6 Reasons Why Intermittent Fasting Is Not Working For You

  • 18 days ago
7 minute read.
6 Reasons Why Intermittent Fasting Is Not Working For You

Intermittent energy restriction (IER) – also known as intermittent fasting (IF) – is one of the hottest weight-loss trends on the market today. And with good reason: it works! When done properly, IER can help you burn fat, boost your metabolism, improve your insulin sensitivity, and more.


However, while millions of people have used IER to achieve their goals and change their lives, just as many have tried it without success – and if you’re one of those people who can’t make IER work for you, here are six reasons why.

Why doesn’t intermittent fasting work for everyone?

There are a few possible reasons why intermittent fasting isn’t working for everyone. The first reason is diet, which will be covered in more detail later on. Another potential reason that intermittent fasting isn’t working for you could be time-related. If your schedule doesn’t allow you to break your fast, then perhaps intermittent fasting isn’t right for you.

One study showed that people who fasted six days per week were less likely to see weight loss benefits than those who only fasted three days per week. In addition, the 6:1 ratio of fasting days: non-fasting days may be too extreme for some people, causing feelings of guilt and frustration when they can't meet their target number of hours each day.

Intermittent fasting mistakes to avoid

  1. You're not taking it slow
  2. You have chosen the wrong IF plan
  3. You're eating too much during your eating window
  4. Your diet is not nutritious enough
  5. You skip meals when you should be eating
  6. You're not drinking enough water

1) You're not taking it slow

If you’re jumping in with both feet, you may be ignoring some of your body’s feedback signals. In fact, even going too low on your calorie intake can cause unhealthy weight gain. To drop these extra pounds safely but quickly, switch to a balanced intermittent meal plan that lets your body burn off fat while keeping energy levels high. Stick to small meals throughout the day and make sure they contain lots of protein, fat and healthy carbs to keep cravings at bay.

Follow up with plenty of water to help flush out toxins.  Take it slow when fasting by adjusting to it gradually and following an intermittent meal plan to avoid unhealthy weight gain. Instead of crash dieting or starving yourself, try taking things slow when fasting by adjusting to it gradually and following an intermittent meal plan to avoid unhealthy weight gain.

Also check: What's the deal with pink salt during intermittent fasting?

2) You have chosen the wrong IF plan

There are many different kinds of intermittent fasting (IF) plans out there, but which one will work best for you? There are so many options that it can be confusing to figure out which one is right. The plan doesn’t work if your approach is wrong.  You need to find the right way of fasting before you'll see any real results.  For example, weight watchers intermittent fasting may work better than other forms of IF because it's more in line with a balanced diet and exercise routine. Weight watchers IF also allows for two days off each week where you can eat what you want.

Here's a sample intermittent fasting diet plan, but before following this, you must consult a dietitian to verify if this will work for you. You can also state the goals you want to achieve and get a customized diet chart according to your needs.

Time

Menu

Quantity

Early Morning

(6:30 am)

Warm Lemon Water / Green Tea

1 Glass / 1 Cup

Breakfast

(8:30 am)

Ragi Dosa / Multigrain Dosa

Sprouts

Milk

2 No.

1 Bowl

1 Glass

Mid-Morning Snack

(11:30 am)

Coconut Water

Chia Seeds

1 Glass

1 Tsp.

Lunch

(2:00 pm)

Green Salad

Diluted Buttermilk

1 Bowl

1 Glass

Evening Snack

(5:00 pm)

Tea / Coffee

1 Cup

Dinner

(8:30 pm)

Tomato Soup / Mixed Vegetable Salad

Sambar / Dal

Seasonal Vegetable

Roti / Rice

Curd / Veg Raita

1 Bowl

1 Bowl

1 Bowl

2 No. / 1 Bowl

1 Bowl

Diet Plan

3) You're eating too much during your eating window

A common mistake with IF and other types of meal timing protocols is overeating during your eating window. Your body will never be in a fasting state if you’re over-eating as soon as your window opens. If you’re worried about keeping your metabolism up, don’t worry; it won’t go down . You just need to make sure that your food intake isn’t too high within a three hour window.

4) Your diet is not nutritious enough

It is important to have a healthy diet when fasting. Make sure you are eating plenty of vegetables, fish, and lean protein while fasting. Try consuming around 500–600 calories during your fasting state.

Before starting an intermittent diet it’s best to make sure your body can efficiently use fat as an energy source. Maintain a right way of fasting. Start slow and go long. Monitor your health closely if you're new to this or are diabetic. Eat lots of fruits and vegetables with proteins like chicken breast, fish or eggs. Drink lots of water! Don't starve yourself - eat smaller portions throughout the day so that your body will get used to burning fats instead of carbs for fuel.

