Last Updated on January 2, 2023 by Lori Geurin
I remember when I first started intermittent fasting. I wasn’t sure if I was doing it right, but the weight was just melting off me. It was so easy! But then, as I got closer to my weight loss goal, I hit an intermittent fasting plateau. My weight stopped moving no matter what I tried. At first, this was frustrating. But after some digging and learning, I found a few ways to boost my intermittent fasting weight loss. Here are my top tips…
- How To Break Out of an Intermittent Fasting Plateau
- 1. Clean Fasting
- 2. Eat in Your Eating Window
- 3. Prioritize Quality Sleep
- 4. Track What You Eat
- 5. Manage Stress
- 6. Clean Up Your Carbs
- 7. Shorten Your Eating Window
- 8. Exercise and Strength Training
- 9. Eat the Right Foods
- Final Thoughts About Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss and Health
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How To Break Out of an Intermittent Fasting Plateau
1. Clean Fasting
First, make sure you’re doing what’s called “clean fasting.” That means no snacking or nibbling while fasting, even on healthy foods. Once you start eating, your body goes into “feast mode,” and it becomes harder to burn fat. Autophagy, the process of cell repair that happens while fasting, also slows down – yes, even if you add a splash of cream to your coffee or tea. So if you want to keep the benefits of intermittent fasting going, make sure you’re really fasting.
Be sure to drink plenty of water. You can also enjoy black coffee, unsweetened tea, and carbonated water.
Learn all the details about how to do clean fasting in What Is Clean Fasting And How It’ll Boost Your Fasting Results.
Clean Fasting Tips
This can be tough if you’re used to grazing all day long. But it gets easier after a while, and there are a few things that can help:
- Drink plenty of water and herbal tea.
- Go on a walk or do something to take your mind off food. Drink sparkling water if you’re craving something. Add some Himalayan pink salt to your water if you’re hungry or tired.
- Remember that intermittent fasting is not about depriving yourself. In fact, it’s the opposite! Giving your body a break from digesting food gives it more energy to heal and repair itself.
- Focus on why you’re fasting and what benefits you hope to get from it. And remember, it’s only for a short time, and you’re doing it for your health! If you slip up and have a snack, don’t beat yourself up. Just start again from where you left off.
- If you’re struggling, there’s nothing wrong with taking a break from intermittent fasting for a day or two and then starting again. I find that it’s usually when I’m not getting enough sleep or am feeling particularly stressed that fasting becomes more difficult. Most of the time, I feel great – more alert, energetic, and focused – when I’m fasting.
If you’re new to intermittent fasting and are having trouble getting started, get our FREE intermittent fasting ebook.
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2. Eat in Your Eating Window
Make sure you’re eating all your meals within your eating window. It can be tempting to let the hours creep up and start eating earlier and earlier. But if you do that, you’re not giving your body enough of a break from food.
Eating all your meals within a smaller window will help to increase the benefits of intermittent fasting. You’ll give your body more time for fat burning, and you’ll be less likely to overeat.
And, if you’re wondering, what the heck is an eating window? It’s simply the hours of the day you’re eating during a fast. For example, if you start your fast at 6 pm and end at 10 am, your eating window would be from 10 am to 6 pm.
Check out these 50 things to do instead of eating when you’re intermittent fasting.
3. Prioritize Quality Sleep
Sleep is when your body repairs and heals itself. So if you’re not getting enough sleep, your body won’t be able to repair itself as well. This can lead to weight gain, among other things.[*]
Getting enough quality sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health. So if you’re not getting at least seven hours a night, start there. You might need even more than that![*]
Starting a healthy sleep routine doesn’t have to be complicated. Just make sure you’re winding down for 30-60 minutes before bed, disconnect from electronics screens, and create a dark and relaxed environment in your bedroom.
If you want to learn more about how sleep affects your health, check out this post on the benefits of sleep.
4. Track What You Eat
If you’re not tracking what you eat, it’s impossible to know the number of calories you’re consuming and if you’re getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
Tracking what you eat also helps to hold you accountable. If you know you’re going to have to write down everything you eat, you’re less likely to make unhealthy choices.
Weight Loss Plateau Intermittent Fasting: How To Track What You Eat
There are a few different ways to track your food intake:
- Use an app like MyFitnessPal or Cronometer. They both have good free versions that you can use to track your food intake. I use them both and switch back and forth depending on what I’m in the mood for.
