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Let me introduce myself. My name is Mark Sisson. I’m 63 years young. I live and work in Malibu, California. In a past life I was a professional marathoner and triathlete. Now my life goal is to help 100 million people get healthy. I started this blog in 2006 to empower people to take full responsibility for their own health and enjoyment of life by investigating, discussing, and critically rethinking everything we’ve assumed to be true about health and wellness...

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May 18, 2016

12 Essential Tips for Primal Women

By Mark Sisson
142 Comments

12 Essential Tips for Primal Women FinalLook: I’m a man. I’ve lived a different experience than the average woman, with totally different equipment and different concentrations of hormones coursing through my body. But I have a daughter and a wife and a good head on my shoulders that’s spent the last 30 years thinking about health, nutrition, and fitness for humans, so I have a few things to offer.

So let’s get right down to today’s post. What follows are 12 tips for Primal women. Or any woman, really.

(Men, too: if some of the things mentioned in today’s post aren’t working for you, and the tips seem to apply, go for it!)

1. You don’t have to fast (and maybe shouldn’t)

Amidst the growing acceptance of intermittent fasting as a legitimate tool for healthy aging and weight loss emerges the realization that men and women may respond to it differently. Whereas in men the response to fasting is usually positive, it’s more mixed in women. For instance:

One study found that while IF improved insulin sensitivity in male subjects, female subjects saw no such improvement and actually experienced worse glucose tolerance.

In another, obese men and women dropped body fat, body weight, blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycercides on a fasting regimen. Healthy people may have different responses. Perimenopausal women were also excluded from the study.

And most recently, researchers found that women respond negatively to an energy deficit induced by fasting but positively to one induced by exercise.

Women can fast, but the conditions for success are narrower. If you want to try fasting, you may have success with shorter fasting periods (skip a meal instead of two), less frequent fasting (once a week or every two weeks).

2. You need to lift

Everyone needs to lift, but no one needs to lift more than women who’ve spent their whole lives avoiding it after hearing that lifting will make them “bulky.” Chances are, they haven’t lifted. Chances are even if they’ve managed to get into the gym with the intent of lifting, little niggling doubts remain and increase the chance they’ll veer away from the weight room toward the spin class. Or they actually lift but stick to baby weights rather than barbells. Lifting won’t make you bulky (unless you’re taking exogenous substances that render your hormonal profile more similar to a man’s). Lifting will:

Improve your bone density (osteoporosis hits women harder than men).

Improve fat burning.

Increase lean mass.

There’s no reason not to lift.

3. Your “ideal” body fat percentage is higher than you think

Women carry more fat on average than men. They just do. And when you look at a healthy woman’s body, her true body fat percentage is likely higher than you think. For a man, 12-15% body fat is healthy, while for women the healthiest (in general; everything is relative and there are always exceptions) body fat level is 18-25%.

So when you get your body fat tested and it’s 25% or even higher, don’t freak out. You carry weight differently than men. What’s high for a man may be completely normal for you. A woman can look about as lean as a guy but have far more body fat as a percentage of overall weight. This can cause anxiety—those cover models look like they’re 12% body fat but are actually closer to 20%—but it shouldn’t.

4. Junk in the trunk might be treasure

For many women it’s completely natural to have a higher body fat level and accumulate more fat in the gluteofemoral region–the hips, butt, and thighs–because that’s where women store DHA for future baby brain construction. That’s probably why gluteofemoral fat is notoriously stubborn and hard to burn – because it’s a reliable, secure way to store an important nutrient (DHA) that’s often scarce during pregnancy. In fact, having that kind of fat is actually a sign of good metabolic health.

Embrace your lower body fat, since it correlates strongly with health.

5. Don’t try to eat as much as the guys

It’s not just an illusion that many men seem to be able to eat whatever they want without gaining an ounce. Men are generally larger, with more muscle mass. Just to stay at their normal weight they require more calories. They can get away with more calories. But since women are smaller in general (fair warning: I’m going to be doing a lot of generalizing because it produces actionable advice for the most people), they can’t. But that food is so good and your husband is enjoying so much more of it. Unfair? Sure. So be sure to pop him one next time he’s not looking in retribution (not really though).

Being Primal usually takes care of the “inadvertent calorie reduction” thing pretty well, but not always. Be aware that you don’t need to keep up with your husband/boyfriend/guy friends/etc at dinner. And make sure you’re eating nutrient dense foods. Since you have fewer calories to “work with,” you need to make the most of the ones you eat.

6. Beware the female athlete triad

When women combine heavy, intense training with undereating, they may develop the “female athlete triad“: disordered eating, osteoporosis, amenorrhea. If all that sounds extreme, it is but it isn’t; the triad is shockingly common among adolescent and young adult female athletes.

Don’t train too hard. Don’t eat too little. Avoid doing both concurrently, or else your bone, reproductive, and psychological health can suffer.

7. Don’t diet too hard

I know, I know. There’s all this seemingly conflicting information being strewn about. Don’t eat too much. Don’t eat too little! Don’t exercise too much! That’s just the reality, though: in general, women can’t get away with as many metabolic perturbations as men. Whereas men can skip a day or two’s meals and actually come out leaner, healthier, and happier, women often respond negatively to the same stimulus. Men can train really hard and it takes a while for the negative effects to accumulate (remember, I did it for decades before enough was enough); women usually can’t. And men can usually get away with more restrictive diets, like eating very-low carb or super low-calorie for extended periods. In my experience, women usually can’t.

So be aware of all that. Eat the food. When losing weight, which really means “losing fat,” sometimes you need to eat a little more than you think.

8. Get your calcium (and the nutrients necessary to absorb and utilize it)

Across their lives, women have a higher risk of osteoporosis than men. There are a lot of reasons why this discrepancy may exist, but a major one is inadequate calcium intake. Women need more calcium than men.

If you tolerate it, full-fat dairy is a fantastic source of calcium. Highly bioavailable and comes packaged with lots of other nutrients that help it absorb properly.

Leafy greens are pretty good sources of calcium, but I wouldn’t rely on them for the entirety of your calcium intake.

Bone-in small fish, like canned sardines, give tons of calcium. And like the dairy, canned fish comes with many other important nutrients.

9. You might need a few more carbs

The Primal Blueprint recommends quite a varied range of carbohydrate intake. While detractors like to focus on the “low-carb” part of things, I’ve always said that eating around 150 grams of carbs per day is perfectly sustainable, healthy, and sufficiently low-carb. And a sizable portion of my female readers, friends, and clients all seem to do better toward the upper end of that range, in the 100-150 grams per day tier. Many do great on lower amounts, too.

Just don’t think you have to go ketogenic, or avoid berries, or count the carbs in spinach.

10. Get a handle on stress

Much of the research has been in animals, but the bulk of it suggests that females are more susceptible to the negative effects of stress than men. In female mice, chronic stress has a greater chance to cause depression. Girls appear to be more sensitive to the negative psychological effects of child abuse. Overall, females have a greater potential for dysregulated “stress reactivity” in response to stressors and show higher rates of stress-related disorders.

