By now, most of us have heard of at least some of the benefits of intermittent fasting:
- Increased levels of energy
- Improved memory and increased brain function
- Increased insulin sensitivity, which makes us crave sugar and empty carbs far less
- Easier weight loss
- Body and cellular detoxification
- Improved immunity and better heart health
However, many women who experiment with fasting don’t always experience these awesome benefits. The reason for this is linked to the more fragile nature of the female reproductive system. Women’s bodies are designed to carry and protect a potential fetus, and even if you’re not pregnant the body does not respond well to the possibility of “starvation.”
For many women, hunger and stress hormones increase. Leptin and ghrelin flood your body and bathe your brain with warning signs that you need to get some calories into your body, and QUICK! Even women who are generally quite disciplined about their diet can find themselves binging on junk food. Some women report major fluctuations or even cessation of their menstrual cycle as a result. Not good! Intermittent fasting seems to cause hormone imbalances in some women.
So, CAN Women Fast?
Absolutely, but ease in, and really stay present and true to how your body is responding! For example, instead of jumping into the most commonly practiced “daily16 hour fast,” perhaps start with a 14 hour fast. This might look like finishing dinner no later than 7pm, and then not not eating until 9am. If that feels easy to do, and you don’t experience any negative side effects, then try a 16 hour fast, where you break-FAST at 11am instead of 9am. Just remember that more is not always better when it comes to fasting, and most things in general 😉
Also! Make sure you stay hydrated during your fast with lots of water and herbal tea. If they don’t produce any negative effects, and your adrenals are in tip top shape, even coffee or black / green / or Yerba Mate tea are ok to have.
Plant Based Diet and Intermittent Fasting?
If you are a plant based eater, you’ll want to be extra vigilant that you are getting enough calories during your eating window, otherwise, you could be more likely to experience unwelcome symptoms. A great way to ensure this, is simply by eating MORE healthy fat (For more on this, read Make Friends With FAT by clicking here)
So, To Fast Or NOT To Fast?
You must know by now that I answer most questions by saying … IT DEPENDS!
To figure out if an Intermittent Fasting practice is the right practice for you, again, go SLOW. Try it out one day, and if you like how it made you feel, try it again the next day. I do IF most days, but not during the luteal phase of my menstrual cycle, fasting during that time just never feels intuitively right for me. Also, If I’m seeing a friend for lunch, I don’t worry if the time we are meeting is outside of my “eating window” … you make the rules, remember that!
There is more than one way to achieve health, weight loss, or whatever other health or body goal you have …you do YOU…and march to your own rhythm.
PERSONAL ASSESSMENTS, ONE ON ONE
Do you still have questions? Of course you do! You have questions because every body is different, and you need to figure out what works for you and what will wreak havoc on your sleep patterns, digestive system, or even your skin and hair. There are a million reasons why a ONE ON ONE Consult over Skype is the ideal way to your ideal health. I can see you, talk to you, and give you a custom plan that you can follow and check back with me about. Isn’t your health worth it?