I love food. I always have. But sometimes, you can have too much of a good thing. It’s easy to overdo it and indulge too much, especially at a great restaurant. And nothing is worse than waking up the next day feeling sick and bloated.
That said, after indulging in a big meal, it’s tempting to eat less the next day. It makes me feel better, more alert, and more prepared to get back on track for my weekly workouts.
But what if I told you that fasting is actually beneficial even if you haven’t overindulged? I have written before about this topic regarding weight loss and fasting but I wanted to tell you more about the positive effects intermittent fasting can have on your body.
Believe it or not, skipping a few meals can have some crazy awesome benefits both to your overall health as well as your waistline.
Intermittent fasting for women, when added to your regular workout routine and a healthy diet, can help you get lean without forcing you to actively count calories day in and day out. Here’s what you need to know.
Intermittent Fasting for Women
Intermittent fasting is the process of fasting throughout the week. I’m not talking about skipping a meal here and there when you’re too busy to take a lunch break. I mean planning those missed meals into your day.
Think of intermittent fasting as a way to interrupt your body’s metabolism in a good way. When you eat several times each day, you’re constantly giving your body nutrients and calories which it has to digest.
Digesting those calories does help give you energy, but it also allows your body to store those extra calories. Worrying about calorie intake is normal, but some foods have an incredibly high-calorie count and you might not even know it. This makes it difficult to be mindful of what you’re eating.
With these high-calorie foods, the calories you don’t burn get stored in your body as fat, increasing your weight and leading to that unwanted belly bulge.
Intermittent fasting allows you to forgo eating for a set period of time (typically for 16-24 hours at a time) triggering your body’s response to start burning the stores you’ve put away from previous meals. After the fasting period is over, you’re free to eat like normal until the next fasting period.
Intermittent fasting is done for hours at a time rather than days, making it easy to incorporate into a daily routine without interrupting your workday or wrecking your weekend out with friends.
When your body doesn’t have a steady supply of new calories from food and drink to burn through, it finds other resources to give you the energy you need. For most people, this means using up your fat stores.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting for women can help them achieve their fitness goals, but there are a number of other benefits as well.
The most common reason women start an intermittent fast schedule is to help facilitate weight loss. Fasting and eating only during set hours typically reduces the number of calories you consume daily, but that’s not all.
By eating meals during set times during the day rather than grazing whenever the munchies hit, your blood sugar levels even out. This helps you produce less insulin. Insulin is responsible for a large part of the fat storage in your body.
When you eat frequently, insulin is consistently produced, increasing the amount of fat your body holds onto. By following an intermittent diet plan, insulin production levels out, reducing the amount of fat stored every time you eat.
Over time, this can help you lose weight and keep it off for good.
Related post: How to Fix a Damaged Metabolism
Improved Energy Levels
Believe it or not, digesting food takes work. When your body is constantly working to power through calories, it can leave you tired even after eating healthy foods.
Intermittent fasting for women can help keep your energy levels high without forcing you to reach for (yet another) cup of coffee in the afternoon.
Intermittent fasting allows your body to focus on producing healthy relaxation and sleep hormones rather than digesting and processing food.
Since following an intermittent fasting diet plan gives your body the opportunity to create hormones to help it unwind at the end of the day, you’ll likely be able to sleep better at night.
Say goodbye to those annoying caffeine jitters and racing mind.
By following an intermittent fasting diet plan, you might see a reduction in inflammation which can help you lose weight and feel better in the process.
Just make sure to avoid those troublesome inflammation-causing foods to reap the biggest rewards here.
You’ll Eat Less
After a fasting period, you don’t have to count calories. However, even knowing that you’re able to eat what you want during the appropriate time doesn’t mean you will.
In fact, many people end up eating less when coming off of a fasting period. After all, you’re only able to eat during a specific time window. This reduces the number of hours where you can graze and snack throughout the day.
The less you graze, the fewer calories you’ll typically take in, resulting in an overall lower calorie count each day.