Even “physical” stress, like the oxidative damage caused by exposure to airborne pollution, is more potent in women than men. Female smokers, for instance, show evidence of more oxidative damage than equivalent male smokers.

11. Get your sleep

A recent study found that inadequate sleep was more likely to cause “psychological distress and greater feelings of hostility, depression, and anger” in women than men.

Once again, it’s not fair. It can’t be ignored, though.

12. Watch your iron intake after menopause

For most of your life, you’ve got a built-in iron regulator: your period. Every month, you lose a little iron. You may have even needed to focus on getting more iron to account for the iron lost through menstruation. And through certain phases of life, like pregnancy, your iron needs are higher.

But after you stop getting your period, you’re no longer losing iron. You’re accumulating it, just like men do. And while it may be a confluence of factors, increased iron may be partially responsible for the overall increase in health problems that typically ensue with menopause. If you’re no longer shedding iron regularly, check out all the ways you can use your diet and other lifestyle habits to regulate your iron intake and absorption.

That’s it for today, everyone. It’s not an exhaustive list by any means. I’m sure I’ve missed some things, so now it’s your turn to help out down below.

Women: what tips, tricks, and practices have you found indispensable for your Primal journey?

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142 Comments on "12 Essential Tips for Primal Women"

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shannon
shannon
1 year 1 month ago

I think it would be more accurate to say that men have “somewhat different” equipment than women. The clitoris is surprisingly similar to a penis, if you look under the surface of the body. Men and women are actually more alike than we are different, and the recommendations in this article reflect that.

Clay
Clay
1 year 1 month ago
While were are more alike than different our differences are pretty profound. A clitoris is like a penis only in that they are both formed from the same fetal tissue. Beyond that they are radically different in purpose, function and response. Bat wings are actually just big mammalian hands with webs of skin. The genetic instructions on how to build a proper limb is the same in all mammals as well. But bat’s hands are radically different in purpose and function than a human’s hand. Scientists usually use male mice in their studies because they are biologically simpler and more… Read more »
Marta M
Marta M
1 year 1 month ago

The clitoris and penis are not “radically different.” They’re super similar. Besides the fact that most of the clitoris is internal and most of the penis is external, the only differences are the clitoris exists solely for pleasure (the penis obviously has reproductive and peeing functions) and that the clitoris has twice the number of nerve endings and is able to have multiple orgasms.

Educate yourself: http://projects.huffingtonpost.com/cliteracy

Clay
Clay
1 year 1 month ago
Sure, other than all those major differences you just listed regarding function and purpose, they are super similar. Just like a motorcycle is just like a car, except for the number of cylinders, the number of wheels, the number of passengers it can hold, and the way it steers, brakes and accelerates. My cat is also just like a dog, except for the fact it’s not in every way that matters. Italian food is just like Chinese…noodles, sauces, served on a plate…except they are completely different and you’d be really upset if your ordered linguine and got chow mien and… Read more »
Joe
Joe
1 year 1 month ago

Pretty sure he was referring to a woman’s menstrual cycle. It’s a natural way to chelate iron from the blood. This is why men should donate blood

Tanya E
Tanya E
1 year 1 month ago
Really interesting, I used to do the 5:2 fasting but have really struggled with it this year. At the same time I have started perimenopause, I hadn’t made the connection. I can generally skip breakfast but not during my cycle. So the fasting thing is something I will have to monitor. I have lifted weights for years, I originally had the “Strong Women Stay Young” book,which I have given to my mum who lifts weights in her 70s. It advocates lifting heavy weights with less reps. I also tolerate dairy pretty well so greek yoghurt and cheese is definitely part… Read more »
ren
ren
1 year 1 month ago

I am 50 and perimenopausal. Recently put on couple of kilo (over 6 months), and thought to try the 5:2 – or the 16 hour fast (skipping breakfast) – I packed on an extra 2 kilo in a single week!

Went back to normal paleo, regularly eating 30 grams of protein each meal and lost it in 2 weeks.

The fasting is not for my body.

Jean
Jean
1 year 1 month ago

Sleep can be a problem for older women. I and nearly all my friends who are post menopause have problems sleeping. It’s annoying to be told not to skimp on sleep when insomnia and the menopause seem to go hand in hand.

Susan
1 year 1 month ago

+1

Anna
Anna
1 year 1 month ago

I’m only still in perimenopause and good sleep is a distant memory. Every little noise wakes me up. I rise unrested every morning and drag myself through the day. So that’s it for the rest of my life 🙁

Vicki
Vicki
1 year 1 month ago

I had the same problem with every little noise waking me up, especially since my husband snores, but I have “discovered” silicon earplugs – they are little lifesavers and I sleep sooo much better now that I use them at night. I’d tried the foam earplugs but they make my ears sore, the silicon ones do not. I’ve even slept through thunderstorms! You don’t have to be exhausted for the rest of your life, invest in silicon earplugs!

Anna
Anna
1 year 1 month ago

Snoring husband has been banned to the couch for years. Even so, I hear his snoring even with a wall between us. Thanks for the tip about the silicon. I will try it. Problem is I have a small child and need to hear if she cries at night.

Eric B
1 year 1 month ago

Has the snoring husband had a sleep study done to determine if he has obstructive sleep apnea?

Anna
Anna
1 year 1 month ago

No, and likely will not. He is a lifelong smoker, eats crap, and doesn’t seem interested in improving any aspect of his health at the moment. Unfortunately a sleep study would be low on his priority list. Hence the couch.

ShannonCC
5 months 29 days ago
I know this is an old thread, but in case you see it, have *you* had a sleep study? My husband snores, but when we both had sleep studies it turned out I was the one with the problem, not him. I was waking up fully every few hours but waking up a little bit (not enough to realize I was waking but enough to screw me over the next morning) about 20 times per hour. Now I sleep with a CPAP and am sleeping better than I have in decades. I wish I had found it sooner, but at… Read more »
archaeologyboy
1 year 1 month ago
I’m 41 and male so I’ve no idea if this will help you at all, but I recently (in the last few weeks) finally seem to have solved 4+ years of intermittent sleep problems (no problem falling asleep, but shallow sleep in the second of the night and waking early feeling crappy) by eating a bunch of carbs before bed – a full bowl of rice, sometimes going back for seconds, however much it takes to feel satisfied (not necessarily “full”, but satisfied). Interestingly the timing (before bed) seems to be key, spreading those carbs thru the day doesn’t seem… Read more »
Anna
Anna
1 year 1 month ago

Thanks for the suggestion, but I have diabetes and eating a big bowl of rice also is, and must sadly remain, a distant memory.

Kit
Kit
1 year 1 month ago

I am doing that at the moment. I am doing it a bit like carb backloading (John Kiefer) and mostly keeping the fats out of the pre bed cab meal. I think it has something to do with better insulin sensitivity at night. Dave Asprey has recently also had a go at some honey before bedtime.

