10 Ways to Beat Those Last Few Pounds

We're well into the new year, and for many of us that means we've had enough time to stick to our New Years Resolution to lose weight.

By now, results should be apparent -- either you're making progress, or things aren't going the way you'd hoped. Regardless, you could probably improve upon your weight-loss resolution and shed those hard-to-lose pounds without having to resort to crash diet plans and fitness boot camps.

While such tactics have their place and are a great way to kick-start a lifestyle change at the beginning of the year, its the smaller things on a daily basis that might make the difference between the weight you'd like to be and the weight you are.

The following is a list of 10 simple ways to modify your everyday lifestyle to ensure healthy weight loss and long term results.

The idea of this list isnt to guilt readers into practicing each suggestion, but rather to illuminate examples of common habits we all share--habits that are easily broken and that just might be preventing us from shedding those last few pounds.

1. The Breakfast Rush
Many of us lead active, busy lifestyles that simply don't allow us enough time to eat a healthy breakfast. As a result, we stop at Starbucks on the way to work and think nothing of spending $6 on a latte and a muffin. While this might be a convenient way to jump-start your morning with a jolt of caffeine, you could be consuming as much as 45 grams of fat in that "snack" alone (for the average 2000-calorie diet, that's over two-thirds the daily recommended fat intake of 66 grams!).

Instead, consider buying ready-made fresh fruit bowls at your local grocery store, and if you absolutely need that caffeine, then consider switching to plain coffee rather than the fancy cream-based coffee-shop offerings.

Also keep in mind that coffee is a diuretic, meaning that it dehydrates you of the vitamins and nutrients you consume at the most important part of the day--the morning.

2. 20 Minutes a Day
Regardless of your current workout routine, try finding an additional 20 minutes a day. It might mean waking up earlier or staying at the gym an extra half-hour. Assuming you arent a regular runner, take this time to jog two miles. It should only take between 15 and 20 minutes. This is a short-enough distance to minimize the likelihood of shin splints or other running-related injuries for the uninitiated (though always exercise with caution--and a good pair of shoes).

Jogging this short distance six days a week, you will log nearly two marathons a month. Try telling anyone you wont lose a few pounds running a marathon every two weeks!

3. Dont Get Fried!
It might be easy to eat healthy most of the time, but the lunch hour offers plenty of temptations to clog your arteries with unnecessary fat. You might feel good about ordering that grilled chicken sandwich, but the french fries that unexpectedly come on the plate are loaded with oily fat and useless calories.

What about other appetizers and side dishes? They may taste great but consider the fat content: corn chips, onion rings, calamari, refried beans--all pack an unbelievably high caloric and fat-gram count.

When ordering your lunch, ask what comes on the side and if necessary request a substitute--salad, cooked vegetables, or fruit are wise alternatives.

4. Relax With Activity
Try making a conscientious effort to break out of a sedentary habit on the weekend in favor of a more pulse-quickening form of relaxation (this is not necessarily "working out"). Perhaps you spend a large part of your Sundays watching football, or lounging out by the pool. While these are luxuries we all enjoy in that sacred privilege known as "free time," there are ways to enjoy such time with recreational activities that are non-sedentary.

Walking the dog, going on a bike ride, kayaking or rock climbing, hiking on outdoor trails these are all activities that can be enjoyable and relaxing while simultaneously offering light exercise.

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