INTERMITTENT FASTING FOR WOMEN: HEALTHY OR HYPE?I’ve just googled up intermittent fasting, and I got 23.9M results. We can officially call it hip! Now the question is – can such a hip thing also be healthy for you or is it just another hype? And, do women get the same health benefits as men? Fasting is not new. Our ancestors did it all the time - not by choice and when hunting was not that great! - and it’s a common practice across many religions and cultures. Studies suggest incredible health benefits. However, most of those studies have been done on men or shown mixed results for women. Good enough reason for me to bring more clarity to the pros and cons, and a few pointers to make your experiment a success.
Let’s start with the basics. Intermittent fasting is an eating schedule, not a diet, and it involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting.
The prosIntermittent fasting has the ability if done correctly, to burn fat quickly, make you feel mentally sharper and physically lighter, and end chronic bloating and constipation. It’s also known for slowing the aging process and helping prevent and reverse many types of chronic diseases including cancer. A significant number of patients who have gone through chemotherapy have credited much of their success story to fasting. Digesting requires an incredible amount of energy. It makes sense that giving your body a break allows it to focus on other vital tasks such as cell and tissue regeneration and brain health.
The consWe, women, need to be a little more careful than men when attempting to give fasting a try. Studies suggest it could have a negative impact on our hormones when not done well. It’s also not recommended if you’re going through pregnancy, are breastfeeding or experiencing hormonal imbalances.
All things considered, each body is different.Many of my clients have greatly benefited from it because we have adapted it to their body type, situation, and lifestyle. And it truly works for me because I built my own version of it. READ: SETTING INTENTIONS AFTER A GREAT SUMMER
These are my 3 recommended steps to make your intermittent fasting a success.
1. Ask yourself why you want to do it.It could be that a friend of yours is doing it, she/he can’t stop ranting about it, and you want to give it a try. Fair enough! Are you looking to have more energy, get your sugar cravings under control or simply sleep better by not eating too late at night? Or is it that you’re constantly constipated or bloated and want to give your belly a break from digesting? Whatever reason you have, intermittent fasting could help. You just have to do it right and according to your goals and lifestyle. What I like about it is that it is simple, free, works with every diet, effective, and allows you to indulge occasionally.
2. Don’t do it if….You’re pregnant, are breastfeeding, or have infertility issues. You are experiencing hormonal imbalances such as thyroid disorder, adrenal fatigue, or menopause-like symptoms. You suffer from type 2 diabetes, eating disorders or are on the low end of the BMI scale.
3. Start small and build up.There is no one-size-fits-all way of fasting. Some people thrive on the 16/8 method - fasting for 16 hours and eating (or "feasting") for 8. Others love the 5:2 approach – eating regular meals 5 days per week and consuming only 500-600 calories per day 2 days a week. Some take a total break from food when they fast, and others "indulge" in coffee, green tea, bone broth, and fiber. The sky is the limit. The method I like the most for women, and not to upset their hormones as much, is the Crescendo fasting. You eat for 8-12 hours and fast 12-16. You can start 3 days a week and make it a daily habit if you feel good. Tips to make it even more effective:
- Eat healthy and whole foods every day and don’t overcompensate for lost calories during the eating periods.
- Hydrate well – water is best, but bone broth, unsweetened coconut water, and herbal teas can also help make your experience more enjoyable.
- Do lower intensity type of workouts on the days you’re fasting. READ: EATING RIGHT PRE AND POST WORKOUTS
- Taking magnesium can help accelerate the detoxifying process.
- Don’t start when you’re traveling or cannot follow your usual routine.