Intermittent Fasting Not Working
Mary Ahern - Health, Nutrition or Medicine Expert
Mary has a Master of Science in Nutrition and is a Registered Dietitian. Currently, Mary works in nutrition research. Her research interests focus on the dietary, biological, metabolic, or behavioral differences in individuals with obesity and other chronic conditions. Mary will begin her Ph.D. in nutrition in the Fall. In her free time, you will usually find Mary hiking, at Pilates or Yoga, cooking, or reading.
22.01.2024

Intermittent Fasting Not Working: Get to Know Why It Happens

Intermittent fasting
Table Of Contents

Introduction: The Hype and Hope of Intermittent Fasting Stopped Working

Hey there! So, you tried intermittent fasting because everyone has been raving about it lately. The hype made you hopeful it would finally be that weight loss solution you’ve sought. But intermittent fasting not producing results, and now you’re left wondering what happened.

Like many things in life, what works wonders for some people is ho-hum for others. The excellent news is intermittent fasting might not be completely dead in the water for you yet. Sometimes, tweaking a few things is all it takes to restart the magic.

Before throwing the baby out with the bathwater, let’s talk about why the hype and hope fell flat and the simple changes you can make that just may resurrect your intermittent fasting success. 

Read on to give this fasting thing one more try with some fresh new adjustments!

When Intermittent Fasting Doesn’t Work? The Puzzle of Plateaus

Intermittent fasting (IF) can be a bit of a puzzle. It works for some, but not for everyone.

  • Firstly, there’s the big question of calories. 

IF is often seen as a way to reduce daily calories and insulin levels, leading to fat oxidation. However, in some cases, people on IF consume the same number of calories as those not fasting, which negates a key benefit of this diet approach. 

A study highlighted, that one of the common reasons why not losing weight on intermittent fasting is that if you’re not cutting back on calories, you might not see the benefits you’re hoping for​​.

  • Then, there’s the issue of diet quality during the eating window. 

After all, what’s the point of fasting for hours only to consume nutrient-poor, high-carb foods that spike your insulin and glucose levels? It’s like taking two steps forward and one step back​​.

  • Also, intermittent fasting isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. 

The science-based article points out that diets, including IF, work differently for different people. In the short term, when you’re conscious of your calorie intake and exercise, you’re likely to see some weight loss. However, in the long term, most diets, including IF, don’t work for about 95% of people. This is because of various factors, such as the natural human difficulty with stuck weight in maintaining strict dietary habits and the body’s complex response to different food timings and contents​​.

  • Finally, a study from the University of California, San Francisco, found that time-restricted eating didn’t lead to better weight loss or metabolic benefits compared to daily calorie restriction. 

This suggests that the timing of eating might not be as crucial as the overall daily calorie intake and diet quality​​.

Intermittent Fasting Not Working

Intermittent Fasting and Calorie Deficit: Explanation for Effectiveness 

1. Calorie deficit 

“When you ingest fewer calories than your body burns, you are in a state of calorie deficit.” 

This is when you consume fewer calories than your body burns. It’s the fundamental principle behind weight loss. By eating less, your body uses its stored fat for energy, leading to weight loss.

2. Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting (IF) is a practice of cycling between periods of eating, and fasting. It’s not about what you eat, but when you eat. This adapting intermittent fasting approach can naturally lead to a calorie deficit if you eat less during your eating windows.

When you combine IF, with conscious calorie control, it can enhance the weight loss process. IF not only helps with calorie control but may also positively affect metabolism. As noted, intermittent fasting can be effective in the short term because it makes you more conscious of your calorie intake and exercise, which often leads to fewer calories.​​

Also, read – Fasting to Lose Weight Like a Pro – Unlocking the Skinny Secret

Why Is Intermittent Fasting Not Working for Me? Find Out Your Keys 

1. Not Losing Weight on Omad Woes – Unraveling the Mystery 

OMAD, or one meal a day, makes getting all the necessary nutrients in one meal challenging. Poor nutrition can impact your metabolism and overall health, affecting weight loss efforts. 

