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Intermittent Fasting Plateau: How to Conquer It
Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting Plateau: How to Conquer It

Written by Edibel Quintero, RD | Medically reviewed by Medically reviewed by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Published on 2022 July 14
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7 min

It happens to the best of us, no matter how committed you are to your weight loss journey. This article explains how to overcome the holdup.

intermittent fasting plateau

People praise intermittent fasting for a reason.

It’s assisted many in reaching their weight loss goals, switching the body into a fat-burning machine.

But if you’ve tried intermittent fasting and didn’t see the weight loss progress you expected, it’s possible that something wasn’t quite right with your routine. Perhaps you lost weight, to begin with, but soon hit an intermittent fasting plateau. 

A weight-loss plateau is common. It’s a period of stalling during your journey, where your weight remains unchanged, or you may even experience weight gain. 

Regardless of the diet approach, you may lose substantial weight initially, but it’s normal for the process to slow down as your body adapts to its new weight.

While plateaus are a healthy part of sustainable weight loss, they can leave you feeling discouraged. Fortunately, there are some ways to overcome the breaking period to get you back on track.

Keep reading as we cover why you might be stuck with IF, and share our top tips for breaking the plateau.

Why Am I Not Losing Weight on Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting has many potential benefits for overall health. Your friends may have tried the method to promote fat burning, create healthy habits, improve brain function and insulin sensitivity.

Most participants see results, which makes it such a popular diet plan.

If you’ve put effort into an intermittent fasting program, it can be frustrating to witness zero results. But it doesn’t mean that fasting can’t work for you. 

IF is difficult to navigate, particularly in the early days. It’s no wonder that people don’t master the diet immediately. 

It could be several things, from not fasting long enough to consuming excessive calories in your eating window. 

If you’ve given it a few weeks and you’re still not seeing changes in your body weight, you’ve likely hit an intermittent fasting weight loss plateau. In that case, it’s time to assess your strategy to see where you might be going wrong.

Intermittent Fasting Stopped Working. Why?

As mentioned, there are many reasons why the weight loss process doesn’t go as planned with intermittent fasting. Here are 4 common reasons.

#1 You are eating the wrong food

Splitting up your time between the eating period and the fasting period is only part of the IF method. You need to be mindful about what you eat, too, as sadly, not all calories are created equal!

Choose nutrient-dense foods that bring health benefits. It’s vital to look at your macronutrients (carbs, fats, and protein) to ensure you’re eating the right foods in the proper measures.

Make sure you get adequate fiber and protein and opt for healthy fats if you’ve ramped up your fat intake. Limit sugar and processed foods as these empty calories will not aid your weight loss efforts.

#2 You have no daily routine

Routine is everything with an intermittent fasting plan. It requires careful meal planning to ensure you eat enough calories and maintain nutrition during the eating window.

You need to plan your fasting hours so that you don’t follow incorrect eating patterns.

When you’re approaching the end of your fasting period, you’re probably going to be hungry. It’s now essential to control your eating habits and watch your calorie intake to continue losing fat. 

Without organization, you risk overeating and consuming more calories than you need. Always plan ahead to monitor your food intake for the day.

#3 You are not fasting long enough

Some people expect to lose weight by reducing the feeding window by an hour or two. 

Generally, only slight changes to your usual routine will not promote weight loss. 

Intermittent fasting requires hours of food abstinence. If you want to begin losing weight, you need to fast for 12 hours or more to increase fat burning. It gives your body the chance to make metabolic changes and switch to sourcing energy from fat storage.

When you’re just starting, it’s a good idea to start with a shorter fasting period and gradually increase it.

#4 You consume too many calories

If you don’t know it already, the basics of fat loss come down to calories in versus calories out. You need to burn more calories than you take in to lose body fat. We call this a calorie deficit.

Regardless of how long you’ve fasted, you still need to track how many calories you eat. If you cram in more calories than you’re burning when it’s time to eat, you won’t achieve a calorie deficit.

One of IF’s primary weight loss benefits is naturally creating a calorie restriction. You’re not eating as much throughout the day; therefore, you consume fewer calories.

Try calorie counting to track your daily caloric intake and adjust your diet accordingly if you’re overeating. 

How to Break the Intermittent Fasting Plateau?

