You’ve been losing weight and getting in shape.

You have liked your results.

Until… you hit a plateau and maybe stopped or slowed your weight loss. Reaching a plateau is completely normal and common once or even twice during the process of weight-loss.

While the plateau is normal, it is often dangerous because it causes frustration. Frustration does not help anything and can often be de-motivating.

Here are a few reasons that people end up plateauing and how to overcome them

1. Sleep is a really important part of a healthy weight loss program. The body requires 7-9 hours of sleep each night and without it, your body becomes stressed. It can also result in an increase in cortisol. Higher cortisol levels make it harder for your body to lose weight.

2. Plan Ahead. Meals need to be planned out ahead of time. With the proper planning, you can avoid unnecessary calories and last-minute drive-thru dinners. If time is an issue for you, take a couple hours on Sunday to make a large quantity of healthy snacks and package them Tupperware to make it quick and easy for your to take with you when you are in a hurry. The reason people often plateau is because they are not properly planning their healthy meals and snacks. The exercise alone won’t cut it anymore!

3. Consistency is very important as well. Some people plateau because they are 100% on track with their exercise and nutrition 5 days out of the week, then they eat unhealthy foods and skip workouts for a few days. Without having a consistent program, your body is not able to properly respond to the exercise and healthy eating efforts. If you are at a plateau, take a look at your calendar and write down your workouts/foods. Are you being consistent?

4. Counting. Along with consistency comes calorie counting. If you are at a plateau but have been eating very nutritiously, it might be time to take a closer look at your food intake. By counting calories and writing down all foods eaten you might uncover a trend in foods that can actually be the cause of the slowed weight-loss. Also, the smaller you get, the more important it becomes to count. For example, a 200-calorie difference might not make a difference if you are just starting to lose weight, but if you are a female trying to get from 125 to 120, every little calorie will make a difference.

Break through your plateau!

It is possible. You may see smaller weight-loss increments as you get closer to your goal because your 1-2 pounds per week becomes a larger and larger percentage of your total body weight. Hang in there and take this advice and run with it!