Intermittent fasting is an effective strategy to lose fat fast. But what happens when your results start to slow down?
You may have been fasting for weeks and all of a sudden your fat loss comes to an end.
Here’s the thing, intermittent fasting plateaus will happen and they do.
But are you really at a fasting plateau and how can you tell?
What if you are plateauing and how do you break out?
We will discuss exactly how to recognize a plateau and how to break through your intermittent fasting plateau.
Make sure you’ve actually reached an Intermittent Fasting plateau
Before concluding that you’ve reached a plateau, it helps to define what a plateau really is. According to dictionary.com, a plateau is “a period or state of little or no growth or decline.” But how long does this period need to be?
For weight loss, you have to take something into consideration: You can hold up to five pounds in water weight at any given moment.
Extra water weight can be hanging around in the tissue between your cells for many reasons:
- Too much sodium
That’s why the scale can sometimes be deceiving. Also, when you have a strong desire to lose weight, you can have unrealistic expectations of how fast you should be making progress. Even more so because the pounds often fly off quickly when you first start intermittent fasting.
Losing anything less than 1kg or 2lbs a week can be seen as a disappointment.
However, losing 2 pounds per week might be unrealistic depending on your activity level and what you eat.
Your goal should be to lose around a pound per week on average. If you notice you haven’t lost a single pound over a two-week period.
Then most likely are in an actual plateau.
And you can take these steps to break through it.
Eliminate these possibilities
Before you make drastic changes to your routines. Consider if there are any simple reasons why you’re not making progress.
For example, ask yourself if you’ve been eating healthy wholesome foods and eating an appropriate portion size.
Healthy food when consuming too much can tip us into a calorie surplus.
Eating not enough can also stop you from losing weight.
Restricting too many calories can slow fat loss and increase the chances of using muscle for fuel rather than fat storage.
It has also become a lot easier to overlook certain calories.
Maybe you’ve been putting some extra sugar in your coffee or tea?
Maybe you’ve been snacking too much throughout the day. You may be underestimating how many calories you’re burning during your workouts.
If you’re certain none of these things apply to you, you can use these strategies to break your plateau.
Make these changes to your food choices
The term “lean bodies are made in the kitchen” gets thrown around a lot. And it’s true to a large extent.
In most cases, it’s easier to make changes to your diet than it is to burn calories.
For breaking an intermittent fasting plateau, this rule is no exception.
These are the most important changes you can make.
1. Decrease your simple carb, and increase your complex carbs
Decreasing your simple carb intake is one of the best things you can do right now. It will help to reduce your appetite. It will stabilize your blood sugar levels.
Ideally, you should already be eating a low amount of simple carbs. But the more you decrease sugars, the better for short and long-term health.
Make sure you watch out for foods that contain a lot of hidden sugars:
- Salad dressings
- Low Fat Yogurt
- Breakfast cereals
- Canned fruit
If you’ve already decreased simple carbs. Consider eating smaller portion sizes of complex carbs.
2. Increase your protein intake
Make up for eating fewer carbs by eating more proteins. Eating more protein will help you feel full for longer. Making it easier to create the right caloric deficit.
Consider eating more of the following foods:
- Full Fat Yogurt
- Cottage cheese
- Organic Beef
- Organic Chicken
Adjust your workout routine
Getting in your workouts is now harder than ever.
Home workouts require a little more motivation but are great when you are on a time crunch.
Make the best use of whatever you have lying around at home. If you have some weights or kettlebells. Great. Start using them in your routine.
But the best way to burn calories is by mixing weights with cardio to really increase your heart rate or by ramping up the intensity of your cardio sessions.
Here are some things you can consider doing.
- Start doing sprints plus bodyweight movements at the end of your sprint.
- Run-on uneven terrain rather than roads or concrete.
- Use your weights or body weight and increase your rep range to 15-20 reps per set.
- Decrease your rest time.
- Try fasted cardio or weight training.
Mixing new and interesting equipment with your cardio will keep things interesting and will help burn more calories in less time.
Last resort: Switch up your fasting routine
There’s one last thing you can consider doing to help you create a caloric deficit.
Switching up your fasting method.
For example, if you’re doing 16/8 Intermittent Fasting.
You can decrease your eating window even further to 18/6 or try the Eat Stop Eat method. This can work because being in a fasted state for more hours can reduce your appetite.
However, a note of caution. You should only consider doing this when you’ve already mastered your current fasting method.
You should also take into consideration that when you’re adjusting to the new fasting method, it can increase your stress levels.
And that can be the last thing you need right now. However, if you’re feeling confident that you can do it. Go for it.
The simple fix
Weight loss plateaus are frustrating but inevitable. Everyone faces them at some point.
What I like to do is eat 2-3 meals a day, 1-2 snacks and 1 healthy smoothie. I do the same on fasting or non-fasting days.
On my fasting days, I will drink lots of water to stay hydrated and help with hunger.
I exercise for at least 20-30 mins per day in the morning or right at the end of my fast.
If you find yourself in a fat loss plateau, fast a little longer and increase your exercise to 40 mins or change your type of exercise.
Decrease 1 meal for that day and review your results after 7 days.
Make the right moves to keep the scale moving in the right direction.
Finally, if you find that none of this works, taking a break from fasting may help. Just make sure to manage your diet and maintain exercise, after 2-3 weeks restart your fasting cycle.