Don’t worry, there are some ways to combat weight loss plateaus. Try our 7 tips to get your body back into a fat-burning mode to maximize fat loss.

#1 Get rested

Did you know that insufficient sleep can impact weight maintenance and your ability to lose weight? 

Late nights, early mornings, and regular sleep disturbances can mess with your hormones. It can make you feel stressed and irritable, reduce your energy levels, and negatively affect your appetite and metabolism. 

A long fasting period is hard enough, but throw in a bad night’s sleep, and you’ll find the experience exhausting. 

To improve sleep quality, fix a bedtime and morning routine by going to bed simultaneously every night and waking up at the same time every morning.

#2 Try a longer fast

As discussed earlier, if your fast is too short, you won’t see weight loss results.

When we fast, the glucose stores that the body ordinarily uses as fuel depletes. The cells then resort to finding alternative fuel sources to provide energy. The body then begins to burn fat instead. 

You need to fast long enough for your body to make these internal changes. The liver produces ketones to provide energy as fat breaks down with an adequate fast. This is called ketosis and is the premise of many low-carb diets, like the keto diet.

For assistance with fasting management, the DoFasting app helps you reach your goals with eating plans, training routines, and calorie tracking.

#3 Combine IF with workouts

Adding an exercise routine to your diet plan is the best way to increase fat loss while maintaining lean body mass.

Maintaining an energy deficit promotes long-term results for weight loss. It burns calories, maintains muscle mass, and can boost metabolism.

Try a mixture of strength training and moderate-intensity workouts.

#4 Try exogenous ketones

Exogenous ketones are ketone bodies consumed through dietary supplements. They increase the level of ketone bodies in your blood to promote ketosis, the metabolic state that forces your body to break down fat for fuel.

Sometimes people use exogenous ketones to speed up the process to achieve weight loss sooner.

BHB Ketone Boost Supplements are a popular product in the dieting world as they help facilitate ketosis, boost energy, reduce appetite, and promote faster weight loss.

#5 Set realistic goals

Don’t go too hard too soon with IF. To adjust to the process, you gradually build up your time-restricted feeding schedule.

You also need to set realistic goals to keep you motivated. Everybody’s IF journey is different, and you need to find the regime that works best for you. 

Don’t expect to reach your dream body overnight. Think of IF as a healthy lifestyle choice rather than a quick fix solution to reduce body fat.

#6 Try adding cheat days

Cheat days may help break an intermittent fasting plateau. It can trick your body into thinking the food abstinence period is over, therefore your metabolism increases, potentially ending the plateau.

Try adding a cheat day to your week to give your metabolism a little kick.

#7 Avoid alcohol

If you want to move past the stagnant weight scale, lose the alcohol.

Alcoholic beverages pack in the calories. Many dieters quickly consume more calories than they realize with just a couple of drinks.

Reducing your alcohol intake is a necessary step to shed pounds, reduce your body measurements, and benefit your health overall.

A Word From Our RD

An intermittent fasting plateau is more common than you might think.

When the weight scale doesn’t shift, it’s easy to become disheartened. But before you think about quitting, it’s worth analyzing your current strategy to pinpoint possible causes.

It’s not easy to master intermittent fasting, especially as a newcomer. It takes time, patience, and a lot of self-control. Don’t be too hard on yourself if your weight loss efforts take a break.

You can take a few simple steps to get back on track, like calculating calories, increasing your fasting hours where appropriate, and resting up.

You can even try a stress management program to reduce the stress hormone cortisol levels, which can play a role in storing fat.

IF works differently for everyone. Always consult your doctor before approaching a new weight loss program.

Conclusion

Although a frustrating situation, don’t let an intermittent fasting plateau ruin your body goals. 

This article has covered several ways to overcome the obstacles when your weight loss journey stalls. Review the possible causes before giving up completely, and speak to your doctor for professional medical advice.

Written by
Edibel Quintero is a medical doctor who graduated in 2013 from the University of Zulia and has been working in her profession since then. She specializes in obesity and nutrition, physical rehabilitation, sports massage and post-operative rehabilitation. Edibel’s goal is to help people live healthier lives by educating them about food, exercise, mental wellness and other lifestyle choices that can improve their quality of life.
Medically reviewed byRosmy Barrios, MD
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