clean fasting for weight loss
Intermittent Fasting,  Weight Loss

10 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight On Intermittent Fasting

(Last Updated On: August 29, 2019)

not losing weight intermittent fastingDrinking only black coffee in the morning? Check. Eating all your day’s food between 12pm and 8pm? Check. Totally confused as to why the weight isn’t melting off? Check. 

Wait… huh?

If you’ve been intermittent fasting for what feels like forever, yet you’re not getting those crazy insane fast weight loss results everyone else seems to be, you might be wondering what the eff is going on.

Why am I not losing weight on intermittent fasting? What’s wrong with me?

Fear not, because in this article I’m going to share 10 reasons why you’re not losing weight on intermittent fasting. And give a few tips for what you can do about it.

Let’s dig in.

*This post contains affiliate links


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11 Reasons You’re Not Losing Weight On Intermittent Fasting

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1- You’re Not Being Consistent With Your Fasting Schedule

One of the nicest benefits of intermittent fasting is flexibility. If you work night shift, for example, you don’t have to do the typical feeding window of 12pm to 8pm. Or if you prefer a different intermittent fasting schedule altogether – you may opt to fast two full days each week and eat a modified diet the other 5.

Though intermittent fasting is flexible, it’s still important to be as consistent as you can once you do select an intermittent fasting schedule. If you’re fasting 8pm to noon one day, then 10pm to 2pm the next, your average fasting period shortens and you’re not going to reap all the benefits.

Some people like to fast more strictly during the workweek – say 16 hours M-F and cut it down to 12 or 13 hours on the weekend. This is fine and you should still see great results. Try to stay more consistent if you’ve been a little lax and see if that helps.

 

2- You’re Not Fasting Long Enough

intermittent fasting one month transformation

While it’s possible to lose weight fasting shorter periods of time, generally the longer you fast on a daily basis, the better your results will be.

For many beginners getting to 16 hours or longer can be a challenge, but you don’t want to dip too low or you won’t see the change you seek.

From personal experience the sweet spot is around 14 hours fasting. Any lower than that I find isn’t really long enough.

If you’re not hitting 16 hours as frequently as you’d like, check to see how long you are going and see if you can push it just a little bit longer.

Also, if you’re having trouble stretching your fasting window, try the salt trick: simply dab a little salt on your tongue and drink a bunch of water. I don’t know why this works, but it really does. It will help you reach your target until you get more used to it.

 

3- You’re Still Eating Too Many Calories

2 weeks intermittent fasting transformation results

While the beauty of intermittent fasting is that it restricts when you eat rather than what you eat – you still have to do things in moderation.

Yes, it’s totally possible to continue to enjoy the foods you love, like ice cream, pizza and french fries, but just because you’re eating one to two meals a day instead of three or four doesn’t mean you can’t completely blow it.

For example, a McDonald’s Big Mac, fries and a coke will run you about 1,100 calories. And that’s just ONE meal. If you ate pizza later that day – or even enjoyed a healthy meal but ate ice cream as a dessert you’d be blowing it.

Sure, doing this here and there is fine. Life is for living! BUT… you can’t eat crazy every day and expect to lose weight just because you’re overeating in two meals instead of three.

If you’re not losing weight on intermittent fasting take an honest look at your diet. You don’t have to go ON a diet, but you much WATCH your diet.

Be honest. Do you see room for improvement?

 

4- You’re Cheating

intermittent fasting not losing weight

So many people e-mail me asking what’s okay to eat or drink during their fasting window, that I imagine there are quite a few folks out there who aren’t losing weight on intermittent fasting because they’re not actually fasting.

Fasting, for the sake of intermittent fasting, means the total absence of calories.

Some people feel you should be very strict and consume nothing but water during your fasting window, while others say coffee and tea either unsweetened or with artificial zero-calorie sweetener is fine.

Still others feel as long as you keep it below 50 calories or so (perhaps one teaspoon of creamer or low-fat milk) would be alright.

In my opinion and experience, any of these options are fine. I’ve had great results losing weight with intermittent fasting both with artificial sweeteners and with a dash of milk or creamer. But anything beyond that will absolutely break your fast.

If you’ve been consuming anything other than water, unsweetened coffee or tea, any solid food at all, or any beverage that has more than 50 calories or so… you haven’t been fasting and you won’t lose the weight.

 

A Tip To Drink More Water

Some people really get bored with drinking plain water and I totally get that. If you need to drink gallons of water each week, it’s understandable that you may tire of it being plain. 

One thing I do is add a few Mio Drops to my water, and it really does help!

If you aren’t familiar with them, Mio Drops are calorie, carb and sugar-free water enhancers. You just squeeze a couple drops into your water and you’re good to go!