You’ll Regulate Your Appetite
Grazing can make it difficult to identify when you’re hungry and when you’re actually full. Contrary to popular belief, this can make it difficult for your body to keep up.
Eating larger meals less frequently allows your body to create ketone bodies. These ketone bodies help regulate and stabilize the hormones that give you food cravings, even after eating a meal.
This means you’ll recognize when you’re feeling full and when you’re truly feeling hungry.
May Reverse Hormone Resistance Issues
For many people following a standard diet protocol, hormone resistance is a key issue. Leptin resistance and insulin resistance can lead to increased fat stores and weight gain.
Intermittent fasting allows your body to produce those hormones only during the designated eating times. Leveling out the hormone production helps your body realign itself so it produces the right levels at the right times.
For many people, leptin and insulin resistance can be reversed by following a fasting protocol over time and with the supervision of their doctor.
How to Get Started
The benefits are great, but it’s important that you understand how to start your intermittent fasting diet plan.
As I said before, intermittent fasting for women is about more than just skipping meals occasionally. It requires planning and thought.
There are many different ways to fast and some will work better than others. It all depends on your specific needs and schedule.
To start, I recommend fasting for 12 to 16 hours at first. This lets you ease into fasting for a full day at a time. Here are some of the easiest methods to follow.
Fast for 12 to 16 hours and allow yourself to eat for the remaining 8-12 hours of the day. It’s easiest to start fasting while you sleep overnight and skip breakfast, then eat towards the end of the day. Most people see great results alternating fasting days and normal days throughout the week.
Building off the Crescendo method, eat during your 8-hour window only and fast the remaining 16 hours of the day. Just make sure to alternate fasting days throughout the week.
Fast twice a week, restricting your caloric intake on fasting days to no more than 500 calories. Split the calories into two meals of 250 calories each on fasting days. Eat normally for the rest of the week. You can read more about it here.
Fast for a full 24 hours, beginning when you first wake up. This is best done only once a week and after consulting with your doctor.
Intermittent fasting for women is typically safe and can actually be quite healthy for most people. However, before your first fast, it’s important to speak with your doctor.
If you suffer from ongoing health conditions, adrenal fatigue or have to take multiple medications, discuss any major change in diet with your physician.
They’ll be able to advise you on what will and won’t work for your health far better than any internet resource.
If, on the intermittent fast, you feel that you’re pushing yourself too far, stop. Fasting can be uncomfortable, but if it’s interfering with your daily activities or putting you in a position where you feel unsafe, stop fasting.
After my previous post on weight loss and intermittent fasting for women, I’ve gotten tons of questions in my Instagram DMs. Though fasting is different for many people, most of the questions are the same.
Are you allowed to drink anything while fasting?
Yes, and you most definitely should. Dehydration can derail any weight loss routine, including a fast. Drink plenty of water throughout the day and if you need a pick-me-up, don’t hesitate to reach for a cup of black coffee or tea.
You can even flavour your beverages with lemon or lime juice for a calorie-free boost. Once the fasting is over, feel free to get a bit more creative with your water’s flavour with these creative ideas.
Can I eat anything while intermittent fasting?
You’re free to eat during your eating period on fasting days. With the Crescendo method and the 16/8 method, the eating window is restricted to 6 or 8 hours of each fasting day. Eating outside that window is a big no-no.
So, coffee is acceptable?
Yes, but there’s a catch. You can’t add cream or sugar to any of your beverages when you’re fasting. Cream and sugar contain calories and can stop a fast before it really even starts.
That said, coffee, green tea, and black tea are all great ways to help stave off hunger on fasting days while also offering many health benefits. If you’re worried about the jitters, switch to herbal tea or decaffeinated options.
Will I lose weight immediately?
It’s likely that you’ll see some weight loss after a fast, but it may not be permanent. Intermittent fasting works best when done consistently and your body is frequently pushed outside its comfort zone. When incorporated into a healthy diet and exercise routine, you’ll likely see long-term results.
Can I eat what I want after the fast?