Joanne
Joanne
1 year 23 days ago
Thank you for the suggestion. Since the start of menopause, a good night’s sleep is a distant memory. I am going to give this a try, mainly because my sleep problems are the same as you have listed – no trouble falling asleep, and sleeping solidly for 4 hours (regardless of what time I go to bed) – but once I wake that first time after 4 hours, I toss and turn and wake constantly, and by the time I have to get up I feel behind the 8-ball before the day has even started. I’m curious though, has the… Read more »
TanyaR
TanyaR
1 year 1 month ago
Have you ever tried diffusing some lavender in your room while you sleep? Lavender seems to work really well in both those young and old as a calming effect. I’ve used it with my children to get them to go to sleep, and I’ve given it to my elderly aunt who is just wound up really tight and has trouble relaxing. It’s quite versatile. Majestic Pure makes a great lavender essential oil, and it’s very mild – I’ve used it directly on my skin with no adverse effect. I’ve sprinkled drops on my son’s pillow for a restful sleep. Also… Read more »
Anna
Anna
1 year 1 month ago

I have taken valerian before and it did not have any effect. But the lavender is worth a try. Thanks for the suggestion.

Maureen
Maureen
1 year 1 month ago
I am 57 and am now fully into the menopausal stage but almost 10 years ago I started seeing a doctor who specializes in bio-identical hormone replacement. His website is http://www.hormonereplacement.com and he has an archive of many scientific articles regarding symptoms during all phases of male and female reproductive health. I recommend it highly. I sleep like a baby now that I have been replacing with bio-identical progesterone. We lose this hormone more rapidly as we age and it is a big contributor to the estrogen dominant heavy bleeding that often occurs during perimenopause, which I had. Progesterone replacement… Read more »
susie
susie
1 year 29 days ago

Ditto ^^^
Bio-identical hormone replacement cured my insomnia.

Anita
1 year 1 month ago

I use a white noise machine. Works like a charm. In fact, it works so well that I have to drag it with me when I travel because I’ve become so habituated to it that I physically have problems relaxing without it. Sigh…it’s still way better than not sleeping throughout the night.

Kiara
Kiara
1 year 1 month ago

Ditto but with an old fan… I bring it everywhere with me. The only places I don’t need it are at the cottage or in the woods camping.

Joanne
Joanne
1 year 23 days ago

Definitely +1

HealthyHombre
HealthyHombre
1 year 1 month ago

So no tips on managing prostate problems in today’s article eh?

KidPsych
KidPsych
1 year 1 month ago

Off topic, but saw this today. Reaffirmed my belief that being a casual consumer of diet information is not a useful stance.

http://www.wsj.com/video/is-eating-the-wrong-kinds-of-proteins-killing-you/D1DF9138-B7D4-4D48-9297-1E01023847E4.html?mod=trending_now_video_2

Deborah
Deborah
1 year 1 month ago

Excellent article. We women have been so screwed by the advice of twentysomething male health gurus. Very low carb can be really bad for us. I now look at women’s gluteofemoral fat as a sign of female power. I wish I could’ve felt that way 20 years ago.

Casey
Casey
1 year 1 month ago

+1

Rhonda the Red
Rhonda the Red
1 year 1 month ago

Big old +1 to this.

mims
mims
1 year 1 month ago

+2

Aimee
Aimee
1 year 1 month ago

I had a trainer about a year ago say that female bf of 15% was ideal. I really struggled with that as my body was not having it. I would get to around 19-20% and my body just stayed there. Thank you Mark! Now I know that I am lean and normal.

Casey
Casey
1 year 1 month ago

What? 15% often causes reproductive health issues in women!

Aimee
Aimee
1 year 1 month ago

I realize now that it was just his “preference”.

Clay
Clay
1 year 1 month ago

Just being around women my whole life I concur with the sleep and carb recommendations. My partner needs more carbs and sleep than me. I’ve noticed this to be pretty consistent with the women I know. Unfortunately it also seems the very act of having children induces life long mild insomnia in women. Almost all the moms I know when from predictable sleep to fitful sleep when they had children and it never went back to normal.

Anyway, I know when me and my guy friends feel depleted we tend to seek out protein while our female partners seek out carbohydrates.

Casey
Casey
1 year 1 month ago
My husband and I realized we have very different sleep needs after our second child was born, and that I develop terrible depression with sleep deprivation. At that point, he took nights and just fed him a bottle. He still gets up with the kids in the morning, but now they sleep through the night so he is getting enough sleep. This worked out very well for us. He had an easier time also because he can nap where I just can’t. Due to this, neither of us have the fitful sleep most moms develop as a result of years… Read more »
b2curious
b2curious
1 year 1 month ago
I guess I’m one of the lucky moms who did not wind up with life long mild insomnia. I’ve got two children (22 & 13) and I sleep like a rock, or a toddler, and have for most of my life. I fall asleep quickly and rarely wake at night, unless the cat steps on my face. (She wants petted and doesn’t care that I’m asleep.) My husband is jealous of my ability to sleep through just about anything, including most thunderstorms and the transformer that blew close enough to the house that it rattled the windows. Maybe it’s because… Read more »
Jessica
1 year 1 month ago

#5! Oh my goodness. I’ve learned that one the hard way. Before I moved in w/my partner I didn’t have too much trouble staying at my ‘happy’ weight. Now I’ve had to consciously monitor my portion sizes. I can’t let him make my plate for me or I’d end up with a mountain of food on it. Of course he stays at 17%body fat no matter what he does or doesn’t eat.

Yes It Is
Yes It Is
1 year 1 month ago

Can’t tell you how many times I’ve said 1/3 for me, 2/3 for you. I have a tendency to eat what’s on my plate, he hands me a plate and I finish it all. 🙁

Anne J
Anne J
1 year 1 month ago
Great – now if my body would just stay asleep…I can’t seem to get past 6 hours without (unwanted) sleeping pills, and even then it’s hit-or-miss and I don’t like taking 2 since they make me groggy the next day. I can eat well, exercise reasonably (not too much or too little, with a mix of lifting and running), practice good sleep hygiene (mostly – in bed by 10:30pm and I only take the sleep pills when my sleep deficit gets obnoxious), and still wake up at 4am regularly. I’m 42 with 2 kids (ages 8 and 11), and I… Read more »
Clay
Clay
1 year 1 month ago

If you live in a state that allows cannabis use, a very small piece of Indica cannabis chocolate (2-5mg THC at most) one hour before be will lull you gently into a very deep sleep for about 6-8 hours or more. You won’t get high and you’ll wake up feeling relaxed and refreshed. Great for inflammation and pain as well.

Anne J
Anne J
1 year 1 month ago

Yup, thanks…not legal here, and even if it were, I’m in a drug-testable job!

