Why Intermittent Fasting isn’t working for you
This post should have been up since ages but I tell you, having to transfer all of the thoughts in your head into letters and characters is sometimes a struggle.
I have a lot to say about intermittent fasting because it’s been more than a month I resumed, two months now. I used to be into it before but I guess I just got tired and stopped.
I wrote a full post on everything you need to know about Intermittent fasting – the different types of Intermittent fasting, what it is and some of the benefits of Intermittent Fasting in losing belly fat.
This post is going to be slightly different as I will be sharing a few of my challenges and why I think people give up so easily. I will also talk about why it’s possible you are not losing any weight or even gaining more weight.
For starters, Intermittent fasting an eating protocol and not a diet. It is a kind of eating method where you have a period of abstaining from food and another of eating food.
Some folks practice Intermittent Fasting without even knowing. I mean, I know of some people who do not eat breakfast every day. They are just not breakfast people and even though they do not plan to, they are already practicing Intermittent fasting. This is because they have longer periods of abstaining from food and a shorter eating window.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
With Intermittent fasting, I have developed a healthy relationship with food, thoroughly learned self-control and discipline and become more spiritually alert and sensitive.
Some of the other benefits of Intermittent Fasting for me are a healthier, fresher skin, much more regular toilet visits and reduced (not completely gone) bloating.
I used to have a messed up digestion process. Constant constipation was a big problem for me. When I am home, I have access to herbs and sorts so I use them. Back in Lagos, I just retire to despondency and live my life with constipation.
I sometimes go more than 3 days without visiting the toilet. Even though I don’t feel sick, I hate that I am eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner and not getting them off my system.
If you are looking to have healthier digestive processes, I can bet that intermittent fasting is the natural way to go.
As regards weight loss, I am not the girl that checks the scale. I just look at my body to spot the difference. Slimmer waist, reduced (not flat) tummy and a general feeling of lightness. I must also mention that my energy levels doubled if not tripled.
This is why I understand it when someone says to me that they feel sluggish and sleepy as soon as they eat heavy. I used to have a colleague who after break time would feel so sleepy and heavy.
It used to be a struggle for him. I had some of those feelings occasionally but not like him. I didn’t get to understand the physiology behind eating too much and sluggishness until after a month of Intermittent Fasting.
My body and mind are sound and I tell you, it’s so cool to be up and strong during the day.
So, I moved from the 16:8 Intermittent fasting to the 20:4 intermittent fasting and now I eat just once a day. That’s more like warrior diet.
In the first Intermittent fasting post I published, I listed all the major kinds of Intermittent fasting that there are, you can click on that link to check and see which fits.
Actually, no type is superior to the other. As long as there is an eating window and a significant fasting window, you are fine.
Settling for a type is going to be heavily dependent on your lifestyle and if you like you can begin to alter or adjust until you find hit jackpot.
Remember I moved from 16:8 to warrior diet.
I only eat at night but on some occasions, I am at an event and it’s a late afternoon, early or late evening occasion, I just eat up my food right there. And that’s it, I don’t go back home to eat again.
My personal challenges of Intermittent Fasting
Everyone knows that it is not easy to abstain from food especially if you are a foodie. I like food, really. I am not one to eat too much at a sitting but I love the pleasure and satisfaction from mesmerizing my taste buds.
Another challenge of Intermittent Fasting is headaches. By the day, these headaches have reduced significantly for me but it was an initial struggle at the beginning.
I take a lot of water during my fasting window. This has greatly helped me. Now I have fewer headaches and on some days, no headaches at all.
Why you are not losing weight with Intermittent Fasting
This is the essence of this post. Some people terribly complain about this. In fact, someone actually mentioned that they added weight during this period.
Oh my, you have no idea how this hurts if you are deliberately missing out of the office pizza or asking to not have your food served just yet.
How much more of sadder can this get? Anyway. I hope that this part of this post will help you figure out why you are not losing weight despite your strict adherence to the ‘rules’
1. You are consuming too many calories in your eating window
One of the lies they told us was that you can eat as much as you like. No, you cannot eat as much as you want. They probably mean that you can eat as many food groups as you want.
Remember that this is not a diet and the flexibility to eat anything you want to eat is one of the plus points of Intermittent Fasting. This, however, does not mean a calorie spree.
I mean, if you eat more than your body system can process at the time, you end up gaining weight. This is even going to be worse if you are mostly sedentary.
Imagine that your job (like mine) involves sitting down at the computer all day and you are taking in so many calories during your eating window, you are definitely not going to lose weight. Worse off is that you end up gaining more.
I understand that because you feel hungry, you are tempted to want to eat more. The irony of this all is how much of sluggish you even become afterward. What I would advise is that you take enough of water an hour before you break your fast.
In fact, take water and fruits for a start. Let your fruits be the first meal. If you are like me, you will go for fruits that fill you up faster. I like to do apples. It is so so filling, trust me.
This will help to keep you fairly full and more mentally stable to decide on your food portions.
2. You are consuming too little
I know, I know but see, if you eat too little, you have less than normal calories ingested. Yes, a calorific deficit is awesome but way too little is a major problem.
