You Have Hormonal Issues
While fasting is associated with modest weight loss, more powerful is its association with reducing a number of inflammatory conditions and their metabolic markers including cholesterol, blood pressure and insulin levels. This means that if you suffer from the relatively common hormonal conditions of polycystic ovary syndrome and insulin resistance, fasting could be of particular benefit in helping to reduce your insulin levels overall, supporting weight control long term.
Susie Burrellis a leading Australian dietitian and nutritionist, founder ofShape Me, co-host ofThe Nutrition Couchpodcastand prominent media spokesperson, with regular appearances in both print and television media commenting on all areas of diet, weight loss and nutrition.
Having Healthy Fats At Breakfast Kept Me Full Through Lunch
I loved the almond smoothie from Bates’ plan, which I cut down to just a few ingredients: almond milk, almond butter, flaxseed meal, cinnamon, a frozen banana, and a scoop of plant-based protein powder . I’d often make this the night before, throw it in the freezer to take with me in the morning, and then eat it with a spoon come breakfast. I looked forward to that first spoonful every single day. The best part was that I truly felt full for the next few hours. I think this was one of my best intermittent fasting results: a fulfilling breakfast in portable-smoothie-form that I actually craved.
But Why Does Eating Less Put Our Bodies On Alert
For many years, scientists believed a womans body fat percentage regulated her reproductive system.
The idea was this: If your fat stores dipped below a certain percentagesomewhere around 11 percenthormones would get messed up and your period would stop.
Boom: no chance of pregnancy.
From an evolutionary standpoint, this made a lot of sense. For our ancestors, who didnt have access to Costco and Amazon, a low food supply would be cause for major concern.
So if you were losing body fat, your body might assume there isnt much to eat, and try to prevent reproduction.
But the situation is actually more complicated than that. Female bodies seem to go on alert even before body fat drops.
As a result, women who arent especially lean can also stop ovulating and lose their periods.
Thats why scientists now suspect that overall energy balancehow many calories youre eating versus how many youre burningmay be more important to this process than body fat percentage.
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How Long Does Intermittent Fasting Take To Work
Updated on Medically reviewed byKimberly Langdon, MD
Picture this, you are new to intermittent fasting. Each day you climb the scale, looking for a difference in your body weight, yet the figures remain relatively the same.
Now, you are probably worrying. You might be wondering if you are doing it right. Knowing how soon to expect results with intermittent fasting might help you become more patient with this diet.
So, how long does it take?
Safety And Side Effects
Hunger is the main side effect of intermittent fasting.
You may also feel weak and your brain may not perform as well as youre used to.
This may only be temporary, as it can take some time for your body to adapt to the new meal schedule.
If you have a medical condition, you should consult with your doctor before trying intermittent fasting.
This is particularly important if you:
- Have diabetes.
- Have a history of eating disorders.
- Are a woman who is trying to conceive.
- Are a woman with a history of amenorrhea.
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding.
All that being said, intermittent fasting has an outstanding safety profile. There is nothing dangerous about not eating for a while if youre healthy and well-nourished overall.
The most common side effect of intermittent fasting is hunger. People with certain medical conditions should not fast without consulting with a doctor first.
Here are answers to the most common questions about intermittent fasting.
Intermittent Fasting Can Be Hard But Maybe It Doesnt Have To Be
Initial human studies that compared fasting every other day to eating less every day showed that both worked about equally for weight loss, though people struggled with the fasting days. So, I had written off IF as no better or worse than simply eating less, only far more uncomfortable. My advice was to just stick with the sensible, , diet.
New research is suggesting that not all IF approaches are the same, and some are actually very reasonable, effective, and sustainable, especially when combined with a nutritious plant-based diet. So Im prepared to take my lumps on this one .
We have evolved to be in sync with the day/night cycle, i.e., a circadian rhythm. Our metabolism has adapted to daytime food, nighttime sleep. Nighttime eating is well associated with a higher risk of obesity, as well as .
Based on this, researchers from the University of Alabama conducted a study with a small group of obese men with prediabetes. They compared a form of intermittent fasting called “early time-restricted feeding,” where all meals were fit into an early eight-hour period of the day ,or spread out over 12 hours . Both groups maintained their weight but after five weeks, the eight-hours group had dramatically lower insulin levels and significantly improved insulin sensitivity, as well as significantly lower blood pressure. The best part? The eight-hours group also had significantly decreased appetite. They werent starving.
Will I Lose Weight
Most likely.64 If you have weight to lose, it is extremely likely that you will lose weight if you do not eat.