You can find them at grocery stores, but I just buy mine on Amazon because it’s like a dollar cheaper per bottle.

I grab many at a time because I like to have different flavors. The Fruit Punch is the best one, imo!

Click here to grab a bottle for yourself!


 

5- You’re Drinking Too Much Alcohol

alcohol intermittent fasting

While yes, it’s okay to drink alcohol while intermittent fasting (provided it’s within your eating window – it would count as “food”), you need to stay mindful of the fact that alcohol contains calories. If you’re drinking too much alcohol and then still eating full meals, chances are you’re going way over your calorie budget.

Just like with eating fast food or indulging in desserts – every once in a while is fine, but if you do this on a regular basis you aren’t likely to lose much weight.

 

6- You’re Not Tracking All Your Metrics

SOBRIETY JOURNAL TO QUIT DRINKING

One of the most important things you need to be doing when losing weight is tracking more than just one metric. It’s so easy to feel like you’re not losing weight because maybe the numbers on the scale aren’t moving as quickly as you’d like, but the weight loss could show up elsewhere.

If you feel like you’re not losing weight on intermittent fasting, yet you’re doing everything right, consider tracking these 4 metrics:

 

Body weight, fat and BMI:

weight loss trick

The scale is definitely a love-hate thing, but it’s important. My advice is to get a biometric scale that tracks more than just body weight. The one I use and recommend is the Renpho Bluetooth BMI Scale. This scale is so awesome because it’s 1/3rd of the price of the Fitbit Aria scale and has everything you need to track your progress.

It sinks seamlessly to your smartphone and comes with a free app for tracking your data.

The most important metrics are weight, body mass index (BMI), body fat percentage and hydration levels. So, with a scale like this sometimes you can see quite easily that if the pounds aren’t melting off as quickly as you’d like, you can see your body fat percentage is going down, and that lets you know you’re on the right track.

Give it a little more time, and the rest of your body will catch up.

 

Measurements with measuring tape:

burpee challenge resultsSometimes your body will shrink slightly without seeing any movement on the scale. And that’s okay too!

That’s why it’s important to measure your body using a measuring tape and track your progress on a weekly basis.

I use this simple, cheap Care Touch Skinfold measuring tape and it’s perfect for this purpose. It’s better than a standard measuring tape because it has a little knob that holds the mechanism in place, so you don’t have to struggle with placement and holding for harder to reach areas.

I had a week where I lost 0 pounds but 3 inches! Good to know, right?

Update: Here’s exactly how to track your measurements using a measuring tape.

 

Progress pictures:

Intermittent fasting really works for fast weight loss! But did you know you can fast just 12 hours instead of 16?If you’re anything like me you probably hate taking photos, but progress photos for intermittent fasting weight loss are so important. Sometimes a side-by-side photo tells a completely different story that other methods just don’t tell. Plus, it’s so cool to have photographic evidence of your journey!

 

Check how your clothes fit:

intermittent fasting clothes

Finally, see how your clothes fit! Pull out that pair of pants wayyyyy in the back of your closet and try them on! You might be pleasantly surprised by how they fit now compared to how they used to. It could take some time before everything fits perfectly, but you will know if you see improvement.

Using all four of these methods just might reveal that you actually are making progress – you just need different ways of seeing it unfold.

 

7- You Might Need Some (Or More) Exercise

burpees challenge results photos before and after

While it’s true that you can lose weight intermittent fasting without exercise, if you’re not losing weight intermittent fasting, that may not be true for YOU.

Everybody is different. Just because some people may lose weight without exercising doesn’t mean that you’ll fare just as well. So, if you’re not exercising at all, start. And if you’re already exercising, maybe consider raising the intensity, duration or switching it up!

 

8- You May Have Unrealistic Expectations

intermittent fasting not losing weight

If you feel as though you’re not losing weight on intermittent fasting, you might need to check your expectations.

For starters, the more fat and weight you carry to begin with, the easier it is to lose in the beginning.

Someone who starts at 250 pounds might lose 5 to 10 pounds in their first week intermittent fasting. But someone who starts at 150 pounds probably won’t (and shouldn’t).

The CDC officially says that 1 to 2 pounds per week is a safe, healthy weight loss rate. So, if you’re losing around 5 to 8 pounds per month (not per week), you ARE losing weight. Great job!

 

9- You May Need To Give It More Time

intermittent fasting more time

These days we all want instant results. We want to fast for a couple days, eat whatever we want during feeding windows, and wake up one day a week or two later with our dream bodies.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way.

If you feel like you’re doing everything right and still not losing weight intermittent fasting,  give it a little more time!

