Hey there! So, you went all keto/paleo and are now trying out intermittent fasting. But, wait a minute? You are not losing weight as you should be, and you feel like something is off.
I used to wonder the same thing. In fact, it almost drove me crazy. At times, it seemed like I was doing everything “right,” and yet, no sight of a decrease in body fat percentage.
It had me wondering where I’d gone wrong — if I’d gone wrong at all. But that’s a topic for another day.
The point is: what if you’re wondering the same thing? Or you’re just curious about intermittent fasting and want an unbiased view of it?
In this article, I’ll be covering 10 reasons why you are not losing weight on intermittent fasting — at least initially. This guide aims to help you identify the common mistakes people make when following the intermittent fasting protocol.
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How Long Does It Take to See Weight Loss Results When You’re Doing Intermittent Fasting?
One of the most common reasons why intermittent fasting fails is that people don’t give it an adequate amount of time. Many people think they’ll lose weight right away, so they fast for a few days and then give up when they don’t see immediate results.
Intermittent fasting isn’t like a magic trick—it is a method to help your body change its eating habits by adjusting what and when you eat. You’re still consuming calories but changing how your body breaks down those calories over the course of the day.
In my experience, it takes most people longer than two weeks to start losing weight with intermittent fasting. That’s because it can take that long for your body to adjust to the new way of eating.
During that period of adjustment, you may not lose any weight at all, and you might even gain a couple pounds due to water retention, glycogen stores in muscle cells being depleted and other factors.
That’s not to say you should wait until you’ve been doing intermittent fasting for over two weeks before seeing results, but don’t expect instant gratification, either.
So, Why Am I Not Losing Weight on Intermittent Fasting?
1. You’re Eating Too Many Calories
There are a lot of reasons why you might not be losing weight on intermittent fasting, which is why it’s important to keep an eye on your caloric intake. If you’re not watching what you eat, you can easily end up consuming more calories than before and still lose weight—but this may be because you’re eating too many calories instead of because intermittent fasting is a lousy diet plan.
Intermittent fasting is probably the best diet plan out there because it’s extremely flexible, meaning that you don’t have to count calories or deprive yourself of any specific food groups (in fact, there’s no food group that should be off-limits).
But if your caloric intake has increased significantly since starting intermittent fasting, you may want to think about how many calories you’re consuming.
Intermittent fasting doesn’t mean that you can go crazy with what you eat—it’s just as important to keep an eye on your caloric intake even when intermittent fasting is as it is at other times in your life.
2. You’re Not Fasting Long Enough
Your body needs time to adjust to intermittent fasting. If you’re not giving your body enough time, it’ll never really get into a fasting state. If you’re eating within an eight-hour window and then breaking your fast with a big meal, the majority of the calories will still be coming from your last meal, even though your body thinks it’s in a fasting state.
In order for your body to go into that fasting state, you need to give it at least 16 hours of fasting before breaking the fast. The easiest way to do this is by eating dinner around 5 or 6 p.m., and then having breakfast around 10 or 11 a.m.
The biggest mistake people make when they start intermittent fasting is eating too many calories in their last meal. This is why it’s crucial to keep your last meal as light as possible, so that your body can get into a fasting state without having too much energy stored up.
3. You’re Eating Too Often
One of the reasons why you are not losing weight on IF is because you are eating too often: If you eat every time your stomach growls, it means that you’re not giving it enough time to empty out before filling up again.
This means that your body will always be in a fed state, so it will never switch over to “burning fat for fuel.” And since your body won’t know when to start burning fat for fuel, it will never know when to start burning fat for fuel.
It’s kind of like taking someone who’s never been on a diet and telling them that they’re allowed to eat whatever they want. They’re going to gain weight, because their body isn’t used to functioning in a calorie deficit.
You need to ease into intermittent fasting and allow your body time to get used to the new routine.