Because you have to eat for fewer hours, you might end up eating just once or twice. If the net total of what you have eaten is too small, it will force your body to hoard food.
We are all wired for survival and continuity so if your body is under food stress, it’s like a threat. It will be forced to keep you alive by reserving something in its stores.
3. You are not drinking enough water
Water is one of the major things to consider during Intermittent fasting. I mean, always be with water!
If your water level is too low, you might begin to retain water. Just like I said in the second point, we are all wired for survival and the body tries to annul whatever is a threat with whatever mechanism it has.
So here you are, getting less water from food because you are not eating a lot and you are doubling that with not drinking enough water. You are going to end up with water fat.
Another reason you might be retaining water is stress. Stress increases your cortisol levels. When your cortisol level is high, you hold on to a lot of water.
The water retention, in turn, causes the puffiness you see. If you are going to see a significant drop, water retention must be out.
I will quickly touch on sodium here. Sodium is a culprit to this. Apart from drinking enough water, you want to go consume ‘anti-sodium’ which is potassium. You will find potassium in avocados, mushrooms, bananas.
4. You are not getting enough sleep
…or you are generally stressed. Stress nullifies any weight loss strategy. It increases and at the same time inhibits the production of a certain kind of hormones.
These hormones in the right combination are supposed to be responsible for aiding your weight loss or muscle building.
With too little sleep or too much stress, you have them acting up against your goals.
Eating less, exercising too hard, worrying about your numbers and sleeping too little will increase your cortisol level. Raised cortisol levels is against this mission.
5. Wrong food combination/ poor diet
It is a different thing to lose weight, it is another to lose fat. There are also many reasons why people do Intermittent Fasting. For some, it is not even to lose weight but to build muscles.
Whatever your goal is, healthy food choices will influence and speed up your results. It is very important that you add a lot of protein to your diet. Some people have had to even vary their intermittent fasting into different ways. There’s the keto intermittent fasting for example.
I won’t go into all of that but the long and short is that you eat well and right.
6. Your body is used to fasting
Folks who have always unintentionally fasted their whole lives may not gain anything extra by going on a deliberate Intermittent Fasting plan this time around.
Also, if you have been doing Intermittent fasting for a long time, your body might have become so addicted to the withdrawal from food that it sees it as normal.
I am going to share an Intermittent fasting opinion that may not be popular. Intermittent fasting should never be a long-term weight loss strategy.
I believe that it is a little bit extreme method of achieving some physiological changes so after you put your body under a state of continual food shocks for a period, refrain.
I would not go on Intermittent fasting for more than 6 months per time. After this while, I think it’s best to stop and switch to portion control to sustain your weight.
That is a much more sustainable method of weight loss strategy or muscle building.
You can also try to force your body to see that you are not in a hunger cell and that you have access to food. Every three to four weeks, boost your calorie intake.
7. You are not patient enough
If it’s barely a week you started Intermittent Fasting and you are already complaining, you are not patient with your body.
You should have gone for a month to conclude that something is wrong somewhere. The actual fact is that in 3 days, you will begin to see changes in your belly.
In a week, more visible changes but it is nothing compared to what you have in a week. So wait it out.
8. Your thyroid levels are messing up with your weight loss efforts
I can’t begin to explain all the technical concepts behind hyperthyroidism and Intermittent fasting, so read up on that here. Check other internet articles too.
9. You are not consistent
Whatever method of Intermittent fasting you choose, be consistent with it. I know that it can be difficult at first but trust me, trust me, it gets easier if you don’t stop.
Mistakes beginners make that cause them to be inconsistent or totally retreat are:
Going in too aggressively
Start at a very reasonable pace. You can start with 14:10 if you are planning to do the 16:8 or you can start with alternate-day fasting: one day in, one day out. On your out days, you are allowed some calories, say 500. Read this post for full details.
Comparing their bodies with other people
People lose weight differently. If your stubborn area is your belly and you don’t see it go flat at first, be patient and study how your body is adjusting.
That your friend lost her own weight in her stomach first doesn’t mean you will. Usually, weight is first lost where it is last added. So you should wait it out.
Obsessively using the scale
If you keep on climbing the scale, you will become tired of Intermittent Fasting. I don’t even weigh myself at all, that’s an extreme I know but the benefits I have experienced just yet, wow. It sometimes makes me forget that the primary aim is weight loss.
My skin glows so well, it’s amazing. That I even go the toilet regularly, I couldn’t have dreamed of that. So use the scale once a week, if you must.
I also haven’t fallen sick in a month, that’s never happened. Usually, malaria stresses me out.
Listen, what you weigh on the scale is a gross total of fat, muscle, water etc….If you lose fat and gradually begin to increase muscle, you may realize that your numbers won’t even move when in the actual sense weight loss (fat loss) is happening.
Other times, the water weight is what is reflecting. The good thing about Intermittent fasting is that you are losing the right kind of weight- the actual fat.
I would also like you to check out this comprehensive article on Intermittent fasting, it is very good for beginners. This was one of the articles I read when I initially began Intermittent fasting last two years.
Have you tried Intermittent fasting before? Are you on it as we speak? What were/are your results?
I would be happy to have you share with me if you finally found the reason why your intermittent fasting is not working in this article.
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