Losing the "last 5kgs” can be excruciatingly difficult. When you have a lot to lose, the weight often seems to come off quickly, but by the end of your health journey it's all about dialing in on the little details in your workouts and nutrition.
That doesn't mean it has to be all chicken-and-broccoli all the time, though. We talked to women who accomplished their weight-loss goals about the little tricks that helped them peel off the last 5kgs and it quickly became apparent that little changes can have big results.
"I STOP EATING THREE HOURS BEFORE BEDTIME"
"One tip that helped me lose 7kgs in six months was to not eat three hours before bed... It's tough, especially at first, because nighttime was when my cravings would get really strong. But instead of eating junk food now I fill up on water and grab a handful of almonds or a tub of plain Greek yoghurt. I've also learned how important it is to love myself and not beat myself up for mistakes or slip-ups. It took me four years to get over my binge-eating disorder because I was so hard on myself. Now I just do my best and don't worry about the rest." —Christina Roulund, Palm City, Florida.
"I EAT PLENTY OF HEALTHY FATS"
"For years the common health 'wisdom' was to eat as little fat as possible but thankfully we've learned that eating fat doesn't make you fat. For me, an important part of losing 5kgs and maintaining a healthy weight is to make sure I eat enough fat. I recommend eating one serving of healthy fats, like half an avocado or one handful of nuts, at each meal. It helps me feel satisfied and stay fuller longer. I also make sure to have pre-portioned healthy snacks on hand like full-fat Greek yoghurt or an apple with almond butter." —Andrea Goergen, R.D.N., dietitian and owner of Cultivate Healthy in Washington D.C.
"I WENT COLD TURKEY ON JUNK FOOD"
"Moderation works great for some people but I'm more of an all-or-nothing kind of person. As a swimmer, I always responded to tough love from my coaches so when I decided to lose weight I knew I needed to give myself some of that same tough love. So I quit soda and sugar cold turkey, no cheating. I knew if I let myself have even one soft drink a day it would be all too easy to also rationalise two or three. I won't lie, it really sucks, especially for the first few days. But eventually you get used to it and it's not even a temptation anymore. I lost 30kgs in about 16 months but I still have to remain vigilant. I recently went back to school and my old junk food habit crept back in, along with a few extra pounds." —Jenny Sundberg, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
"I LOAD UP ON PROTEIN"
"After I had my baby I wanted to lose the extra weight I'd gained so I signed up for a diet program. One tip they recommended was to eat a lot of protein as it helps keep you full longer. They also recommended eating lots of fibre-filled fresh fruits and vegetables for the same reason. I centred my meals around protein and produce and not only did it keep me full between meals but it also reduced cravings for junk foods. I've lost 28kgs since February 2016." —Marcie Moody, Orting, Washington.
"I DRINK HALF MY BODY WEIGHT IN WATER"
"It's true what they say: Hunger often does masquerade as thirst! When I first decided to get fit, I figured I'd need to drink more water because as I got more active I'd sweat more. The only thing that didn't make me feel bloated and sluggish was plain water so I started drinking more of it, aiming for half my body weight in ounces per day. Once I upped my water intake, my skin cleared up, my energy increased, my stomach issues disappeared, and I began to see far more physique definition. I lost 36kg in a year." —Colette Grier, Fort Polk, Louisiana.
"I ONLY EAT WHEN I'M TRULY HUNGRY"
"Several years ago, I started trying to lose weight and as I became more aware of my eating habits I began to notice something interesting: I always felt obligated to eat a meal when others were also eating even if I wasn't hungry. I think I was just trying to be polite (or the food looked too good!). But eating when I wasn't actually hungry and forcing a plate of food down anyhow left me feeling sick and miserable afterwards. I started listening to my body and only ate when I was hungry and cut way back on social snacking. I immediately started to feel much better. I've dropped 12kgs and maintained it for three years." —Michelle Koch, Columbus, Ohio.
This article originally appeared on Women's Health US.