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5 Tips To Fix a Weight Plateau

Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE
January 2, 2023
March 10, 2023

We often hear that eating a healthy diet and exercising are keys to helping us lose weight. Experts say: exercise 5 days per week, don’t eat junk food, and eat small frequent meals. But what happens when you’re doing everything right, and suddenly your weight progress has stalled? Watch the video, or keep reading for more.

Most reasons are just signs that your routine needs a little time or tweaking. What changes do you need to make? Watch the video for some tips on getting out of the weight rut.

You Need a Routine Adjustment:

If you’re doing everything perfect with diet and exercise, it's possible that your body has reached the weight loss potential that it can with your current routine, and you may need a little more change. Your body basically got accustomed to the repetition of a healthy lifestyle.

The Change:

  • Add an extra 15 minutes of exercise per day of exercise, or
  • Change the types of exercise to include more variety than just walking, such as: yoga, dance, or cycling.
  • Talk with your Dietitian or Health Coach about your routine.
  • Log your food intake, or take pictures of what you eat using our app to reassess your meal and snack adequacy.

Your Weight Loss Goal is Not Realistic

What weight are you plateauing at? This might be be your body's preferred weight. Bodies don't like to be out of balance. There is a theory called the "settling point theory" that notes that your body will try, based partly on genetics, age and historical diet, social factors, and environment, to keep your weight in a certain range that it is comfortable with. When your weight has settled into its settling point, this means that you’ve plateaued. But you can change it!

The Change:

  • Talk with your Dietitian or health coach about your routine
  • Log your food intake, or take pictures of what you eat using our app to reassess your meal and snack adequacy.
  • Add an extra 15 minutes of exercise per day of exercise, or
  • Change the types of exercise to include more variety than just walking, such as: yoga, cycling, or dancing.

Like other forms of aerobic exercise, dancing raises your heart rate and gets your lungs pumping. Want a healthy heart? Dance it off!

with a change in routine, diet, and even environment, you can lose weight gradually, naturally, and after several months, your settling point will also change to a new low.

You are Stressed:

Cortisol, the "stress hormone," rises in times of trouble. Cortisol is supposed to come back down, but chronic stressors will keep cortisol high, which may stop fat burning and may increase belly fat storage.

The Change:

You are Losing Muscle

Usually, when we diet by restricting calories, we will lose mostly water, a little fat, and we may also lose muscle, too. Unless you are measuring your strength and muscle mass, you may not know what exactly that you are losing. If you feel less strong after having rested physically and mentally, and having adequate nutrition, you may need to add more strength training, or increase the weight that you currently use.

The Change:

  • Add strengthening exercises 3 times per week for 30 minutes,
  • If you are already doing strength training a few days a week, increase weight that you train with, or increase the frequency of your strength workouts

The benefit if adding more resistance, or strengthening, exercise is that it boosts your body’s ability to utilize glucose, making blood sugars lower for several days afterward, helps improve the duration and quality of your sleep, and also helps to boost metabolism and fuel weight loss.

You are Building Muscle

If you are exercising, doing some activity that you haven’t done before, or increasing your strength with lifting weights, hill hiking, or resistance training, you are likely building muscle. You may be losing fat at the same time that you are gaining muscle. If your clothes are looser, you look more toned, or you feel stronger, then you are buiding muscle.

That’s a great problem to have. The quality and health of your body is still improving, even if the weight on the scale is not. Don’t get discouraged. Instead, help your body adjust to building muscle, and make sure you are strengthening your heart, too.

The Change:

  • Strengthen your heart-  combine your strength training workout with aerobic exercise 4 days a week for 30 minutes, like jogging, swimming, dance, or moderate to fast-paced cycling.
  • Drink more water - having an increased muscle mass requires more water for protein metabolism. Drinking more water as you’re gaining muscle ensures that you will not dehydrate.
  • Supplement with protein - if you are doing moderate-intensity strengthening exercises for 30 minutes or more, you may need around 20g protein on average, in the 30 minutes after your workout. This will help you to maintain muscle, and also keep your metabolism revved.


Weight-loss plateaus are frustrating but fixable. If you’ve hit a plateau, start tracking food you eat with your Dietitian or Health Coach, assess your stress or change your workout routine. It is crucial that you know if your weight loss goals are realistic for your body and lifestyle. Your doctor and Dietitian can help you find a weight goal that is right, and realistic, for you. Most importantly, remember that when you lose weight safely and slowly, without taking shortcuts, you are more likely to maintain the good habits and health knowledge that you’ve gained. You are also less likely to gain the weight back in the future.

Where does the fat go? When we lose it? Is it gone forever? Your dietitian can help to answer these questions, keep you on track, and coach you through some stubborn weight plateaus, so chat with us regularly for ideas! And remember, the sayings that are scales are packaged with: 'You are more than just a number. You are Beautiful!'