Here is a sample of the most commonly received questions re. Intermittent Fasting. If you're interested in learning more or trying Intermittent Fasting for yourself, join my 90day challenge Intuitive Intermittent Fasting here.
Q. Isn’t breakfast the most important meal of the day and should never be skipped. I’m worried that I’ll overeat later in the day?
A. Eating breakfast or any meal because you are supposed to eat at that time, detaches you from your own body and your intuitive hunger cues. Skipping breakfast, when you’re not hungry, seems intuitive enough, if you think about it. Don’t eat when you’re not hungry and eat when you’re hungry. Seems so simple, because it is; yet we overcomplicate things when it comes to health and nutrition.
Now let's look at the science. A 2000 study that concluded with the statement "people who eat cereal...for breakfast have significantly lower body mass indices than those who skip breakfast or who eat meats and eggs for breakfast. Breakfast skippers and fruit/vegetable eaters had the lowest daily energy intake. The Meat and Eggs eaters had the highest daily energy intake and one of the highest BMIs. This analysis provides evidence that skipping breakfast is not an effective way to manage weight". Note that this study was funded by the Kellogg Company 1.
On the flip side, in 2019, a systematic review of the scientific literature related to the advice to eat breakfast, concluded that there's "no evidence to support the notion that breakfast consumption promotes weight loss or that skipping breakfast leads to weight gain." 2
Intuitive Intermittent Fasting means that you get to have breakfast that suits your preferred eating window, since there is no scientific basis for the notion that it has to be the first thing in the morning. For you, that may mean breaking a fast (aka break-fast) at noon, which is fine if that's when you feel hungry. It's important to follow your intuitive hunger cues vs eating because it's 'breakfast' time and you're supposed to eat.
Q. Is Intermittent Fasting safe for women?
A. Intermittent Fasting has helped women of all ages successfully lose weight, improve their metabolic health, increase energy and so much more. While there are many myths out there about women and fasting, I can attest personally that it works! From improving energy, gaining mental clarity and focus, improved sleep, reduced inflammation, increased athletic performance, weight-loss, plus for many of my clients and maybe most important, gained confidence around food choices and feeling of empowerment.
Now let's look at the science. A 2016 study found that 72hrs fast did not affect the menstrual cycle of normal cycling women. 3
A 2016 literature review that examined all the available research related to women and fasting found that fasting has actually been linked to an improvement in women's health, "Fasting has shown to improve the reproductive and mental health. It also prevents as well as ameliorates cancers and musculoskeletal disorders which are common in middle-aged and elderly women." In conclusion, "fasting can be prescribed as a safe medical intervention as well as a lifestyle regimen which can improve women's health in many folds." 4
For women especially over 40, intermittent fasting is a must have tool in your toolbox.
Q. If I eat less, or skip meals, won’t that slow down my metabolism and ultimately make me gain more weight?
A. This is a myth, and a common question I often hear from women over 40 who’re interested in implementing intermittent fasting for weight loss. Your body will use the energy from the food, even if that’s a smaller amount of food (for example, 500 calories), regardless of what you eat because your body is efficient and will use that food before it starts tapping into your fat stores. So, if you’re eating frequently throughout the day, there’s no need to burn stored fat for energy, meaning no weight loss. Your body will simply use the energy from the food you eat and leave its fat stores relatively untouched. Intermittent fasting can solve this by directing your body to burn its own fat, for energy which can translate into natural weight-loss. Think of it as “dining in”. Intermittent fasting helps to push your body into ketosis, or fat-burning mode, using fat as energy. Also, there are great health benefits to fasting for periods of time, if done in a safe way.
If you're still concerned with your overall metabolic rate, you can observe your temperature over time, which is a good indicator of metabolic health. If your body temperature goes up, that's a good sign because it indicates higher energy,, higher burn rate, so higher temperature; if it goes down over time, that's not optimal. Here is the science. 5
If you experience feeling cold during the fast, enjoy a cup of warm water. Yes, trust me, just plain warm water is very soothing. And scientifically speaking, when you're digesting food, your body is creating heat, which likely keeps you feeling warm and toasty. But, when you're fasting, your body increases blood flow to your fat stores to mobilize fat for fuel (brilliant, right?) and this results in less blood flow to your extremities, making you feel colder. 6 This is perfectly normal. Enjoy a nice cup of herbal tea or warm water to stay cozy during a fast.
Got more questions, or simply interested in trying Intermittent Fasting for yourself?
Join 90day Intuitive Intermittent Fasting for women over 40, enrollment closes 20Aug2023.