Your body is bright and adapts to the energy (calories) it receives. If you suddenly decrease your calorie intake, your body might slow down its metabolism to conserve energy, creating a situation when intermittent fasting causes weight gain. Additionally, to get enough calories in one meal with the OMAD diet, people will tend to eat more fat, which can lead to weight gain in excess. 

Stress, sleep quality, and physical activity seriously affect weight management. For instance, poor sleep can affect hunger hormones, leading to increased appetite.

2. Not Losing Weight Intermittent Fasting 16/8: Decoding the Plateau

Eating the wrong kinds of food or eating too late in the evening can impact your results. Also, not fasting long enough each day, typically less than 12-14 hours, may hinder you not losing weight on intermittent fasting. 

This is because the metabolic switch, which is the process of your body shifting from using glucose to fatty acids and ketones as energy sources, mightn’t be effectively activated​​.

Furthermore, a study focusing on individuals at risk for type 2 diabetes found that engaging in time-restricted eating, like the 16/8 method, without specific dietary restrictions, can lower glucose levels and other metabolic benefits. 

3. Not Losing Weight Intermittent Fasting 18/6: Why the Scale Won’t Budge?

Fasting but gaining weight? A study showed that while time-restricted eating (like 16/8 or 18/6 fasting) can lower glucose levels and have other metabolic benefits, weight loss might not always be significant​​. 

4. Not Losing Weight Intermittent Fasting 20/4 – Navigating Weight Loss Stagnation

One critical factor is the nature of your diet during the eating window. Downing too many calories or eating calorie-dense foods can counteract the benefits of fasting. 

Additionally, your body’s response to fasting can change over time. Initially, you may lose weight but then hit a plateau of fasting but not losing weight. This can be due to factors like metabolic adaptation or changes in physical activity levels. 

Another aspect is the metabolic switch, which plays a crucial role in the effectiveness of fasting​​.

5. Not Losing Weight on 36 Hour Fast: Understanding the Lack of Results

Firstly, weight loss is influenced by overall caloric balance over time, not just during the fasting period. Even with extended fasting, like a 36-hour fast, if you consume more calories than your body needs during your eating periods, you might not see weight loss.

Moreover, during extended fasts, your body undergoes metabolic shifts, transitioning from glucose to fatty acids and ketones for energy. This metabolic switch is crucial to fasting’s effectiveness but doesn’t always translate to immediate weight loss​​.

Also, read – Intermittent Fasting vs. Prolonged Fasting: Which Wins the Battle for Your Health?

6 Signs Intermittent Fasting Is Not Working for You

1. You’re always thinking about food. 

If you find yourself constantly hungry and preoccupied with when you can eat next, intermittent fasting probably isn’t a sustainable plan for you right now.

2. You’re overly tired. 

Intermittent fasting can leave some people feeling extremely fatigued. If you feel lacking in energy even after adjusting to the eating schedule, it could be a red flag.

3. You’ve stopped losing weight.

Common intermittent fasting problems happen, but if you go weeks with no weight fluctuating despite strictly intermittent fasting, it may mean it’s no longer effective for you.

4. You’re constantly irritable. 

Extreme hunger can equal a bad mood. If friends and family start commenting that you seem hangry and cranky, it might be connected to intermittent fasting.

5. You have medical considerations. 

Those managing health conditions should speak to their doctor before major diet changes. Safety first!

6. You’re binge eating. 

Deprivation often leads to overdoing it on food. If you find yourself binge eating while overcoming fasting challenges, it’s important to address this. Talk to a professional if this occurs.

The key is listening to your unique body and being flexible. Intermittent fasting doesn’t work for everyone, and that’s perfectly okay! Check in with yourself often while making changes.

2 Weeks Intermittent Fasting No Weight Loss? Short-Term vs. Long-Term Result

It’s true that intermittent fasting can lead to weight loss, as it generally reduces calorie intake. However, the results can vary extensively among individuals. 

