make a difference in how we feel and in our health. Thanks to Andrea, we have solutions to our everyday nutrition challenges that can actually work in real life!”
Tina Tamagi, Human Resources

ARC Resources Ltd.

“Had I not joined this course I would have struggled with no focus, low energy, and mindless eating. Excellent teaching and motivation. This is not just a course, it is a nutrition club with mentorship, support, and connections with other people with similar situations.”
Lorri Lawrence, Pursuit of Healthiness online course participant

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This