Why is it so hard to lose those last five pounds? When it comes to our weight, many of us have a magic number in mind that signifies being “in shape.” And for those on a weight-loss journey, strict healthy habits such as eating well and exercising yield impressive results, at least initially. But as you near your target weight, often those last few pounds are more difficult to drop.

While frustrating, hitting a weight loss plateau is common. It’s important to remember that there are a number of factors influencing your body weight, such as age-related hormone fluctuations, specific health conditions, and a slower metabolic rate. Your body also may like being at a specific weight, even if it varies from your goal.

So if you’re struggling to shave those last few pounds, shake it up with these tried and true weight-loss strategies:

Move the goal line. Your body is unique. Diet fads and toning tricks that work well for a friend won’t necessarily benefit you. Acknowledge and respect the time it takes to trim excess weight. There are no quick fixes or powerful pills. Each day is a new opportunity to tackle your health hurdles. Start by reevaluating your objectives and weight-loss approach. You may have to readjust your goals several times throughout your weight-whittling quest, or seek out a nutritionist or personal trainer to help you.

On the hook. Accountability and adherence are two of the most challenging aspects of healthy living. Actually putting in the hard work necessary to notice progress requires dedication. We are constantly presented with temptations, such as sugary snacks in the office, a belly-bloating happy hour, or leftovers on your kid’s plate. But by practicing mindfulness, and holding yourself accountable, you can prevent calorie-packed pitfalls before they occur.

Switch it up. Your body needs variety. Workouts should constantly shift from one heart pounding session to the next to crush calories, and more important, keep you interested.

If your workout was working but now it’s not, try incorporating several days of high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into the mix. For HIIT workouts to be effective, an all-out, max effort is a must.

Below is a 20-minute bodyweight burner circuit. Repeat three times, with 30-seconds rest between exercises and 60-seconds rest between rounds.

Invisible jump ropes: It’s like jumping rope, but without the equipment. Move with fast feet, landing lightly with each step. Perform this exercise for one minute.

Burpees: Start by standing with feet hip-width apart. Hinge back at your hips, dropping your hands down between your feet then shoot your legs back into a plank pose. Do one push-up, then jump your feet back to the starting stance and explosively jump up toward the sky. That’s one rep. Repeat 10 times.

Burpee
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Burpee

Squat twists: With your body weight in your heels, hinge back at your hips into a squat. In one brisk movement, push through your heels as you jump up and twist your torso to the left. Rotate your trunk back to the front as you lower into another squat, then jump up and twist your torso to the right. Repeat this sequence 10 times.

Squat twist
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Squat twist

Sit throughs: Begin in an elevated plank position with your shoulders stacked above your wrists. Keep your form steady as you swing your right leg beneath and across your body. Return your right foot to the starting position, swiftly switching to your left leg. Continue alternating legs for 20 reps.

Sit through.
Courtesy of Ashley Greenblatt
Sit through.

Catch your zzz’s. While wanting to train 24/7 is commendable, your body needs rest to recover, repair and reap the benefits of your work. Overtraining is dangerous, because fatigued muscles are more susceptible to injuries. If you’re practicing these guidelines and exercising several times a week, your body should be tired. So take time to recharge your battery and heal.

Remember, there is no “perfect” weight. Concentrate on your body composition and maintain a healthy body fat percentage, rather than just focusing on the scale. Weight loss and weight management require lifelong commitment. Keep going.

Ashley Blake Greenblatt, ACE-CPT, is a certified personal trainer and wellness coach. To learn more, visit ashleyblakefitness.com.