Best Intermittent Fasting Window To Lose Belly Fat
Alexander Stone - Doctor of Physical Therapy, Strength and Conditioning Specialist
Alex is a health sciences writer with experience in sports performance and rehabilitation settings. His areas of expertise include health and fitness, sports nutrition, and injury prevention. He is passionate about health science education and health/wellness optimization for people of all ages.
02.08.2023

What Is the Best Intermittent Fasting Window To Lose Belly Fat?

Intermittent fasting
Table Of Contents

Introduction

Are you looking for a productive way to lose belly fat? Look no further than the popular diet trend known as intermittent fasting. It has been getting more buzz lately for its potential to burn fat and improve overall health – but finding the right periodic fasting window that works best for your lifestyle can be confusing due to the many variations you can find.

In this article, we’ll break down everything you need to know about intermittent fasting and losing belly fat, from what it is, to how they work. You can start on your path to finally shedding those stubborn belly pounds through these methods.

Does Fasting Burn Belly Fat: What Happens in Your Body

During fasting, the body goes through several changes. In the initial stages of fasting, your body depletes its glycogen stores, essentially stored carbohydrates. Once these glycogen reserves are used up, your body starts tapping into fat stores as an alternative energy source.

Regarding belly fat, fasting can play a role in reducing overall composition. However, as your body begins fasting and runs out of readily available glucose, it turns to stored fat, including the fat in other parts of your body, such as your abdominal area, to fuel itself. This process is commonly referred to as fat-burning or lipolysis.

The length of the fast determines when your body starts specifically targeting belly fat. Generally, fat burning begins after approximately 12 hours of fasting and becomes more pronounced between 16 and 24 hours of fasting. During this time, your body releases fatty acids from adipose tissue, including the fat stored around your midsection. This will result in overall fat loss over time.

Reminder: While fasting can help initiate fat burning, spot reduction (targeting fat loss from specific areas like the belly) isn’t possible. So, while fasting can contribute to overall fat loss, it’s not a guaranteed method to exclusively burn belly fat. The key is to stay consistent to reduce your overall fat composition.

Best Intermittent Fasting Window To Lose Belly Fat

How Long Does Intermittent Fasting Take To Work for Loss of Belly Fat?

When shedding those extra pounds, be mindful that weight loss is a gradual process that varies from person to person. 

Generally, it could take between 2 to 10 weeks to start seeing significant results. Therefore, being patient and committed to your intermittent fasting routine is necessary as you continue your fasting journey.

During the initial weeks of intermittent fasting, you may notice some positive changes in your body. One of the first signs you might experience is reduced bloating. By giving your body regular periods of fasting, you allow it to regulate digestion and reduce water retention, which can lead to less bloated and feeling more comfortable overall.

Concerning visible changes, your midsection may look within the first week of intermittent fasting. This could be a combination of factors, including reduced bloating, early water weight loss, and the initial fat-burning stages. 

While the changes might initially be subtle, they can be encouraging signs of progress!

Intermittent Fasting According to Belly Type for Maximum Fat Burning

While everyone’s body is unique, there are generally four common belly types: bloated belly, upper belly, lower belly, and all-around belly. This means that belly fat can tend to be stored in different areas of the abdomen, depending on the person.

So let’s explore how intermittent fasting can be customized for each kind to promote effective fat burning.

Bloated Belly

If you often experience bloating or water retention around your midsection, focusing on reducing inflammation can be beneficial. Consider incorporating intermittent fasting with an emphasis on anti-inflammatory foods, like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. 

Additionally, pay attention to food sensitivities and avoid triggering foods contributing to bloating, such as dairy or gluten.

Upper Belly

Combining intermittent fasting with a balanced diet and regular exercise can be effective for those who tend to carry excess weight in the upper abdominal area. Opt for nutrient-dense meals rich in fiber, lean proteins, and healthy fats during your eating windows. 

In addition, incorporating strength training exercises that target the upper body, such as planks or bicycle crunches, can also help tone and strengthen the muscles in that area.

Lower Belly

If your lower belly tends to be the problem area, intermittent fasting can be combined with strategies to stabilize blood sugar levels. Focus on consuming complex carbohydrates, fiber-rich foods, and healthy fats during your eating windows. These choices can help regulate insulin levels.

Additionally, engaging in exercises that target the lower abs, such as leg raises or reverse crunches, can help tone and tighten the area.

All-Around Belly

A comprehensive approach is critical if excess weight is distributed evenly around your midsection. Incorporate intermittent fasting alongside a well-balanced diet that includes whole foods, plenty of vegetables, lean proteins, and healthy fats. 

In addition, engage in cardiovascular exercises, strength training, and core exercises to promote overall calorie burning, heart health, and toning of the abdominal muscles.

When Does the Body Start Burning Fat During Fasting?

Regarding fasting and fat burning, it’s interesting to understand how our bodies respond to different durations of fasting. 

Typically, fat burning begins after approximately 12 hours of fasting, and it ramps up even more between 16 and 24 hours of fasting.

When we fast, our bodies tap into stored energy reserves to fuel our daily functions. Initially, the body uses glucose (sugar) from carbohydrates for energy. But once those glucose stores are depleted, it switches gears and starts breaking down fat cells to release fatty acids that can be used as a primary source of fuel.

After 12 h of fasting, the body has utilized its immediate glucose stores and relies more on fat for energy. This is when fat burning truly kicks in. As the fasting duration extends beyond 16 to 24 hours, the body’s reliance on fat for energy intensifies even further.

