Six Tips for Staying Motivated When You’ve Hit a Weight-Loss Plateau

Plateaus in weight loss are normal, but no one ever said they were fun. Here’s how to stay motivated and on track when you’re not feeling love from the scale. By: Carolyn Williams, PhD, RD


Take a step back, and look at all the progress you’ve made that the scale doesn’t measure. Are your clothes looser, or have you been able to go down in size? Have you lost inches from your waist? Are you able to exercise longer or harder now? Jot down a list of these accomplishments to pull out when you get frustrated with the scale.

Shake It Up

If you can’t find any issues in your journal that might be slowing weight loss, then look for ways to shake up your workout. The body adapts to usual patterns of activity, so it may be time for a change if you’ve been doing the same routine. If you’re a walker or runner, try incorporating intervals by changing up speed and inclines, or try a new sport or fitness class—anything to get you out of your workout comfort zone.


Instead of focusing on your weight, concentrate on another health measure such as steps taken or miles walked each day. Pedometers are the least expensive devices to measure steps, but high-tech gadgets such as the Fitbit Charge HR and Jawbone UP24 band measure all-day activity in various forms. They also allow you to set challenges for yourself and compete with friends, which can be a healthy and much-needed distraction from the scale.


Remember that the reason you’ve hit a plateau is because of the weight-loss success you’ve had so far. New dieters don’t have plateaus; those who’ve been successful do. If the scale is stressing you out, take a two to four week break from it. Focus instead on your eating, activity, how you feel, and how your clothes fit to keep you on track.


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