Before you start experimenting to overcome your intermittent fasting plateau, let’s make sure you do need to do so. Many women think they have reached a plateau because they don’t lose weight for two weeks. Just keep in mind that losing weight takes time. Healing your body takes time! If you haven’t lost weight in a month but are feeling amazing, keep going! It took me a year to lose 20 lbs and I frequently wouldn’t lose weight for over a month. You may just need to be patient with yourself and trust the process.
On the other hand, if you are not feeling your best and you are frustrated because you haven’t lost weight for over a month, this post is for you.
How to Overcome an Intermittent Fasting Plateau
I am going to share seven things you can try that will most likely help you overcome your weight loss plateau. Go through the list and see which idea is most likely to help you. Start with that. If that doesn’t trigger further weight loss, try another one until you find the right one. You may also combine more than one when you see they apply to you.
1. Try a Longer Fasting Window
A fasting window that wasn’t long enough is the number one reason I wasn’t losing weight when I started with intermittent fasting. I figured, if you are at an intermittent fasting plateau, this could most likely be a contributing factor. Most people start with the 16:8 intermittent fasting method. I find that women do better with less frequent, but longer fasting windows. I love the Warrior Diet. The Warrior Diet involves a 20 hour fast. I would recommend you do it 5 days a week or so. Read Why You Should Consider Trying the Warrior Diet for Weight Loss for more info.
Another option would be to keep your current fasting window if you love it but to add one or two 24-hour fasts each week. I talk about how to use 24-hour fasts to break a weight loss plateau in my post What to Eat After a 24-Hour Fast.
2. Try a Different Intermittent Fasting Method
Now, let’s say you are doing OMAD (One Meal a Day). It’s pretty obvious that increasing the length of your fasting window is not the solution. Instead, what you should do is try a completely different intermittent fasting method. Alternate-day fasting is the first one that comes to mind. Alternate-day fasting involves fasting for 36 hours twice a week. Start fasting after dinner one night, fast the next day and the following nigh until morning. Another option is modified alternate-day fasting. With modified alternate-day fasting, you can consume around 500 calories on your fasting day.
To learn all about alternate-day fasting and how to use it to overcome your intermittent fasting plateau, read What Is Alternate-Day Fasting and Why It Works.
3. Try a Different Macronutrient Ratio
Another common element that may need some tweaking in the context of your weight loss efforts is your macronutrient ratio. Some of us do best with more carbs, some with fewer. To complicate things further, you may notice that your optimal macronutrient ratio varies over the course of the month. Many women need more carbs as they approach the end of their menstrual cycle.
Personally, I enjoy intermittent fasting without keto. This method allowed me to experience tremendous healing benefits and to lose weight slow and steady. However, I did a keto experiment and I am pretty sure weight loss would have been much faster had I stuck to a keto diet at least two weeks a month.
4. Try Modified Fasting
Something else I would recommend is to do a modified fast if you haven’t done one already. A modified fast is the ultimate healing fast because it allows your body enough time to achieve deeper autophagy through a 5-day fast, but you still get to eat some food! It may actually be more effective than strict water fasting.
To do a modified fast, you can purchase a Prolon Kit or you can go for the DIY approach. What you will do during the 5-day fast is you will follow the exact macronutrient ratio and calorie number that is recommended. I have many meal plans to help you do just that.
5. Try Cycling
Our bodies are very smart and can adapt to whatever calorie intake, fasting windows, macronutrient ratio you are providing. Breaking from your weight loss efforts for two weeks every two weeks may be an effective method to overcome your intermittent fasting plateau. A study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that kind of cycling increased weight loss among the subjects who had “rest periods.”
Every two weeks, fast for only 12 hours a day. It would be a great time to switch your macros and do the keto diet. If you are not on the keto diet when you practice intermittent fasting, do the keto diet now during your intermittent fasting break. It will help you keep using fat cells for energy even though you are not fasting very long. This will also help you make sure that the increase in calories doesn’t negatively impact your weight loss progress. Try my 7-day keto meal plan if you haven’t already.
6. Eat Smaller Portions
A common issue that happens when people jump in on a new diet or lifestyle is that they don’t completely commit. Not completely committing is not necessarily synonymous to failing. I am the proof of that. I tend to find little ways to “cheat” too. Just be aware that if you have reached an intermittent fasting plateau, that may be the cause. Are you snacking mindlessly during your eating window? Are you having “just one bite” during your fating window? Are you overcompensating and eating too much during your eating window? These are the kind of things that could slow down and stall your progress.
7. Change Workout Routine
Make sure you stay active and exercise is always important, whether you are trying to lose weight or not. When you reach a weight loss plateau, you can try switching up your workout routine. For example, if you have been focusing on steady cardio, try HIIT and strength training. If you have been working out in the morning, try working out towards the end of your fasting window. Or try working later after you broke your fast. Find out what works best for you.
Intermittent Fasting Plateau Video
When you reach an intermittent fasting plateau, the question is all about are you actually at a plateau? Let me remind you that weight loss takes time. You need to make sure your expectations are achievable. Not losing weight for one month, is not that rare and it is not necessarily an issue.
However, if you are experiencing a prolonged lack of weight loss and you want to do something about it, experimenting with different fasting lengths and methods, different macronutrient ratios, cycling through non-fasting periods, making sure you are not overeating, and changing your workouts is most likely to help.