Skip Nav
Does Intermittent Fasting Cause Headaches?
intermittent fasting
Yes, Intermittent Fasting Can Cause Headaches — Here's How to Squash Them Fast
Emilia Clarke Opens Up About Suffering Two Brain Aneurysms
health
Emilia Clarke Opens Up About Experiencing 2 Brain Aneurysms in Her Twenties
Why I Stopped Intermittent Fasting
Personal Essays
I Loved Intermittent Fasting, but Here's Why I Need to Take a Break
Core Exercises
When I Have No Time and No Equipment, I Do These 6 Oblique Moves to Torch My Waist
What Kind of Bread Can You Eat on the Mediterranean Diet?
Bread
This Dietitian-Approved Diet Puts Bread Back on Your Plate, but You'll Need to Shop Wisely

What to Do When Intermittent Fasting Stops Working

If You're Suddenly Not Losing Weight With Intermittent Fasting, You Should Read This

Photographer: Sheila GimNo Restrictions: Editorial and internal use approved. OK for Native and co-branded use.

If you've tried intermittent fasting (IF), you've probably noticed some changes, both in your energy and focus and on the scale. But like any other diet or lifestyle change, IF often comes with a period of plateau following those initial results, and figuring out how to break through it can be challenging. Karen Cooney, a registered dietitian for The Vitamin Shoppe, told POPSUGAR exactly what to do when IF stops working so you can keep making progress toward your goals.

First, you need to evaluate what you're eating. "The main reason IF may stop working for someone is because they feel it gives them a licence to eat anything — mostly junk foods," Karen explained. Because IF is an eating pattern rather than a diet, you aren't given a list of specific foods to eat or avoid. "You obviously can eat more when doing IF then other types of diets, but if you overindulge on unhealthy foods while doing it, you will stop the weight loss and possibly put on fat," she said.

But while you don't want to load up on junk, you still need to get enough calories to make IF successful. "If you're in a caloric deficit for too long, your body will hold on to what you eat," Karen said. "You need to make sure you're giving your body the energy and nutrients it needs." To do this, she recommends reevaluating how much you're eating during your IF window, with a focus on quality nutrients over processed foods. Karen also stressed the importance of getting enough protein, since it helps maintain muscle mass, which will prevent your metabolism from slowing down.

ADVERTISEMENT

Finally, consider changing things up. "Switch up your feeding window, or you can switch to alternate days fasting," Karen told POPSUGAR. "At the very least, incorporate one non-fasting day to help reset your metabolism." Just be sure to avoid something called refeeding syndrome, in which you eat too much too quickly after fasting. "While fasting, your electrolyte levels (like sodium, magnesium, and potassium) change as well as other hormones like insulin," she said. "If you refeed too quickly, it can abruptly alter these levels causing symptoms like fatigue, weakness, confusion, high blood pressure, and more."

When practising IF, Karen suggests supplementing with electrolytes to help keep your body's levels stabilised and prevent you from falling into a refeeding cycle, which can leave you feeling crummy and less likely to stick to your plan.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Sheila Gim
Latest Health & Fitness
All the Latest From Ryan Reynolds