- Or you can keep a food journal. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Just a notebook where you write down everything you eat and drink throughout the day
- Try a printable weekly meal planner. Make sure you’re tracking what you’re eating and how much you’re eating. This will help you ensure you’re not overeating, even if you’re eating healthy foods.
5. Manage Stress
Stress is one of the biggest saboteurs of weight loss.
When stressed, your body goes into survival mode and starts to hold onto fat.[*] That’s why finding ways to manage stress is so important. This looks different for everyone, but some things that have helped me are:
Ways To Manage Stress
- Exercise: Even taking a short walk can help to relieve stress.
- Meditation: There are tons of free meditation apps like Headspace and Calm that you can use to get started.
- Yoga: Yoga is another excellent way to reduce stress.
- Connect with friends and family: Talking to people you trust can help to reduce stress and make you feel supported.
- Find a hobby: Doing something you enjoy can help you take your mind off whatever is causing you stress. Here are 100 low-cost hobbies you can try today.
To learn more about managing stress, check out this 6 simple ways to relieve stress.
6. Clean Up Your Carbs
If you’re eating a lot of processed foods, refined carbs, and sugar, losing body weight may be challenging. Processed foods are loaded with unhealthy additives and preservatives that can sabotage your weight loss efforts. Refined carbs have been stripped of nutrients and fiber, so they’re not as filling or satisfying. And sugar, well, we all know how bad sugar is for our health.
Eating healthy carbs like vegetables, fruit, whole grains, and legumes can help to boost your weight loss. These foods are packed with fiber and nutrients that will help you to feel full and satisfied. And they’re also low in calories, so you can eat many of them without packing on the pounds.
7. Shorten Your Eating Window
If you’re eating all day long, it’s going to be difficult to lose body weight. That’s why intermittent fasting is so effective. It helps to naturally reduce your calorie intake by limiting the time you have to eat. One of the easiest ways to do this is to simply eat your last meal of the day a little earlier.
If you typically eat dinner at eight, try eating at six instead. This will help to shorten your eating window and make it easier to fast for more extended periods of time. It will also help to boost your metabolism and promote weight loss.
After years of feeling like I always needed a late-night snack, I found that by eating dinner earlier then brushing my teeth, I was able to break this habit. And as a result, I started shortening my eating window and losing weight.
If you want to learn more about how to shorten your eating window, check out this post on the 16/8 method of intermittent fasting: 16/8 Intermittent Fasting: How to Boost Your Metabolism and Lose Weight.
8. Exercise and Strength Training
Exercise is one of the best things you can do for your health. It helps to boost your metabolism, build muscle, and burn fat. And when it comes to weight loss, muscle mass is key. That’s because muscle burns more calories than fat. So the more muscle you have, the more calories you’ll burn, even at rest.
Intermittent fasting is a great way to lose weight, but adding exercise into the mix can help to give your weight loss a boost. Strength training is especially beneficial because it helps to build muscle. But any exercise will help increase your calorie burn and promote weight loss.
If you’re new to exercise, start doing simple cardio like walking, yoga, or swimming. You can also try adding in some bodyweight exercises like squats and lunges. Just be sure to listen to your body and not overdo it.
9. Eat the Right Foods
I’ve touched on this before, but it’s worth mentioning again. If you want to lose weight, you need to be eating the right foods. That means whole, unprocessed foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories. Think vegetables, fruits, lean protein, whole grains, and healthy fats.
Eating these foods will help fill you up and keep you satisfied. And they’re also packed with the nutrients your body needs to function properly. Processed foods, on the other hand, are devoid of nutrients and can make you feel hungrier.[*] So be sure to focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods if you want to lose weight. Eating habits matter.
Healthy Recipe Ideas
If you need some inspiration, check out this list of healthy recipes:
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Final Thoughts About Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss and Health
Intermittent fasting is a tool that can help you lose weight, but it’s not the only thing you need to focus on. Eating healthy foods, exercising, and improving sleep quality are all essential factors in maintaining a healthy weight. So if you’re struggling with weight loss, look at your overall lifestyle and see where you can make changes.
And remember, intermittent fasting is not a diet! It’s simply a pattern of eating that can help you lose weight and improve your health. If you hit a plateau, don’t give up! Just try one of these tips and see if it makes a difference.
Have you struggled with an intermittent fasting weight loss plateau? What tips have helped you to boost your weight loss? Share in the comments below!