Shary
Shary
1 year 1 month ago

Thanks, Clay. I usually take a little melatonin if I can’t sleep, but I’ll try the Indica cannabis chocolate. I live in Colorado so obtaining it shouldn’t be a problem. Is there a particular brand I should look for?

Clay
Clay
1 year 1 month ago

In Colorado, Bhang Bar is a good safe bet. Get a low dose indica bar (like 60mg if you can find it) so it’s easier to portion out. It’s really annoying to try and shave off 5 milligrams on a 180 mg bar.

Casey
Casey
1 year 1 month ago

GABA. This stuff works incredibly well. But do monitor how it affects your mood. Sometimes it can worsen PMS or depression, if you have a history. Sometimes it can improve these things too, though.
Natural Calm also helps.
Or, getting a lot of daylight exposure, or changing when you exercise. But stop with the sleeping pills. That stuff actually can start damaging your ability to sleep well, and you don’t even realize it is happening.

Shauna
Shauna
1 year 1 month ago
Have you been to a sleep doctor to get a sleep study done? Other than crappy sleep and family history, I’m well outside the usual parameters for sleep apnea, but I have it anyway. If you’re eating well, exercising, practicing good sleep hygiene, and (most importantly) feel tired/groggy/etc, then you really need to go see a sleep doctor. My sleep doctor first treated my insomnia (no meds, either!) and then did an at-home sleep study to check for sleep apnea since my insurance wouldn’t pay for an in-lab test. It’s not a big deal and I am getting better, more… Read more »
b2curious
b2curious
1 year 1 month ago
I’m having a sleep study done next week, because when I took my husband to get a sleep study so that he could get a new CPAP, they ran through a list of potential indicators of a sleep disorder – grinding your teeth, talking, kicking/hitting, snoring, stopping breathing while asleep. He answered no to all but the last 2, I answered yes to all but the last one. Sigh. I’ve already attempted on in home sleep study, but it has to be redone because the pulse/ox kept going out. Hopefully we can get that resolved. I don’t think its OSA,… Read more »
Paleo-curious
1 year 1 month ago
Please forgive me if this sounds like a joke, but when you wake up, can you fall back asleep? I’ve always been a light sleeper & when I was young I just thought that waking up meant it was time to get up. My mind would start focusing on the day ahead & so I went years with an average of 5 hours a night. Then it dawned on me that I should at least try to go back to sleep! Now I meditate &/or listen to restful podcasts if I wake up early, & very often I can get… Read more »
hulasurfer
hulasurfer
1 year 1 month ago

+1 to the GABA suggestion. I take it in combination with L-Theanine before bed. I also take magnesium (threonate has less GI impact) which seems to help me get back to sleep if I wake up after 4 or 5 or 6 hours.

Sara
Sara
1 year 1 month ago
I’m gonna agree with Paleo-curious’ remark. I “naturally” wake up at either 3am or 6am, and I always just chalk it up as the end of the night and time to get to work. But then one morning I was so pooped that I laid back down; despite the fact that I hadn’t thought I’d be able to fall back asleep, I slept all the way to 8am, AND woke up refreshed. This is my night/morning routine now, and I always wake up around 8am (unless I went to bed extremely late, then I’m up by 9). It might be… Read more »
Anne J
Anne J
1 year 1 month ago
What is GABA? Here it’s Greater Arizona Bicycle Association. I took Psych 101 from Dr. James Maas (look him up – Power Sleep is a great book). I have rolling shutters that black out the window, and blackout curtains on the door. The clock sits on its face at night. I don’t bring my phone in the bedroom (it’s on Do Not Disturb after 10pm anyway) and the only TV in the house is downstairs. I use f.lux on my computer, so if I am on it at night (I avoid that), it’s not blue. Light (especially blue light) is… Read more »
hulasurfer
hulasurfer
1 year 1 month ago

GABA=Gamma-Aminobutyric Acid. I take a supplement called Zen by Allergy Research Group, 2 caps right before bed (makes me sleepy). You can find it on Amazon.

Melatonin didn’t do anything for keeping me asleep, but it does work if I have to fly across time zones.

hulasurfer
hulasurfer
1 year 1 month ago

Should have clarified – Zen contains both GABA and L-Theanine.

Kate
Kate
1 year 1 month ago
GABA. YES! However, do try it on a night when you don’t have to get up the next day for work. I got my husband to try it; it helps him tremendously! He now falls asleep easily, and though he wakes a couple times a night, has no trouble falling back asleep. He also has no drowsiness the next day; just feels rested. I tried it once, and I couldn’t wake up. I hit the snooze button 5-6 times….fortunately, I was only getting up early to run a couple errands before work. They didn’t get done. Once up, I didn’t… Read more »
Paleo-curious
1 year 1 month ago

Your remark about fresh sheets reminded me of one of my sister’s sleep rituals: she sprinkles a drop or two of lavender essential oil on her pillow & sheet. I’ve tried it & it doesn’t seem to help me, but she swears by it. Maybe it would help you in between laundering.

b2curious
b2curious
1 year 1 month ago
Having a spouse that is gone often, can take some getting used to. My husband used to work really weird hours as a haz mat/industrial clean up tech. A 70-80 hour week was the norm for him. He’d work well into the night and/or get called out in the middle of the night. He even was out of town for weeks at a time on some jobs. After that he was a cop, whose shift changed monthly. So I can relate. What helped was that we both have our own sheets and blankets – now neither of us steal the… Read more »
Sarah
Sarah
1 year 27 days ago

I have found that in addition to Primal eating, weekly acupuncture from a good Licensed Acupuncturist is my best bet for solid sleep, and for fixing just about everything. Acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine has been a big help to me. And I’m one of those women who used to sleep like a rock until i had kids.

Doris
Doris
1 year 1 month ago

I started seeing a health psychologist for depression, and we have mainly worked on improving my sleep. I don’t always think his suggestions about sleep hygiene and sleep habits will work, but I try them to see for myself. The result: my sleep has improved tremendously. I highly recommend finding someone who is knowledgeable about sleep to help you work make some changes.
Come to think of it, he recommended “The Primal Blueprint” to me!

Dianne
Dianne
1 year 1 month ago
I had the same sleep problem and took ambien for years. Then I gradually weaned myself off once I started making and drinking my own kefir daily and I take a good magnesium supplement (time release or whatever they call it). It has helped tremendously. I take 2 in the morning (I notice I am calmer also – I am an elementary teacher!) and I take 2 at night about a half hour before bed. Dosage is 4 a day. But I also take progesterone at night, altho I don’t think this has much to do with it but I… Read more »
Anne J
Anne J
1 year 1 month ago

What Mg supplement do you take?