Some people will see super-fast results and will drop 5 pounds in a week intermittent fasting. This is even more likely if your diet and exercise were terrible beforehand and you switched to clean eating plus exercise on top of intermittent fasting.

But, again, if you had a halfway decent diet and incorporated even a little exercise beforehand, adding fasting isn’t that big of a leap and you aren’t likely to see a super-fast dramatic result in just a week’s time.

If you’ve gone down this list of reasons you may not be losing weight with intermittent fasting and you’re still in your first few weeks to a month, my advice would be to give it a little more time.

 

10- Underlying Medical Condition

intermittent fasting doctor

Finally, if you’re not losing weight on intermittent fasting, there may be an underlying medical condition that you are unaware of.

Before you begin any new dietary or exercise program you should always check with your physician, but if you’ve been fasting for a while and following all the guidelines, working out, watching your calorie intake and staying on top of things yet you’re still not progressing, it’s definitely time to make an appointment.

 

Not Losing Weight Intermittent Fasting? There’s A Fix For That!

Intermittent Fasting Tips: Not losing weight intermittent fasting? Here's 10 reasons why you may not be able to lose weight fast intermittent fasting and what you need to do about it!

Hopefully this list of ten reasons why you may not be losing the weight you desire on intermittent fasting has given you food for thought. With just a slight tweak in either your methods or your mindset, you should be able to turn your body into an intermittent fasting fat melting machine!


The ONLY Intermittent Fasting Planner You’ll Ever Need!

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If you’d like to get started with intermittent fasting or you want to take your intermittent fasting weight loss to the next level, what you really need is my Intermittent Fasting Fitness Planner

It literally has everything you need to track fasting, strength & cardio training, pounds/inches lost, space for notes, slots for before & after pics, and three 30-day fitness challenge charts! 

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Related Intermittent Fasting Posts:

10 Reasons Why You’re Not Losing Weight On Intermittent Fasting

17 Comments

  • Dylan

    For me it’s still too radical method. It assumes that you can’t eat for most of a day! I agree that first of all, losing weight is a long process, especially when you won’t exercise. But to not eat 16 hours a day for regular not strongly determined person is impossible. I prefer methods like Simple Weight Loss System by Samuel F. Valle, which is a three month program during which I lost 18 pounds with really minimal effort.

  • Allie

    I understand exactly what you mean, Dylan. I found at first that 16 hours was too hard to maintain. I’ve been going strong since the very beginning of the year with a minimum of 12 hours, which I only do once or twice a month. This flexibility works perfect for me. In my experience the longer you work with intermittent fasting, the more normal it gets. As in, you get used to it and becomes just… standard. My average used to be 14 hours, now it’s 16. But the magic is in finding what works for you and your unique situation. I’m glad you found something you like. I”ll check out the system you mentioned. I was just thinking if there’s something new I might be able to try so I can blog about it haha. Thanks for mentioning, and best of luck to you in reaching your goals!

  • Diane taber

    Hi I’ve just started the 16/8. Intermittent fasting diet/with the keto diet. And want a few more hints and tips on this diet as I’m not used to it. And really want to lose this weight as I’m following the fasting to the letter with everything I eat and drink. Every where else.so not sure why my weight is not falling off very quickly as I’d like it to. And wondering why when others are maybe losing maybe 8/or 10/or more pounds. And just wishing I could do the same as lm sticking to it religiously and not faltering in anyway and wondering if I could be doing something wrong.in anyway. And wounded if any one could please tell me please as my current weight is about 320lbs.and just should not be this much weight as it gets me down and I really don’t want to get no bigger weight. Than I already am.

  • Allie

    Hi Diane! If you’re following everything to the letter and you’ve given it enough time, perhaps there’s a medical issue keeping you from losing the weight you desire? Usually we think we’re following everything but there can easily be something missing. Have you considered logging and tracking your food with a calorie tracker such as MyFitnessPal? It can be time-intensive at first, but it’s a real eye-opener. Also are you moving enough? Even a 10 minute walk 3 times a day is enough to set the wheels in motion. If you’ve really tried *everything* and you’re still not getting anywhere, please go get a checkup to make sure there’s nothing else wrong. Best of luck!

  • Maiva

    Hello
    I’ve been doin intermittent fasting but I am not loosing weight I
    Don’t understand why I
    Eat a lot of cakes and sweet stuffs do
    You think if I stop
    It will help

  • Allie

    Yes, certainly. You don’t have to eat perfectly but if you’re not losing the weight you want, make the changes you think you need to make. That should definitely help! Good luck 🙂

  • Felisa

    I’ve been fasting for 20 hours daily and it can get hard at times however I won’t give up because I have a lot of weight to lose, this article helped. I need to be consistent, exercise regularly and get control of my diet . My goal is to be able to fast for a extended time but at this time I’ll just continue to work my way up to that point.

