When it comes to weight loss, a disciplined approach goes a long way in ensuring that you meet your fat loss targets. However, even when you diligently follow diet and exercise routines, there comes a time when it becomes very difficult to lose weight any further. You hit a plateau. This happens when your body gets used to the routine. The last few pounds present the biggest challenge.

A few tweaks in your daily routine can be of immense help in knocking off those final few pounds. Read on to learn about the mistakes that people unwittingly make and how rectifying them can help them achieve a toned body.

1. Using your phone lying in bed

If, instead of going to sleep when you hit the sack, you’re in the habit of catching up with pals on social media, checking emails, or playing a quick game or two on an app, then know that your activities are eating into precious sleep time. Sleep deprivation has a deleterious effect on the body’s metabolism. It may result in insulin resistance and a craving for fatty foods.

2. Drastically reducing calorie intake

Many fad diets advocate a complete breakaway from high-calorie foods and a severe reduction in daily diet. This, actually, has a detrimental effect on your effort to lose weight, and over the long term can make the body’s metabolism go awry. The reason why restricting calories isn’t such a good idea is that it interferes with the working of two crucial hormones that govern metabolism – ghrelin and leptin. A drastic reduction in calories raises the levels of ghrelin, the hormone that stokes hunger. And, it reduces the levels of leptin, the hormone that is responsible for subduing hunger. This approach is not very effective in burning fats or in keeping you sated. The right thing to do is to eat healthy food, not starve yourself, and exercise.

3. Neglecting greens for breakfast

Green and leafy vegetables in the morning provide fiber for a feeling of fullness and a range of vitamins that fuel the body’s cells and keep you active. You can get as creative as you want with greens. Stir fry beans, whip up spinach smoothies, add mustard and kale to baked stuff, or just prepare a quick salad topped with some healthy olive oil.

4. Overloading coffee with too many flavor enhancers

Every spoonful of sugar brings with it extra calories. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 37g or 9 tsp of sugar for men. If you’re dieting, consider halving this amount as your target daily intake. You can cut down on sugared coffee but substituting the sweetener with alternatives like fresh coconut milk or aromatics like cardamom and cinnamon. Creamers and syrup are other additives that you should eschew. With a little creativity, it is possible to make your taste buds get used to new, interesting tastes and flavors that are also healthy.

5. Not getting your morning dose of protein

A study at the University of Missouri has concluded that 35g of protein taken during breakfast can help prevent unwanted weight gain, and keeps you feeling full. Such a breakfast can actually help you shave off around 400 calories a day without adversely affecting your nutritional requirements. The reason behind this is that protein prevents blood sugar levels from fluctuating, which prevents the body from sending signals for a post-meal snack. It helps weight watchers cut down on junk food.