Weight loss is one of the primary drivers for many people opting to follow a Intermittent Fasting diet.
Perhaps you’re finding you’re not shedding as many pounds as you’d hoped for, though?
Maybe you started off losing weight, but you’ve now hit a nasty plateau?
Don’t worry. Neither situation is at all unusual.
Having already examined how to lose weight on a Intermittent Fasting diet, today it’s time to help you troubleshoot if things are not going precisely to plan.
Here’s the full list to help you troubleshoot your fasting weight loss – click on any of the links to jump straight down to that section.
How Much Weight Can You Expect to Lose on Intermittent Fasting?
This can differ dramatically from person to person.
I’d love to promise that you’ll definitely lose all the weight you want, but I don’t make hollow promises. From our intermittent fasting programs, we’ve seen first-hand that the amount of weight lost can vary widely from person to person.
In general, you can expect to lose a few pounds in the first 2 weeks. While this is mostly water weight, there can be some fat loss as well.
Eating poorly and doing too little exercise for years can often be reversed, but it’s not going to happen overnight.
If you keep your expectations realistic, the fasting diet can be highly effective for gradual but consistent weight loss through meaningful change rather than starvation. And let’s face it, that’s the most healthy and sustainable way to lose weight.
How about if that’s just not happening for you, though?
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Why Aren’t You Losing Weight on IF?
One of the main benefits of intermittent fasting is weight-loss (in particular, fat loss). So, if you’re not losing weight, then it can be seriously frustrating.
If you’re reading this right now, then you probably fall into one of these 2 camps: you’re failing to lose weight at all, or you’re experiencing a weight loss plateau.
- You’re Experiencing No Initial Weight Loss: Have you switched to IF without noticing any weight loss whatsoever? If so, it can be frustrating. Strictly recording your macros, particularly your carb count, can remedy this. If that doesn’t work, read reasons 1-6 below to see what could be going wrong.
- You’re Experiencing a Weight Loss Plateau: Are you tracking your macros and following the diet but no longer losing weight after initially dropping a few pounds? If so, check out reasons 7-12 for some pointers on isolating the reason for this stalling.
It’s time to explore the most common causes of underwhelming weight loss so you can readily identify any areas where you could improve.
1. Too Many Carbs
Dialing right back on the carbs is one of fundamental elements of IF.
It’s all too easy to find carbs sneaking back in, though. This happens even with foods on a IF-approved list so don’t be too hard on yourself.
Watch out for carbs in drinks like coconut milk, almond milk or kombucha. Many “health drinks” come laden with sugar, so keep your eye firmly on that label.
Vegetables like cabbage and cauliflower, broccoli and sprouts, contain carbs that can add up over the course of a day if you’re not careful.
Monitor your fruit intake since the sugar content can lead to weight gain. (1)
Spices might pep up your meal, but garlic powder and onion powder contain carbs, so exercise a light touch with these.
Incorporate more healthy fats if you don’t already. In particular, fats like coconut oil and MCT oil that are high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) can especially help you feel more satiated and full. (2)
Whether it’s carb-cheating by nibbling guiltily on some treats, or taking too many hidden carbs on board, be vigilant here.
Checking the nutritional labels on food is also a smart move.
2. Too Many Calories… Or Too Few!
Although counting calories is not what Intermittent Fasting is about, if your calorie deficit is too extreme in either direction, this can impede weight loss.
A calorie deficit will drive weight loss, and not all calories are equal. (3) Since fat has more than double the calories of protein and carbs, make sure your fat intake is within the recommended levels.
Regardless of how much you cut back on your carbs, if you’re eating far too many calories for your needs, weight loss is likely to suffer.
Not getting enough calories is also detrimental to weight loss.
If your calorie deficit is too pronounced, your metabolism will slow down. Your body will respond to flagging energy levels by trying to conserve itself. Unless your fat stores can cover that deficit, you might start losing lean mass plundered by your body for energy.
