Hey friends, have you ever heard of the term intermittent fasting? You may have seen the #IF floating around Instagram. And who knows, maybe you heard people like Beyonce and Ben Affleck have tried it and so you wanted to do some more research?
Well one thing is for sure, intermittent fasting is not a diet, but rather a style or habit of eating. It is a broad term that describes a way to manipulate eating times. Essentially, you are limiting the time at which you eat to an 8-10 hour window. That means you are going without food anywhere from 12-16 hours. For example, eating from 2pm to 10pm and fasting until the next day at 2pm. That may seem like a long period of time to be going without food! Depending on your sleeping schedule you may be fasting for almost 10 hours already!
Intermittent fasting has many health benefits. Medical studies of have shown that it can increase energy, improve body composition and overall health. It has also been shown to improve cognitive function, memory, and focus. People with busy work schedules find it very easy to fit this style of eating into their lives. Who wouldn’t want that, right?
The effects of intermittent fasting have not been heavily studied on women. Men seem to do really well. Animal trials have shown that after two weeks, female rats stopped having menstrual cycles and their ovaries shrunk. Women are incredibly sensitive to energy intake and starvation signals. It can cause metabolic and hormonal disturbances. This can cause a violent cycle of hormone imbalance of binge eating. Women who are in their child bearing years, are trying to become pregnant, are pregnant or nursing, have hormonal issues, or have a history of disordered eating should avoid IF.
There is still a safe way that intermittent fasting can be done! Doctors suggest starting out small. Crescendo fasting is a safe way to determine if your body can benefit from intermittent fasting. The key to crescendo fasting is only doing it two to three times per week. After two weeks, if you feel good, you can increase the number of days you are fasting. Just remember to listen to your body because it doesn’t work for everyone.