What Should You Do When You Plateau While Doing Intermittent Fasting
It’s totally understandable if you’re feeling frustrated if IF is not working for you as part of your weight loss plan, especially when youve heard so many people shout praises about fasting diets from the rooftops. If your weight loss doesnt continue after the first few weeks, there could be other reasons its stalled.
But dont give up all hope just yet. Turns out, there are steps you can take to break out of this plateau, continuing to give IF a fair shot. Here’s what might be holding up your weight loss and what to do about it to get back on track.
Could Help Lower Cholesterol
Your cholesterol might also improve after intermittent fasting when consuming a healthy diet during your non-fasting periods.;
Better lipid profiles have been found after intermittent fasting including lower overall cholesterol, lower LDL , and lower triglyceride levels in healthy and overweight populations .
The majority of studies investigating intermittent fasting’s effects on cholesterol have focused on those fasting for Ramadan, so intermittent fasting may be an effective dietary method to improve your cholesterol, but further studies are needed to explore the differences in short-term vs long-term metabolic changes associated with fasting. .;
If you’re concerned about high cholesterol try adopting healthy lifestyle habits like incorporating exercise and a diet low in saturated and trans fats, and rich in high fiber foods.;
Mistake #: Not Sticking With If Long Enough
It takes any system in the body approximately two weeks to change. If youve tried IF in the past for a few days but felt foggy, exhausted, and hungry, thats because your bodys metabolic systems hadnt adapted yet to a fasting schedule.
Give IF a minimum of two weeks, and youll notice how much better you feel in the fasted state.
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What Is The Keto Diet
The ketogenic diet is a high-fat, very low-carb way of eating.
Carbs are typically reduced to 20 to 50 grams per day, which forces your body to rely on fats instead of glucose for its main energy source .
In the metabolic process known as ketosis, your body breaks down fats to form substances called ketones that serve as an alternate fuel source .
This diet is an effective way to shed pounds, but it has several other benefits as well.
The keto diet has been used for nearly a century to treat epilepsy and also demonstrates promise for other neurological disorders (
Whats more, it may reduce blood sugar, improve insulin resistance and lower heart disease risk factors like triglyceride levels .
The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet linked to potential health benefits, such as weight loss and improved blood sugar control.
If you commit to the ketogenic diet while doing intermittent fasting as well, it could offer the following benefits.
Ways To Use This Information For Better Health
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What Is Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is one of several types of fasting methods which can result in various health benefits. IF is an eating pattern where you strategically skip one or more meals for a set period of time.
So unlike other diets, the focus is not on how to cut calories from each meal, but rather cutting out the entire meal itself.
This makes IF one of the least complex eating patterns to follow and is one of the big reasons behind its growing popularity.
The other main reason is how useful it is for losing belly fat and;its associated health benefits .
Summary: Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves strategically skipping meals rather than focusing on calories.
Reason : Bump Up The Exercise
Exercising during your fasting period can help your body burn even more fat.
When you work out in a fasted state, your body is forced to pull even more energy from your fat stores.
If possible, add your workout at the end of your fasting period, right before you can eat your first meal.
Adding exercise to the end of your fasting window can help you bump up your fat and calorie burn.
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Reason : Give It Enough Time
Dont give up and say uncle until youve been fasting regularly for at least a month.
It can take you a while to get used to intermittent fasting, and it can take your body a while to get used to this new method of eating.
Dont throw in the towel too soon!
Even if youre not intermittent fasting, there may be other reasons why you cant lose weight.
Intermittent fast for at least a month before you decide its not working for you. It can take your body a while to adjust to this new way of eating.
How Much Weight Can You Lose With Intermittent Fasting
The amount of weight you can lose through intermittent fasting depends on your starting weight, medical conditions, type of food you eat on your non-fasting days, and other factors like your lifestyle, age, and activity level.;
For example, if you choose to eat sugary desserts, drinks, and refined, ultra-processed carbs during your non-fasting days, a fast may not help you lose body fat.
However, if you pair intermittent fasting with healthy eating, you can experience healthy weight loss. A systematic review of 40 studies published in Molecular and Cellular Endocrinology found intermittent fasting was effective for weight loss, with a typical loss of seven to eleven pounds over ten weeks. If you weigh roughly 200 pounds, that equals a five percent loss of your total body weight in just ten weeks.;
You might want a quick weight loss fix, but experts recommend you dont try to speed up the process. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the UKs National Health Service recommend you shoot for a; safe rate of one to two pounds per week.;
According to the CDC, if you lose weight gradually and safely, youll be more successful at keeping it off. So, the average weight loss per week with intermittent fasting is safe, effective, and long-term.
