Weight Loss Plateaus: Strategies to Start Losing Weight Again


Losing weight can be a challenging journey, and it's not uncommon to experience setbacks along the way. One of the most frustrating obstacles you may encounter is a weight loss plateau – a period where your weight remains stagnant despite your continued efforts to eat healthily and exercise regularly. If you find yourself in this situation, don't despair. There are several strategies you can employ to break through the plateau and start losing weight again.

Understanding Weight Loss Plateaus

Before we discuss strategies for overcoming a weight loss plateau, it's essential to understand why they occur. As you lose weight, your body undergoes various physiological changes. Your metabolism slows down, and your body requires fewer calories to maintain its new, lower weight [1]. Additionally, as you become fitter and more efficient at exercising, you may burn fewer calories during your workouts.

Weight loss plateaus are a normal part of the journey and do not indicate a lack of progress. In fact, hitting a plateau can be a sign that you've successfully lost weight and that your body is adjusting to its new size.

Reassess Your Calorie Intake

One of the first steps in breaking through a weight loss plateau is reassessing your calorie intake. As you lose weight, your body requires fewer calories to maintain its new weight. If you continue to consume the same number of calories as when you started your weight loss journey, you may find yourself in a caloric surplus, which can lead to a plateau or even weight gain.

To determine your new caloric needs, use a calorie calculator that considers your current weight, height, age, gender, and activity level [2]. Once you have an estimate of your daily caloric needs, aim to create a modest calorie deficit of 250-500 calories per day to stimulate further weight loss.

Increase Your Physical Activity

Another effective strategy to break through a weight loss plateau is to increase your physical activity. As you become fitter, your body becomes more efficient at burning calories during exercise. To continue challenging your body and boosting your metabolism, you may need to increase your workouts' intensity, duration, or frequency.

Consider incorporating high-intensity interval training (HIIT) into your routine. HIIT involves short bursts of intense exercise followed by periods of rest or low-intensity activity. This type of training has been shown to be particularly effective for breaking through weight loss plateaus and improving overall cardiovascular fitness [3].

In addition to structured exercise, try to increase your daily non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). NEAT refers to the energy expended through everyday activities such as walking, standing, and fidgeting. Increasing your NEAT can help you burn more calories throughout the day and contribute to further weight loss [4].

Vary Your Diet and Exercise Routine

Sometimes, a weight loss plateau can result from your body adapting to your current diet and exercise routine. To keep your body guessing and prevent adaptation, try varying your food choices and workout routines.

Experiment with new, nutrient-dense foods and recipes to keep your meals interesting and satisfying. Incorporate a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and healthy fats into your diet to ensure you're getting a wide range of essential nutrients.

Similarly, mix up your exercise routine by trying new activities or varying the intensity and duration of your workouts. This can help challenge different muscle groups, prevent boredom, and stimulate further weight loss.

Get Enough Sleep and Manage Stress

Sleep and stress management play crucial roles in weight loss and overall health. Lack of sleep and chronic stress can disrupt hormones that regulate hunger and metabolism, making it harder to lose weight [5].

Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep per night and establish a consistent sleep routine. Create a relaxing bedtime ritual, avoid screens before bed, and ensure your sleep environment is cool, dark, and quiet.

To manage stress, incorporate stress-reducing activities into your daily routine, such as meditation, deep breathing exercises, or yoga. Engaging in hobbies and spending time with loved ones can also help alleviate stress and promote overall well-being.

Be Patient and Consistent

Breaking through a weight loss plateau requires patience and consistency. It's essential to remember that weight loss is not always linear, and there may be periods where your weight remains stable despite your efforts.

Stay committed to your healthy lifestyle changes, and trust the process. Celebrate your progress, no matter how small, and focus on the non-scale victories, such as increased energy, improved sleep, and better overall health.

If you've been consistently following a healthy diet and exercise routine for several weeks without seeing progress, consider consulting with a registered dietitian or certified fitness professional. They can help you identify areas for improvement and provide personalized guidance to help you break through your weight loss plateau.


Weight loss plateaus are a common and normal part of the weight loss journey. By reassessing your calorie intake, increasing your physical activity, varying your diet and exercise routine, prioritizing sleep and stress management, and staying patient and consistent, you can successfully break through a plateau and continue making progress towards your weight loss goals.

Remember, weight loss is a journey, and setbacks are a natural part of the process. Stay focused on your long-term goals, celebrate your successes, and don't be afraid to seek support when needed. With persistence and dedication, you can overcome any weight loss plateau and achieve the healthy, vibrant life you deserve.


  1. Müller, M. J., Enderle, J., & Bosy-Westphal, A. (2016). Changes in Energy Expenditure with Weight Gain and Weight Loss in Humans. Current Obesity Reports, 5(4), 413-423.
  2. Thomas, D. M., Martin, C. K., Redman, L. M., Heymsfield, S. B., Lettieri, S., Levine, J. A., ... & Bouchard, C. (2014). Effect of dietary adherence on the body weight plateau: a mathematical model incorporating intermittent compliance with energy intake prescription. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 100(3), 787-795.
  3. Boutcher, S. H. (2011). High-intensity intermittent exercise and fat loss. Journal of Obesity, 2011, 868305.
  4. Levine, J. A. (2002). Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). Best Practice & Research Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 16(4), 679-702.
  5. Spiegel, K., Tasali, E., Penev, P., & Van Cauter, E. (2004). Brief communication: Sleep curtailment in healthy young men is associated with decreased leptin levels, elevated ghrelin levels, and increased hunger and appetite. Annals of Internal Medicine, 141(11), 846-850.