Restricting your caloric intake too severely can also lead to cortisol production and stress, both known causes of weight gain. (4)
There’s no fixed answer to the right calorie intake. You need to consider your age, weight, and height. The amount you exercise and your overall goals also come into play.
If you’re not achieving your weight loss goals, it pays to become more aware of how many calories you’re taking on board. Not everyone tracks their food intake on IF, but it can help.
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3. Too Much Protein
Protein a core part of a healthy diet, and you want to maintain muscle mass while you lose weight.
That said, you need to strike a delicate balance with this macro.
While eating too little protein can provoke hunger and cause your energy levels to dip, eating too much protein on IF could inhibit weight loss.
Eating more protein than you need for muscle could prevent ketosis due to a metabolic process called gluconeogenesis. This is when your body converts a surplus of protein into glycogen. Your body then uses that for energy instead of burning fat.
With ketosis, you want your body using fat for fuel instead so make sure you don’t overdo the protein, or you might end up seeing your weight loss stall.
4. Too Much Fat
While healthy sources of fats are not harmful and essential for your body in optimal quantities, it’s quite common to consume too much fat which will obviously impact your weight loss goals.
If you’re loading up on cheese, adding copious amounts of butter to every other dish, ladling coconut oil in your coffee, and indulging in bacon for breakfast each day… Well, that’s likely too much fat for your goals.
Calories still make a difference for weight-loss as we mentioned. The quality of those calories is also important. Overeating fats – especially in pure forms rather than in foods like fatty steak or fatty fish – is just overloading your body with empty calories. The calories in many pure, processed fats don’t add essential nutrients like vitamins and minerals. They just add calories in the form of fats!
So, don’t be afraid of fats or radically alter your macros, but definitely be aware that you can have too much of a good thing.
5. Overeating Nuts, Dairy or Fruit
We suggest people skip dairy – especially, milk, cream, and cheese – for the first 60 days on IF.
Initially, this enables you to determine if you’re sensitive to the lactose or casein in dairy products.
Eliminating dairy can also help with weight loss while overeating dairy products has the opposite effect.
Much like with eating too many nuts, the issue here is not that you’ll necessarily stop ketosis. It’s the calorie-dense nature of these foods and the fact they are easy to overeat which can seriously impair your weight loss goals.
Buying shelled nuts is one way to discourage yourself from gorging. Sidestep nut mixes with dried fruit, too.
With fruit, you’ll get plenty of fiber and nutrients but far too many simple sugars like fructose. These are known to contribute to weight gain. (5) Eat fruit in moderation.
6. Too Many Low Carb Treats and Snacks
Overindulgence on low carb snacks can derail ketosis while also causing cravings. This can lead to rash food choices and overeating.
Most low carb treats are high in artificial sugars. At the same time, they are usually low in real nutrients like vitamins and minerals. These artificial sweeteners (including low calorie sugar alcohols) can provoke cravings for the wrong foods, and result in weight gain. (6)
Whether you angle toward nuts or dairy, pancakes or breakfast muffins, these snacks are all too easy to overeat.
Choose your snacks wisely and don’t think of them as a regular fixture in your IF diet.
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7. Undiagnosed Underlying Health Issues
If things are not progressing as you’d hoped on the IF diet, perhaps you have a thyroid or adrenal problems you’re not aware of?
Getting a blood or saliva test can determine this.
It’s imperative to take action if you have hypothyroidism so you can ensure you’re getting enough carbs.
Other underlying flashpoints such as food sensitivities or blood sugar issues can lead to inflammation and, in turn, possible weight gain. (7)
8. Being Close To Your Weight Goal
As you edge in toward your optimum weight, losing fat becomes progressively tougher.
The more weight you lose, the more your metabolic rate drops. As this happens, you’ll need naturally fewer calories to sustain your basic requirements.
While I mentioned that calorie counting is not the purpose of the IF diet, recalculating your caloric needs as you near your weight goal is a wise move.
