Expert Q&A

Diet plateau: Strategies for overcoming

I've hit a plateau in my weight loss program. What should I do?

- from

It is not uncommon to hit a plateau during a weight loss program. You’re headed towards your goal, yet you cannot seem to lose those last 10 pounds. There are several things you can do to "get over the hill" and back on track.

Plateau: is your target weight realistic?

To begin with, ask yourself if your weight loss goals are realistic. Are you already at a healthy weight?

Plateau: can your exercise plan help kick-start the weight loss again?

If not, check your exercise program. Are you keeping up your routine’s intensity? For the most stubborn of plateaus, fitness experts recommend 60 minutes of exercise, most days of the week. Talk to a fitness professional about adding weights and/or resistance exercises to your program. Remember that aerobic exercises burn fat, but an increased muscle mass will help your body burn more calories when it’s at rest (muscle increases metabolism). Don’t get in a rut; change your routine every couple of weeks.

A plateau can be the result of not consuming enough calories!

Also, make sure that your calorie intake is adequate. Many dieters fail to eat enough. This alone can trigger the weight loss plateau effect. And do not go too long without eating. This is not good for your metabolism/metabolic rate. For a woman, three to four hours without food is a reasonable maximum. Another important tip is to always eat breakfast!

Michèle Turcotte, MS, RD/LDN
Contributing Expert

Have a question for our Experts? Send it in!