From boosting your health to shedding those stubborn pounds, fasting has taken the wellness world to a whole new level. And here’s a special secret: fasting can be a powerful tool for women to nurture both their gut and hormonal health.
By practicing intermittent fasting, you have the potential to boost your gut microbiome, improve gut motility, and achieve hormonal balance.
We’ll delve into different fasting methods and durations for you to explore but first let’s go through the fundamentals.
What is fasting?
Basically, fasting is when you don’t eat for a period of time, and only consume water, coffee (under some fasting protocols), or some herbal teas.
For most of us that are used to multiple meals during the day, this may sound nearly impossible to achieve, but you would be surprised at how easy it can be because chances are, you’ve already experienced a form of fasting without realizing it.
For example, if you ate dinner at 7 p.m. and didn’t have breakfast until 7 a.m. the next day, you’ve already fasted for 12 hours without even trying.
It’s that simple!
How does fasting work?
By shifting from glucose dependence to stored fat as its energy source, your body undergoes a remarkable metabolic switch. During fasting, when food is temporarily off the menu, your body taps into its storage systems, including glycogen and body fat, to meet its energy needs.
Basically, burning your body’s stored fat.
Ok. Ok! How do I do that?… Let’s get into the fun part! What are the kinds of Fasting?
1. Intermittent Fasting
This method involves cycling between periods of eating and fasting. Popular variations include the 16/8 method (fasting for 16 hours and eating during an 8-hour window) and the 5:2 diet (eating normally five days a week and significantly reducing caloric intake for the other two days).
This is the most common type of fasting. It can help balance hormones that are essential to weight loss and clear out unwanted toxins in the liver and gut.
Let’s take a closer look at each of these and their benefits and disadvantages.
The (16/8) method – an easy and flexible way for women of all ages to achieve their health goals. With just 16 hours of fasting and an 8-hour eating window, you can experience weight loss, improved glucose levels, and reduced inflammation. Although it may cause an increase in hunger and cravings during fasting, this method is the perfect balance between simplicity and effectiveness.
The 5:2 method consists of eating normally for five days and then reducing calorie intake for the other two days. While it can help with weight loss and improve insulin sensitivity, it does require a little discipline and a weekly meal plan. So if you ever try this, keep in mind, fasting days may cause hunger and irritability.
However, many have found success with this alternate-day fasting, experiencing weight loss and improved glucose and insulin levels.
2. Water Fasting
Water fasting entails abstaining from all food and drink except water for a specific duration, which can range from 24 hours to several days.
Not only can it lower your risk of chronic diseases, but it also stimulates a process called autophagy, which revitalizes your cells. However, it’s important to note that human studies on water fasting are limited, and it may not be suitable for everyone.
3. Modified Fasting
Some women choose to practice modified fasting, where they consume a limited number of calories (usually between 500-800) on fasting days while maintaining a balanced diet on non-fasting days.
It’s important to note that modified fasting may not be suitable for everyone, so consult with a professional first before trying to determine if it’s right for you.
No matter which fasting method you decide on, go for the one that will give you the greatest health benefits. And always keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. Choose what works best for you!
Although there are benefits to fasting, when overdone, it can wreak havoc on your gut health, hormones, and your relationship with food
Women are more sensitive to energy restriction, and prolonged fasting can disrupt hormonal balance, leading to irregular menstrual cycles or even amenorrhea ( the absence of menstruation).
You can optimize your fasting routine by timing it with your menstrual cycle.
There are -particular times during women’s menstrual cycle that are optimal for fasting, and knowing how to adapt to your body’s hormones will mean that not only will you benefit from stable hormones, but you’ll also lower insulin levels, reduce inflammation, and activate your body’s natural cell renewal process, while still staying adequately nourished.
If you’re going through perimenopause, incorporating fasting into your lifestyle can be a crucial tool for success. Prioritize quality sleep, manage stress levels, and nourish your body with nutrient rich meals as well!
For those in menopause and beyond, intermittent fasting offers flexibility and freedom. Embrace this approach with minimal restrictions and time constraints.
Just remember, extended fasting without proper guidance can lead to nutrient deficiencies, especially if women do not consume a varied and balanced diet during non-fasting periods.
Thinking about fasting or already doing it? Take a mindful approach. Ease into it, listen to your body, and make tweaks along the way. Remember to fuel up with nutrient-dense foods and stay hydrated during your designated eating times to keep your health in check.
It’s always important to seek professional guidance first before starting any fasting regimen, especially if you have existing health concerns or are pregnant/breastfeeding.
You can thrive and take charge of your health and well-being by making informed choices about incorporating fasting into your lifestyle.
If you want to do it right, it’s better if you join my Health HQ! Have a community that supports your goals. Remember, a healthy mind leads to a healthy body. Come and join us. I’ll see you there!
It’s a smart move towards a better you!
Fasting is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to health and well-being. To achieve optimal results, be sure to combine mindful fasting with balanced meals and regular physical activity.
(And time it with your cycle!!)
Book a 1:1 call with me today! With my guidance, I can help you take control of your health and embark on a journey towards a healthier, happier you!