Intermittent Fasting For Women & How It’s Different
We’ve already written an article about intermittent fasting for men specifically, but since there are so many different aspects of this fasting method for women, we have decided to write a full guide for the ladies here 🙂
Intermittent Fasting: “Ladies.”
Ladies: “Intermittent fasting.”
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting (IF) in general is a method that has become ever so popular among health and fitness enthusiasts since it provides many benefits for fat loss and many alternative health benefits such as boosting energy levels, increasing motivation and overall well-being of body and mind.
But, women who are keen on trying this kind of diet have to be aware of some of the serious risks it can include when not correctly done.
Before we get into the specifics of intermittent fasting, we should first go through the fundamentals.
An intermittent fast is a very short fast in which you don’t eat or drink anything except water, coffee, herbal tea, or sparkling water for 12-16 hours.
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.
Probably all of us have at some point made an intermittent fast without even knowing it.
If you, for instance, ate dinner at 8 p.m. and the next meal was your breakfast the next day after 8 a.m. then you would have just fasted for 12 hours technically. That’s all there’s to it.
Of course, there are different methods and durations of this way of fasting that we will be talking about later on.
How Does it Work?
Intermittent fasting consists of two different states, the fasted state and the fed state which is pretty self-explanatory.
When you are frequently eating’ every couple of hours, you are in the fed state.
During this period, your body is very busy because it has to digest, absorb and use the nutrients from your meals and assimilate them.
And when we say busy we mean that the majority of the focus of your body goes to these processes, and only when it finishes, it can proceed to burn fat.
On the other hand, when your body is in the fasted state, and you only consume water, coffee, herbal teas or similar, your body can concentrate all its powers to burning that annoying extra fat.
By arranging and following the schedule of the fasted’ and fed’ states you are practicing the intermittent fasting method.
What are the Benefits?
Since it is such an old and simple method that has been used by many cultures in the past, it’s benefits are well documented. 
Aside from the previously explained fat loss, one of the main benefits of this fast is something you ordinarily wouldn’t connect with eating less, and that’s increased energy.
This is because, plainly said, your body is thankful to you when you don’t make it process too much food.
Try and explain that to your grandmother.
Intermittent fasting has also been known to improve cognition, help memory and generally provide you with a more clear-thinking mindset. 
However, you must know that some aspects of this method have no research.
We are still missing serious studies about intermittent fasting in children, the more elderly population, and the underweight persons.
Subjects that belong to these groups must be advised to search the advice of their doctors before trying fasting.
Generally speaking, before trying to fast for periods longer than 24 hours, traditional medicine suggests you should seek advice from your physician.
The Pros and Cons of Intermittent Fasting for Women
What is the main difference between fasting for men and women?
Well, it’s simple, it’s their biology.
The main problem that women have to bear in mind is that they are biologically more sensitive to first signs of starvation and their body starts to react accordingly.
This means that it increases the production of the hormones in charge of hunger which are called ghrelin and leptin.
And all of this is because it is a natural way for the woman body to try and protect potential pregnancy, even if you’re not pregnant.
Furthermore, when your body senses that you don’t have enough food to sustain the production of another being, it will stop providing for it to save you.
This can lead to many problems that one must examine.
Unfortunately, we still don’t quite know why fasting affects women’s hormones more than men’s.
It just hasn’t been researched yet.
We do, however, know what the benefits are.
Let’s look at some.
- Gain lean muscle mass
- Gain more stable energy
- Cell stress response increases and provides better resistance to certain diseases
- Regulate insulin-related issues
- Improves cognition, helps memory and give a more clear-thinking mindset.
As we explained earlier, hormone imbalance is the main problem when it comes to intermittent fasting for women.
And when it comes to hormones, nothing should be taken for granted and you should be aware of the stakes involved.
These are only some of the problems intermittent fasting can cause for women.
- Irregular period intervals or a complete loss of period (amenorrhea)
- Problems with sleep
- Changes in ovaries size
- Psychological issues such as depression or anxiety
- Mood swings
- Issues with digesting
- Fertility problems
- Heart issues
All of these problems are of hormonal nature, and this is because all the hormones are very much connected.
When only one of them starts to behave out of the ordinary, it will cause the change in others.
However, this long list of potential problems shouldn’t discourage you to enjoy the benefits of the intermittent fasting just because you’re a woman.
If you approach your fasting with knowledge and discipline, it can help you without any problems.