Note: the exact timing and extent of fat burning can vary from person to person. Individual metabolism, activity level, and overall health can influence how quickly your body transitions into a fat-burning mode during a fast. It is important to consider the total amount of calories that you are consuming throughout the day is appropriate for your goals and to pay attention to your energy levels. 

Also, read – Signs of Autophagy: Health Benefits & Symptoms

Why Am I Not Losing Weight on Intermittent Fasting?

It’s important to understand that intermittent fasting is not a “magic bullet” for weight loss. While it can work well for some people, it’s only guaranteed to provide results for some.

Many factors could be contributing to why you don’t see the desired weight loss results from intermittent fasting:

1. You’re not eating enough during your feeding windows. 

2. You consume too many “empty calories” – foods with no nutritional value, like processed snacks and sugary drinks. 

3. You’re not getting enough physical activity. 

4. You are overeating during the non-fasting periods.

5. You aren’t giving yourself adequate time off between fasts – a minimum of 12 hours for a 24-hour fast is necessary for the body to rest and reset itself.

6. You are consuming too many refined carbohydrates.

7. You’re not drinking enough water.

8. You consume too many high-calorie drinks, such as energy drinks or juices with added sugar.

9. You are not getting adequate rest – lack of sleep can lead to higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol, reducing your metabolism.

10. You may have an underlying health condition affecting your weight loss.

You may need to adjust your fasting window or modify your diet in other ways. Alternatively, look at other lifestyle factors like improving your stress and sleep patterns.

How Much Water Should You Drink a Day To Lose Belly Fat While Fast?

Water can aid in weight loss by temporarily increasing your metabolic rate since most of our metabolic processes occur in water. So by staying hydrated, you help facilitate the digestion of food, which helps your body burn more calories. So, it’s a win-win situation!

In a 12-week study with obese participants, those who drank 2-3 glasses of water before their meals lost an average of 3 more pounds than those who didn’t. It is also possible that the water helped participants increase their sensation of fullness, leading to less overeating. It’s a simple and effective strategy to support your weight loss efforts!

So, how much water should you drink? The researchers examined the impact of increasing their daily water intake to over 1 liter (34 ounces) for 12 months. The results were impressive! These women experienced an additional weight loss of around 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) compared to those who didn’t increase their water intake. 

It shows that something as simple as drinking more water can positively impact your weight loss journey!

Also, read – What Is Ketosis and How Does It Work?

Intermittent Fasting Visceral Fat – What Dietitians Have to Say

Now, let’s talk about visceral fat, a specific type of fat surrounding our organs. Unfortunately, it can be stubborn regarding weight loss, especially after prolonged periods of dieting. 

During fasting, fatty tissue releases fatty acids to the rest of the body. Repetitive fasting can make our visceral fat tissue resistant to this release of fatty acids. In addition, evidence suggests visceral fat becomes more efficient at storing energy during intermittent fasting.

This adaptation by visceral fat might be why it can resist weight loss after long periods of dieting. But don’t worry; there’s good news on how to get rid of apron belly! Exercise is a guaranteed way to tackle visceral fat and achieve a healthier body composition. By engaging in physical activity, you can lose visceral fat and gain muscle mass, which is fantastic for your overall well-being and long-term health.

Experts advise at least 20-30 min of moderate-intensity activity five days a week! 

Moderate-intensity means movement that increases your heart rate and requires more intense breathing. You have many options, like:

  • brisk walking
  • jogging
  • cycling
  • swimming
  • Gardening
  • Sports such as tennis or golf
Best Intermittent Fasting Window To Lose Belly Fat

Mommy Belly Intermittent Fasting Window For Maximum Fat Loss

When fasting, we see some changes in the body relatively quickly. However, in the short-term (22 days to 5 weeks), many studies showed insulin levels decreasing, HGH (human growth hormone) levels increasing, and cell repair happening. This help to promote muscle and tissue repair and overall bodily health.

Mommy belly intermittent fasting (MBIF) is a weight-loss plan that restricts your eating window to just 8 hours each day. This technique takes advantage of the natural circadian rhythm, or internal clock, and helps reduce fat accumulation while optimizing metabolic efficiency. The main goal of MBIF is to burn fat more quickly and efficiently than other diets while providing enough nutrition for the body’s needs.

You will only consume food between 11 am and 7 pm daily. During this time, consuming healthy meals rich in protein, carbohydrates, and fats is necessary to fuel your body. After the 8-hour window has closed, you will be fasting for the remaining 16 hours of the day.

Conclusion

In conclusion, focusing on the best window during intermittent fasting to lose belly fat can be difficult. However, if you commit to an IF plan and stick with it, your healthy belly-fat-reducing goals are easily achievable. Not only that, but all the other health benefits associated with IF will also be accessible. It may take some trial and error, but once you are able to find the best IF for your body, you will start to see results with consistent adherence. 

As is always the case regarding dieting and nutrition—consult your healthcare practitioner before starting any new food or exercise routine, especially if you are dealing with a medical condition or are generally unsure. Always better to be safe! 

Remember, regardless of your approach. Sustainable results come with the consistency of execution. 

So choose a window of time that fits into the daily lifestyle you can sustain over the long run, and watch the belly fat fade away!

Doctor of Physical Therapy, Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Alex is a health sciences writer with experience in sports performance and rehabilitation settings. His areas of expertise include health and fitness, sports nutrition, and injury prevention. He is passionate about health science education and health/wellness optimization for people of all ages.

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