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While weight tends to come off fairly rapidly at first, at some point, it can seem as though your weight won’t budge. However, several strategies may help you begin to lose weight again.

Achieving your goal weight can be tough. The inability to lose more weight after initially successful quick weight loss is known as a weight loss plateau or stall, which can be frustrating and discouraging.

Here are 12 tips to break a weight loss plateau.

1. Cut back on carbs

Whether carb restriction leads to a “metabolic advantage” that causes your body to burn more calories is a question that continues to be debated among nutrition and obesity experts.

That said, there is some evidence that eating a low carb diet may help reduce hunger. This may lead you to subconsciously eat less, making it easier to begin losing weight again without hunger or discomfort.

2. Increase exercise frequency or intensity

Your metabolic rate slows as you lose weight. As weight declines, the progressive reduction in metabolic rate can make continued weight loss difficult.

However, exercise has been shown to help counteract this effect.

Research suggests that when it comes to losing weight, fat, and belly fat, aerobic training is more effective than resistance training. That said, resistance training also has a lot of health benefits, so a combination of the two might be best for overall health.

If you’re already exercising, working out an extra 1–2 days per week or increasing the intensity of your workouts may help boost your metabolic rate.

In addition, your metabolic rate increases in response to fidgeting, changing posture, and similar types of physical activity.

These types of activity are known as non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT. NEAT can have a major effect on your metabolic rate, although the amount varies significantly from person to person.

An easy way to increase your NEAT is by standing up more often, including using a standing desk.

3. Track everything you eat

Research suggests people have a tendency to underestimate the amount of food they eat.

That’s why tracking your calories and macronutrients — protein, fat, and carbs — can provide concrete information about how much you’re taking in. This will allow you to modify your diet if needed.

In addition, research suggests that the act of recording your food intake alone may improve your weight loss efforts.

Here’s a review of several user-friendly apps and websites to track your nutrient intake.

4. Don’t skimp on protein

If your weight loss has stalled, increasing your protein intake may help.

First, protein boosts metabolic rate more than fat or carbs.

This has to do with the thermic effect of food (TEF) or an increase in metabolism that occurs due to the digestion of food. Protein digestion boosts calorie burning by 20–30%, which is more than twice as much as fat or carbs.

Second, protein stimulates the production of hormones that help reduce appetite and make you feel full and satisfied.

5. Manage stress

Stress can often put the brakes on weight loss.

In addition to promoting comfort eating and triggering food cravings, it also increases your body’s production of cortisol.

Cortisol is known as the “stress hormone.” While it helps your body respond to stress, it can also increase belly fat storage.

Producing too much cortisol can make weight loss difficult, but research has shown that learning to manage stress can help promote weight loss.

6. Try intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting has become very popular recently. It involves going for long periods of time without eating, typically between 16–48 hours.

The practice has been credited with promoting the loss of body fat and weight, though additional research may be needed to verify this.

That said, here you can learn about six different methods of intermittent fasting.

7. Avoid alcohol

Alcohol may be sabotaging your weight loss efforts.

Although one alcoholic drink (4 ounces (oz) of wine, 1.5 oz of hard liquor, or 12 oz of beer) contains only around 100 calories, it provides no nutritional value. In addition, you may have more than one drink at a sitting.

Another problem is that alcohol loosens inhibitions, which may lead you to overeat or make poor food choices. One study of 283 adults who completed a behavioral weight loss program found that reducing alcohol intake led to a reduction in overeating and greater weight loss among those with high levels of impulsivity.

What’s more, research has shown that alcohol can suppress fat burning and may lead to belly fat accumulation.

If your weight loss has stalled, it may be best to avoid alcohol or only consume it occasionally in small amounts.

8. Eat more fiber

Including more fiber in your diet may help you break through a weight loss plateau. This is especially true for soluble fiber, the type that dissolves in water or liquid.

To begin with, soluble fiber slows the movement of food through your digestive tract, which can help you feel full and satisfied.

Another way that fiber may aid weight loss is by decreasing the number of calories you absorb from other foods.

Learn how fiber can help you lose belly fat and discover 22 high fiber foods you should eat.

9. Drink water, coffee, or tea

While sugary beverages lead to weight gain, some beverages may help reverse a weight loss stall.

Research has found that plain water can boost metabolism, which may translate into weight loss over time, especially in those who consume water before meals, which may help reduce food intake.

Coffee and tea may also help your weight loss efforts. Green tea, in particular, contains an antioxidant known as EGCG (epigallocatechin gallate) that may promote weight loss.

Moreover, research suggests that consuming caffeinated beverages can significantly enhance the metabolism-boosting and fat-burning effects of exercise.

10. Get plenty of sleep

Sleep is extremely important for good mental, emotional, and physical health.

It’s also becoming clear that not getting enough sleep can lead to weight gain by lowering your metabolic rate and altering hormone levels to drive appetite and fat storage.

To support weight loss and overall health, aim for 7–8 hours of sleep per night.

11. Eat vegetables at every meal

Vegetables are the ideal food for weight loss.

Most vegetables are low in calories and carbs, high in fiber, and loaded with beneficial nutrients.

In fact, research has found that diets that include lots of vegetables tend to produce the greatest weight loss.

Here is a list of healthy, low carb vegetables to include at mealtimes.

12. Don’t rely on the scale alone

Scale reading may not always accurately reflect your progress, such as changes in your body composition.

Rather than weight loss, your goal is actually fat loss. If you’re working out regularly, you may be building muscle, which is denser than fat and takes up less room in your body.

So if the scale weight isn’t moving, you could be building muscle and losing fat, yet maintaining a stable weight.

In addition, you may retain water for a number of reasons, including your dietary choices. However, the most common reason involves changes in hormone levels that affect fluid balance, particularly in females assigned at birth (FAAB).

Here are several strategies you can take to help lose water weight.

What causes a weight loss plateau?

There are various reasons for hitting a weight loss plateau. They include overeating, not eating enough protein, not getting enough exercise, and not getting enough sleep.

Here are 14 common reasons you’re not losing as much weight as you expected.

How do I break a weight loss plateau?

It’s common to reach a weight loss plateau after initial progress. You can try to break through it by reducing carbs, increasing exercise, managing stress, and more.

Here are 14 simple ways to break through a weight loss plateau.

How long does a weight loss plateau last?

How long a weight loss plateau lasts varies from person to person. It can be a few weeks or a few months.

Can a cheat day break a weight loss plateau?

There’s some evidence that an occasional, small break from dieting can lead to overall greater weight loss in some cases.

The Bottom Line

Weight loss plateaus can be frustrating and demoralizing.

However, they are a typical part of the weight loss process. In fact, nearly everyone experiences a stall at some point on their weight loss journey.

Several strategies can help you begin to lose weight again and safely achieve your goal weight.