7 Reasons You Don’t Lose Weight While Doing IF

Although several studies have reported the clinical benefits of IF to improve metabolic health and lose weight,1 some people may feel like they have done everything by the book but still not losing weight. Following are some common reasons that may explain why you’re not losing weight after practicing IF.

1. Eating too much calories during the eating window

While fasting, calories are usually consumed from 0-25% of caloric requirements. After fasting, some people may be tempted to overeat and consume 125% of regular caloric needs.2 Therefore, it is important to listen to your body while eating. Stop when you are full. Don’t eat just because you are worried about getting hungry hours later. If you feel like binge eating to compensate for the “feeling of starving”, leave the place full of food and snacks. Take a deep breath, go out for a walk, or do something we suggest in the article: Why Do I Binge After a Fast and How Can I Stop?

2. Not eating enough

This may sound contradictory to what was mentioned above. However, not having enough food can cause the body to conserve energy rather than burning it. It causes the metabolism to slow down and disturbs the fat burning process during the fasting window.

The point we try to make here is: always listen to your body. Don’t overeat or “undereat”. Plan for your fasting journey. Gradually increase your fasting hours. Your body won’t have too much adjustment suddenly, and it ends up with over compensation during the eating window. While eating, eat until you are full. Don’t overeat for your future needs, but at the same time don’t restrict your food too much. There is no such thing called “get rich quick!”, and the same principle applies when trying to lose weight.

3. Having less nutritious food

IF mainly focuses on when to fast and when to eat, but it doesn’t mean you can eat ANYTHING in the eating window. Since you consume less calories in a day, you should take in enough nutrition and high quality of food. Filling up with junks can cause your body more harm than good. Read labels, watch your sodium intake and hidden sugars, and avoid processed foods.

4. Not keeping yourself hydrated

Keeping yourself hydrated is crucial for health and general well being. The fasting phase in IF might have restricted you from food, but never from water. Keeping yourself hydrated is very important especially when you are not getting enough hydration from your fruit and veggies.6

5. Not sleeping enough

Several studies have reported sleeping less than the recommended 7 hours for adults can lead to adverse health problems such as weight gain or obesity.3 The reason is when you are sleep deprived or have a disturbed sleep pattern, your body responds by making more ghrelin (hunger inducing hormone). This is likely to cause you to overeat.4 Therefore, have a sound sleep at night. Relax, medidate, or pray before going to bed. You definitely deserve a good night’s sleep after all the hard work done during the day.

6. Not fasting long enough (at least 16-18 hrs)

Everybody’s metabolism is different. For some, they could easily fast for 14 hours and see the result. For others, they need to fast up to 16-18 hours in order to consume the excess fat. However, if the daily fasting for 16-18 hours disrupts your menstrual cycle, try the crescendo method, in which you fast 16-18 hours on 3 non-consecutive days in a week. Of course for the other non-fasting days, it’s not meant for you to eat whenever you want and whatever you want. We highly recommend you fast for 12 hours on those days, and continue to eat nutritious meals and snacks during the eating window. To monitor how your longer-hour fasting efforts won’t impact your period, FastingQueens has a period tracker to help you. It also has a few preset fasting plans for the crescendo method.  With these tools on hand, you could find the sweet spot which can give you the best result in weight loss without negatively affecting your menstrual cycle.

7. Just taking time

If you have checked the advice above and you are not doing anything wrong, maybe it’s your body reacting to fasting differently. It takes some people 8 weeks to see the weight go down. However, don’t get discouraged. It doesn’t mean your fasting efforts go wasted. You may find your waist circumference shrinking a little bit, and your tight jeans are not so tight any more. Fasting is burning fat although its not showing on the scale yet. Please going and your desired outcome will come soon.

  1. Stockman MC, Thomas D, Burke J, Apovian CM. (2018). Intermittent Fasting: Is the Wait Worth the Weight? CurrObes Rep. Link
  2. Welton S, Minty R, O’Driscoll T, Willms H, Poirier D, Madden S, Kelly L. (2020). Intermittent fasting and weight loss: Systematic review. Can Fam Physician. Link
  3. Watson NF, Badr MS, Belenky G, Bliwise DL, Buxton OM, Buysse D, Dinges DF, Gangwisch J, Grandner MA, Kushida C, Malhotra RK, Martin JL, Patel SR, Quan SF, Tasali E. (2015). Recommended Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Adult: A Joint Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society. Sleep. Link
  4. Taheri S, Lin L, Austin D, Young T, Mignot E. (2004). Short sleep duration is associated with reduced leptin, elevated ghrelin, and increased body mass index. PLoS Med. Link
  5. McStay M, Gabel K, Cienfuegos S, Ezpeleta M, Lin S, Varady KA. (2021). Intermittent Fasting and Sleep: A Review of Human Trials. Nutrients. Link
  6. McKiernan F, Hollis JH, McCabe GP, Mattes RD. (2009). Thirst-drinking, hunger-eating; tight coupling? J Am Diet Assoc. Link