Intermittent fasting is becoming popular today, especially because of the quest for weight loss. Knowing the appropriate forms of intermittent fasting for women helps them choose what works best with minimal harm.
Today, people are more concerned about weight loss than ever. They thus use different strategies to lose the extra pound. One popular method is intermittent fasting, which has been there for a long time now. Nutritionists and researchers suggest various forms of intermittent fasting, which would have varied effects on different people. Women can reap more harm than benefits if they take the wrong form of intermittent fasting. Use this article to learn everything you need to know about intermittent fasting in women.
Understanding Intermittent Fasting (IF)
Intermittent Fasting refers to a lifestyle that follows an eating pattern in which one alternates between eating and fasting. There are many regimens of IR and can include the 24 hours fast two days a week, fasting on alternate days, fasting for 16hrs a day, and many more. IF is more of a lifestyle than a diet because a person does not have to watch his calorie intake or restrict himself from eating any type of food. Rather, a person eats anything and everything provided that he sticks to the scheduled fasts. IF is an effective way of losing fast, which is why it’s increasingly becoming popular with many liking it. Some of the benefits of IR are reduced risks of heart disease, improved psychological well-being, reduced risk of diabetes, and time-saving, especially in the kitchen as one does not have to cook every other time.
Men and women respond differently to IF
Even with many people embracing IF as a lifestyle and an eating pattern, more anecdotal stories keep emerging and point to the fact that men and women may be responding differently to intermittent fasting. For instance, while most experience considerable weight loss when they try some form of IF, some studies have shown that most women may not lose substantial weight with IF. Instead, health predicaments increase. Several studies have come up with evidence that shows that women’s blood sugar controls worsened just three weeks after registering for some form of IF. What’s more, a good number of women had their menstrual patterns disrupted with IF.
The primary explanation for this is that women are more sensitive to calorie restriction and this leads to such risks. Since fasting restricts calorie intake both frequently and for long, the effects become even direr. The brain has a region known as the hypothalamus which influences the secretion of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH), a hormone responsible for helping with the production of follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and the luteinizing hormone (LH). With the two reproductive hormones affected, communication with the ovaries is affected too, which is why a woman’s bone may be affected, she might become infertile, and even her menstrual cycles might become irregular. Following this, women need to follow slightly tailored IF patterns that feature short periods.
What forms of IF would be appealing to women?
Dietary choices sometimes become tricky, as there is nothing like one-size-fits-all. Thus, when it comes to IF patterns, what first one woman may not work for the other. However, as a rule of thumb, eating few calories while fasting, fasting for shorter periods, and fewer fasting days provide relaxed fasting patterns that women can follow and lose fats while not harming themselves. Here are some of the best IF fasting patterns that may work best for women;
- Crescendo method; this is the 12-16hr fasting method modified. While following this pattern, the days should be evenly distributed across the week and should be non-consecutive. Monday, Wednesday, and Friday would be good choices. The fasting days should be two or three a week.
- 16/8 fasting method; in this IF method, men would fast for sixteen hours and leave eight hours as the eating window. Women can do fourteen hours for a start and later make it to sixteen.
- The Fast Diet; this is the 5/2 IF pattern. For this method, a person cuts calorie intake to 25% for two fasting days in a week, which should be non-consecutive. The other five days are days for eating normally.
- The 24-hour protocol; this IF the pattern is also called the Eat-stop-Eat pattern. In this IF method, a person fasts for two days. Women should start with 14-16hours as they grow it, and set the fasting days to two in a week in a non-consecutive pattern.
- Modified Alternate-Day Fasting; this is an IF pattern in which a person cuts calorie intake to 20-25% on fasting days but eats normally during the non-fasting days.
As seen above, there are at least five modified IF patterns that can suit women. No one method is a one-size-fits-all, and so each woman is obliged to try the methods and find which one works best. While many people pay little attention to healthy eating during the non-fasting days, it is critical for a person on the IF to observe healthy eating trends to maximize health benefits and weight loss. Eating big chunks of unhealthy foods may make it hard for you to attain the benefits you are looking for. You should also choose a method that you can put up within the long run without suffering health impacts or straining yourself way too much.
Safety and side effects of IF patterns for women
Even with the five methods above selected and modified to work well for women, some women have reported some negative side effects and safety concerns when they tried intermittent fasting. Such included mood swings. Lack of concentration, lost focus, diminished socialization, headaches, bad breathes from the mouth, bouts of hunger, and irregular menstrual cycle. Although some of these side effects may be unpredictable, some can be controlled by talking to your doctor before trying an IF pattern. Amenorrhea, low blood sugar levels, diabetes, infertility, malnourishment, and conception attempts are safety concerns and if you have any of these, you must talk to your doctor before trying an IF pattern.
People want to lose weight today and there are all attempts to make this happen. One method is through intermittent fasting methods. While these patterns may work well for men, women may be affected differently. This is why this article has shared everything you need to know about intermittent fasting in women.