Shary
Shary
1 year 1 month ago

Caveat: magnesium can cause loose stools in some people. That much mag would keep me running for the bathroom. Six to eight ounces of pure tart cherry juice seems to help me get into a deeper sleep. Tart cherry juice is well known for helping with both insomnia and inflammation. It’s available at health food stores, Trader Joe’s, and most supermarkets.

leukothea
leukothea
1 year 1 month ago

I think under number 4, when you wrote, “Embrace your lower body fat, since it correlates strongly with health,” you actually meant “Embrace your *higher* body fat”. Typo?

Yahav
Yahav
1 year 1 month ago

I think he meant “lower” body fat as in “lower section of the body”.

Cynthia
Cynthia
1 year 1 month ago

I read it as the lower portion of your body, as in hips, buttocks and thighs.

Paleo-curious
1 year 1 month ago

This is why correct punctuation is actually handy. “Lower-body fat” would be much clearer. 🙂

At least he didn’t say “It’s time to eat grandma!”

Paleo Bon Rurgundy
1 year 1 month ago

The scientific term is “badonkadonk”

bbarnett
bbarnett
1 year 1 month ago

I think he was referring to the region of the body, not the amount of fat.

Elizabeth
1 year 1 month ago
Wow, great tips here! I think the whole carb thing varies from person to person. I get most of my carbs from non-starchy veggies and some nuts from time to time, and feel great…focused and full of energy. As long as I am getting enough fat I feel great. But every now and then,especially if I feel a little run down, I need some sweet potato. It really boils down to listening to your body and giving it what it needs, whether that is more sleep, more carbs, more calcium, or all of the above! Oh, and about to eat… Read more »
Jack Lea Mason
Jack Lea Mason
1 year 1 month ago

Eat some sardines! My thought exactly. I just finished a BAS as I read today’s post. The BAS was a smoked sardine Caesar. The dressing was a tbs of primal mayo, the oil from the sardine can, lemon juice and a little fish sauce and cracked pepper. I wished this together and added a whole head of farmstead romaine and some parmasian to coat the torn leaves. I put the sardines on top and mixed them in.. It seemed to me like the perfect osteoporosis prevention primal meal.

Ange
Ange
1 year 1 month ago

Now I know what I’m making myself for dinner! Thanks!

Ruth
Ruth
1 year 1 month ago

I can’t even tell you how timely this is for me, and so very appreciated! I just started listening to The Paleo Women podcast last week (very highly recommended) and it’s so refreshing to hear about the benefits of this lifestyle from a female perspective, as well as advice and tips that are geared towards our unique physiology. I’ve been bingeing on all of their episodes since then, so this article is really the cherry on top.

More please!

Jenny C
Jenny C
1 year 1 month ago
it’s great to read this post. i got more and more intensely into primal/paleo, becoming lower and lower carb, trying fasting. i got leaner and looked great, but all that surpressed my thyroid and my cycle. i loved the way clothes looked on me and was closer to what fashion says a female body should look like. i also had dry skin, dry everything, was cold, and had lower energy. after i started eating more freely again, i had a lot of rebound weight gain, and now now am the biggest i’ve been in my life. my body dysmorphia says… Read more »
Beth
Beth
1 year 1 month ago
Thank you for writing that! I too struggle with what feels healthy and with what I think “looks” healthy. In my teens I was shockingly slim. Everyone used to comment on it & I perversely loved the attention. Now, in my late 30’s, I’m not overweight, but I’m never going to fit into a pair of high school jeans again either. My husband thinks this is good. He says I should look like a woman since that’s what I am. He calls me beautiful & tells me he likes the way I look. I really want to believe that I… Read more »
Lenora
Lenora
1 year 1 month ago
Hi all I have a question– I’ve been doing about 40-75 grams of carbs a day and I’m doing 24 hour fasts a couple times a week. I just started fasting about a month a go. I’m not losing weight as quickly or as consistently as my boyfriend–and I have a knee injury so I haven’t been able to start Stronglifts yet. Lost about 20lbs in 2.5 months and my boyfriend has lost about 35, granted he’s 6 foot and lifting 3 times a week. I usually feel ok (sometimes a bit tired), but I’m wondering if upping my carb… Read more »
Ruth
Ruth
1 year 1 month ago
I’m no expert, but I’ve been reading this website long enough to know that the answer is for you to experiment!! If your body feels better when you eat a sweet potato, it’s trying to tell you something. Give yourself two or three weeks where you up your carb intake to 100-150 grams a day, and just make note of how your body feels; how it feels before and after workouts, how you sleep, how consistent your energy levels are throughout the day, etc. And if at the end of that you find that you feel fantastic and your body… Read more »
Clay
Clay
1 year 1 month ago
I think anyone would call 40-70 grams net carbs for an active person to be pretty low. And I think most people would call a 20 pound weight loss in two and half months pretty remarkable. Perhaps even too fast (then again, I don’t know your stating weight). I was already super fit and active when i decided to improve my diet and I think I lost 27 pounds over about two years with out any muscle loss or energy loss (177lbs to 150lbs at 5″10″ at age 48). And it thought that was quite reasonable and realistic. I think… Read more »
Christy
Christy
1 year 1 month ago

love this – so true! atkins style worked great for me in my 20s and 30s and made me gain fat in my 40s. now i find a more paleo/zone like approach works best for my post menopausal body. moderate carbs (more than i was used to), moderate protein, and less fat (the high fat diets out there right now do nothing but add body fat to my frame).

thanks sisson!

Kathleen
Kathleen
1 year 1 month ago
I do appreciate this list. Women do have specific concerns. I’ve learned through trial and error that fasting does not work for me. Whenever I would sit down to eat after fasting, I would want to overeat to compensate, and it was hard to feel fulfilled. I do well with low carb (no or very little fruit and starchy vegetables). I tend to want to overeat anything sweet or starchy. Turns out I don’t need them either – I feel great without them. The lifting thing, though…I disagree. I do not lift heavy things. I do bodyweight exercises, sure, and… Read more »
Paleo-curious
1 year 1 month ago
Kathleen, I bet that means you are already pretty muscular. Your usual exercise may be plenty to keep you strong. I have a friend with that kind of build, while I have to work ridiculously hard to add any muscle at all, & it’s super easy to lose it at times of high stress or low calorie intake. I *wish* I could skip the lifting since it is the only form of exercise I don’t enjoy, but the older I get the harder I have to work out just to hold on to what I have! Every body’s different. (Mark… Read more »
Jane Jasper
Jane Jasper
1 year 1 month ago

I’ve done quite a bit of lifting over the course of my life, being a horsewoman. And I’ve always found that women’s shirts are simply not made for a woman w/muscles. I’m not particularly stout, but I do have biceps & delts & have always found off the rack women’s shirts too tight in the arms.

Don’t let the fashion houses dictate your body shape. Stay healthy, keep lifting (tho’ work may be enough), & stay strong.

I personally find women w/no muscles rather unattractive.