In theory, its possible to eat more after fasting, of course, cancelling out the weight lost. But studies generally show that most people tend to eat significantly less overall.65
I call intermittent fasting the ancient secret of weight loss because it might be one of the most powerful dietary interventions for weight loss, yet it has been mostly ignored by doctors and dietitians for a long time.66
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Intermittent Fasting And Working Out
Working out before breakfast is another way of saying that you exercise during your intermittent fasting period. An intermittent fast is the portion within the 24-hour clock that your body goes without food . The IF window begins when you consume your last bite or food or drink before bed, and ends the following day when you take your first bite of food.
To reap the most benefits, the length of your intermittent fast should be between 16 to 18 hours. For example, eat between the hours of 10:30 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.
This Is How Long It’ll Take For Intermittent Fasting To Work
When it comes to getting healthier and toning up your body, one of the most popular of the countless options out there right now is intermittent fasting . IF includes several different approaches to choose from, but most involve eating for only a short period of time during the day and/or limiting the amount of calories you consume. The results are apparent to those who’ve tried the method, but according to the experts, you need at least 10 weeks of following a few basic rules to see any changes.
Read on for more details about how best to make IF work for you, including whether the time of day you’re eating has an impact on your waistline and what other benefits you can expect from the method, aside from a lower number on the scale.
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/8you’re Not Drinking Enough Water
When you’re on an intermittent fasting diet, there is no restriction on staying hydrated. Drinking water is the key factor that keeps your energy levels high when you’re fasting. If you do not drink enough water, you may not be able to keep up with the diet plan. It may lead to fatigue, cramps, headache and more.
What Are The Benefits Of Fasting
Fasting can provide significant health benefits, for a variety of health issues, symptoms and conditions. Because fasting works to repair and heal on a cellular level, research suggests that it can help conditions like obesity, diabetes, sleep apnea, some types of cancer, Alzheimers disease, arthritis, asthma, multiple sclerosis, IBS and chronic or autoimmune conditions.
Fasting can help with the following:
- Stimulating growth hormones secretion by 1300%
- Triggering autophagy, ie. cleaning up of damaged cells
- Stem cells generation
- Normalizing ghrelin levels, aka the hunger hormone
- Reducing inflammation and lessen free radical damage
- Lowering triglyceride levels
- Boosting brain power by stimulating BDNF by 400%
- Supporting the treatment and prevention of cancer
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The Backstory On Intermittent Fasting
IF as a weight loss approach has been around in various forms for ages, but was highly popularized in 2012 by BBC broadcast journalist Dr. Michael Mosleys TV documentary Eat Fast, Live Longer and book The Fast Diet, followed by journalist Kate Harrisons book The 5:2 Diet based on her own experience, and subsequently by Dr. Jason Fungs 2016 bestseller The Obesity Code. IF generated a steady positive buzz as anecdotes of its effectiveness proliferated.
As a lifestyle-leaning research doctor, I needed to understand the science. The Obesity Code seemed the most evidence-based summary resource, and I loved it. Fung successfully combines plenty of research, his clinical experience, and sensible nutrition advice, and also addresses the socioeconomic forces conspiring to make us fat. He is very clear that we should eat more fruits and veggies, fiber, healthy protein, and fats, and avoid sugar, refined grains, processed foods, and for Gods sake, stop snacking. Check, check, check, I agree. The only part that was still questionable in my mind was the intermittent fasting part.
What To Do If Fasting Isnt For You
How can you get in shape and lose weight if you find intermittent fasting isnt a good fit?
Learn the essentials of good nutrition.
Fasting or not, you cant go wrong focusing on meal quality: Prioritize lean proteins, colorful veggies and fruits, healthy fats, quality carbohydrates. Crowd out treats, caloric beverages, and processed foods. Cook and eat whole foods. Exercise regularly. Stay consistent.
These basic fundamentals are by far the best things you can do for your health and fitness.
Sure, intermittent fasting may be popular. And maybe your brother or your boyfriend or your husband or even your dad finds it an excellent aid to fitness and health.
But women are different than men, and our bodies have different needs.
Listen to your body. And do what works best for you.
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How Your Diet And Too Much Stress Can Work Against You
When you consistently consume less energy than you expend, youre known to be in a negative energy balance.
Being in a negative energy balance is how you lose weight. So its exactly what many people try to achieve by dieting.
But when its extreme, or goes on too long in the context of other stressors, it may be to blame for the hormonal spiral we see in some women who fast.
Negative energy balance doesnt just result from eating less food.