5) You skip meals when you should be eating

This one seems obvious, but it’s an easy mistake to make. If your fasting window falls in a time of day when food is typically served, that’s going to be especially problematic. We tend to consume more calories from food later in the day and so if you skip meals during that time, it’s possible that you’ll end up consuming excess calorie. It is probably the reason why skipping breakfast isn’t recommended. Remember, you need to eat enough calories while intermittent fasting or else there will be too much restriction on your body's metabolism.

6) You're not drinking enough water

Dehydration can lead to a whole host of health problems, including brain fog and fatigue. So it’s important to stay hydrated while fasting. Some people think they can get away with skipping water in their fast, but that won’t be true if you have any other conditions or are on any medications. Drinking enough water will help stave off issues like headaches and constipation too!

Related: Tips to drink 8-12 glasses of water a day!

Different approaches to intermittent fasting

There are 4 main styles of intermittent fasting, and all have different types of fasts. One style might work well for you and another may not. To find out which one will work best, try a different style and see how it goes.

  1. Time-restricted eating (the 16/8 or 14/10 method)
  2. The twice-a-week method (the 5:2 method)
  3. Alternate day fasting
  4. The 24-hour fast (or eat: stop: eat method)

1) Time-restricted eating (the 16/8 or 14/10 method)

If you eat during a narrow window of time each day, it becomes much easier to restrict calories overall. If your eating window is 16 hours long (from dinner to dinner) and you eat all of your daily calories within that window, it’s pretty simple to keep track of your calories.

Days/Time

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Midnight

4:00am

8:00am

Fast

(Can drink zero-calorie beverages)

Fast

(Can drink zero-calorie beverages)

Fast

(Can drink zero-calorie beverages)

Fast

(Can drink zero-calorie beverages)

Fast

(Can drink zero-calorie beverages)

Fast

(Can drink zero-calorie beverages)

Fast

(Can drink zero-calorie beverages)

12:00pm

First Meal

First Meal

First Meal

First Meal

First Meal

First Meal

First Meal

4:00pm

Second Meal

Second Meal

Second Meal

Second Meal

Second Meal

Second Meal

Second Meal

8:00pm

Last Meal

Last Meal

Last Meal

Last Meal

Last Meal

Last Meal

Last Meal

Midnight

Fast

(Can drink zero-calorie beverages)

Fast

(Can drink zero-calorie beverages)

Fast

(Can drink zero-calorie beverages)

Fast

(Can drink zero-calorie beverages)

Fast

(Can drink zero-calorie beverages)

Fast

(Can drink zero-calorie beverages)

Fast

(Can drink zero-calorie beverages)

2) The twice-a-week method (the 5:2 method)

This approach involves eating normally five days per week and consuming only restricted calories on the other two days. Studies show this pattern may be the most successful when it comes to weight loss, while keeping blood sugar levels stable and inflammation low.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Eat normally

Calorie intake restricted to 500-600kcal/day

Eats normally

Eat normally

Eat normally

Calorie intake restricted to 500-600kcal/day

Eat normally

3) Alternate day fasting

Alternate-day fasting, like time-restricted eating, is more of a pattern than a specific diet. On fast days, eat only 25% of your normal calories. So if you’re accustomed to eating 2,000 calories per day, eat just 500 on your fast days. Drink plenty of water and stick to calorie-free beverages as much as possible.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Eat normally

24-hour fast

Or

Eat only few hundred calories

Eat normally

24-hour fast

Or

Eat only few hundred calories

Eat normally

24-hour fast

Or

Eat only few hundred calories

Eat normally

4) The 24-hour fast (or eat: stop: eat method)

One way to get around hunger pangs is to eat very little in the morning and then consume food again at night. Some people find they can go an entire day without feeling hungry by drinking plenty of fluids and doing light exercise in the morning before breaking their fast with dinner in the evening.

Day 1

Day 2

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5

Day 6

Day 7

Eats normally

24-hour fast: 1st Meal of the day till 1st meal of the second day (Zero-calorie beverages allowed during the fast, but no solid food)

Eat normally

Eat normally

Eat normally

24-hour fast: 1st Meal of the day till 1st meal of the second day (Zero-calorie beverages allowed during the fast, but no solid food)

Eat normally

Conclusion

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to intermittent fasting. The sheer variety of different protocols and approaches on offer show that there’s no single set of instructions to which everyone should stick; however, with so many options available it can be hard to make sense of what might work best. While a large number of people have reported positive results from IF, others have found it doesn’t work so well for them.

Professional advice: Consult with dietitian before starting any type of intermittent fasting diet.

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