Shella
Shella
1 year 1 month ago

Thank you, Mark, for injecting some common sense suggestions into the conversation about female health and what that actually looks like! “Get a good night’s sleep? Manage your stress? Eat more? Lift weights? It’s OK to have 25% body fat?” YES-YES-YES!! It’s important for women to hear this as well as men I’ve encountered many times throughout my life men who think I should eat/exercise/sleep/tolerate stress just like they do. NOT! Thank you for the positive affirmation.

Judy Griesi
Judy Griesi
1 year 1 month ago

Thanks Mark. I have introduced a ‘Fast Friday’ in my routine. I’ve had varying degrees of success (defined by me as fasting from dinner to dinner). I seem to fixate on carbs the longer I fast. I find that dinner to lunch works best for me.

Also sleep (or lack there of). Do post menopausal women require less sleep? I seem to average 5 to 6 hours and I don’t feel tired or lethargic. In the good old days I’d be napping in the afternoon.

Faith2014
Faith2014
1 year 1 month ago
Thanks to this website, I made the first attempt to switching to free weights (dumbbells) last night. I started with weight machines in late Feb at the YMCA through their Fit Start program, Last week I started traveling again for my job, and there are no machines there. I did a couple of arm exercises and was surprised that I couldn’t use the same weight except for one exercise (shoulder press at 10 lbs)! No leg work since I I had severe cartilage issues in my knees and have been doing high volume, low exertion to help repair them (based… Read more »
Delo
Delo
1 year 1 month ago
Good article. However, one thing for the ladies to consider regarding iron intake and periods. After I hit 40 my entire menstrual cycle went absolutely crazy!!! This also happened in my early twenties but after losing 100+ lbs I didn’t have the issue again until after 40. My period would last for (literally) months at a time and be very heavy. I had always been anemic and inconsistent with taking my iron supplement. This may be weird and not make any sense to you but taking my iron is the only thing that got my period back to normal. I… Read more »
Paleo-curious
1 year 1 month ago

I had similar issues before I was diagnosed with Celiac Disease. Even taking supplements didn’t help much. Ditching gluten allowed my body to absorb iron & made my periods bearable again. I never knew that the super-heavy bleeding was my body’s attempt to return to an iron equilibrium– seems kind of counter-productive!

Pip
Pip
1 year 18 days ago
OMG, I am fascinated by this! I’m 32 and have always had long, heavy periods, but they got much worse after my second child (now 5). In january I was diagnosed with a severely overactive thyroid and have been taking carbimazole but last month I also gave in to a (more than) sneaking suspicion that I am intolerant to gluten and gave it up. My period this month was 3 days!! And I didn’t ruin any bedsheets! I had put it down to the carbimazole levelling my hormones but do you think it might have been more to do with… Read more »
Amanda
Amanda
1 year 1 month ago
A timely article for me. Problem is nothing seems to budge (clothing or scale) unless I restrict my carbs to well under 50g. And then I just get carb crazy. On top of that, nothing budges unless I also calorie restrict to about 1200 or less. It’s wildly frustrating and I feel like I’m fighting a losing battle all the time. One in which I’m either starving or obsessing about what to eat. I wish I could sleep better, as I get up on average 3 times a night. I’m always tired, and this is never conducive to having enough… Read more »
Shauna
Shauna
1 year 1 month ago
Might be time to consider seeing a sleep doctor. If you’re having problems sleeping, you’re going to have issues getting rid of weight. I am not a sleep doctor, but I’ve been feeling so much better since I (finally) listened to my husband and went to see a specialist. I’m also finally able to keep up with an exercise routine. It’s very easy now, compared to when I was an athlete, but my body got wrecked with pregnancy, my son’s severe FPIs while I was breastfeeding hime (I couldn’t take in enough calories/day, so my body cannibalized my muscle), and… Read more »
Amanda
Amanda
1 year 1 month ago
You are probably right, but since my insurance contracts with horrible doctors, I’m just not keen on any. Already seeing an a*hole of a neurologist for headaches (who supposedly does sleep studies etc) and he has not helped me at all. I figured out my own problems and am treating them with MFR massages and getting my BC changed. I’m just sick and tired of doctors because every single one I see never has helped me. Maybe it’s my luck with doctors. Maybe it’s that I’m in Los Angeles and LA just sucks. But I don’t want to waste more… Read more »
Shauna
Shauna
1 year 1 month ago
That sucks. Part of the reason I put off doing a sleep study when my husband first mentioned it was that many of them were just pill mills in the area we were living in at that time. 🙁 Then, I had a kid and a thousand and one other excuses for not doing it. I can sympathize. I’ve put off some other major health things because of not having insurance or not having providers around with whom I would be comfortable. I’ve put off going to a dermatologist for two years now because there aren’t female dermatologists in our… Read more »
Shary
Shary
1 year 1 month ago

I’ve never had much luck with doctors either. It seems all they want to do is write a prescription for drugs that I won’t take. Regarding being naked in front of a male doctor, they usually have a female assistant in the room too, so then you have an audience of two people staring at your bare lady parts. Lovely. This isn’t at all for your peace of mind, however. It’s more likely a requirement of their malpractice insurance.

Shary
Shary
1 year 1 month ago

I routinely fast following a moderately early dinner until I eat a late breakfast or early lunch the next day. I rarely snack between meals, so the average is around 15 hours of fasting every day. This pattern seems to come naturally for me and my body doesn’t have a problem with it. For me personally, I don’t find that there’s anything to be gained by fasting for longer periods of time.

Kate
Kate
1 year 1 month ago

That’s exactly what I do, too. Sometimes, if I’ve eaten really early, I’ll have breakfast at breakfast time, but generally I find that if, say, I’m staying with friends and we eat late (as I think most people do) then I skip breakfast. It seems comfortable. And breakfast can happen any time between 9.am and 2pm!

Rose
Rose
1 year 1 month ago

I’m a regular blood donor and plan to continue until they kick me out. Haemoglobin was mostly borderline low until menopause, now it’s always low-mid normal…don’t have to think about it, excess iron not going to be a problem it seems.

Jackie
1 year 1 month ago
It’s truly amazing that Bioidentical Hormone Replacement isn’t mentioned as a way to improve health for women. The no sleeping thing is so triggered by loss of hormones, especially estrogen, after 35 years old and only gets worse for most women (being general here like Mark) esp after 45 years old who can’t sleep well or sometimes at all and has led to deep deep depression/suicide in women. Hormones are so taboo, even in health circles like this, esp since the male steroid debacles, failed studies, and media destruction of hormones as ‘bad’ esp ‘sex’ hormones as cancer ‘causing’. So… Read more »
NeeNee
NeeNee
1 year 1 month ago
Great article and so nice to see women be the focus! Regarding post menopause women: My own experience (I am almost 64) manifests a need for a few more carbs. Not a lot, but a few more, like a sweet potato more frequently. Also, a bit more fat – not additional gobs mind you, but eating fat as a part of your meal. I find at this age if I get ultra strict with carbs or fat restriction I don’t feel as balanced and energetic. It’s not worth it to restrict. After menopause it’s pretty hard to completely get rid… Read more »
Caitlin Lee
Caitlin Lee
1 year 1 month ago

Great post Mark!! I think all your posts need to come with standards for men and women.