You don’t have to count calories after the fast, but that doesn’t mean you should reach for a bag of potato chips as your first snack.
Instead, choose healthy foods and focus on eating nutrient-dense meals. Fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins are all ideal post-fast foods. Not sure where to start? Check out these delicious recipes.
Think of fasting as a way to boost your diet efforts. It can’t undo the damage of eating junk food every day of the week, but it can help speed up your weight loss efforts if you’re already eating right and exercising regularly.
Fasting can be the perfect way to help you overcome those annoying plateaus, but it’s not a replacement for exercise. Try these great exercise routines as part of your new intermittent fasting schedule.
Have you every tried intermittent fasting? Was it beneficial for you? Let us know in the comments section! Xx
Hi Rachel can I have coffee with a splash of milk?
Or is it best to have green tea instead while fasting then have a proper coffee with milk after the fast?
Hey lovely! Having coffee should be fine but I still recommend that you consume it in moderation. :)
I do the 5:2 method. I feel better doing it and it gets easier with time. It’s improved my digestion and reduced bloating. My meals sizes have become smaller as I get fuller quicker. I don’t weigh myself often, but have noticed my pants getting looser and people have commented that I’ve lost weight. I find I can team it up with walking without any issues and drink plenty of green tea.
Hi lovely! We’re so happy to learn about your progress. It’s really great that you were able to find the perfect plan that suits you best. Wish you all the best on your fitness journey! xx
I never knew about this intermittent fasting since I’ve read this article, I must try this one and I think it will help me to lose weight.
I’ve been intermittent fasting for 6 months and I’ve lost 19lbs and 5 inches around my waist. I feel great and am now regularly not hungry until at least 3pm
thanks for reaching out! <3
That's great to hear!! :)
During fasting, how does this method work before or after a workout? Especially when it comes to Hiit or running..how will one get the energy? Or is there another type of exercise you recommend during fasting?
Hi lovely <3,
As long as you follow your calorie intake and macros breakdown you will have enough energy!:)
HIIT might be too intense for doing while fasting but power walking isn't!:)
Here's another blog post on this topic that you might find useful!:)
Please let me know if there’s anything else I can help you with!:)
Hi Rachael, can you drink coffee/tea with milk during the fasting period? It’s so hard not to have a tea after dinner at night or a coffee during the morning!
Feel free to have a coffee or tea but without milk,cream or sugar (this adds extra calories and will break your fast). xx
Hi Rachael. I know you’ve talked about how eating (especially carbs) is best after exercise, so would it be a bad idea to intermittent fast in the mornings when I workout? Should I take advantage after a workout to eat breakfast? Or could I intermittent fast till lunch? I might also consider moving my workouts till night but I prefer mornings. What do you think would be best for weight loss?
This is up to you and your preference. :) If you’re trying to lose weight, intermittent fasting and fasted cardio would be a great choice. If you’re feeling too hungry in the morning it’s ok to have breakfast or a snack, you will still be able to lose weight as long as you’re eating healthy and sticking to your daily macros and calorie requirements.
Wishing you all the best! xx
I usually do the intermittent fasting at least 5 days a week but I am planning to up it to 7 days a week.
Is it okay to continue with skipping breakfast – fast from 8pm to 1pm or should I change it up from time to time and skip dinner?
Your fasting regime seems good enough! You could change it up and skip dinner instead of breakfast, especially if you fall asleep early. However, I would recommend having a meal after workouts because that’s when you will most likely get hungry. :) xx
I am currently following the 8-week guide and meal plan from Rachael Attard, and I would like to know the best way to integrate intermittent fasting with the meal plan. In the past, I have done 16-hour intermittent fasting and enjoyed doing it. However with the meal plan, I do not think it is possible to eat all of the meals/snacks if I were do 16-hour intermittent fasting, so which meals/snacks should I skip or what is the best way of incorporating a 16-hour intermittent fast while following the 8-week guide and meal plan?
You can either leave out the snacks entirely or combine them with two meals per day (lunch and dinner). I wish you best of luck! xx