As we gain weight, extra pounds tend to accumulate in the stomach area. Fat accumulates when we consume more calories than we burn off during the day. Sometimes, it's best to hit the reset button by not eating anything at all. Let's discuss how to lose stomach fat with intermittent fasting.
What Is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting is when you restrict calories for a set period of time, with the minimum being 16 hours.
During a fast, you may only consume:
- Water (Can Be Infused with Fruits, But No Sweeteners)
- Black Coffee
- Black Tea
- Herbal Tea
- Sea Salt
There are different types of fasting protocols, which we'll get to in a bit. First, let's give you a little background info about intermittent fasting and how it could help you lose stomach fat.
Our ancestors have been following various forms of fasting for centuries. While many did it for spiritual or purification reasons, science shows they were also enjoying some health benefits. Let's discuss why intermittent fasting helps your burn fat.
How Intermittent Fasting Helps Burn Fat
Intermittent fasting allows our bodies the time they need to burn the extra fat we've stored from consuming too many calories. Unfortunately, many of us get lost in the flavors of food and forget that its purpose is to provide us with energy.
Calories are the energy that our bodies use to help us move, think, and exercise. When our food intake surpasses our activity levels, we add more calories to our fat reservoir. Eventually, the fat expands too much, flooding into the rest of the body.
By restricting calories, our bodies must draw from other energy sources. First, your liver will produce ketones. These backup energy reserves will give us short energy bursts.
Eventually, ketones will run out, and our bodies will turn to stored fat. All those backup calories finally come in handy. During a fasted state, fat cells burn more efficiently, helping you lose stomach fat easier!
Intermittent Fasting Protocols
There are many ways to try intermittent fasting. First, you should speak to a physician. Never make any lifestyle changes, such as restricting calories, without consulting them.
Before fasting, you might want to experiment with a 12-hour fast. Notice how your body reacts. Work your way to a longer fast, so you don't shock your system. Here are some of the most popular intermittent fasting protocols.
Leangains is the most common intermittent fasting plan. It involves fasting for 16 hours and then eating for 8.
Around 16 hours is when our bodies enter ketosis. The liver starts producing ketones, which will last you to about the end of this fast.
Since your body is empty and you won't be burning fat during 16:8, you should really amp up your cardio. Try some high-intensity interval training (HIIT) fitness to help burn extra stomach fat.
Your body will start to draw on body fat around 18 hours into a fast. A 20:4 diet is a great way to burn extra calories beyond ketosis.
Typically, dieters will fast during the day, breaking their fast at night. They tend to eat about six hours prior to bed. That will allow two hours to digest before going to sleep.
This diet is a lot easier for many people to manage because it requires eating every day. For five days per week, eat your normal diet. Then, twice per week, restrict your calorie intake to 500 or 600 per day.
It's best to break up the two days evenly so that you have sustained energy throughout the week.
Eat Stop Eat/One Meal A Day (OMAD)
This fast can be performed twice per week. Once you have your last meal, you won't eat again for another 24 hours.
Those who perform Eat Stop Eat should choose their favorite meal of the day or a meal that matches their schedule best. It's going to be the only meal you have for the most of the week.
Alternate Day Fasting
Alternate Day Fasting is like Eat Stop Eat, but with a twist. Rather than twice a week, you will fast every other day.
There are two different ways to perform Alternate Day Fasting. You can forgo any solid foods for 24 hours or limit your intake to a 500 calorie maximum. Try to avoid processed or packaged goods and stick to whole, raw foods.