Intermittent Fasting (IMF) is incredibly effective at reducing body fat, but there are very common mistakes that can negate the tremendous amount of discipline needed to avoid all calories for extended periods of time.
If you’re fasting, but not losing weight, here’s what might be going wrong and what you can do about it.
Your Fast Is Too Short
Unfortunately, many people will put themselves through the struggle of foregoing food for extended periods of time only to realize it was all for nothing. Well, maybe not nothing but definitely not what they were expecting.
If you’re only fasting for 8-10 hours, and avoiding all calories, you’re on an intermittent fast but it’s not optimal. It’s at the low end of the fasting range. Fasting for eight consecutive hours can definitely help you manage calories, and increase daily discipline, but it’s not going to trigger the powerful benefits of a longer fast.
A 13-14 hour fast is probably the bare minimum range you want to be in for a successful intermittent fast.
Related: How to intermittent fast
You’re Above Calorie Maintenance
IMF isn’t about ultra strict calorie management, although many do use it this way. It’s more about influencing your natural fat burning mechanisms through specific eating behavior. We’re talking growth hormone secretion, leptin, ghrelin, insulin sensitivity and metabolic rate. Super powerful stuff when it comes to burning body fat.
But… you can cancel out all those fat burning effects if you’re simply eating too many calories. If you’re trying to lose weight you can still lose body fat while at calorie maintenance, but staying in a calorie deficit will speed up the fat loss.
What you don’t want to do, however, is maintain a calorie surplus and continually eat above your calorie maintenance level. It just makes losing body fat harder than it has to be.
Your Diet Content Sucks
There are “internet stories”, and anecdotal evidence of people slurping milkshakes all day and getting super ripped while intermittent fasting. But for most people it’s not an effective, or efficient way to try and lose body fat.
Some people are genetically gifted with a raging metabolism, but for most normal humans you’ll want to clean up your diet content as much as possible.
Limit the following foods:
See Also: Does the Eat Stop Eat diet work?
You’re Breaking The Fast
Don’t break the fast!
That should be everyone’s mantra while intermittent fasting. If you’re on the eighth hour of the fast, consuming too many calories can wipe out an entire day’s worth of fasting discipline. Always err on the side of caution, and beware of zero calorie foods, drinks and condiments.
Most of the zero calorie stuff will actually have calories in them. They just need to be below a certain threshold (5 calories, I think) to claim to be zero calories based on regulations. If you eat enough zero calorie food during the fast, it can add up to enough to break your fast.
When in doubt, just drink water. Lots and lots of water.
You’re Doing The Wrong Exercises
It’s hard to label exercise as bad, because it’s always better than not exercising and watching Netflix all day. When it comes to IMF, and what works best with this diet structure, resistance training should be at the top of your to-do list.
Maintaining, or even better, building new muscle mass has a more powerful benefit to your metabolic rate compared to thirty minutes of cardio. In thirty minutes most people will only be able to burn 100-150 calories at a moderate pace.
Once you step off the treadmill, your calorie burn is done. If you can influence your metabolic rate by increasing muscle mass, you’ll burn more calories all day long.
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