It can also result from:
- poor nutrition
- too little rest and recovery
Heck, we can even use up energy by trying to keep warm.
Any combination of stressors could be enough to put you into excessive negative energy balance and stop ovulation. For example:
- training for a marathon and nursing a flu
- too many days in a row at the gym and not eating enough fruits and vegetables
- intermittent fasting and busting your butt to pay the mortgage
You might be thinking, Did she just reference paying the mortgage?
Psychological stress can play a role in damaging your hormonal health.
Our bodies cant tell the difference between a real threat and something imaginary generated by our thoughts and feelings.
These threats can increase our levels of the stress hormone cortisol. And cortisol? It inhibits our old friend GnRH.
Quick reminder: Disrupting GnRH creates a cascade effect that can suppress your ovaries production of estrogen and progesteronehormones that are critical for reproduction.
Thats the theory, anyway.
Who Should Get The Fasting Insulin Test
Considering that one-third of Americans have insulin resistance, we highly recommend everyone have an annual fasting insulin test. However, its especially important to have a test done if you have the following symptoms of insulin resistance.
The good news is that all Knew Health Members have access to this test through our laboratory diagnostics partner.
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Restricting Certain Nutrients Like Protein May Also Have Different Effects On Women Compared To Men
In general, women tend to eat less protein than men.13 And usually, women who fast will eat even less protein .
Thats a problem because protein provides amino acids, which are critical for the reproduction process.
If amino acids get too low, it can negatively affect both your estrogen receptors and a hormone called insulin-like growth factor .14 Both are needed to thicken the lining of the uterus during the menstrual cycle. If the uterus lining doesnt thicken, an egg cant implant, and pregnancy cant occur.
Hence, low protein-diets can reduce fertility.
A Beginners Guide To Fasting: Everything You Need To Know About Fasting
Fasting refers to the deliberate abstention from food and/or fluids for a period of time, for therapeutic purposes. Many people dont know that fasting has been used for thousands of years in various religious and spiritual practices throughout human history, and in a sense, fasting is part of everyday life. The term breakfast is the meal that breaks the fast, which is done daily.
The recent increase in scientific research around fasting has allowed us to understand just how fasting positively affects our physiology, cells, aging, disease and overall health. What has been incredible for me to watch in my own clinic and coaching is how many people, regardless of symptoms or condition, have benefited from this completely free and simple biohack!
In 2016 Dr. Ohsumi changed the fasting landscape dramatically when he won a Nobel prize for his work on autophagy. Autophagy means self-eating and is the bodys way of cleaning out damaged cells in order to regenerate newer, healthier cells. Autophagy is like the fast track to healing and slowing the aging process. What does autophagy have to do with fasting? Well, fasting triggers this magical autophagy process. Essentially, fasting helps accelerate healing and gets your body to naturally repair itself!
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Sprint Training And Intermittent Fasting
Sprint training or high intensity interval training involves intervals of intense activity combined with rest for about 15-30 minutes. Not only is sprint training time very efficient, but studies show that it provides health benefits that you cannot get from aerobic exercise alone, such as the tremendous boost of human growth hormone . Some of the benefits of sprint training include increased strength and stamina in the muscles and brain, increased growth hormone, improved body composition, increased brain function, higher testosterone levels, and less depression. Sprint training with intermittent fasting increase all these benefits. Sprint training is the ideal exercise method to incorporate into your fasted period, and to increase the benefits even more, you can continue to fast two to three hours post-workout.
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.
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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.
/5factors That May Impact The Resultgetty
10 weeks is an ideal time to shed a minimum 3 kilos when following intermittent fasting dedicatedly. But the result may differ from person to person depending on their metabolism. Weight loss is a time taking process and hence it takes time to show results. So, if you are losing weight rapidly when following any kind of diet then it is an indication that you are doing something wrong. You should immediately re-evaluate your calorie intake.
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When To Stop Intermittent Fasting
If youre feeling obsessive, unhinged, and consistently lethargic, ease off.
Stop intermittent fasting if:
- your heart starts going pitter-patter in a weird way
- your interest in romance fizzles (and your lady parts stop appreciating it when it happens
- your digestion slows down noticeably
- you always seem to feel cold
Add some snacks, and/or shrink your nightly fasting time to 12 hours or less.
Dont get caught up in doing it right. As weve seen from coaching over 100,000 clients, there are many ways to transform bodies, and none of those methods require you to be perfect.
(To learn why, read: Nearly 1 million data points shows what it REALLY takes to lose weight and get healthy.