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Food Fabulous

Notes from midlife

How to break through a menopause weight loss plateau

Here's exactly what to do when your weight loss grinds to a halt when you're in perimenopause/ menopause

Losing weight can be hard enough in the menopause years and you might feel like you're doing all the things but nothing is working. But imagine how much more annoying it would be if you had actually started to lose weight and THEN it suddenly stopped... Whatever the circumstances, when you feel you're putting in the work, it’s tough when you don’t see the changes you feel you deserve, and it’s tempting to give up. Here’s what to do instead.

woman cooking

If progress is disappointing, it’s time to check in with how you feel. Progress is not just a number on the scale and, in many cases, the scale can be misleading. Progress is rarely as linear or straightforward as you think.

What is a weight loss plateau?

A weight loss plateau refers to a phase in your weight loss journey where progress comes to a temporary halt despite your continued efforts. It can be both frustrating and demotivating. Understanding the dynamics of why this happens is crucial for developing effective strategies to overcome them.

Common causes of weight loss plateau in menopause

Metabolic adaptation. This is the biggest thing I see in my clinic. The primary cause of weight loss plateaus is the body's ability to adapt to changes in calorie intake and expenditure. As you lose weight, your metabolic rate may decrease, meaning your body burns fewer calories at rest. This adaptive response can make it challenging to sustain the initial rate of weight loss. NOTE: this is exactly what happens over time when you go on a diet with too great a calorie deficit.

Psychological factors: Psychological aspects play a significant role in weight management. Stress, emotional eating, and other mental health factors can contribute to plateaus. For instance, heightened stress levels can lead to hormonal imbalances that affect metabolism and appetite, hindering weight loss progress. Don't underestimate the power of stress to impact every aspect of your health.

Inconsistent action. It’s easy to be keen and compliant when  you first start your programme but, over time, bad habits and inconsistencies can creep in, whether that’s more treat foods, more glasses of wine, or irregular workout patterns.

It’s not simply the number on the scale that can show up.

Lack of change in measurements. A plateau often extends beyond weight loss alone, affecting overall body composition and shape. This might be measurements such as waist circumference, hip circumference, and other body dimensions stall, too.

Emotional and psychological indicators. Forget about the tell-tell signs just being physical. You might also experience heightened frustration, demotivation, or a sense of being stuck in your journey. Emotional eating patterns may also emerge as a response to the perceived lack of progress, further complicating the weight loss process.

Weight loss plateaus are not one-size-fits-all – just like your food plan! They manifest differently for everyone. Factors such as age, gender, genetics, and overall health can influence the nature and duration of plateaus. Some people may experience a brief slowdown in weight loss, while others might encounter a more prolonged and stubborn plateau.


Here are some thoughts for those weeks when things don’t go to plan for whatever the reason aka how to but through that weight loss plateau

  • If there were things you didn’t do but wanted to, or things that felt difficult, be curious about why you struggled. Making changes to your health is all about learning, and in some cases identifying triggers and finding, solutions.

  • If you keep a food diary or a habit tracker, review it. It’s often (but not always) easy to spot what has happened. While you are practising making changes to what you eat, it’s easy to slip back into old patterns and many people over-estimate their compliance. These will vary from person to person but can include eating more of the foods that cause symptoms to flare up or adding in more snacks, alcohol or treat foods. In menopause, alcohol is the second biggest thing I see that stalls weight loss. Women use their evening glass of wine to help them wind down but it has a myriad of unfortunate effects on health, including scuppering your weight loss plans and sabotaging your sleep. Which brings me neatly onto...

  • How are you sleeping? Lack of sleep plays a big role in your health and can stall your results if you’re regularly not getting enough by placing additional stress on the body. For most people, that means having fewer than seven hours a night most nights. In menopause, this is BIG. Your body does not deal with the lack of sleep at all well.

  • Check your stress levels. Stress can put the brakes on weight loss and any kind of progress at all. If you’re spinning a lot of plates and you’re not taking time for yourself every day to do some kind of stress relief (acts of self-care, meditation, breathwork, time in nature, etc), you should make this a priority. Another BIG thing in menopause. Self-care is no longer optional. I've written a bunch of blogs all about self-care so check these out if you need to. And, if you know you are not so good at getting your self-care in, you need to grab my Self-Care Fix short, inhalable programme. It makes self-care totally doable.

  • Are you hydrated? There are many reasons why drinking water works for health and, time and again, I  have seen that taking action in this area alone can shift the needle in every respect. For starters, drinking enough water allows your body to get rid of toxic waste you don’t want in your body, and it helps support immunity and liver function too. It might seem basic, but I've seen upping hydration kickstart weight loss time and time again. Go for a minimum of 2 litres a day, and more if you're exercising or it's hot.


egg, avocado, tomato, spinach on toast

Quick wins

The basic advice is to keep going. Plateaus are very common and often my clients trust the process and soon things start moving in the right direction again. In the short term, you can try one of these little boosters:

  1. No starchy carbs in the evening for one week

  2. Take evening meal 1 hour earlier than usual

  3. Cut out wheat and/or dairy for one week

  4. No alcohol for one week


One of the most important things you can do is to focus on what has gone well. Ask yourself, what am I pleased with that has gone well this week? What other improvements have you noticed?

Keep your eye on the prize. One of the things I’m keen to do as a coach is to help my clients work out why change is important for them. This helps keep focus when a plateau happens.

If you know you want nutrition and lifestyle support from an experienced and qualified professional, let's chat. We can hop on a call (book here), or you can message me over Instagram, email or send up a flare from wherever you are.

Here's something you can do right away and it's FREE... Watch my Menopause Weight Loss Masterclass...Here's the link to watch now.





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