  • Joann

    Hi, I am new to IF on the 16/8. My question is can I follow this pattern 6 days per week with Friday off as this is a regular night out. I am also on WW during my 8 hours. I appreciate the feedback.

  • Lucy Stenson

    Hi. I’ve bern doing IF for about 3 months now and I currently do a minimum of 18-19 hours fast every day. I also do at least 45 mins exercise every day and I very rarely eat anything unhealthy yet I’m only losing about 1/2 pound a week. Surely this isn’t right? I can’t possibly do more than I’m doing without starving myself. Why am I not seeing noticeable results? Finding it hard to stay motivated. If I drop to 16 hours a day and allow myself the odd treat I put on about 1lb that day. Please help me!!!

  • Lucy Stenson

    Re above comment, I just read it back and it looks like I say I’m losing about 1 – 2 pounds a week but what I meant is half a pound a week.

  • Allie

    Hi Lucy, I feel your pain and am so sorry you’re not getting the results you expect. If you’ve gone to make sure there’s no medical issue hindering your weight loss, I first would encourage you to try tracking your calories for a couple weeks to make sure you’re getting what you need. It’s possible to still overeat on healthy food, and also, you may be undereating for the amount of exercise you’re putting in.

    You may also be in a plateau. What kind of exercise are you doing for 45 minutes? If it’s 45 minutes of steady-state cardio like walking, and your intensity isn’t fluctuating, you may not be putting in as much effort as you think. (Not saying this is the case, just throwing out suggestions).

    Also… water. Are you dehydrated?

    Then there’s the issue of starting weight. If you’re already on the lighter side or closer to your goal weight, you aren’t going to lose weight as quickly as someone who has more to lose. It won’t be the same for everyone.

    Finally… measurements. I know we all love the scale, but are your clothes fitting better? Do you have a tape measure to get a different metrics on your body changes? Are others telling you that they see a difference? Do you look smaller in pictures?

    Half a pound a week, though not the fast weight loss we all want, is still moving in the right direction. Having a positive attitude toward your body and being proud of your efforts is so important. It’s going to be a much harder, longer journey if you focus on the negative. You’re doing amazing, being consistent (a problem of many), and you ARE losing weight. Show yourself and your body a little love and appreciation for how far you’ve come, and keep going! Even at half a pound a week, you’re still moving and progressing in the right direction, and you WILL get there.

  • Allie

    Hi Joann! I already answered you directly via email but wanted to write this here in case other readers have the same question.

    One of the best things about IF is that you can move things around to fit your lifestyle. You can do this once a week, and you should be perfectly fine.

  • Allie

    Hi Felisa,

    Congrats on the 20 hours a day, I know that’s tough! You seem to have a great attitude and mindset about it, which is half the battle. Yes, I’ve seen some amazing results (not just weight loss) from others who do extended fasts. If that’s your goal, take it easy and work up to it. You’ve got this! 🙂

  • Mandy

    The salt works because it has electrolytes in it. The body loses quite a bit during fasting. So it’s good to take in a little bit of salt with water… as long as its sea salt!! No table salt!

  • Nikki

    During my 20s and 30s this was the only way I ate.
    Monday 24 hour fast
    Tuesday to Friday only ate between 4 and 8pm
    Saturday and Sunday only ate between 12 and 8pm.
    I was healthy and strong and fit… During my early 40s I went through a grieving time and picked up 20kg over the last 10 years.
    I tried everything then a little while ago I read an article on IF and thought to myself why did you stop…
    So now I am back to eating and living this way its simple effective when your reach your target weight it maintains it… Your body stays detoxed. Mondays fast cleans detoxes after a weekend.
    During fasting drink plenty water I have my coffee in the morning 2 sugar and milk and tea at 10 am and 3pm again 2 sugar and milk.
    I break my fast at 4pm with a fruit…
    I did this for 20 years before I and I am living like this again…
    Ps if you do have a day where you must have a 11am brunch with the boss… Do the brunch just do a 24 hour fast to cleanse after…
    Good luck all remember this is not a quick thing and once your body is adjusted you will always eat this way

  • Allie

    Hi Nikki! I don’t really “make up” for missed fasting hours, I just keep it going with doing it right the rest of the time. One of the things I like most is the flexibility. You’re so right that it’s not a quick thing and it takes time to adjust — but once you adjust it gets easier to maintain. Thanks so much for your insightful comment! Keep up the great work 🙂

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