Studies have shown that people can lose about 7-11 pounds over 10 weeks, but this is not a universal rule​​. The pivotal thing to remember is that intermittent fasting is not necessarily more effective than other dieting methods in terms of the amount of weight lost​​.

It’s also important to understand that the body needs time to adjust to this new eating pattern. During the first few weeks, you might feel hungry or a bit cranky – 

ineffective intermittent fasting, but many people report feeling better after this adjustment period​​.

Fasting but Not Losing Belly Fat – Common Reasons

  • Stress

High stress levels can lead to elevated cortisol levels linked to increased storage of belly fat. Stress can cause emotional eating or poor food choices, hindering weight loss efforts.

  • Lack of Quality Sleep 

Lack of proper or sufficient sleep can disturb the body’s hormonal balance, which can impact appetite regulation and metabolism. This hormonal imbalance can support fat storage in the abdominal area​​​​.

  • Sedentary Lifestyle

Intermittent fasting does not reduce belly fat? A sedentary lifestyle with the tiniest physical movement can slow metabolism and reduce calorie expenditure, hindering the body’s ability to burn belly fat.

  • Genetics and Hormonal Factors

Someone may be genetically predisposed to carry excess belly fat. Hormonal inequalities, such as insulin resistance or high estrogen levels, can make it challenging to lose belly fat.

  • Hidden Calories in Drinks 

Consuming drinks with hidden calories, like sugary drinks or even certain types of coffee, can add up and counteract your fasting efforts​​.

Additionally, a study found that when fasting, visceral fat (the abdominal fat that surrounds organs) may enter a “preservation mode,” making it more resistant to weight loss. This suggests that different fat deposits in the body may respond differently to dieting and fasting​​.

Intermittent Fasting Not Working

What to Do When Intermittent Fasting Stops Working? Reboot and Rethink

1. Re-check your calorie intake. 

Make sure you’re not eating more during feasting periods, which is an easy trap to fall into over time. Using an app to follow calories can help pinpoint if you need to trim back a bit.

2. Think about mixing up your fasting routine. 

If you’ve hit a plateaued weight loss doing 16:8, try longer fasting periods, like 18 or 20 hours. Or throw in 24-36 hour fasts a couple of times per week to stimulate fat burning. Your body adapts, so changing the routine can reboot progress.

3. Are you exercising enough? 

Adding more activity, especially HIIT or weight training, together with fasting is extremely effective. Up the intensity and frequency of workouts if you’ve slacked off. It’ll do wonders.

4. Consider exogenous ketones. 

Exogenous ketones may help your body get into a state of ketosis and use ketones as a fuel source. This can potentially extend the fasting period and assist in breaking out of a plateau. However, more information is needed in this area. 

5. Set a deadline for your last meal of the day. 

Aim to complete your last meal by 8 pm and try to make dinner not your biggest meal of the day.

6. Patience and consistency are fundamental. 

Stalls happen. Stick to the regimen strictly for 2-4 weeks before concluding it has stopped working. Often, a whoosh of weight loss follows!

Finally, Forget About Failed Intermittent Fasting Attempts!

Well, there you have it! Now you know some of the most common culprits behind “I stopped losing weight on intermittent fasting.”

The frustration of a failed attempt makes you want to swear off intermittent fasting altogether! But don’t tear down that fasting window sticker on your fridge just yet, my friend. Remember, minor troubleshooting tweaks can get you back on track more often than not. Sure, intermittent fasting takes some personalization – but so does almost any “one size fits all” health hack.

The key is finding those custom fixes that work for YOUR unique body and lifestyle needs in the long term. So be kind to yourself through the process! And there are still more specific options to try if you want to renew those early intermittent fasting results. You’ve got this!

Mary has a Master of Science in Nutrition and is a Registered Dietitian. Currently, Mary works in nutrition research. Her research interests focus on the dietary, biological, metabolic, or behavioral differences in individuals with obesity and other chronic conditions. Mary will begin her Ph.D. in nutrition in the Fall. In her free time, you will usually find Mary hiking, at Pilates or Yoga, cooking, or reading.