How can I break a weight loss plateau?

This is one of the top weight loss questions on Dr. Oz’s Sharecare community, and one that I think a lot of people struggle with. I thought I’d share my answer with you.

Weight loss plateaus happen all the time. You seem to be doing everything right. You’re being mindful of your calorie intake, you’re exercising regularly, you’re eating the right amount of the right calories, and you’ve already lost some weight. But after a few weeks you notice that nothing’s changing. You’re still doing all the right things, but your body isn’t responding the way it was before. This is called a weight loss plateau, and it happens to a lot of people when they start really losing weight.

The key to breaking a weight loss plateau is changing things up (in more ways than one). First, try changing up your workout. If your go-to workout is an elliptical session, try mixing up your workout by heading for the treadmill, or taking up a sport like tennis. After a while, your body learns what to expect from your workout and it starts not working so well. Mix up your exercise routine a few times a week to keep your body on its toes, as it were, and keep your workouts interesting. Another good tactic to incorporate into your workout routine is weight training. Even if you’re not looking to get big and buff, your body takes a lot of calories to build muscle, so even incorporating weight training into your workout a couple days a week will help give you an extra calorie burn and help totally change your body’s shape.

You should also try mixing up your eating schedule. We tend to eat the standard three meals a day at breakfast, lunch, and dinnertime. If you’ve hit a weight loss plateau, try mixing up your meal patterns to eat six small meals a day instead. Keeping your body fed smaller portions spaced closer together will help keep your metabolism going throughout the day. Try to keep your daily calorie intake the same and you should find that you burn more calories in your workouts and feel better throughout the day.

It’s also good to change up the kinds of foods you eat. Stay away from processed carbohydrates and refined sugars and instead go for whole grains (in moderation) and protein. Protein is fantastic on low-calorie and low-carb diets because it helps keep you fuller longer, and gives you the energy you need for a great workout. In addition, there are actually a ton of really yummy foods out there that help boost your metabolism and curb your cravings. Chocolate, when eaten in moderation, is a great way to boost your metabolism and curb your sweet cravings. Try eating three or four one-ounce servings of 70% dark chocolate a week and you’ll see a difference for sure. The antioxidant reservatrol is also a great metabolism-boosting compound found naturally in wine, grapes, blueberries, cranberries, and peanuts. Studies have shown that reservatrol helps your muscles use oxygen more efficiently, allowing you to have a longer and more intense workout. So add a half a cup of blueberries to your breakfast in the morning, and it’s ok to have a glass of wine after dinner a few nights a week. It may be helping your metabolism!

There’s a lot you can do to help get yourself out of a weight loss rut. Mixing up your diet and exercise plans will not only help you break that weight loss plateau, but it’ll also keep things interesting for the future.