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You Arent Eating The Right Types Of Foods
Hate to break it to you, but not all calories are created equal. According to Palinski-Wade, simple sugars digest rapidly, leading to very little energy being used in the digestive process, and a quick, but not long-lasting, spike in energy. So dont expect to feel great and achieve the same results if you opt for a doughnut over a protein-packed smoothie for breakfast, just because they may have close to the same number of calories.
Fix it: Foods that are rich in fiber and protein, meanwhile, can require as much as 30 percent of their total calories to be used up during the digestive process. So if your weight loss has stalled, look at your diet as a whole, she says. There may be areas in which you started off on point and have gotten lax about nutrition.
Questions to ask yourself include:
- Are you eating 30 grams or more of fiber per day?
- Are you taking in 20 to 30 percent of total calories from protein?
- Are you limiting simple sugars to less than 10 percent of total calories?
If the answers to any of these questions is no, make adjustments to your macronutrients to jumpstart weight loss progress again, says Palinski-Wade.
What To Expect With Intermittent Fasting
- You will most likely notice your stomach is grumbling during fasting periods, primarily if you are used to constant grazing throughout the day.
- Fasting may also lead to an increase in the stress hormone, cortisol, which may lead to even more food cravings.
- Overeating and binge eating are two common side effects of intermittent fasting.
- Intermittent fasting is sometimes associated with dehydration because when you do not eat, sometimes you forget to drink. For good health, it is essential to actively stay hydrated throughout the day by drinking, on average, three liters of water.
- You will most likely feel tired because your body is running on less energy than usual, and since fasting can boost stress levels, it can also disrupt your sleep patterns. It is crucial to adopt a healthy, regular sleep pattern and stick to it so you can feel rested on an everyday basis.
- The same biochemistry that regulates mood also regulates appetite with nutrient consumption affecting the activity of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. Fasting could play a role in anxiety and depression.
- Deregulating your appetite may do the same to your mood and therefore you will most likely feel irritable on occasions when you are fasting.
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It May Be Dangerous If You’re Taking Certain Medications
If you want to give intermittent fasting a try, make sure to discuss it with your doctor first, says Dr. Eric Rimm, professor of epidemiology and nutrition at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Skipping meals and severely limiting calories can be dangerous for people with certain conditions, such as diabetes. Some people who take medications for blood pressure or heart disease also may be more prone to imbalances of sodium, potassium, and other minerals during longer-than-normal periods of fasting.
Dr. Suzanne Salamon, associate chief of gerontology at Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, expresses another concern: “People who need to take their medications with food to avoid nausea or stomach irritation may not do well with fasting.”
You Arent Sleeping Well
Sleep can have a direct impact on body weight through its impact on appetite, basal metabolism, hormone regulation, and energy levels. So, if youve been sleeping less or are regularly dealing with interrupted sleep compared to when you started your fasting diet, this can be holding you back from achieving weight loss progress, says Palinski-Wade.
Fix it: To improve sleep quality, set a structured bedtime and wake-up routine, going to bed and getting up at the same time every day. Put all screens away as soon as you hit the sheetsinstead, try focusing on reducing stress levels by opting for more calming activities, like reading a book or doing a quick meditation sesh.
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How Intermittent Fasting Can Help You Lose Weight
There are many different ways to lose weight.
One strategy that has become popular in recent years is called intermittent fasting .
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that involves regular, short-term fasts or periods of minimal or no food consumption.
Most people understand intermittent fasting as a weight loss intervention. Fasting for short periods of time helps people eat fewer calories, which may result in weight loss over time .
However, intermittent fasting may also help modify risk factors for health conditions like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, such as lowering cholesterol and blood sugar levels 30002-0/fulltext” rel=”nofollow”>2,
There are several different intermittent fasting methods. The most popular ones include:
- the 16:8 method
- Eat Stop Eat
- alternate-day fasting
All methods can be effective, but figuring out which one works best depends on the individual.
To help you choose the method that fits your lifestyle, heres a breakdown of the pros and cons of each.