You should celebrate this achievement rather than getting worked up, as stress can also cause its own problems with weight loss…
9. Too Much Stress
Don’t underestimate the role of stress if your weight loss is flagging.
Stress causes the body to produce cortisol. This hormone is responsible for storing visceral fat around the tummy. (8) Obviously, this accumulation of abdominal fat is less than ideal.
There’s also a link between stress and hypothyroidism. (9) This can affect your metabolic rate and, in turn, cause weight gain rather than the weight loss you’re pursuing.
Attack your stressors head on, and it will help you keep those unwanted pounds at bay.
10. Lack of Sleep
This can be a huge issue for many people.
To maximize fat loss, you need to eat well and exercise, but also ensure you get sufficient sleep.
Lack of sleep will make you hungrier and prone to more cravings. The desire for certain foods can then make sticking to IF more awkward.
Inadequate sleep will also disrupt your hormones. This makes it harder for you to regulate your blood sugar levels.
Shoot for anywhere between 7 and 9 hours sleep each night to optimize your weight loss.
11. Too Much Exercise… Or Not Enough!
For many, even just adding in 30 minutes of walking per day can jumpstart weight loss.
Assess the amount of exercise you’re doing if you’re starting to notice a weight loss plateau.
Again, getting the balance right here is key. Overtraining can be as damaging to weight loss as not getting enough exercise.
Excessive cardio training will undoubtedly help you burn calories, but it will also stimulate your appetite. Repetitive training of this nature will have your body crying out for more food which runs counter to your goals.
Save time and accelerate weight loss by considering high-intensity interval training (HIIT). Short bursts of bodyweight exercises can help burn fat more efficiently than a lengthy stint on the treadmill.
12. Not Giving Your Body Enough Time To Heal
Most of us want fast weight-loss.
IF can help many people lose weight quickly, but it’s not a magic pill.
Even if you’re not overeating dairy and nuts, even if you’re sleeping and exercising well, it can sometimes take a bit of time to lose weight.
Take a diet break if you feel that would help. Go easy on yourself. By cutting back on the energy restriction a calorie deficit brings about, your metabolism will compensate. The result is a more sustainable weight loss.
It’s Not Just About Weight-Loss – Reflect On Whether You Feel Better On IF
While most people start Intermittent Fasting to lose weight, IF is a fantastic tool for more than just weight-loss.
It can help you get rid of lingering issues like digestive problems, mental fog, and improve your mood and energy.
That’s why it’s important to focus on how you feel rather than just watching the scale.
Consider these simple questions:
- Do you feel more energetic?
- Are you able to concentrate better?
- Has your digestion improved?
- Do you get fewer cravings?
- Are you less dependent on sugar in particular and eating in general?
- Do you have an improved mood overall?
If you are finding improvements in any or all of these areas, the IF diet is working. The above areas will all give you a better quality of life while also boosting your health long-term.
And if you’re not losing as much weight as you’d like?
Highlight the likely problem using the list above and get to work making subtle but effective changes.
What Do People Who’ve Lose Weight On Intermittent Fasting Know That You Don’t?
Does it feel like no matter what you do, weight loss is ALWAYS a struggle? Yet for others it comes easy. What do THEY know that you don’t?
What are THEY doing that you aren’t?
I’m sorry to say, it’s not the latest exercise craze, dietary supplements, magic pill, or extract that’s helping others lose weight.
It’s a sustainable program that is focused on your unique metabolism, hormones, and lifestyle. A program with YOU in mind.
When I launched the 3-Week Intermittent Fasting Diet 1 year ago, I never thought over 3,000 people would have downloaded and used this plan. Much less have over 100 people lose over 20 pounds in 21 days.
The results keep coming in and I’m STILL shocked to see some of the transformations, but the messages NEVER get old.
If you’d like to become the next success story, then watch the free presentation and read the success stories, then share yours in 3ish weeks inside our private support group on Facebook, here’s some of the messages: