Intermittent fasting is gaining traction in the health and wellness world as a safe, scientifically-backed method of losing stubborn belly fat. There is compelling evidence that it helps regulate hormones and metabolism rates, significantly improving the likelihood of weight loss, particularly in problem areas like the stomach.
If you’ve been researching how to increase your chances of achieving your fitness goals, or if you’ve ever wondered, “What is the best intermittent fasting window to lose belly fat?” you’ve come to the right place.
Keep scrolling to explore everything there is to know about this proven weight loss practice for intermittent fasting to lose belly fat.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a scheduled eating approach that alternates between consumption and abstinence periods. It doesn’t dictate or restrict specific foods but focuses on when you should eat them. The most widely-practiced intermittent fasting methods include the 16/8 method (16 hours of fasting and an 8-hour eating window) and the 5:2 method (five days of regular eating and two non-consecutive days of very low-calorie intake).
Choosing the Best Intermittent Fasting Window for Belly Fat Loss
There are several factors to consider when deciding on a fasting diet to lose belly fat. It’s essential to evaluate each of the following points carefully to ensure a safe, healthy, and prosperous approach:
Are your mornings chaotic? Do you tend to feel more energized in the evenings than mornings? Does the mere idea of being unable to eat popcorn at night fill you with dread? Only you know the answers to questions like these. The key is to consider what your ideal day, week, or month would look like. What areas of your routine are you willing to compromise on? What lifestyle choices are non-negotiable? That will inform you which intermittent fasting to lose belly fat schedule is best suited for you.
Always consider your hunger tolerance before giving calorie counting and intermittent fasting a try. Hormone levels, prescription medications, physical activity, and even the size of your stomach can all impact how hungry you get and how often. Don’t choose an intermittent fasting schedule simply because it’s worked for someone else. While a 24-hour fast for weight loss may be realistic for your friend or coworker, it doesn’t necessarily mean that’s the right solution for you. Remember that several intermittent fasting schedules produce similar results.
Certain medical conditions increase the likelihood of fasting-related complications, including diabetes, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, etc. It’s always best to consult your physician before incorporating intermittent fasting into your health and wellness routine.
How Much Weight Can You Lose from Fasting?
The most recent research on intermittent fasting shows people typically lose 3-8% of their body weight. The total amount varies, however, based on how long the person maintains their fasting schedule, whether or not they break the cycle by indulging in food during fasting hours, and their overall physical condition.
Below are a few key points to remember when setting weight loss goals:
Factors Influencing Weight Loss During Fasting
Some people are born with fast metabolisms, while others aren’t. For those who fall into the latter category, it can be disheartening that weight loss is more challenging than it might be for their peers or even family members. While intermittent fasting does help turn fat reserves into energy regardless of your metabolism, it may take a little longer to see results if yours is naturally low.
If you fast for 12 hours but then eat a heavy meal loaded with trans fats, high-fructose corn syrup, and other unhealthy ingredients, your fasting efforts will essentially have been in vain. Try to eat meals that are primarily vegetables and protein. You can also include whole grains and healthy fats, like olive oil, but they shouldn’t occupy the most significant portion of your plate.
Yes, whether or not you feel stressed can impact your ability to lose weight! Not only does stress increase our cravings for unhealthy foods, but it also increases insulin levels and the body’s storage of visceral fat.
Realistic Expectations and Average Weight Loss
Now that we’ve explored the facts that can make it more challenging to lose weight while fasting, let’s discuss the strategies you can use to maximize your results.
Intermittent Fasting Strategies for Different Belly Types
Those wondering, “Does fasting burn belly fat?” or “How much weight can you lose in a week by fasting?” are often surprised to learn there are different belly types, and each responds differently. That’s why knowing your body and gathering as much information as possible before implementing a fasting routine is essential.
Understanding Belly Types
Subcutaneous Belly Fat
If you have soft, squishy tissue just below the surface of your abdomen, it’s most likely subcutaneous fat. This type of fat accumulates around the waistline but can also be found in our arms, thighs, and under the chin.
That type of fat is thought to have the most minor concern regarding adverse health effects. In fact, it’s completely normal and healthy to have some subcutaneous fat. Only when excessive amounts are present does it begin to put you at an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease, and other metabolic conditions.
Visceral Belly Fat
Visceral belly fat is more difficult to identify since it’s stored deep within the abdominal cavity, between your organs and other tissues. One indicator of visceral belly fat is a larger-than-average waist circumference, even if you have a “flat” stomach.
With this type of belly, the risk for adverse health effects is much greater since visceral fat can release fatty acids, cholesterol, and other harmful substances into your system.
Tailored Intermittent Fasting Recommendations By Type
Choosing strategies for intermittent fasting by belly type is advised to ensure the best possible results. Here’s our recommended schedule for each type:
Best Intermittent Fasting Method For Subcutaneous Belly Fat
- 16/8 Method: Fast for 16 hours and have an 8-hour eating window daily. For example, you might fast from 8:00 pm to 12:00 pm the next day and eat between 12:00 pm and 8:00 pm.
- 5:2 Method: With the 5:2 method, you consume your regular diet five days a week and consume around 500-600 calories for two remaining fasting days. This calorie restriction can contribute to a caloric deficit and aid in fat loss.
Best Intermittent Fasting Method For Visceral Belly Fat
- 14/10 Method: Fast for 14 hours and have a 10-hour eating window daily. That means you restrict your food intake to a specific 10-hour period while abstaining from caloric consumption for the remaining 14 hours.
- Alternate Day Method: Alternate between fasting days (500-600 calories) and regular eating days.
Intermittent Fasting without Exercise: Can You Still Lose Weight?
One of the most commonly asked questions is, “Can I lose weight with intermittent fasting without exercise?”. The short answer is yes; it is possible to lose weight by fasting without regular exercise. But the long answer is a little more complex.
Exercising contributes to the building of lean muscle mass. And since lean muscle burns more calories than fat, you lose more weight in the long term if you increase physical activity. That means you’ll be more likely to maintain your weight loss results over time. So, if you’re looking for long-lasting change, it’s essential to incorporate both exercise and intermittent fasting to lose belly fat.
Benefits and Limitations of Losing Weight Without Exercise
- You can improve insulin sensitivity through intermittent fasting alone.
- Only having to focus on intermittent fasting can be a more simple and convenient approach to weight loss than focusing on physical activity too.
- Many people experience positive mental benefits from intermittent fasting, including improved focus and motivation.
- You’re more likely to lose lean muscle mass if you fast without exercising.
- Exercise is necessary for cardiovascular health and optimal physical performance. If you choose not to exercise, you may experience health concerns or struggle to complete everyday activities like walking up stairs or completing yard work.
- Exercise is a vital aspect of maintaining a healthy immune system. Forgoing exercise can make you more susceptible to colds, infections, and other serious illnesses.
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