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Does Intermittent Fasting Work For Women

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Fast For 12 Hours A Day

Does Intermittent Fasting Work For Women?

The rules for this diet are simple. A person needs to decide on and adhere to a 12-hour fasting window every day.

According to some researchers, fasting for 1016 hours can cause the body to turn its fat stores into energy, which releases ketones into the bloodstream. This should encourage weight loss.

This type of intermittent fasting plan may be a good option for beginners. This is because the fasting window is relatively small, much of the fasting occurs during sleep, and the person can consume the same number of calories each day.

The easiest way to do the 12-hour fast is to include the period of sleep in the fasting window.

For example, a person could choose to fast between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. They would need to finish their dinner before 7 p.m. and wait until 7 a.m. to eat breakfast but would be asleep for much of the time in between.

The Secret To Intermittent Fasting For Women

By Amy Shah, MD

May 22, 2016

Chances are if you are health and fitness savvy, youve heard of intermittent fasting and its benefits for fat loss and overall health.

But did you know that, if youre a woman, fasting could lead to hormonal imbalance and could lead to fertility issues if not done properly? Here, well discuss the best ways for women to enjoy the positive aspects of intermittent fasting without putting their health at risk.

Is Intermittent Fasting Healthy

Is intermittent fasting safe? Remember that youre only supposed to fast for 12 to 16 hours and not for days at a time. Youve still got plenty of time to enjoy a satisfying and healthy diet. Of course, some older women may need to eat frequently because of metabolic disorders or instructions on prescriptions. In that case, you should discuss your eating habits with your medical provider before making any changes.

While its not technically fasting, some doctors have reported intermittent fasting benefits by allowing such easy-to-digest food as whole fruit during the fasting window. Modifications like these can still give your digestive and metabolic system a needed rest. For example, Fit for Life was a popular weight loss book that suggested eating only fruit after supper and before lunch.

In fact, the authors of this book said that they had patients who only changed their eating habits with this 12- to 16-hour fruit fast each day. They did not follow the diets other rules or count calories, and they still lost weight and got healthier. This strategy might have simply worked because the dieters replaced junk food with whole foods. In any case, people found this dietary change effective and easy to make. Traditionalists wont call this fasting however, its important to know that you may have options if you absolutely cant abstain from food for several hours at a time.

Also Check: What Hours Are Best For Intermittent Fasting

Intermittent Fasting While Breastfeeding

If youve had a baby and decided to breastfeed, you already know this is a demanding time for your body: You might still be recovering from childbirth, youre probably sleep deprived, and your whole life has been flipped around. Plus, that cute little human you made is now treating you like an all-you-can-drink buffet.

During this time, your body needs extra nurturing, extra nutrients, and less stress. For these reasons, intermittent fasting is likely not a good protocol for breastfeeding women.

Many moms are concerned about losing the baby weight, and may feel pressured and impatient to get their pre-baby body back. Women can still lose weight during this time, but more moderate approaches are safer and will likely yield better long term results.

For safe, sustainable weight loss, try a combination of moderate exercise , and portion management. We made a nifty little calculator to help you with those goals: The Precision Nutrition Calculator.

Womens Wellness: Should Women Do Intermittent Fasting

Does Intermittent Fasting Work For Women?

Intermittent fasting is quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to lose weight and improve overall womens wellness. Its no wonder: fasting really works well and produces amazing results for a lot of people. The benefits go beyond weight loss, too: fasting can lower inflammation, slow down aging, and give you a stronger brain.

The other nice thing about intermittent fasting is that its wonderfully simple: in a nutshell, you just without food for 12-18 hours a day, and then eat all your meals in the remaining hours.

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How Intermittent Fasting Can Help With Weight Loss During Menopause

Get back to you again.

After menopause, you may have noticed that theres not only more weight piling on, but that its even harder to get rid of. The reason is that as time goes along, hormonal shifts that come with the change can slow down your metabolism, causing pounds to stick. Luckily, research shows that intermittent fasting can help.

Youve probably already heard of eating styles like the 16:8 or the 5:2 diet, which all involve intermittent fasting. With these eating plans, youre encouraged to consume all of your calories during a certain window of time and abstain from eating for the other portion of time. For example, the 16:8 diet requires you to consume food during an eight-hour window of the day, while fasting for 16 hours. The 5:2 diet is a little different, in that you consume a normal amount of calories for five days during the week, while fasting and consuming only between five and six hundred calories for the other two days of the week.

Research shows that restricting your eating time can have several benefits for your health. For one, its shown to improve your metabolism and help with weight loss. Research also shows that intermittent fasting can lower your LDL bad cholesterol while improving good cholesterol, and also lower your blood sugar levels. Some studies have also found that intermittent fasting may lower levels of inflammation, which is a major cause of many chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.

How To Start Intermittent Fasting

There are many intermittent fasting protocols to choose from, but you can start IF in a simple way! My best tip? Stretch your breakfast longer and longer until your body adapts to the change!

