The Secret to Intermittent Fasting for Women
Chances are if you’re fitness and health savvy, you must have heard of intermittent fasting and its benefits for fat loss and overall health. But did you recognize that that, if you’re a female , fasting could lead to imbalance of hormones and could lead to fertility issues if not done properly ?
Here in this article ,we shall discuss the most effective ways for females to relish the positive aspects of intermittent fasting without putting their health at risk.
Why Intermittent Fasting ?
An intermittent fast is a brief fast - in which , you don’t eat anything except water (a few exceptions apply) for 12 to 16 hrs or more,
And while that may sound incredibly tough to achieve, you might already be fasting without knowing it if you eat your dinner, say at 7 p.m. and break your fast between 7 to 10 am in the morning — and if you simply drink water and tea or black coffee in between.
For others of us who’ve been trained to eat 6 times a day to “keep our metabolism up,” it can be exhausting and seemingly contradictory feat to go twelve + hrs on water alone.
But science actually backs this ancient practice.
Medical studies have demonstrate that intermittent fasting:
- Enhances energy.
- Improves Brain function , memory and clear-thinking. Ref.1 .
- Prepare or Makes us less insulin resistant, staving off fat and insulin related diseases by reducing levels of circulating IGF-1 and increasing insulin sensitivity without lowering the resting metabolic rate. Ref. 2
- May boost immunity, lower diabetes risk, and improve cardiac health. Ref.3
- Enhances production of brain neuro - tropic growth factor — a protein that promotes neuron growth & protection — making us more resilient to neurological stress and thus staving off neuro degenerative diseases Ref.4
The Connection between Hormones and Fasting .
To put it merely , intermittent fasting can cause imbalance of hormones in females if it’s not done Properly . Ref.5
Females are extremely sensitive to signals of starvation, and if the body senses that it’s being starved, it will ramp up production of the hunger hormones ghrelin & leptin. So when females experience insatiable hunger after under-eating, they are actually experiencing the increased production of these hormones.
It’s the female body’s manner of protecting a potential fetus — even when a female is not pregnant.
Although, many Females ignore these hunger cues causing the signals to get even louder. Or, worse, we try to neglect them, then fail and binge later, then follow that up with under-eating and starvation again.
And assume what ? That vicious cycle can throw your hormones out of whack and even halt biological process of ovulation.
According to animal studies, after 2 weeks of intermittent fasting, female rats stopped having menstrual cycles and their ovaries shrunk while experiencing more insomnia than their male counterparts (though the male rats did experience lower testosterone production). Ref 6
Unfortunately, there are very few human studies looking at the differences between intermittent fasting for men and women, but the animal studies confirm our suspicion: Intermittent fasting for long periods of time can sometimes throw off a woman’s hormonal balance, cause fertility problems and exacerbate eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia and binge eating disorder.
But there is Solution ...
Crescendo Fasting for Females
Intermittent fasting for females can be onerous on your body if you are new to it or if you jump in too quickly. So if you are a woman or attempting fast for the 1st time, you might benefit from modified — or crescendo — intermittent fasting.
Crescendo fasting solely needs you to fast a few days a week rather than every day. Females get a lot more benefit from doing it this way without accidentally throwing their hormones into frenzy. This is a more pleasant way that helps the body more easily adapt to fasting. And if women do it right, it can be an amazing way to shave off body fat, improve inflammatory markers and gain energy. Ref. 7
Not all females requires crescendo fasting, but it will ensure success in most.
Rules of Crescendo Fasting for females :
- Fast on 2–3 nonconsecutive days per week (e.g. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday)
- On fasting days, do light cardio or Yoga .
- Ideally, fast for 12–16 hours.
- Eat normally on your strength training / HIIT (High intensity interval training ) workouts intense exercise days.
- Drink plenty of water. ( Black coffee and Tea are okay, too, as long as there is no added milk or sweetener)
- After 2 weeks, feel free to add one more day of fasting.
- Optional: Consider taking 5 to g of Branched Chain Amino Acids during your fast. BCAA supplement has few calories but provides fuel to your muscles.This can take the edge off hunger and fatigue.
Especially if you are a Women and have failed at intermittent fasting before, try this crescendo style for a better, more sustainable experience.References :