Why You’re Not Losing Weight On Intermittent Fasting

So you’ve heard all the amazing stories about intermittent fasting and weight loss! And now you’re trying it – but why the HECK are you not losing weight on intermittent fasting?

Here are some common intermittent fasting mistakes you may be making that are stalling your weight loss.

With a little tweaking in your intermittent fasting routine, you should be able to turn your body into a fat burning machine!

Woman in red shirt trying to pull on her favorite jeans wonders why she is not losing weight on intermittent fasting.

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You’re Eating Crap

There’s no other way to put it – you cannot eat crap and expect to succeed.

Intermittent fasting is not a magic wand that you can use to lose weight while you fill your body with processed foods, junk foods and sugar.

IF is a time-based method of eating, and there are no hard and fast rules for what you can and cannot eat during your eating window.

Sometimes this flexibility can be your downfall.

I love the flexibility in food choice I get with intermittent fasting, but any benefits will be erased if you are constantly choosing the wrong foods.

IF is an incredible way to improve your health and lose weight, but it only works when you are eating good nutrient dense foods.

You’re Eating Too Much

The beauty of intermittent fasting is that you can continue to enjoy all your favorite foods – in moderation.

Take a look at what you’re eating, an honest look.

Are you eating fast food multiple times a day? Too many restaurant meals? Dessert every day? Several glasses of wine every night?

All of these can add huge amounts of sneaky calories to your daily intake.

A Harvard Medical School study showed that adults drastically underestimate the calories in a fast food meal by as much as 20%.

With some fast food meals topping 2,000 calories, that could be enough to really throw a wrench in your weight loss.

So if you want to lose weight, stay away from fast food, restaurant food and processed foods, desserts and alcohol.

Woman eating a burger.

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 doesn’t. You need to listen to your body and eat nutritious foods during your eating window until you feel full. Start tuning into to your body’s signals. Your body will tell you when you’ve had enough food.

Eating until I’m 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 body’s signals and you can’t really tell if you’ve 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 aren’t 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.

Not Drinking Enough Water

I cannot stress enough how important it is to drink LOTS of water when you’re fasting.

When your body is in a fasting state, it’s working hard to burn fat and detox the body.

The fasting state is when autophagy happens. Autophagy is the cellular self-cleaning process that breaks down and recycles damaged cells. Think of it as your body’s way of cleaning house. So you need to make sure you’re drinking even more water than you usually do.

If you’re working out, you need more water. If you live in a hot climate, you need more water. Do I sound like a broken record yet? So drink more water than you think you need while intermittent fasting.

As a minimum guideline, try to drink about 2/3 of your body weight in ounces each day. So a 200 pound person would drink about 133 ounces a day (2/3 x 200).

If you’re not up for the math, here’s a handy water intake calculator you can use to get a ballpark idea of how much water you should be drinking.

Do whatever you have to do, but drink that water!

Woman holding a clock.

You’re Not Fasting Long Enough

If you’re not seeing results, it could be that you aren’t fasting long enough for your body. Try ramping up the duration of your fasting window.

While it’s possible to lose weight fasting as little as 12 hours at a time, try increasing your fasting window if your weight loss has stalled.

A fasting period of 14-16 hours seems to work best for most people. Double check that you’re not actually breaking your fast too early. If you find that you are, try extending your fasting period a bit at a time until you can hit that 14-16 hour window.

You’re Accidentally Breaking Your Fast

Strictly speaking, during your fasting period, you shouldn’t be consuming ANY calories.

The waters get a little muddied though because some people believe that a splash of cream in your coffee is OK as long as you keep it below 50 calories or so. I still have great luck fasting when I put just a touch of half and half in my coffee.

But if you’re not losing weight on intermittent fasting, you should try a strict fast where you don’t consume ANY calories during your fasting period.

My video below explains why you may need to eliminate all calories during your fasting window if your weight loss is stalled.

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.

Happy woman at the gym.

Check in With Your Expectations

Intermittent fasting can help you lose weight without cutting back on calories, counting points or worrying about your macros.

You can expect to lose 1-2 pounds a week or 5-8 pounds a month.

If you want something faster, consider pairing intermittent fasting with a keto diet. Just be aware that you’ll really have to watch what you eat on a ketogenic diet.

How Do You Measure Success?

The scale shouldn’t be the “be all end all” indication of your weight loss.

Try taking photos and measurements before you start intermittent fasting so you have something visual to compare to.

Better yet, find a pair of pants that can be your “truth-telling” pants. To me, finally being able to zip up that favorite pair of jeans is more satisfying than any number on a scale.

Woman measuring her waist.

Give it Enough Time

Don’t give up and say “uncle” until you’ve 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.

Don’t throw in the towel too soon!

Even if you’re not intermittent fasting, there may be other reasons why you can’t lose weight.

Still Not Losing Weight on Intermittent Fasting?

If you’ve covered all the bases and you’re not losing weight on intermittent fasting, you may want to talk to your doctor.

It’s 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.

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Woman trying to pull up her favorite jeans.