Today I follow the 16/8 Protocol. Its the easiest and most convenient for me. This type of IF has a 16-hour fasting window and an 8-hour eating window.

In my eating window, I fit in 2 to 3 meals. When fasting, water, tea and black coffee are fine. My day usually starts with lemon water and a healthy and scrumptious salad at lunch. I might have green smoothies, some nuts, avocado, celery sticks or hummus in the afternoon. My last meal is at 7 p.m. I fast for about 16 to 17 hours every day, and I dont even know it because Im sleeping most of the time! Easy, right?

I also have tips that I follow to make intermittent fasting more effective and easier! Here are some of them:

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So Is Intermittent Fasting Bad For Women

Well, not necessarily.

But certainly, fasting is not for everyone.

And the truth is, some women shouldnt even bother experimenting. Dont try intermittent fasting if:

  • youre pregnant
  • you have a history of disordered eating
  • youre chronically stressed
  • you dont sleepwell
  • youre new to diet and exercise

Pregnant women have extra energy needs. So if youre starting a family, intermittent fasting isnt a good idea.

Ditto if youre under chronic stress or if you arent sleeping well. Your body needs nurturing, not additional stress.

And if youve struggled with disordered eating in the past , you probably recognize that a fasting protocol could lead you down a path that might create further problems for you.

What Is Intermittent Fasting 1: 10

Does Intermittent Fasting Really Work for Todays Aging Woman

14:10 is a type of intermittent fasting.

Unlike the popular 16:8 method, it has a new ratio of fasting and feeding periods. Intermittent fasting 14:10 has an eating window of 10 hours and fasting window of 14 hours.

One common approach to doing this is to eat normally in the hours between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. The period between 7 p.m. and 9 a.m. the next day is the fasting window.

During the feeding period, you can eat your usual meals and snacks. Likewise, during the fasting window, you are not allowed to eat any calories. However, you can drink water and unsweetened coffee or green tea.

Also Check: Can I Lose Weight With Just Intermittent Fasting

Recommended Foods And Tips

While the 16:8 intermittent fasting plan does not specify which foods to eat and avoid, it is beneficial to focus on healthful eating and to limit or avoid junk foods. The consumption of too much unhealthful food may cause weight gain and contribute to disease.

A balanced diet focuses primarily on:

  • fruits and vegetables, which can be fresh, frozen, or canned
  • whole grains, including quinoa, brown rice, oats, and barley
  • lean protein sources, such as poultry, fish, beans, lentils, tofu, nuts, seeds, low fat cottage cheese, and eggs
  • healthful fats from fatty fish, olives, olive oil, coconuts, avocados, nuts, and seeds

Fruits, vegetables, and whole grains are high in fiber, so they can help keep a person feeling full and satisfied. Healthful fats and proteins can also contribute to satiety.

Beverages can play a role in satiety for those following the 16:8 intermittent fasting diet. Drinking water regularly throughout the day can help reduce calorie intake because people often mistake thirst for hunger.

The 16:8 diet plan permits the consumption of calorie-free drinks such as water and unsweetened tea and coffee during the 16-hour fasting window. It is important to consume fluids regularly to avoid dehydration.

Is Intermittent Fasting The Best Fat

In any case, IF appears to work mostly because people find it fairly easy to adhere to. They say it helps them naturally limit calories and make better food choices by reducing eating windows. Some studies suggest that IF is better than only cutting calories, carbs, or fat because it appears to promote fat loss while sparing lean muscle mass.

Of course, most people use IF with another weight-loss plan. For instance, you might decide to eat 1,200 calories a day to lose weight. You may find it much easier to spread out 1,200 calories within 2 meals and 2 snacks than in 3 meals and 3 snacks. If youve struggled with weight loss because your diet either didnt work or was simply too hard to stick to, you might try intermittent fasting for quicker results.

In Prime Womens recently launched PLATE an intermittent fasting program, Dr. Kathryn Waldrep recommends eating within an eight-hour window and choosing that time frame based on your bodys circadian rhythms. Early risers might eat between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Night owls would eat their first meal at noon and finish their last meal at 8:00 in the evening. As more and more research has been done around IF and circadian rhythms, there seems to be credible evidence on the soundness of this approach to eating for weight management.

Want to give intermittent fasting a try? Take a look at Prime Womens PLATE program. Now available in an app on Apple or Android with reminders to keep you on track.

Also Check: How Many Hours Should You Fast For Intermittent Fasting

Losing Weight While Pregnant

If youre pregnant, nows not the time to begin a weight loss protocol. Excessive weight gain or loss can cause adverse outcomes for your pregnancy.

If youre pregnant and at a healthy weight, you need to increase your daily calories by 300-500 during your second and third trimesters. A weight gain of 10-40 pounds is healthy, depending upon your starting weight and body fat percentage. If you havent done intermittent fasting before, pregnancy is not the best time to experiment. There hasnt been enough research done on pregnant women, so researchers dont know if its healthy. The best way to manage your pregnancy weight is to eat healthily and exercise.

Are There Any Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting For Women

Intermittent Fasting (IFing) Pros and Cons for Women ...

