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Weight loss tips to lose 5, 10 and 20 pounds

Stuck in a rut with a few pounds to go? Try our easy, expert-approved strategies to shed those last few in no time. No dieting required!

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Woman drinking water from glass

Photo, Getty Images.

You want to lose: The last 5 pounds

161 calories: How much you can burn by watching a 90-minute horror film like Jaws.

Stop mindless eating: It’s easy to underestimate how much we eat — a handful of chips here, a latte there — so it’s no wonder we lose track.
The fix: “You become much more aware when you write it down,” says personal trainer Ashley Dale Roy. Researchers say keeping a food journal could help you lose up to six extra pounds this year!

Keep moving all day long: Sneak workouts in wherever you can.
The fix: Stuck in the office? Try this move from trainer Kathleen Trotter: Stand in front of your desk chair with feet shoulder-width apart. Lower into a squat, hovering just above chair for one count. Pulse five times. Rise onto toes. Hold for five counts. Return to start. Do it every time you take a seat.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate: Water flushes toxins from the body and also speeds up weight loss. Even mild dehydration can slow down the fat-burning process and sap energy levels.
The fix: Refill your glass often (aim for 2 L every day) and flavour with sliced citrus. Get a homemade vitamin water recipe here.

Add these tips to lose 10 pounds

Make intervals part of your workout: High-intensity interval training can be the best way to switch up your routine to help you shed stubborn pounds. Research shows it leads to higher energy levels, improved cardiovascular fitness and extra fat burning. One Canadian study found that when women in their 20s cycled for 10 sets of four minutes at high intensity followed by two minutes of rest, they increased the amount of fat they burned by a whopping 36 percent.
The fix: On your next morning walk, plan to jog for one block every other block. Or the next time you’re cycling at the gym, kick it up a notch for five minutes in the middle. We promise you’ll see results!

Cut out empty calories: Subtracting 500 calories from your daily intake can help you lose an extra pound per week, says personal trainer Cat Smiley.
The fix: Planning your snacks in advance significantly contributes to losing weight. Keep high-fibre, high-protein fuel at the office. We love oatmeal or Greek yogurt sprinkled with chia seeds.

Fill up with protein: Getting plenty of this essential nutrient is key to keeping weight-loss goals on track. “Missing a macronutrient like protein often leads to cravings for empty calories, like fries, doughnuts, bagels — whatever it takes to fill that void,” says Smiley.
The fix: Include protein powerhouses like fish, meat, lentils or tofu at every meal. Single-serving cups of cottage cheese are tasty, easy-to-pack snacks.

Add these tips to lose 20 pounds

Step away from the scale: Weighing in every day is not always the best indicator of success. If you’re working out more, you may be building muscle, which weighs more than fat.
The fix: Gauge your progress by your increased energy levels and how well your clothes fit.

Use the buddy system: Stay motivated by enlisting a pal as your workout buddy. Studies show your chances of weight loss increase significantly with a little help from your friends.
The fix: Sign up for a Zumba class with a co-worker or commit to jogging every morning with a neighbour.

Hit the snooze button: When people get even an hour and 20 minutes less sleep at night, they eat an average of 550 extra calories the next day.
The fix: “Get eight hours of sleep to rev up your metabolism and maximize fat-burning,” says Smiley.

-Article originally published January 2013.