Nearly everyone trying to lose weight has experienced the frustration of reaching a weight plateau. Despite your strong effort to eat well, exercise often, and improve your behaviors, you may notice that the scale still won’t budge. It is quite common to go through periods where you don’t see the same losses from week to week. When this happens, it is an excellent opportunity to reflect on your habits, and refocus your goals.

In most instances, the “smaller” seemingly insignificant things – rather than the “bigger” things – hang up your weight loss. A beneficial first step to identify these smaller factors is to look at your eating habits. Is it possible that you’ve loosened up a bit on your nutrition plan? Small increases in portion sizes and extra snacks throughout your day or week are often the first changes to occur when you aren’t as aware of your intake. Logging in a food diary is a simple way to become more aware of certain behaviors that may have changed. The portal offers this tool to help you stay on track.

Becoming complacent with your exercise routine can also lead to plateaus. Your body may adapt to the activity you have been doing, and you won’t see as many changes as you originally anticipated. Small changes in the time spent exercising, the intensity of the activity, or the type of activity can help nudge the scale in the right direction. Try adding a few minutes to your walk, or change your route to include some hills. It is also worth exploring the other exercise classes on the portal that you haven’t tried before!

The final component to focus on to get past your plateau is your overall stress. High stress can interfere with the hormones that regulate appetite, can make it more difficult to burn fat, and may reduce the quality of sleep. Some effective ways to manage stress include maintaining good social support, staying active with an exercise routine, and/or practicing mindfulness meditation.

With these factors in mind, remember that getting stuck in a weight loss plateau is often part of the process. Rather than letting it steer you off track, try some of the techniques mentioned above to continue moving toward your weight loss goal. You’ll be breaking through that plateau in no time!