I used to think that skipping meals was a recipe for disaster, but I quickly learned that intermittent fasting (IF) has a lot of benefits that can help you lose weight and shed body fat. IF isn’t a diet, but rather it’s a lifestyle where you eat all your meals within an eight-hour window and fast for the remaining 16 hours of the day.
I started doing IF a year ago, and that (coupled with regular exercising) helped me lose a percentage of body fat and drop two dress sizes. I was even able to gain a few pounds of muscle over the course of a few months. IF was a huge game changer for me, and more importantly, it helped me feel my very best. Here are four ways IF helped me lose body fat everywhere, especially my belly.
It Increased Growth Hormone in My Body
“IF is an excellent tool to use while trying to gain muscle and get stronger,” said clinical/sports nutritionist and personal trainer Autumn Bates, CCN, CPT. “Multiple studies show that IF helps to boost growth hormone, which assists in forming muscle.”
“What’s also unique about IF is that it boosts fat burning while maintaining (and forming new) muscle,” she continued. “I use IF with many of my athlete clients to boost performance levels while increasing muscle mass and losing fat mass.”
IF helped me gain muscle faster than ever before, which sped up my metabolism and helped me burn more fat over the long run. I couldn’t believe how quickly I was losing body fat and simultaneously gaining lean muscle. This was especially the case around my midsection. My belly fat started coming off pretty fast, and it was the best feeling, since that’s been a trouble area for me for a long time.
My Digestive Issues Disappeared, Which Helped Me Eat Better
Because I was giving my body so much time to fully digest and process all my food during my fasting window, I dealt with way less bloating and digestive issues after doing IF for even a couple weeks. This had a huge impact on my food choices.
I didn’t have to worry about feeling crappy when I ate a big meal, a salad, or beans. I was able to eat more vegetables than before, which helped me snack less and add more nutrition to my body. This led to less bloating, which helped me keep my midsection trim and lean.
I Had More Energy to Work Out Often
Because my body wasn’t spending all night digesting my food, I woke up feeling clearer, less bloated, and just more energetic in general. Once I got used to my new IF schedule, I woke up with boundless energy. My eating window is from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., which I chose because I like the feeling of going to bed with an empty stomach, and I like to eat after my morning workout.
All that new energy meant I was able to work out more often, which of course contributed to more fat loss in the long run. I enjoyed all my workouts, and none of them felt like a chore.
It Gave Me a Clearer Mind in General
When you’re fasting, you have more clarity because you’re not bogged down by too much food in your belly and all the digestion that goes along with it. I had more motivation to keep my house clean, to meal prep more often, and even to spend more time with friends. All of these lifestyle habits make a big difference when you’re trying to lose weight, so I saw the fat shedding from my body faster than before. Less anxiety and stress definitely have an impact on weight loss, and I witnessed that firsthand.