When a friend of mine told me about intermittent fasting benefits (IF), I never for a second thought it would be something I would be interested in doing.
However, after spending many hours reading up on the benefits, I soon changed my mind.
This is definitely something you need to try for yourself. If you have spent your life dieting, then maybe it could be the best diet for weight loss you have ever tried.
You don’t have to worry about calorie counting. Or any of the stresses that go along with watching what you eat all day every day.
Intermittent fasting isn’t a weight loss diet as such, although you will lose weight. It is changing a lifetime of eating patterns.
You can still eat what you want, as long as it’s healthy of course, followed by a window of not eating.
Basically, you have an 8 to 10-hour window of eating one, two or three meals, followed anywhere from 12 to 18 hours of fasting. During the fasting time, your body is burning fat.
Although there are many versions of this diet for weight loss (1).
Most of us are already doing it, say you have your last meal of the day around 7 pm and don’t eat again until the next day around 9 am. That’s 14 hours of fasting.
I read many articles on the subject and the one thing that struck me was, most of the intermittent fasting benefits seemed great for men. Lean bodies, more muscle mass, more energy, and feeling stronger.
And everything else I read on the subject when it came to women and IF was pretty much divided between good for you and bad for you.
If you ever feel like being confused, google benefits of intermittent fasting for women.
And notice how your brain begins to fog as you sift through the myriad of information. Your emotions, range from excitement, to rattled, exasperated, bewildered, back to encouraged and excited again. A bit like you felt when you were a teenager and first fell in love!
Therefore I have concluded it is a personal journey for each of us. What I experience through any particular diet or fasting programme does not mean it will be the same for you.
When it comes to fasting the word alone can incite an unpleasant feeling. Let me assure you, this is one time where fasting can be a pleasurable experience.
We are so used to being able to reach out and grab something to eat when we want, we have no idea what it is like to go without.
Many of us don’t know how our bodies will react when we do not eat as much.
Time to delve into the world of intermittent fasting benefits (IF) and the pros and cons for a woman.
Intermittent Fasting Benefits For Women
Don’t get down on yourself if you try IF and feel worse for it. Desperation for wanting to lose weight can lead us to try many different diets, and there will be one that does not suit you.
Some women have complained of dry skin, missed periods, and the early onset of menopause.
Perhaps they jumped in too quick too soon? Maybe they were not eating enough healthy, nutrient, dense foods before the period of fasting? Or, eating too much junk food?
And I don’t know if they were eating 3, 2, or 1 meal a day. I think one meal a day is probably going to the extreme and I certainly would never recommend it or try it myself.
If not done properly, you may experience hormonal problems (4).
Intermittent fasting benefits may work for you, if you use the eating time, to eat well, and not use this time to do calorie counting.
Otherwise, you are limiting the number of calories and nutrients your body needs to see you through the fasting time.
All the food groups are important when it comes to intermittent fasting.
If you are used to snacking throughout the day, eating more than 3 meals, perhaps you like to follow the eat every 2 hours rule you may struggle at first.
It is wise to cut back slowly and limit your fasting time to 12 hours, most of these hours will be while you are asleep. Therefore, you won’t notice the time drag on.
This type of eating is probably best if you do short fasts every now and then. Dr Axe has designed a fasting programme called ‘Crescendo Intermittent Fasting For Women’ (4).
You intermittent fast on alternate days, such as Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and the other days you eat normally. This way you can slowly increase the days of fasting.
When Not To Do Intermittent Fasting
First of all, if you are diabetic, have a history of an eating disorder, (anorexia/bulimia), clinically depressed, have low blood pressure or some other health concern, stress or anxiety.
This fasting diet for weight loss is probably not for you.
If you are battling a weight problem, maybe you should speak to your physician first. If not, and you still feel this is something you want to try, perhaps follow Dr Axe, crescendo intermittent fasting benefits as mentioned above.
On the other side of the coin, if you are healthy, regard yourself as pretty strong-minded, don’t have a problem with food, you are good to go.
There is some suggestion when women try this style of eating, they can develop eating problems. Like I said, strong mind and body, otherwise don’t bother.
I wouldn’t recommend IF to very young women of reproductive age or if you are already pregnant.
There is no scientific research to back up that statement, other than the fact if you don’t do it properly, you will cause disruption to the hormones.
And if you are pregnant, you are eating for two now. Any weight you put on, you can look at losing after the birth.
Studies on female rats found IF interfered with their reproduction capability (5).
Other problems some women have experienced doing IF, is sleeplessness, and anxiety (6).
Once againg, I put this down to restricting calories at the same time as intermittent fasting.
Don’t look at the calories I am eating, I just eat, healthy good foods, take my vitamins, drink plenty of water, green tea.
Also, many women will attempt IF and continue with their strenuous workouts.
It is important to give the body time to adjust, and gentle exercising, in the beginning, is much better. Going for a walk, doing some yoga during the transition time is important to help keep you feeling relaxed and stress-free.
You need to give your body and brain time to adjust to its new eating pattern, and this can take anywhere between 2 to 3 weeks.
Health Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting
Now, I will jump straight into the positives, and there are many. I have experienced them, therefore I shall start with me first.
- More energy.
- Sleep better (way better).
- Lost weight around my hips and stomach (feels great).
- Feel more relaxed.
- Don’t stress over what I am going to eat all the time.
- Feel more clear-headed.
Pushed my morning breakfast at around 11 am instead of 8 am, therefore I get heaps done in the morning before I settle down to eat.
I don’t think about food as much as I used to, and did I mention I have lost weight. Being in my menopausal years, it is very easy at this time to put on weight and it can be difficult to budge.
Intermittent fasting benefits can help shift that extra bulge. If you are on a diet and have come to a point where you have stopped losing weight. Doing an IF can help get your fat burning process going again.
Here are some of the health advantages that Science suggests may happen to the body with IF.
- May increase lifespan (9).
- Protect the body from disease.
- The body will detox and repair.
- Lower risk of type 2 diabetes.
- Lose weight.
- Reduce oxidative stress.
- Reduce inflammation in the body (10).
- Good for the brain and heart.
- Stimulate growth of cells.
I hope I have enlightened you some, on what seems to be a new craze of dieting? And remember intermittent fasting benefits are working for me, doesn’t mean it will work for you.