Early days and weeks in a new diet are usually very productive. It seems as though every time you step on the scale, the pounds are dropping off. But no matter how dedicated and consistent you are with your diet and exercise plan; eventually, you hit a wall. How do you break through that wall and start dropping weight again?

First things first, don’t give up and don’t make radical changes. What has been working will work again, just stick with it. When you first started, you were almost certainly eating less and working out more than before you began, so it’s only natural that the weight should drop off quickly. But as you hit your stride, both your calorie intake and calories burned during your workouts will level off, so expect your weight to level off as well.

Next, while you are on this plateau, spend some time evaluating your progress and measuring success in other ways. Are you able to do more reps, or lift more weight than you did yesterday? Can you walk or run further than you did last week, or does the same workout leave you feeling exhilarated rather than just tired? There are many different ways to measure your progress other than stepping on a scale. Celebrate those victories as well.

If you are still not losing more weight after a week or two, it’s time to shake things up a bit. Can you find ways to drop another 100 calories or more each day? Can you add more cardio work and a few extra reps of strength work during your workout? Your body has gotten used to the strain you have put on it, so you may need to crank it up a bit more. Also, vary your routine. If you have been walking on the treadmill, move over the elliptical. If you walk outside, find some hills, go further, or pick up the pace a bit.

Don’t get discouraged if your weight loss suddenly stops. Use this as an opportunity to evaluate what you have been doing, celebrate the little successes, and find ways to get to the next level.