Intermittent Fasting is a fantastic tool to help your body tap into fat burning mechanisms. But if used incorrectly by not considering your meals, rest and exercise as well, then any benefits gained from the fasting period can be lost.
Today, I'm breaking down the 3 major steps to consider when incorporating Intermittent Fasting in order to tap into fat burning mechanisms and reduce belly fat.
Step 1: Incorporate your fasting window
This is probably the most obvious step, but something that may be a little more complex than you initially would consider. First of all, the fasting period is crucial to Intermittent Fasting because it allows time for your body to naturally reduce its insulin levels. Insulin is the storing hormone. When insulin is high, fat burning (or the process called "lipolysis") is shut off. When insulin is allowed to naturally dip back down when you aren't eating, this triggers lipolysis to turn on and therefore allows your body to start using your own fuel sources stored in fat tissues.
When choosing your window, it's important to choose a time that works best for your schedule. Not everyone's window will be the same and not everyone's length of fasting will be the same either. A good rule of thumb is to start at a 12 hour fast if you're brand new and work your way up to a 16 hour fast as your body gets more "fat adaptive" and metabolically flexible. When choosing the timing of your eating window, I typically recommend starting off at your normal dinner time and counting backwards from here. Dinner is usually the most "fixed" meal of the day and therefore it makes the most sense to adjust your fasting/eating windows around your dinner time.
You can find the step-by-step details for adjusting your eating window to your lifestyle and goals with the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle.
Pssst - wondering what type of fasting is best for your goals? Click below for my free Intermittent Fasting Schedule quiz to find out!
Step 2: Create meals focused on lower insulin response
One of the main fat burning perks of Intermittent Fasting can be attributed to the decreased insulin response by eating less frequently and incorporating a fasting period. Another way to amplify and build upon these results is by creating and eating meals that focus on achieving a similar outcome.
The foods that have the highest secretion of insulin (and therefore the strongest effect on shutting off fat burning mechanisms) are those that contain sugar, high amounts of starches and processed/refined grains. The foods that have the lowest impact on insulin are high quality fats, high fiber fruits and veggies and proteins.
Creating meals like my Chia Brekky Bowl, Blueberry Hemp Smoothie, Curry Egg Salad Wrap and Cauli Rice Burrito Bowl that focus on these components help to reduce the foods that spike insulin while maximizing those that promote satiety and reduce sugar cravings.
Step 3: Optimize your sleep/stress/workout schedule
If losing belly fat is your main goal, improving your sleep and cortisol (stress hormone) balance is CRUCIAL to getting there. It turns out that higher levels of cortisol are linked to weight gain specifically around the belly.(1) Some of the biggest offenders to excessively high cortisol are poor quality sleep, high amounts of emotional stress AND an improperly developed workout schedule. You can check out my video above for how to balance each of these factors and help your body naturally tap into fat burning mechanisms.
Tap into fat burning mechanisms with Intermittent Fasting and Nutrient Timing in the Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle! Get the step-by-step deets on how to use Intermittent Fasting and satiating recipes to achieve your wellness DREAMS!
Head over HERE to get started!
Autumn Elle Nutrition