Based on what we know, intermittent fasting probably affects reproductive health if the body sees it as a significant stressor.

Anything that affects your reproductive health affects your overall health and fitness.

Even if you dont plan to have biological kids.

But intermittent fasting protocols vary, with some being much more extreme than others. And factors such as your age, your nutritional status, the length of time you fast, and the other stressors in your lifeincluding exerciseare also likely relevant.

And, as we mentioned in the research update box above, there may be some support for trying intermittent fasting in women who have PCOS.

But for most women, intermittent fasting is probably not the best approach.

Read Also: Can Fasting Help You Lose Weight

Women May Be More Sensitive To Changes In Nutrient Balance Than Men

Men and women seem to respond differently when fasting or significantly restricting calories. This may be due to kisspeptin, a protein-like molecule thats essential in the reproductive process.

Kisspeptin stimulates GnRH production in both sexes, and we know its very sensitive to leptin, insulin, and ghrelinhormones that regulate and react to feelings of hunger and fullness.9 10

Interestingly, females have more kisspeptin than males. More kisspeptin may mean that womens bodies are more sensitive to changes in energy balance.11

Compared to men, fasting more readily causes womens kisspeptin production to dip. When kisspeptin drops, it tosses GnRH off kilter12, which upsets the whole monthly hormonal cycle.

Intermittent Fasting And Ovulation

If youre trying to conceive, intermittent fasting could make things difficult.

Fasting can inhibit ovulation. If you arent ovulating, no egg gets released. If no egg gets released, it cant be fertilized.

Some women may have been told by doctors or other health professionals to lose weight before becoming pregnant. Many women, when considering pregnancy, start to think about their health more seriously and consider weight loss as a step in this direction.

Whatever the reason for considering intermittent fasting, know this: For hormonal harmony, for most women, intermittent fasting is not the best weight lossprotocol to consider.

Most women in the reproductive phase of life do best with moderate, sustainable good nutrition habits.

Unless a womans getting paid to look or perform a certain way , compromising fertility and hormonal balance may not be worth it.

Read Also: How To Lose Weight By Intermittent Fasting

What Are The Potential Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting

Althoughmany people approach intermittent fasting as a way to lose weight, thats not necessarily the main reason to try it.

The goal of timed restricted eating is not to cut calories its to minimize how were getting those calories across the day, Back says. But again, what’s the benefit of doing this? Well, it comes down to humans’ history of becoming more adaptive to stressful environments. If we stress ourselves then we can better adapt to stresses, and biomarkers of inflammation seem to decrease. So if were not constantly feeding, you can think of it as stimulating the mitochondria of our cells, they dont have to work as hard so they last longer, so our bodies are able to adapt, Bach says. In other words, intentionally stressing our bodies can lead them to be more adaptive to stressful environments, and could potentially help with cell longevity.

There are also potential health benefits that go beyond fasting. What I find when people do intermittent fasting, is that a lot of times people pay more attention to their meals, Bach says based on her own observations of clients who have wanted to try the diet. Theyre looking at nutrition information more, so theres a trickle down effect to other health habits.”

Will Intermittent Fasting Break Your Metabolism

Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 60 – Thumbs Up!

One of the biggest objections to the concept of IF is the idea that people should eat frequently to boost their metabolism. But there are a couple problems with that theory.

Problem #1: The metabolism-boosting effects of frequent eating are overrated, especially for losing fat, research suggests.

A number of years ago, some nutrition experts thought frequent meals would help folks boost metabolism through something called the thermic effect of food .

TEF is the energy used to digest, absorb, and utilize the nutrients from your food. The theory was that by eating more often, you were stimulating TEF more often.

Weve since learned, however, that the number of meals doesnt matter. TEF is stimulated equally whether you eat three 600 Calorie meals of six 300 Calorie meals.1,2,3

Problem #2: Theres a difference between fasting and starving.

Check out the definitions below.

  • Fasting: Going without food long enough to trigger the body to dip into stored energy.
  • Starving: A state of extreme nutrient and energy deprivation that can potentially kill us.

The difference between the two one of the key reasons IF probably wont mess with your metabolism.

Of course, you want to fast long enough to see benefits, but not so long that your body and brain start to think youre in trouble.

Fasting twice a week or every other day? It can work for some peoplebut creates problems for others. .

Read Also: Do’s And Don Ts Of Intermittent Fasting

How To Get Started

Getting started is simple.

In fact, chances are youve already done many intermittent fasts before. Many people instinctively eat this way, skipping morning or evening meals.

The easiest way to get started is to choose one of the intermittent fasting methods above and give it a go.

However, you dont need to necessarily follow a structured plan.

An alternative is to fast whenever it suits you. Skipping meals from time to time when you dont feel hungry or dont have time to cook can work for some people.

At the end of the day, it doesnt matter which type of fast you choose. The most important thing is to find a method that works best for you and your lifestyle.


The easy way to get started is to choose one of the methods above and give it a go. Stop immediately if you experience any adverse effects.

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