If you want to lose weight and/or keep your metabolism revved up, then stop eating so often! Be disciplined and try to go 18 hours without eating something. Your body will thank you!
4. You’re Not Exercising Enough
The first thing to check when you aren’t losing weight with IF is whether you’re getting enough exercise. Exercise can be a great tool for helping people lose weight, and it’s important to include it in any healthy diet regimen.
In fact, if you aren’t exercising enough, it may be about the only thing that will help you lose weight. The problem is that fitness experts often say that if a person is expending more energy than they’re taking in, they’ll lose weight even without altering their diet.
This is true—but only up to a point. If your activity level isn’t high enough, it won’t matter if your food intake is low; you won’t have burned off all the calories, so your body will still be storing them as fat.
This means that you should start out by making sure that your workouts are intense enough to give you a caloric deficit—ideally, at least thirty minutes of cardio, three days a week.
5. Your Hormones Are Out of Whack
Intermittent fasting doesn’t work for some because their hormones are preventing them from losing weight when they eat less.
A hormone called Leptin tells your brain when you’re satiated and full, but it works differently for different people. People with high Leptin levels have less difficulty losing weight because their bodies stop feeling hungry when they’ve had enough food, whereas others with low Leptin levels tend to be overweight because their brains aren’t receiving the signal that they’re full.
Another hormone called ghrelin tells your brain when you’re hungry and need more food, but it works differently for different people. People with high ghrelin levels tend not to lose weight as easily as those who have lower levels because their bodies are constantly craving food.
6. You Have Insulin Resistance
This means that your insulin is no longer working properly. Normally, when you eat, your body converts the food into energy. After this energy is used up, your body stores any leftovers in fat cells.
However, if you have insulin resistance, your body cannot convert all of the energy from the food into energy. The leftovers are then sent to your fat cells and turn into fat. It can be difficult to lose weight if you have insulin resistance.
You can avoid this problem by eating a low-carbohydrate diet in combination with intermittent fasting. This will help protect you against insulin resistance and will allow you to use up more of the energy from the food that you eat.
7. You Have Gut Issues
This is something that many people don’t consider, but it is a very good possibility that can throw off your entire health and well-being.
A lot of people suffer from food sensitivities and allergies, but they aren’t aware of it because they don’t have symptoms all the time.
When you are fasting, you are consuming less food which means your body isn’t getting as much nutrients as it usually would. In turn, your body will start to break down your own tissue to get the nutrients that it needs.
If this tissue is something like an organ or your skin (which can happen if you have an autoimmune disease), then you might start having symptoms like redness or rashes on your skin.
If this is the case, then you probably should talk to a doctor to see if there are any treatments that can help. Changing up your diet so that you take in more fiber and protein can also help with this problem!
The problem lies with your gut bacteria. While we aren’t fully sure how these organisms affect our bodies and what processes they are responsible for, studies have shown that having a healthy gut flora can help you maintain a healthy weight, absorb nutrients more efficiently, fight off inflammation and even lower your chances of getting diarrhea or constipation.
Since there are so many different species living in our digestive tract, it isn’t surprising that there are multiple ways for them to get out of balance. The most common causes for such an imbalance include consuming too many processed foods containing preservatives, stress, and not getting enough sleep.
8. You Don’t Drink Enough Water
In general, we need to drink more water because our bodies are made up of 60% water. Our bodies need water in order to process nutrients and vitamins, flush out waste and toxins, and move blood through our system.
Water is crucial for digestion; without enough water, the body will resort to breaking down muscle tissue in order to create more of it. This leaves the body weaker and prone to illness.
We also need water for our brains to work properly—not only do we use it for firing neural signals from neuron to neuron, but also it acts as a medium for chemicals that create these signals in the first place.
There is a direct link between dehydration and cognitive impairment; we’re essentially cognitive machines that run on water. That’s right: you aren’t just hurting your body when your water intake is too low; you’re hurting your brain.
