You’ve been working out hard, eating healthy, and generally kicking butt on your weight loss plan. So why have you stopped losing inches and/or toning that tush? Welcome the the totally normal and somewhat frustrating weight loss plateau. We’ve been expecting you.

That’s right. Take a deep breath and sit down. Know that this is a total natural, total normal part of your weight loss journey. Everyone who embarks on a weight loss or fitness journey has come up against a wall. We call this wall a weight loss plateau – a dip or a stall in your forward momentum. The good news is this dip is just what you need to re-evaluate where you are and where you want to be. So let’s get going.

1. Take a minute and look back over the last two week’s workouts. What kinds of exercise have you been doing? How often? How long of a duration? And, most importantly, how are you feeling? Energized? Tired? Burned completely out? Be honest.

If you discover that you’ve slacked on the workouts, the answer is simple. Get you’re booty moving, lady. If you’ve been working out consistently and are still seeing no results,  it’s probably time to switch things up. If you’ve been doing lots of sprint workouts – grab some weights. If you’ve been jogging a lot, throw in some sprints. If you’re bored with all of it – just do something fun. Take a walk. Ride a bike. Grab a hula hoop or try a new class. Heck, dance around the house. Find some fun way to move your body and do that.

2. If you are simply exhausted and the thought of working out in any way feels crushing, you’ve probably been over training. Take a look at your answers to question 1. Are you working out hard and often? Are you forgetting rest and recovery? If so, take a couple days off. Heck, take a week off. Go for a 20-30 minute leisurely walk around your neighborhood and call that good. Give you body some much needed recovery time. It deserves it.

3. How are you sleeping? Sleep matters. It’s part of rest and recovery. You’re breaking down the muscles, you need to give them a chance to rebuild. So aim for 8 good hours of shut eye. Plus lack of sleep has been linked to weight gain.

Take a look at things that might interfere with sleep like late night television or web surfing, alcohol consumption (I know that an evening glass of wine is sure to interfere with my sleep), and late night eating. If you need some help getting sleep, check out our Rest of Your Life program.

4. Check what you’re eating. Are you eating clean clean clean all week only to binge on the weekends? Aim for an 80%-90% clean eating record. Don’t try to be perfect. And skip the binges. Give yourself treats throughout the week and you’ll find you can skip the binge and guilt-fueled deprivation Monday reset. Stop the all-or-nothing pattern of most dieters. It doesn’t work.

How’s your protein intake? Fiber? Carbs? Make sure you’re getting enough lean protein and veggies. Lean protein is key to fat burning, so make sure you’re not skimping on it. Also, check your carbohydrate intake level. Everyone is different when it comes to nutrition, so spend a few days really paying attention to what you’re eating and how you feel. How’s your energy levels? What are you craving (if anything)? Play around with it and notice the changes.

If you’ve been restrictive about your eating, eat something you’ve been wanting but have been denying yourself. Have the fettuccine or the doughnut. The increase in calories could give your metabolism the boost it needs.

5. Water yourself. You need to stay hydrated. Hydration affects everything from hunger to energy. It’s really tough to workout (or think) effectively when you’re dehydrated. So check your water intake. You should be urinating several times a day – and it should be pale yellow in color. If it’s not, drink up – it’s been known to help with weight loss.

Bonus Tips:  Get Clear and Get Real

Take another look at your goals. Have they changed or shifted over time? Think about what you want now – and revise accordingly. Then focus on the small choices you make every day. Finally do some progress checks that don’t involve the scale. Take weekly measurements. Take a monthly “after” picture and celebrate your progress.

I’d love to hear how you’ve broken through a weight loss plateau. Please share your story and your tips in the comments section below.