Why You May Not See Results
Although there is research supporting the effectiveness of intermittent fasting, there are many reasons; you may not see results. It may sound counter-intuitive, but you may not be eating enough calories during your fasting window. If you severely restrict calories, it can backfire. Sudden under-consumption can lead to metabolic adaptation, a process where your body becomes more efficient at using energy and storing fat which means youll burn less calories. The goal is not to count calories and cut them, its to eat minimally processed, nutritious foods during your eating window until you are full.;
If you eat ultra-processed, energy-dense foods during your meals, that could be another reason why youre not getting the results you desire. Fasting can help you burn fat, but it doesnt mean that its magic! Remember to fill your plate with lean proteins, complex carbs, and healthy fats.;
Finally, make sure you drink plenty of water during your fasting window. Hydration helps you feel full and satiated, and its easy to mistake thirst for hunger. If youre not hydrated when you approach your eating window, you may be prone to choose and eat ultra-processed foods.;
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Still Not Losing Weight On Intermittent Fasting
If youve covered all the bases and youre not losing weight on intermittent fasting, you may want to talk to your doctor.
Its always a good idea to check in with your doctor before beginning any new health or fitness program.
They can help you determine if you have an underlying medical condition that makes it harder to lose weight.
Avoid Intermittent Fasting If You Are At Risk For An Eating Disorder
Intermittent fasting has a high association with bulimia nervosa, and as a result, individuals who are susceptible to an eating disorder should not undergo any diet associated with fasting. Risk factors for an eating disorder include having a family member with an eating disorder, perfectionism, impulsivity and mood instability.
Reason : Restricting Calories During Your Eating Window
It seems counterintuitive, but you can sabotage your weight loss by restricting your calories on intermittent fasting.
One of the big problems that some people have when they start IF is they continue to cut back on calories during their eating window.
They figure that this must make intermittent fasting even more effective.
But it doesnt. You need to listen to your body and eat nutritious foods during your eating window until you feel full.
Start tuning into your bodys signals. Your body will tell you when youve had enough food.
Eating until Im satisfied during my eating window is one of my favorite things about intermittent fasting. I never have to count calories, or points or other metrics.
BUT.if you are having a hard time feeling your bodys signals and you cant really tell if youve had enough food, I recommend using a calorie calculator to determine approximately how many calories you should be eating.
You may need to track your calories for a few days if you discover you arent eating enough.
After a few days, your body will get used to your new way of eating and you will intuitively eat as much as you need during your eating window.
To make sure youre not undereating , figure out how many daily calories you should be eating using a calorie calculator and make sure youre eating enough healthy nutrient-dense foods during your eating window.
Nutrition Strategies To Support Your Muscles
If you choose to use intermittent fasting as a tool for weight loss and health, there are several things you can do to maintain as much muscle as possible.
As discussed, exercising especially weight training can help maintain muscle. A slow and steady rate of weight loss may also help.
Research has shown that you are more likely to lose lean mass, including muscle, when you lose weight quickly .
This means that if you are performing intermittent fasting, you should try to not drastically reduce your calorie intake all at once.
While the ideal rate of weight loss may vary, many experts recommend 12 pounds per week. However, if preserving muscle is your top priority, you may want to shoot for the lower end of this range (
It is possible that adequate protein intake is particularly important when using intermittent fasting, since your body will go for longer periods of time without receiving nutrients .
Summary Important nutritional strategies that may help you maintain muscle during intermittent fasting are attempting a slower rate of weight loss and ensuring adequate protein intake. Choosing nutritious foods is also recommended.
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How Intermittent Fasting Works
The primary goal of intermittent fasting for weight loss is to get the insulin levels to decrease to a level where the body will begin to burn stored fat for energy.
Here is how it works. When the food we eat is metabolized , it ends up as molecules in the blood stream.;One such molecule is glucose .;Normally, when there is more circulating blood glucose than the body can use for energy, the excess is stored as fat for future use.;But, for glucose to be utilized by the cells, it requires insulin.;Between meals the body doesnt require insulin so insulin levels decline. When insulin levels are low, the fat cells release some of the stored glucose, resulting in weight loss.
Potential Intermittent Fasting Side Effects
Intermittent fasting is a term people use to describe patterns of eating that include regular periods of fasting in which they consume very few or no calories (
- lower blood pressure
- reduction in markers of oxidative stress
- improved blood sugar control
These findings have led to the increased popularity of intermittent fasting regimens like:
- time-restricted feeding
- alternate-day fasting
- periodic fasting
If youre interested in trying out intermittent fasting, youre probably curious to know whether it has side effects.
The short answer: Intermittent fasting is safe for most people. However, studies have shown that intermittent fasting does have some minor side effects. Plus, its not the right choice for everyone (
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