“I tried this fasting stuff but I didn’t get any results.”
“I got some results with fasting, but then it stopped working for me.”
Have you tried a form of intermittent fasting and not gotten the desired results? Are you wondering why you didn’t lose weight with a form of fasting?
Chances are that you’re still reading because you’re not impressed with your intermittent fasting results. You’re annoyed because you’ve seen friends get lean with intermittent fasting while you didn’t get those same results.
We’re going to look at what you likely didn’t get your desired results and what to do moving forward. Let’s look at what you could do to get intermittent fasting results.
For some people, a form of fasting is the magic formula for losing weight. They can eat whatever they want. The weight comes off and stays off despite them not being on a strict diet. They swear by this way of eating and can’t wait to shout from the top of the mountains about how they’ve figured it all out. They’re fasting evangelists. They’re telling everyone about fasting at parties and they can’t stop using the hashtag #intermittentfasting.
Others haven’t been as successful when attempting fasting. They didn’t get any results and found it to be pointless. They end up mocking this idea because it makes no sense to them.
So what’s the deal here with this fasting stuff? Let’s break it down…
Does everyone get amazing intermittent fasting results?
Are you guaranteed to get amazing intermittent fasting results?
Nope. There are no guarantees that you can comply with a system and that what works for one person will work for you.
This is the perfect time for a confession about intermittent fasting results.
It took me about 4 years to fully see the results of intermittent fasting. I first read about the concept in 2012 in “Eat Stop Eat” and I didn’t get my best results until 2016.
I thought that I was doing things right, but I never got any real progress. I barely even looked like someone who worked out. It was frustrating and discouraging. I never told anyone that I was doing intermittent fasting because I was ashamed of my progress.
What happened? Why didn’t I get intermittent fasting results?
I was lying to myself. I would tell myself that I was doing it properly, but I was making all of the same common mistakes that most people do. I would skip breakfast but then sometimes eat crap for like 10 hours. I would frequently do whatever I wanted on the weekends. A cheat day would turn into a cheat weekend. I wasn’t actually following a proper fasting protocol.
I was frustrated with my lack of progress and I wasn’t sure if fasting actually worked. Then I met a friend who inspired me to finally take this stuff seriously. I committed to an 8-hour eating window and I get into my best shape ever within a few months. I was sold on intermittent fasting. Then I got into the one meal a day strategy and that was a huge game-changer for me.
We’ll look at what to do when you don’t see results, common reasons for not getting results, and what to do when you don’t see results
Why aren’t you seeing results with intermittent fasting?
The beauty of fitness is that the results don’t lie. You can’t argue with numbers and results. You can’t argue with the mirror. You can’t argue with how you feel.
As I mentioned, I failed to see any intermittent fasting results for 4 years. I made all of the usual mistakes that we’re going to look at.
What are possible reasons for why you’re not seeing any results?
- You’re not actually doing intermittent fasting correctly. You may skip breakfast, but then you end up eating for 12 hours.
- You’re not following the right eating window. There are different fasting styles and eating windows. What works for one person, won’t work for everyone. You have to play around with different fasting styles.
- You eat too much. The obvious reason for not losing weight is that you’re not in a calorie deficit. You’re simply eating too much. You use fasting as an excuse to eat too much food in 8 hours. It’s very easy to go over your daily calories if you’re eating too much and not staying active.
- You eat too much crappy food. You could be eating the wrong kind of food. People use fasting as an excuse to eat crappy food all day. You can sneak in treats, but your meals can’t all be junk food. Eating junk food will always leave you feeling hungry and unsatisfied.
- You eat too much “healthy” food. It’s very easy to pile on the pounds when you eat food like granola that’s filled with sugar. Not all food that’s labelled as healthy is actually good for you.
- You don’t get enough protein in. You may not be getting enough protein in to feel full and to recover properly.
- You mess up on the weekends. Your cheat weekends could be adding in too many calories. I hate to say this, but it’s really easy to go over your calories if you pig out the entire weekend. Too many people throw all nutrition out the window on weekends.
- You’re not staying active enough. It’s still important to lift weights and to get your steps in. Your body needs some movement. You have to exercise and there’s, unfortunately, no way to avoid this aspect of fitness.
- Hormone/stress/other health-related reasons. This is the final option. You could have something else going on with your health. Please see your doctor and get your bloodwork done.
You have to be honest with yourself. You want to figure out what’s holding you back so that you can get results moving forward. You don’t want to be stuck in the same situation forever.
What if I don’t see results with intermittent fasting?
As you try to figure out how intermittent fasting works, you may discover that it’s not some miracle solution. This doesn’t mean that you should give up on your weight loss or the system.
Here’s what you do if you don’t see any intermittent fasting results…
- Take a realistic look at your eating window.
- Look at the quality of your food.
- Change up your exercise routine.
- Look at other factors.
- Experiment a little.
Let’s break these each down.
Take a realistic look at your eating window.
“I tried your diet and it didn’t work for me. I gained weight!”
A guy was giving me grief because fasting didn’t get him lean. So I wanted to figure out why. There had to be a logical explanation for this.
It turned out that he was skipping breakfast during the week and then drinking too much beer on the weekends.