9. Stress is Off the Charts
According to the NIH (National Institute of Health), stress is a “powerful factor in the development of obesity.” According to the NIH, high levels of stress can lead to unhealthy lifestyle choices, including too much alcohol, smoking, and an increased desire for salty foods.
The NIH also states that people who are stressed out are more likely to engage in “unhealthy behaviors such as overeating, smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol” (NIH).
When it comes to intermittent fasting, stress is the silent killer. When your body doesn’t know when its next meal will be, you’re going to feel hungry and think that you need to eat. Stress is known to make you want to eat.
The problem is that stress also makes you want to eat the wrong things. If you’re stressed, the last thing you’ll want is a salad – instead, you’ll crave something high in sugar and fat. This can lead to weight gain because your body will be burning off those fats for energy instead of burning your stored fats for energy.
If your body isn’t getting enough food during this time because of intermittent fasting, it’s going to start storing more fat for later use. You don’t want that!
If you’ve been trying intermittent fasting but still aren’t seeing results, try switching up your eating schedule or find ways to decrease your stress levels.
Don’t get discouraged – there are plenty of ways to enjoy the benefits of intermittent fasting without having to worry about weight loss!
10. You’re Not Sleeping Well
If you can’t sleep, you have a harder time losing weight. The reason for this is partially physiological and partially psychological. Physiologically, your body does much of its repair during sleep.
Even if you think you’re nourishing yourself with ample fruits and vegetables during the day, the fact is that your body isn’t able to fully process everything if you’re not sleeping well. Your metabolism will slow down, making weight loss harder or even impossible.
In a 2012 study published in Cell Cycle, researchers from the University of Colorado showed that animals whose circadian cycles were disrupted by being exposed to constant light failed to repair DNA damage caused by ionizing radiation exposure. This means that even if you make every effort to eat right and exercise regularly, it’s difficult to lose weight if you don’t get enough sleep.
Biological processes are one aspect of why sleep deprivation affects your weight loss efforts so negatively, but there’s also a psychological component. If you’re not sleeping well, you probably feel stressed about not getting enough rest (especially if your sleep problems are chronic).
Feeling stressed makes it more difficult to stick to a diet or training regimen; on top of that, stress is known to cause increased levels of cortisol (a hormone released by the adrenal glands). Increased levels of cortisol are linked to increased fat storage, so the effect on your weight loss efforts is twofold.
Why Am I Not Losing Weight on 36-Hour Fast?
In my experience, 36 hours is a great way to get started with fasting. It’s long enough that you can feel a lot of the physical benefits of fasting but not so long that you exhaust yourself. If you’re just starting out, you need to ease into it slowly so your body can become accustomed to it.
The most obvious reason you’re not losing weight during your 36 hour fast would be because you are eating too much the rest of the time and/or not exercising.
Your body stores fat for future energy in case a long fast occurs again, so longer fasts lead to faster weight loss than shorter ones. This is because you are depriving your body of the nutrients it needs to expend energy, which is calories.
If you’re struggling to lose weight and think that intermittent fasting could help you, then it might well be worth a try. I usually suggest that people give it about six weeks and see if it helps.
You already know what you have to do in order to succeed (eat less or exercise more), so if nothing else, intermittent fasting can serve as a solid reminder of what’s needed (eat less or exercise more).
We hope that this article has helped you identify some reasons why you are not losing weight on Intermittent Fasting. Regardless of the reason, if you continue to strive towards your goal, we’re confident that you’ll achieve it!
- Effect of Circadian Clock Mutations on DNA Damage Response in Mammalian Cells: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3466558/
- Stress and Obesity: Are There More Susceptible Individuals? https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5958156/
- How Your Gut Bacteria Can Influence Your Weight: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/gut-bacteria-and-weight
- Relationship Between Insulin Resistance, Weight Loss, and Coronary Heart Disease Risk in Healthy, Obese Women: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/11436184/
- Leptin & Leptin Resistance: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/22446-leptin