The Fasting and Hormone Connection
To put it simply, intermittent fasting can cause hormonal imbalance in women if it’s not done correctly. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23382817) Women are extremely sensitive to starvation signals and if the body senses that it is being starved, it will ramp up production of the hunger hormones leptin and ghrelin
So when women experience insatiable hunger after under-eating, or even after they’ve done a show (competed in bodybuilding) they are actually experiencing the increased production of these hormones. It’s the female body’s way of protecting a potential fetus — even when a woman is not pregnant.
Of course, though, many women ignore these hunger cues causing the signals to get even louder. Or, worse, we try to ignore them, then fail and binge later, then follow that up with under-eating and starvation again. And guess what? That vicious cycle can throw your hormones out of whack and even halt ovulation.
In animal studies, after two weeks of intermittent fasting, female rats stopped having menstrual cycles and their ovaries shrunk while experiencing more insomnia than their male counterparts (though the male rats did experience lower testosterone production). http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0052416
Unfortunately, there are very few human studies looking at the differences between intermittent fasting for men and women, but the animal studies confirms that: Intermittent fasting for long periods of time can sometimes throw off a woman’s hormonal balance, cause fertility problems and exacerbate eating disorders like anorexia, bulimia and binge eating! Something i’ve experienced myself after dieting restrictively for 4 months to compete.
And, the solution is to practice intermittent fasting 1 to 3 days a week for women, not everyday. This way your body doesn’t think its starving each day… I sometimes will do a Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Perhaps i’ll only fast for 16 hours 2 days a week depending on my weekly schedule of clients and meetings. Listening to your body is important.
Remember to drink plenty of water, if you feel hunger coming on during your fasting days, tell yourself it will pass, have some black coffee or tea, or herbal teas to wait it out. Telling yourself this is easy, you’ve got this will also help! And, if you feel you can’t wait another hour to eat, then don’t. 15 hours fasting is still great.
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Lynn Thier – Your Mental Fitness Trainer & Fat Loss Expert!
About: Lynn Thier will get you there ~ with practical cutting edge methods for making positive shifts & change happen. Owner of Peak Performance Academy, Lynn teaches and consults on how to get mentally fit in sport, business and life. Lynn offers seminars, training’s and programs as well as Board Certifications in NLP Coaching, NLP Techniques, Hypnosis & Time Line Therapy(R).