Sure, it’s not fair that there are biological differences, but I am using the more sleep thing to my advantage! My husband could sleep forever, but I keep telling him my sleep needs are higher, so he has to be the one with the 6:00 am wake up with our 1.5 year old. 🙂

Dana
Dana
1 year 1 month ago

This is such a great post — thoughtful, nuanced, and thought-provoking (asking people to actually think for themselves and not just internalize everything they read). But that’s what we’ve come to expect at MDA. Keep up the great (and important work)!!!

OctoberAmy
OctoberAmy
1 year 1 month ago

Great article, thanks! I find I have to eat at least 120g of carbs per day to lose any weight. Less than that and I eat too much fat, (maybe to compensate?), and the calories are too high. I also have about 25% bf when I’m at my desirable leanest weight. I fast about 14 hrs a day, just by not eating after dinner and having a late breakfast (I don’t eat until I get hungry, which is around 9:30, after rising around 7:30am.

Lemoncactus
Lemoncactus
1 year 1 month ago
Great subject!!!! Women often have different needs than men. Too bad most of the advice out there is aimed at 20 year old men looking for perfection. It’s hard to imagine that a 20 year man and a 50 year old woman would have the same nutrition and workout needs. But really, everyone is different. You have to experiment with what works for YOU. Things that have been helping me: Lose the shame, guilt, self-delusion, and try things out with an honest and curious open mind. If it works, great, if it does not, move on. Sleep-as I’ve gotten older… Read more »
Donna Munro
Donna Munro
1 year 1 month ago

We need more data from women of all ages. I’m past periods but recently suffered from low ferritin which really dragged me down. We can’t make assumptions based on age or gender, we have to do our own experiments and see what works for us. We can’t let other people tell us where we should be, but it helps to hear what has worked for others.

Ida
Ida
1 year 1 month ago
I have a question. I’m 55 and well past menopause (yippee!). I’ve kept 80 pounds off for 30+ years by eating practically nothing and running like a maniac on a treadmill. Over the last two years, I’ve had a surgical repair for an epigastic hernia (hernia above bellybutton) that went dreadfully wrong and left me constantly feeling the hernia patch and with a huge bulge in my stomach (lovely), a broken foot and a broken tailbone. Numerous doctors have told me NOT to lift weights but after two years of limited exercise due to the above, I’ve gained about 10… Read more »
Kate
Kate
1 year 1 month ago
IMO, yes. Start eating and stop running. Walk daily, outside. Focus on real food and real movement…..treadmills are fine when you are stuck inside with a week of solid rain or snow, but generally, get out of the house for your exercise. I was skinny/fat….I looked better than most people today, but had terrible joint pain and various injuries that didn’t seem to heal, and some extra belly fat I couldn’t seem to shift, no matter how much I exercised or how little I ate. I started PB March of 2015. Now, I’ve lost 18 lbs, have not had ANY… Read more »
Clay
Clay
1 year 1 month ago

I agree. I think we are designed to walk or sprint. I see people every morning doing these moderate paced runs and I just don’t see the results. They look nearly identical to a sedentary person…except with knee braces. The ones that look syrong and fit are running as a supplement to some other training program. I can’t image why our ancestors would ever jog for 3-5 miles. What would be the point?

Dr. Dana Leigh Lyons
1 year 1 month ago
Thanks for this, Mark. It’ll be wonderful to share with my female clients and covers a host of common themes that arise in my work. Personally and with clients, I find that most of these tips become increasingly essential the older we get. Something that works okay for a while can stop being the best fit in your 30s, 40s, 50s or beyond. That said, it’s not all bad. I love working with peri-/post-menopausal women who feel better than they have in a long, long time after transitioning to a primal eating pattern. The lifestyle patterns (sleep, for instance) seem… Read more »
Kellie McGuire
2 months 27 days ago

Has anyone noticed an effect of low-carb on hot flashes?

Anna
Anna
1 year 1 month ago

I have never been overweight but I find that since hitting my 40s, I am having blood sugar control issues. If I keep carbs around 30g per day, blood sugar stays in the normal range. Anything above that and there is trouble. Wish I could increase carbs but the high blood sugar is a major issue.

Lemoncactus
Lemoncactus
1 year 1 month ago

I’ve found that if I eat protein first, then make sure the carbs have fat it has less impact on blood sugar

Katie
Katie
1 year 1 month ago

Thanks for a great article – much appreciated!

Jenna
Jenna
1 year 1 month ago
I’m curious… Robb Wolf recently had Dr Jason Fung on his podcast, and the episode blew my mind. For the last week, I’ve been binge-reading Fung’s website (www.intensivedietarymanagement.com). Fung says that women should still (for the most part – there are always exceptions!) fast, but that there’s a huge difference between say, intentional caloric restriction (like a compressed eating window), and a full-on intentional 24 hour plus fast. Where caloric restriction can slow down basal metabolic rate and make you tired, hungry, and cold (like the poor Biggest Loser contestants), Fung says that a 24 hour fast doesn’t have the… Read more »
Shary
Shary
1 year 1 month ago

A lot of people say a lot of things. That doesn’t mean any of it works for all of us. Might be best to take all the “expert” advice out there with a grain of salt, used just as a guideline, and then moderate it according to individual body needs.

Mechelle Meixner
Mechelle Meixner
1 year 1 month ago
I am a 48 year old mom of 3 who started intermittent fasting 2 weeks ago after seeing one of Dr. Fung’s youtube videos. Since then, I have done a 4 day fast, 2– 24 hour fasts, and fasted between 12 and 18 hours on all the other days. I just follow what my body wants to do each day. When I am hungry, I drink some water or tea, and then decide in 15 minutes if I want to go longer or if I want to eat. In 20 days I have had amazing results. I am no longer… Read more »
Ed
Ed
1 year 1 month ago

Dr Fung, a leading expert on fasting and it’s positive health outcomes, says that women do just as well, and quite often better than men do on a fast. He says lots of myths out there and the ‘women don’t do as well as men’ is one of them.

Mechelle Meixner
Mechelle Meixner
1 year 1 month ago
THanks for pointing this out, Ed. I am a 48 yo woman who resisted intermittent fasting for 4 years while I followed an ancestral lifestyle because I believed the myths about middle-aged women having a hard time with fasting. I finally gave it a try 2 weeks ago, and the results are amazing! And I feel great! I hope that more women can discover how wonderful fasting is, and won’t let others limit them–or make them think that there is something scary or dangerous about fasting. One can always just do a 12 hour fast with 3 square meals (no… Read more »
Tasha
Tasha
1 year 1 month ago

Eating a ketogenic diet for the last 4 months is the best I’ve felt in years, maybe ever. High fat seems to be key for me when cutting carbs low. I’m 46, having regular cycles, and sleeping like a champ. I’m losing body fat that I’ve really needed to do and just couldn’t do eating regular paleo. I’ve got zero carb cravings which is amazing!! And, I’m not always hungry. All kinds of little body issues have cleared up and my mental and emotional health is way more stable. So, looks like it really can vary.

