Hive Health Media

IF You Want to Lose Belly Fat…

…Then Why Not Try Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent Fasting , (IF), is a dietary practice that has gained momentum in the bodybuilding community. Now that excitement has started to spill over into the mainstream health and fitness blogosphere. The approach is based around centuries old fasting traditions of various religious groups (think Ramadan) and has been shown to be remarkably good for your health.

Studies on Intermittent Fasting have highlighted its ability to reduce body fat, increase insulin sensitivity and decrease the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. Furthermore, animal studies have indicated Intermittent Fasting can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases in the elderly.

As if the excitement of reducing the risk for all these diseases isn’t enough, there’s mounting evidence from adherents of the practice that Intermittent Fasting can help selectively boost fat loss in the subcutaneous fat stores – meaning it’s an excellent choice for anyone with stubborn belly or butt fat.

intermittent fasting weight loss IF You Want to Lose Belly Fat...

How Do You Do It?

It’s really simple – rather than eating as you normally would, you purposefully pick periods of the day or week where you consume no calories. This means no eating, no snacking and no drinking your calories either (so that double tall latte is out, and a black Americano is in). This can be done each and every day for short periods (such as the popular 16 hour fast, 8 hour feed method) or it could be for one or two days per week that you choose not to eat anything (Alternate Day Fasting).

[box type="note"]There’s no pills, supplements or diet books to buy – you just stop eating for a set period of time, then once that period is over you go back to your normal diet.[/box]

But Won’t I Get Hungry?

One of the benefits of intermittent fasting is that your body rapidly adapts to the new style of eating. If you deliberately skip breakfast each day, the hormone ghrelin adapts to this, meaning you won’t feel hungry until your “normal” eating time. It takes a few days for this entrainment to set in, but once you’ve gotten used to eating your first meal of the day at lunchtime you’ll never be hungry at breakfast again!

This benefit is seen best in those who choose to fast each and every day. The exact duration of your own personal fast can change (depending on your needs), but it needs to be over 12 hours long to start seeing the benefits mentioned above. Women normally get a little hungrier than men (they always get the rough end of the stick when it comes to fat loss), so 14 hours is a good option for women, whereas men can usually fast for 16 hours without any hardship.

300px Body Fat meter IF You Want to Lose Belly Fat...

Body Fat meter (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

How Does It Help With My Belly Fat?

Intermittent fasting helps in three ways with unwanted belly fat:

  • Firstly, by not consuming any calories for set periods of time you are reducing the total amount of calories you consume. This is without making any other change to your diet – and without hardship (see above for the comments on hunger).
  • Secondly, intermittent fasting increases catchecholamines in the bloodstream. These hormones increase blood flow to the subcutaneous fat regions, meaning the stubborn belly fat is targeted for fat mobilization.
  • Lastly, by fasting for more than 12 hours at a time you shift the primary fuel source of your body from carbohydrates to fat. So all your movements and exercises performed during the fast are directly leading to fat loss.

By performing some low intensity, steady state exercise (brisk walking) during your fast, you can help shed the unwanted belly (or butt) fat whilst your body is “in the zone” for fat burning. Just make sure you don’t “reward” yourself too heavily once the fast is over, and un-do all that work!

Where Can I Learn More About This?

Neil blogs more about Fat Loss, Muscle Gain and improving Body Recomposition over at his website LeanMassGains.com. His approach uses a 16 hour fast, 8 hour feed approach, coupled with weight training, nutrient and calorie timing to deliver lightning fast changes in body composition. Head on over to check out even more benefits of Intermittent Fasting. When not blogging, Neil spends his time training for local strongman competitions.

 IF You Want to Lose Belly Fat...
Find out how to use intermittent fasting, calorie and nutrient cycling to lose body fat whilst building muscle - with Lean Mass Gains Made Easy. Neil wrote this specifically to help you get in shape and get the best out of your diet and exercise routine.
  • Cassandra

    Does the amount of time I am not eating while sleeping count as 7-8 hours of not eating in a “16 hour fast, 8 hour feed”?

    • Danny

      Yes, the time that you are asleep counts (hence 16/8 hour fast equals 24, meaning the full day).