Six things women need to know before intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting (aka IFing) can be a great tool to lower insulin, improve insulin resistance, feel good, and lose weight. It can also be detrimental to the female metabolism!

I see most women want to intermittent fast because of these reasons:

  • weight loss
  • convenience (hard to eat breakfast because of get up and go morning schedule)
  • they hate breakfast
  • nauseated in the morning (can’t eat breakfast)
  • “I want to lose 5 lbs”

Some of these are valid reasons, but if you are nauseated in the morning and therefore can’t stomach food in the morning, you most likely have an underlying issue, including possible decreased stomach acid, imbalance in cortisol levels, or hypoglycemia.

The main medical indications I use for initiating intermittent fasting in women are:

  • obesity
  • weight loss
  • insulin resistance
  • metabolic syndrome
    1. when your metabolism is “sick”
      1. abdominal obesity
      2. high triglycerides
      3. low HDL
      4. high blood sugar
      5. elevated insulin
      6. high leptin levels (the “I’M FULL” hormone)
  • hypertension
  • elevated CRP
  • PCOS
  • NASH aka “fatty liver”

Now that we know why women commonly wish to intermittent fast, and now what the medical implications are… Let’s talk about my 6 rules for intermittent fasting.

 

RULE #1 – FOR MOST WOMEN… intermittent fasting should be a tool and NOT A RULE

  • Best used for a short period of time BECAUSE THE ENDOCRINE SYSTEM IS SENSITIVE
    1. your endocrine system includes your ovarian hormones, adrenal hormones, and thyroid hormones
    2. the function of each organ affects the others
    3. imbalance in one affects the others
  • IFing is best done under medical supervision
    1. labs before diet initiation
    2. labs during the time frame the person is intermittent fasting
    3. check for discrepancies or signs that body systems aren’t handing it well –> adrenals + thyroid + hormones
  • WHY do I recommend we monitor people closely? Well, the first thing is… you want results right? In the smallest time frame? So we monitor. Also women are sensitive to changes in macro nutrient levels –
    1. Women are designed to create babies – regardless of your fertility goals now or in the future – this is what drives our physiology anything that endangers our bodies ability to reproduce can change our health

 

RULE #2 – Nutrient-rich diet must be the backbone

  • I recommend intermittent fasting only for people who are eating a nutrient dense diet to start with
  • WHY – Because failure to get in basic nutrients is a HUGE problem
    1. most diets do not provide enough nutrients as baseline, then we take out one meal out of the day, and the body may suffer
  • You also CANNOT skimp on protein or fat when you intermittent fast

 

RULE #3 – Timing is everything

  • Intermittent fasting often is all about “Establishing your feeding window” which is the period of time you eat each day
  • For most women it’s about getting the WINDOW just right – too long is too restrictive – too short and you won’t get the insulin sensitizing benefit
  • Common ratios are as follows:
    1. 12 fasting / 12 eating – usually an overnight fast
    2. 14 fasting / 10 eating – usually pushing back breakfast
    3. 16 fasting / 8 eating – usually skipping breakfast and going to lunch
    4. 18 fasting / 6 eating – usually skipping breakfast and lunch; having a heavy snack and a large dinner
  • Some people use tools to extend their fasting window easily
    1. coffee- black
    2. bulletproof coffee or variation
    3. green tea + fat
    4. light snack that’s fatty, doesn’t cause any release of insulin, and is small

 

RULE #4 – Fruit isn’t that good for you

  • Ok that was a stretch, but people OFTEN overeat fruit
  • I believe you should eat maybe 1-2 pieces of fruit per day – and never alone, always with some protein and fat (or with a meal)
  • Fruit contains fructose, which is a natural fruit sugar, but fructose requires a lot of LIVER power to be metabolized, which means high levels of fructose in the diet = liver overload
  • Also fructose is preferentially metabolised to fats in the liver = FATTY LIVER = BAD
  • So watch your smoothies, stop drinking juice, get rid of soda and anything with HFCS, stop agave, limit honey, avoid dried fruit

 

RULE #5 – Not all carbs are bad!

  • Timing of carbs and portions of carbs MATTER
  • Low carb isn’t always the answer, because like intermittent fasting it’s cutting out a large group of nutrients which can be percieved as stressful on the body
  • For women – time carbs at night to help sleep initation, and help progesterone; keep carbs low in the morning
  • Time carbs within 2 hours of working out – so your body can refuel with the glucose in the carbs, and turn less glucose into fat storage

 

RULE #6 – Electrolytes are easily depleted in states that mimic fasting or are true fasting states – which IFing is, so you need to replenish.

  • Electrolytes can help with “carb flu,” workout recovery, insulin resistance, adrenal dysfunction
  • The adrenals are one system that can be thrown off or more easily depleted with intermittent fasting, and electrolytes help keep them nourished

 

For more in-depth explations – please see my hour long YouTube Video “Intermittent fasting for women – 6 things you need to know before starting”

 

This blog or the video does not constitute medical advice, and you should always ask the qualified health care practioner who oversees your health FIRST before implementing any treatment or lifestyle change.

Published by

drmegnd

I help women of all ages figure out what the heck is going with their hormones, and more!

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