The time it takes for a weight loss plateau to occur varies, but most experts agree that it takes only a few weeks. According to WebMD, over time the muscles get very efficient at performing the same exercise routine, and the body burns fewer calories.
To solve this problem, WebMD recommends that people add variety to their workout routines. This can be done by alternating brisk walking with brief periods of jogging or running several times within the same workout. The exerciser can also choose to walk uphill, either outside or on a treadmill, or alternate days of aerobic activities with strength training.
Trainer Chris Powell writing for The Huffington Post says that a person should not do the same workout more than six days in a row. Exercisers should regularly shake up their routines by doing something totally different. If the plateau persists, he recommends taking a few days off from working out.
Mayo Clinic reports that it is normal to lose weight rapidly in the first few weeks of dieting because the body releases its glycogen stores to make up for the lessened calorie intake. This results in a loss of water that is quickly reflected on the scales. As dieting continues, a loss of muscle typically occurs that lowers the metabolism, resulting in a weight loss plateau. Getting a variety of regular exercise that builds muscle can counteract a plateau.