Marisa Moon
1 year 1 month ago

Have you heard of the Milk Myth? Pasteurized & Homogenized Milk turns it to an acidic food, and in turn requires minerals (like calcium) to be leached from the bones to help neutralize the acid. And we excrete any excess calcium in our urine. This is why high milk consumption is so closely correlated with osteoporosis. So enjoy raw milk and raw milk cheeses.
If anyone has a different perspective please let me know because this is what I teach my clients.
Here is an example of an article stating this case:
http://saveourbones.com/osteoporosis-milk-myth/

catmentality
catmentality
1 year 1 month ago

Learn to meditate. Meditation is not recommended at night in bed as one falls asleep! Works fine with me – I’m 68.

TLC
TLC
1 year 1 month ago

When do you Meditate for it to work for sleep and I know this sounds silly but HOW do you meditate, new to me but I am in my mid 40’s and suffer from pretty severe insomnia (been to Dr, endocrinologist, sleep dr) nobody knows why I’m not sleeping, super healthy, active, happy…. Just need more sleep!

ren
ren
1 year 1 month ago

You could try the guided meditations on the Insight Timer app. They are free. There are so many, and they so varied, that you will likely find something that will help you get started.

Marta
Marta
1 year 1 month ago

Great post! Thanks!

Miriam
Miriam
1 year 1 month ago
Thanks for the article! I recently started lifting and using weights at the gym – a significant progression from the bodyweight program I was doing at home. I never was worried about looking bulky, it was more of a “women have less upper body strength” mentality that I block me from trying. Thanks for the encouragement! About sleep- I have three children under 9 and have discovered two amazing helpers. 1). Cuddling with the kids. This always puts me happily and deeply to sleep. 2) self hypnosis apps. Many of these are intended for use when awake but there are… Read more »
Sharon
Sharon
1 year 1 month ago
regarding hormones and lack of estrogen. I found pregnenolone to be very effective. it’s considered the “mother of all hormones” in that it will indirectly help your body replace what it is missing. Ie convert the preg to estrogen OR testosterone depending on what you need. It can be very powerful, so I would recommend starting with 5mg daily and monitor for changes before increasing the dose. Some people need 50mg a day, while others are good with just 5mg once a week. For me, after using 5mg 3x a week for a few months everything kicked back into action.… Read more »
Sharon
Sharon
1 year 1 month ago

edit – Pregnenolone. not Progesterone. Progesterone is great but for different need.

Emily
1 year 1 month ago

This is a great article! Mark your articles are most often awesome – it is hard to find balanced nutrition information out there. This stuff applies across the board, primal or not. People usually want the “always or never” answers. They just don’t exist. This dietitian wants to send you an enormous Thank You for being real, practical and balanced. That’s the stuff that really helps people make sustainable positive change in their lives. Cheers!

Tanya E
Tanya E
1 year 1 month ago

I use the Headspace meditation app. It has a sleep pack, which teaches you to change your attitude to sleep. That is, not to fret about not sleeping and also a go to sleep exercise for night time. My youngest is disabled and had awful sleep problems, we went to a sleep clinic, after (mostly) sorting out her sleep I needed to retrain myself to go back to sleep. It really helped, along with blackout blinds, a light clock and lavender oil!

Megan
Megan
1 year 1 month ago

Studies show that women generally aren’t fertile below 22% body fat and are most fertile between 26-28% body fat. So I always cringe when I hear fitness ‘experts’ say women should be 20-25% body fat. It is not healthy for women. We are not small men. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/3117838 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/2282736

Jenny C
Jenny C
1 year 1 month ago

thanks for posting that. i’ve learned i’m not fertile at lower body fat. it’s not just me, apparently! it’s funny how thin women are marketed as “sexy,” when in actuality, those thin women likely have suppressed cycles and no sexual desire at all! that’s how i felt when i was at my thinnest.

Ida
Ida
1 year 1 month ago
Hey Kate and others…thanks for your opinion! I’m going to give the blueprint a whirl even though I can’t lift weight. I love the Primal Mayo and am getting a delivery of grass fed/finished meats and pastured poultry today. Bodies really do change as we age and women’s bodies simply need fat. I’ve always been curvy but trim and with a flat belly. The post menopause belly freaked me out! Ultra low fat vegan (a la doctors Fuhrman and MacDougal) really worked for me in my 30s and 40s but not in my mid 50s! I confess, I’m looking forward… Read more »
Mechelle Meixner
Mechelle Meixner
1 year 1 month ago

Hi Mark,

I am puzzled as to why you are suggesting women won’t get as many benefits as men from fasting. The studies you used seem weak, and sparse! 😉 This has been the most amazing asset to my toolbox since discovering Low Carb/Primal 4 years ago. (I am a 48 yo woman). Please consider looking into this more, and talking with someone like Dr. Jason Fung, and then writing some more on this subject…

Thanks!
Mechelle

Salina
Salina
1 year 1 month ago
Mark, thank you for this! I hope a lot of women see this. I did extended intermittent fasting and very low carb/ketogenic for 6+ months a few years back. Felt great and worked well for the first few months then I slowly started losing energy, was not able to make it through my workouts then even started gaining belly fat! I was so confused. Because of all the info out there I thought the answer was to go even lower carb. Eventually, I recognized I really screwed my hormones up especially with thyroid problems. I started to add in more… Read more »
Jenny C
Jenny C
1 year 1 month ago

ditto–the same thing happened to me, and i’ve gained a lot of weight to recover and have hormones back to normal.

Human friend
Human friend
1 year 1 month ago

So sick (particularly) of buff men dishing out advice to women – but hurray, at last, for this today.

Women have suffered for so long at the hands of the health and fitness industry: they have grown fiscally fat off us.

Bonnie
Bonnie
1 year 1 month ago
#1 bothers me: “One study found that while IF improved insulin sensitivity in male subjects, female subjects saw no such improvement and actually experienced worse glucose tolerance.” I’m a post-menopausal T2 diabetic & overweight. I’m not able to take the diabetes meds I can afford because the side affects are horrible. So I eat vlc – which has helped, but I still had plenty of BG #s over 140. When I started skipping supper most days (skipping breakfast didn’t work for me), I saw my BG coming down & I finally started losing weight. But the smallest amount of carbs… Read more »
Mrs Rathbone
Mrs Rathbone
1 year 1 month ago

Is it safe to sporadically get the diabetes meds you can’t afford 365 days of the year, and have a period where you eat more carbs and therefore get varied nutrients? Like one week in 4 or something? No idea what I’m talking about with this medically, I just know the desire for consistancy can actually become a trap, shaking things up might mean you can get a wider range of nutrients over a month.

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