What is Intermittent Fasting?
I’ve seen and heard many buzzwords over the years. Intermittent Fasting (IF) is one of them. IF has been taking over the fitness and wellness industry, but I have to say – I don’t agree with it. And my reasons have nothing to do with weight loss or body transformation. Instead, I’m looking at the impact that IF has on our hormones, specifically for women. Keep reading for my secret on how to let your body relax and repair instead of being in a constant state of deprivation and stress.
How does IF Worsen Hormone Imbalances?
Intermittent Fasting (IF) worsens hormone imbalances because the body senses fasting as stress. Intermittent Fasting may sound like a quick fix, but the truth is, it can have dangerous effects on the body in the long run. If your cycle is off (or currently absent) or your adrenal glands are fatigued (cortisol is on its way to becoming depleted – more on that below) or you have a thyroid issue (your hair is falling out), IF just isn’t going to work. I’ve seen a lot of men get great results with IF but not many women, just for the sheer absence of key nutrients and calories. For this reason IF is definitely not a great idea if you are trying to become pregnant. For women in my practice focusing on balancing their hormones “restrictive diets” don’t yield results.
IF can increase cortisol levels and insulin resistance, which leads to weight gain, mood swings, and more hormonal imbalances. In women, it can also create a severe imbalance in sex hormones, leading to reproductive disorders and even infertility (again, not good if you’re trying to conceive). IF disrupts the body’s biological clock, which can interfere with sleep, digestion, and other important bodily functions.
Adrenal Fatigue and Intermittent Fasting
Dealing with Adrenal Fatigue? IF requires a healthy stress response (strong adrenal function) and healthy blood sugar levels. While extending the gap between meals is great for improving your metabolism and digestion, it also causes blood sugar levels to plummet and can exacerbate HPA-Axis dysfunction (thereby provoking your symptoms of Adrenal Fatigue).
Yes I’m a fan of intermittent fasting to “wake-up” my metabolism and break “plateaus” BUT only if your hormones are balanced.
Try a Digital Detox Instead (Seriously!)
Nowadays, we consume more technology than ever before. We are on our computers at work and then our phones at home! I bet you spend more than eight hours a day staring at a screen. This digital dependency has increased our stress levels, disrupted our sleep patterns, and created a constant state of tension and anxiety. These factors alone can contribute to hormonal imbalances. In a 2021 study, when intentionally taking a break “from being connected” a.k.a. a Digital Detox, subjects reported positive changes in mood, better sleep, less anxiety and more productivity.
Try a Holistic Approach
As we know, women are more susceptible to hormonal imbalances than men. This is why I encourage a holistic approach to wellness. Instead of depriving your body of food, why not give it what it needs? Eat a well-balanced diet of whole foods, while you reduce sugar and processed foods, to maintain hormonal balance. Couple that with a digital detox and you just might rejuvenate the body!
Quick-fix Solutions are Not the Answer
While intermittent fasting can work for some people, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, by slowing down, taking breaks from tech, and learning to eat mindfully, you can lower stress levels, improve digestion, and restore hormonal balance. Mindful eating means eating when you’re hungry, focusing on the food, and noticing how it affects your body. This is a much healthier and sustainable approach.
Remember, Intermittent Fasting has become a buzzword! The risks associated with it cannot be ignored. It’s time to stop focusing on quick-fix solutions that affect our hormones and bodies in the long run. Instead, it’s time to start small and prioritize your body. Your hormones deserve better than to be affected by the trends of the day. If you need help, I’m always here so reach out.