4 Tips If You're Doing Intermittent Fasting and Trying to Lose Belly Fat
Intermittent fasting has a vast array of benefits, from weight loss to better digestion to less bloating. Another great thing it can be used for is reducing belly fat. The midsection is a stubborn place to lose fat, which is why a method like intermittent fasting (IF) can be very useful.
"Belly fat can be stubborn to lose because the abdominal area contains more alpha-2 receptors that slow down your ability to burn fat, compared to beta-2 receptors that increase your fat burning potential," Dr. Daryl Gioffre, a celebrity nutritionist and longevity expert. IF lowers insulin levels, "activating your b-2 receptors and shutting down your a-2 receptors, allowing you to burn targeted fat in your belly area."
Certified dietitian Leslie Langevin, MS, RD, CD, of Whole Health Nutrition, also said that IF "gets your body out of 'storage mode' and mobilizes fat stores for energy." This means that without having a constant food source, your body will dip into the fat it already has stored as its energy source.
In other words, IF is your best friend in the war against belly fat! Here are four tips to help you reach your goals even sooner.
Eat in a Calorie Deficit
Just because you're fasting for 16 hours doesn't mean you can eat however much you want every day. You still have to be in a calorie deficit (eating less calories than you're burning) in order to lose weight and shed belly fat. Track your macros if you need to and eat a whole foods, clean diet — and keep a close eye on your habits to make sure you're not overeating.
Strength Train and Do HIIT Cardio
One of the great benefits of IF is that it increases the level of growth hormone in the body, which makes it easier to put on muscle. Take advantage of this and strength train regularly, because this will help you grow lean muscle, which in turn helps shed fat.
Similar, do HIIT cardio regularly since it's a great way to burn belly fat. Choose this over steady-state cardio like long-distance runs.
Eat Whole Foods That Burn Belly Fat
Choose healthy, whole foods that will speed up the belly fat-burning process. During your eating window, eat things like berries, leafy greens, lean protein, almonds, and oatmeal. These will help you burn more belly fat in the long run. Always choose these over processed, packaged foods or junky snack food that's lying around.
Reduce Stress and Sleep a Lot
Your body needs extra sleep when it's adjusting to the new IF schedule you've got going on. Plus, the more you sleep and reduce the stress hormone cortisol in your body, the more likely you are to burn belly fat. Your eating schedule is just as important as your stress management, so meditate more, journal, and take time to yourself so you don't feel overwhelmed with everything going on in your life.