Here are a few questions that you have to ask yourself:
- Is your eating window realistic?
- Are you actually keeping a tight eating window?
- Can you switch up the times that you eat?
- Are you overdoing it on the weekends?
You can’t lie to yourself here. You have to be able to honestly assess your situation. You may think that you’re keeping a tight eating window, but everything is actually all over the place.
What’s the quality of your food?
“Are you saying that I can eat anything that I want?” Like ANYTHING?”
Well, you can technically have anything that you want. You just can’t have everything that you want.
Calories always matter. If you consume too many calories, all of the fasting and training in the world won’t help you. You can’t deny calories. You can’t outrun a fork. You can’t expect to eat only crappy food and still get your desire results.
It’s important that you take a look at the quality of your food to ensure that you’re eating right.
Change up your training.
Are you working out? Are you staying active?
As important as nutrition is, you need to move your body. You might not be training enough. I’m not saying that you have to live in the gym but I want you to be active.
What can you do here?
- Stick to basic weight lifting.
- Increase the intensity of your workouts.
- Try adding more play to your life (sports, dance, MMA training, etc.).
Once again, your body will react differently to different types of training. I’ve personally found that basic weight lifting helps me transform my body. Some people will swear by CrossFit or functional training. It’s up to you to find what works.
Take a look at the other factors involved.
There are other factors involved. Reaching your fitness goals can sometimes be the simplest process in the world. It can also be the most confusing process in the world sometimes.
- How are your stress levels?
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Are you living an active lifestyle?
- Can you turn the booze down a bit?
It takes time to see results. You’re not going to burn off a lifetime of weight gain over 2 months. So much of fitness involves waiting to get results. Like waiting for a LONG time.
This comes from the world’s most impatient person. I hate waiting for anything. I can confirm that you do have to wait though.
Focus on the plan and wait to get results. I don’t know what else to tell you. I can’t guarantee on what specific day you’re going to get results. You may feel fed up on day 60 and then on day 75 you’ll feel like a new person. There’s no exact timeline.
Are you patient enough?
In Atomic Habits, James Clear brings up to this paint on patience and reaching your goals:
“Habits are the compound interest of self-improvement. The same way that money multiplies through compound interest, the effects of your habits multiply as you repeat them. They seem to make little difference on any given day and yet the impact they deliver over the months and years can be enormous. It is only when looking back two, five, or perhaps ten years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones becoming strikingly apparent.”
Keep on experimenting.
So many people are quick to give up on something when they don’t get instant results. It took you a long time to get to your current situation and you can’t expect to turn things around miraculously in 3 weeks. You may just need to experiment and tweak a few things.
James Altucher nails the concept of experiment in his book, “Skip The Line” when he mentions this:
“Only failure of omission is real failure. Because if you don’t do something, you can’t learn from your experience. Every experience is a teacher, filled with enough lessons to carry you to the next level of your education in any field.
Again, the habit of constantly experimenting in all facets of your life will bring you enormous success. With each experiment, you are either adding to your knowledge or you are succeeding and propelling forward in the hierarchy of that interest/passion/career.”
It’s important to experiment instead of giving up when things don’t go your way. Try a different way of eating, switch up eating windows, and make tweaks until you start to see results.
When should I expect results with intermittent fasting or any other diet?
You’re probably wondering when you should be expecting results. Is it day 21? Day 31? What gives up?
You’re not going to like to hear this, but there’s no timeline for when you’re going to get to the finish line.
Fasting isn’t a magical solution. It may feel like one when you start to realize how easy it can be to lose weight. However, you can’t just expect to skip breakfast and become a new person in a few weeks.
We all get results at a different time. Some students have been impressed with their 3-week results while others had to wait 3 months to see a noticeable difference.
It’s also critical that you don’t always compare your starting product to someone’s finished look. If you’re constantly comparing yourself to people on social media then there’s a problem.
Is this for everyone? Should everyone eat like this?
This brings us to the final point. Fasting isn’t for everyone. You don’t have to fast every single day and you certainly don’t have to follow a fasting schedule to get results.
What are your other options if intermittent fasting doesn’t work?
It’s important to note that there’s no such thing as a one-size-fits-all solution in fitness. Maybe this just isn’t for you. The final point that we can’t ignore is that intermittent fasting isn’t for everyone and that’s okay. You have other options. There are unlimited options for you try out until you find something that actually works.
I’ve spoken with many people who just get too hungry and cranky if they don’t eat first thing in the morning. I can’t force you to do something if it’s clearly not working for you.
What are other options if you want to lose weight?
- An occasional fast. You can try throwing in a weekly fast or play around with an occasional tight eating window.
- Try a different diet. There are many different ways of eating out there that you can experiment with.
- Track calories. You can try to track your calories to see what’s happening. I’m not against counting calories and I understand that some people need to be meticulous with their numbers to see results.
- Focus on being more active. You can just find a sport, hobby or activity that forces you to be active and lose weight.
Whatever you do, don’t give up on your health. There’s an option out there that will work for you.
There’s a way of eating out there that works for you. How you eat should never feel like you’re involved in some cult. Test out different ways of eating until you find something that helps you feel better and have more energy.