Is Intermittent Fasting Right For You?

One of the most common questions I get when women come to me wanting to lose weight, regain energy, fix their digestion, and support their metabolism is “should I do intermittent fasting?”.

The short answer: it’s not necessary to reach your goals, and not beneficial if you want to support your hormones and metabolism long term.

The longer answer: it depends. It can be helpful IF you have the other things dialed in that I’m going to share in this post.

I also cover this in a video mini training on intermittent fasting that you can watch below.

It’s essentially a complete guide on how to know if intermittent fasting is right for you and what to consider if you want to try it.

I recommend watching this training if:

  • You want to understand exactly what intermittent fasting is and is not (hint: it doesn’t tell you anything about what to eat that will nourish your body)
  • You want to know exactly WHAT to focus on that will help you see noticeable results (quickly and easily)
  • You want a bigger picture plan that supports your metabolism, energy, hormones, weight, & digestion

And… if you’re someone who goes until 11am with no food and only drinking coffee, you definitely want tune in!

Now, let’s talk about some misconceptions and truths about intermittent fasting:

  • Intermittent fasting is just a period of NOT eating. There is a “feeding window” and a “fasting window”. Most common is 16/8, where you fast for 16 hours (usually overnight) and eat for 8 hours.
  • It’s NOT a nutrition plan and doesn’t tell you anything about how much to eat or the quality of food
  • Fasting is a STRESSOR on the body. Other stressors include: drinking caffeine, lack of sleep, hitting the peloton or HIIT workout, riding the blood sugar rollercoaster, chronic calorie restriction, eating inflammatory foods

The reason we care so much about fasting being a stressor is because of the downstream impact it has on other hormones, including our thyroid hormones which regulate the metabolism and gut. When our body perceives a stressor – which is basically any energy demand on the body – it leads to:

  • Increased cortisol (your stress hormone)
  • Slowed the production of thyroid hormones (your metabolism)
  • Slowed production of sex hormones
  • Disrupts hunger signals
  • Chronic fatigue, digestive issues, PMS, period problems, anxiety, brain fog, low mood, weight gain, inflammation

When we understand this… we can see why the goal is to KEEP STRESS IN THE BODY LOW. Working with it, rather than against it, will lead to results. This looks like nourishment – not restriction – and some of the other key pieces of the framework I walk my clients through like blood sugar balance, mineral balance, sleep, stress, and proper movement.

Bottom line: fasting is TOOL. It’s how you use that tool that can be helpful or hurtful, just like you can use a hammer to build a house or to break a window. So if you’re going to do it, here are important considerations.

Prerequisites to fasting:

✅ You understand what foods are right for you FIRST – bioavailable, digestible, enjoyable 

✅ You know how to build nourishing meals that balance blood sugar, have enough calories, and keep you full for 3-4 hours

✅ You get enough protein (no less than 100 grams) regularly

✅ You know how to listen to your body and don’t ignore hunger, cravings, fatigue, etc.

Fasting is not for you if:

❌ You’re triggered by food restrictions

❌ You have unmanaged cravings or fluctuate between restriction and overeating

❌ You have digestive issues, especially bloat and constipation

❌ You’re pregnant, nursing, or trying to conceive

❌ You don’t get adequate sleep consistently

❌ You have a super active job/lifestyle

Tips for doing fasting the RIGHT way:

  1. Start by fasting overnight for 12 hours (dinner at 8pm, breakfast at 8am)
  2. Get adequate sleep (7-9 hours)
  3. If you have coffee in the morning, add some creamer or fat to help with blood sugar
  4. You break your fast with a solid meal of protein + fat + fiber
  5. You still hit your calorie goals during your eating window
  6. You have solid meals (not just snacking and grazing during your eating window)
  7. You listen to your hunger cues and if you’re hungry before the fast is over, you eat!

Keep in mind that intermittent fasting is a meal timing strategy. It is just ONE piece of a bigger puzzle. We have to look at how it fits into a bigger plan, and if it’s something that is going to help you reach your goal long term.

A sustainable plan that supports your goals should consider:

  1. Nourishing Nutrition – focus on the right foods, eat enough for your goals, balance blood sugar, proper meal timing (this is where IF comes in), make your meals enjoyable and simple, hydration and minerals
  2. Support your digestion & gut health – you have to have proper digestion and good gut health for healthy hormones, a strong immune system, balanced moods, and so much more
  3. Proper movement (the right type and amount) – more isn’t better, and most of my clients need to back off the chronic cardio and incorporate more metabolically friendly exercises like strength training, walking, and daily movement
  4. Supporting sleep & circadian rhythms – falling asleep and staying asleep with the right evening (and morning) routines is just as important as what you’re putting in your body
  5. Stress evaluation & management – you have to look at stress that is in your control (like meal timing and balancing blood sugar) while also having the tools to better tolerate stress and support the hormones involved

If you’re ready to customize a plan that helps you better understand what’s right for your body — and have something you can stick to long term because it’s simple, enjoyable, & gets you results — then start with my free Well Nourished Woman Guide. This free guide will give the framework I coach my 1:1 clients through and help you get clarity on the exact plan that will nourish your hormones, metabolism, & digestion.

Download the Well Nourished Woman Guide here.

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