How do I Get Over a Weight Loss Plateau?

Weight loss plateaus can give even the most positive dieter something to complain about. You're following your plan and exercising and then - all of a sudden - nothing works anymore! Try as hard as you might, you can't lose any more weight. It feels like your body is revolting against you.

Before you throw in the towel and drown your sorrows in fudge cake, try the following tips. The will get your diet back on the right track and those numbers on the scale going down again.

Adopt the right mindset.
The first thing to do when you hit a plateau is to recognize that it's all part of the process. When you are losing weight, plateaus are bound to happen. With the right attitude, you'll be able to get through this difficult time and continue to lose weight. Just remember that your weight didn't pile on in a matter of a few days or few weeks. Weight gain is a long process with starts and stops and weight loss is the same way.

Review the foods that you eat.
If you've been slowly drifting away from the hard and fast rules of your plan, it's time to snap back into shape. As you start to get comfortable with a way of eating, you may start to relax the rules. You'll still eat right 80% of the time but that other 20% of the time, you'll splurge a little bit. Start writing down everything you eat and identify any missteps you might have been making. You may have introduced a new food to your diet that you thought was healthier than it actually is. Read labels on all new foods you try and stick to the guidelines you have set for yourself.

Switch up your exercise routine.
In some cases, it's exercise and not food that is the culprit. A plateau can occur when your body isn't as challenged by your workout routine as it used to be. For example, you've been walking on the treadmill for 30 minutes at a level 5 intensity for several months. Your body has adapted and isn't being worked out as hard. It's time to challenge your body. You can increase the intensity of your workout or you can try something radically new.

When you do the same exercise again and again you aren't using any new muscle groups. If you're a runner, try doing yoga or pilates. If you prefer aerobics, try adding some strength training. Maybe you have lost weight without building much muscle to compensate for it. Building muscle will help your body burn more fat when you're resting and will help you break through that plateau.

Stick to your goals.

Above all, don't use a plateau as an excuse to overeat or stop exercising. Keep your eyes on your long term weight loss goal and make a goal of increasing your activity and tracking your food intake better. Give yourself a non-food related reward when you break down through the plateau. You'll be glad that you did.