The Best Intermittent Fasting practices for Women
It is generally not advised for women to fast for more extended periods of time.
The ideal period would be between 12 and 16 hours.
You also shouldn’t fast on consecutive days when you’re just starting this practice.
It is better to fast for three days a week for the first few weeks.
If you are feeling comfortable after the initial period, you can gradually increase the tempo.
Whatever fasting approach you choose, drink as many fluids as you can.
These include broths, herbal teas, coffees and of course a lot of water (make sure it’s all zero calories).
Also, on fasting days you should concentrate on doing light exercise.
On the other hand, on the days of regular food intake, you can do regular exercise routines.
This combination of food intake and physical activity is crucial, and you should talk about it also with your trainer.
Different Methods of Intermittent Fasting for Women
We have decided to present you with some of the most popular kinds of intermittent fasting found online.
With all of the precautions laid before you in this article, choose wisely which one suits you the best.
The Crescendo method provides the best way for your body to adapt to the changes in eating rhythms gradually.
You can begin fasting only three days a week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
Your fasting window will be 12-16 hours which will leave you with an eating window of 8-12 hours.
The 16/8 Fasting Method
This method is also known as the “leangains” type of fasting.
It is very popular with people who are trying to build muscles and at the same time get rid of the fat accumulation.
As you have guessed this is an excellent way to work on fat loss an why many celebrities are using the 16/8 fasting method.
The most common way of practicing is to stop eating at 8 p.m. and start at noon the next day.
24 hour or “Eat-Stop-Eat”
With this method, we are entering the fasting methods that are not recommended for women but can and should be done with more care and discipline.
It is basically a fast of 24 hours that you will do once or twice within a week.
You can choose when you want to start the fasting.
It is important to remember that this method is only safe for women if done maximum two times a week.
The 5:2 system
This 5:2 is technically not a fasting method by itself but is commonly used as a stepping stone when trying to start intermittent fasting.
If you’re hesitant and want to get a feel for how difficult fasting can be, this is the ideal thing for you.
This diet consists of restricting the intake of calories two days a week to 500 calories per day.
The rest of the week you can eat regularly, but on these two days, you will only have two meals with 250 calories each. The only problem with this diet is that there haven’t been many studies that can provide you with pros and cons and you should be careful.
When Women Should NOT Fast
This eating routine is not for everyone.
With this in mind, you should not even try to experiment with it under following circumstances.
If you’re pregnant:With everything said earlier you should know better than to make your body think that you’re starving while being pregnant. You should concentrate on the new energy needs of your body.
You have previously had eating disorders:If you’re not good at keeping a balanced eating schedule, this method can cause all sorts of problems for you.
You are suffering from chronic stress:Stress is very energy consuming for your body and fasting is best done when your body is in a state of balance already.
You have problems sleeping:Fasting can challenge any of your life rhythms, so it is never a good idea to start it if you’re already having problems with these issues.
You are entirely inexperienced with diet programs and working out:This method can be very hard on your body, and you should always try to do as much research about how you plan to lose weight. You have to take in consideration your physical shape.
The Bottom Line
Intermittent fasting can be an excellent example of a simple but an effective way to get your body back in shape.
However, it is not for everybody and can also cause serious physical and psychological problems if taken lightly for women.
Before you are ready to start fasting, it is a good idea to try some calories-restricting diets.
These methods will give you an overall idea how demanding these kinds of eating programs can be.
And, before all, be aware that your body is very good at telling you what doesn’t suit it, so if you feel that anything is out of order, be careful.
What’s Next For You?
If you’re looking to start losing fat with intermittent fasting, then I think you’ll be interested in my new book:
Combining IIFYM and Intermittent fasting is the perfect 1-2 punch for dieting 🙂
As far as training goes, I’d recommend Rusty Moore’s Visual Impact For Women.
The program is simple and asks one question:
Would you rather look like a Fitness Competitor or a Victoria Secret Model?
If you answered Victoria Secret Model, then I believe this product is PERFECT for you.
Rusty Moore, former Male and Female Runway Model Trainer has created a course that helps women look their best by adding muscle without adding any size.
His course lets you lose fat with intermittent fasting as well as other dieting methods, which is why I wanted to mention it here.
Here’s what he said about his course:
If you want to look like a female bodybuilder or fitness competitor…this course is not for you. There is a ton of information online to achieve that look, but that is not what this is about.
Hope this helps,
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