Intermittent fasting is another popular diet trend. Done properly, it can accelerate weight loss and help to stabilize blood sugar. While there are many different approaches to intermittent fasting, the principle is constant. That is, to deplete your body of its glycogen reserves. Doing so will stabilize blood sugar and force your body to use its own fat as fuel. However, as is the case with many factors surrounding health and wellness, there is no one size fits all approach to nutrition.
Nutrition depends on the individual on both a physiological and psychological level. This goes much deeper than simply preference. Factors such as overall health, food intolerance’s, hormones, and even sleep all have a profound effect on our nutrition. What may be effective and sustainable for one person, may not be the best route for another.
While some may look to intermittent fasting to accelerate weight loss, there are additional variables that come into play for women.
Why must women be extra careful with fasting?
Women must be extra careful when experimenting with intermittent fasting because of what is happening at a physiological level.
As women, our physiology is intertwined with our production of hormones, which stimulate, regulate, and control many bodily functions. Our hormone levels are extremely sensitive to signals of starvation. If our body senses it is in starvation mode, it will increase the release of hunger hormones as a way to protect itself and a potential fetus, even if we’re not pregnant!
When attempting to fast, initial periods of extreme hunger pains are inevitable. We can try to ignore them, but if we fail and binge later, and then follow that up with another attempt to fast, we begin a vicious cycle. That vicious cycle can throw hormones out of whack and even halt ovulation.
Is Intermittent Fasting Necessary for Weight Loss?
While fasting has been shown to accelerate weight loss and increase energy, so too have other, more feasible methods. Fasting can be incredibly difficult and frustrating, especially early on in the fast when hunger pains and cravings are heightened. During this time, fasting can have dramatic effects on our mood and energy levels.
In the end, you’ve got to figure out a dietary pattern that you can sustain long term. If that’s fasting, great. But, if you can’t see yourself doing it forever, then consider losing weight in the same way you intend on keeping it off.
Any weight loss program will work if you stick to it. 90% of people who lose weight gain it back within five years. Like any other ‘crash diet’, fasting will help you lose weight, but it won’t help you keep it off without a long-term plan in place. This is why it’s so important to focus on the formation of healthy, sustainable habits. Motivation is what gets us started, but habit is what keeps us going.
If you’re looking to lose weight and beat the odds against gaining it back, consider investing in a nutrition coach. A coach will provide education and teach you how to implement sustainable, healthy habits. A coach will hold you accountable to your goals and support you through the challenges that come with change.