The first couple of weeks of dieting can be joyful and frustrating. It’s frustrating that you have to give up cookies and learn to enjoy grains, nuts, fruits and vegetables. The joy comes when you’ve dropped several pounds at your first weigh-in. Then there’s the dreaded plateau, a time when your weight remains the same for weeks or months. Plateaus are common and, with a little effort, you can get back to losing weight.

Kathleen M. Zelman, in a Webmd article, says lost muscle may be a reason for the plateau. This can affect the metabolic rate. One solution may be more strength training. Zelman says, “You may need fewer calories or more physical activity to sustain your lower weight.”

I remember my struggles with the plateau. On one of my first diets, I would weigh myself several times a day. That’s really silly because weight can jump all over the place in 24 hours. Then I decided to weigh myself once a week. Much better.

Much later in my life, while on another diet, I did something bold. I started my diet and did NOT check my weight for four months! If I remember correctly, I lost 30 pounds.

I’m not suggesting that you go several months without a weigh-in. In fact, a weekly visit to the bathroom scale can keep you motivated. Just remember about the plateau. When it happens to you, do some research, consider changing your exercise routine and make sure you’re NOT sneaking an extra cinnamon roll. Zelman’s article can be found at http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/plateau-no-more.

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