Marks Daily Apple
Serving up health and fitness insights (daily, of course) with a side of irreverence.
19 Jun

Dear Mark: Women and Intermittent Fasting

IFMany differences exist between the two sexes. We look different. We sound different. We dress differently from each other. We like different things. Different genres of movies cause men and women to cry (differently). And although society, media, and culture drive and/or inform many of our differences, some are inherent and physiologically-driven. For example, men and women have different biological equipment – both external and invisible to the naked eye – that change how we interact with and respond to our environments, our exercise, our sleep, and our eating habits. Nowhere are these gender differences more evident than in the realm of health and nutrition, and yet it seems that I’ve overlooked a big one: different sex responses to intermittent fasting.

Let’s take a look at a couple recent reader emails:

Hi Mark,

I’m a woman (28 years old) who followed your recent fasting series with great interest, gave it a shot, but had mixed results. Then I read this post, which mentioned your series and questioned the suitability of intermittent fasting for women. Is it true? Do we respond differently than men? What do you think of that post? Thanks!

Claire

Dear Mark,

Paleo for Women blog says that fasting may not be for women: that it’s more suited for male physiology. I have been fasting for three years and never experienced any missed periods/sleeplessness, etc. Moreover I got a handle on my mindless eating. Can you give your word on IF for women?

Varsha Tiwary

Thanks for writing in with your questions.

First of all, I really, really liked Stefani’s post. I should say “posts,” actually, since Stefani Ruper (who wrote the post linked in the reader question) also just did a guest post on Free the Animal, in which she discussed the treatment of women’s issues in the community at large. While I don’t agree with everything she said, both were quite well done.

Even though her articles – for lack of a better phrase – “called me out” (in a completely non-confrontational way), I was actually quite happy to read them. Heck, I was happy to read them because of it. After all, I’ve always encourage people to be critical about what they think they know about nutrition and fitness, and to be skeptical about what they read on the Internet – my articles included. The beauty of MDA is that it isn’t one-sided. I get constant feedback from readers that send me down new paths of inquiry, and it’s through this kind of crowd-sourced effort that the Primal Blueprint message grows and becomes stronger than it already is.

I also appreciated Stefani’s articles because they do highlight a blindspot – not just in my own series of posts, but in nutritional science as a whole. In the push to eliminate the confounder known as inherent endocrine gender differences, they’ve forgotten that real life is a series of confounding variables all pushing, pulling, poking, and prodding at the results we get. They’ve forgotten that while their results may represent fodder for publishing and accolade accumulation and hypothesis confirmation (or rejection), real live humans in normal living situations are not placebo-controlled. That women are not the same as men and respond differently to stimuli and stressors isn’t a “confounder”; it’s a fact deserving of further study! Because what are we ultimately trying to do here – put together nice, neat, peer-review-ready trials, or help real people living real lives?

Since I’m trying to do the latter, I happily accept constructive criticism. So should we all.

So, what did Stefani’s research find?

Fasting has different endocrine effects on male and female rats.

In male rats:

No matter the duration or degree of nutritional stress, male rat brain chemistry responds with similar changes. Nocturnal activity and cognition stay fairly stable, regardless of the intensity of the fast. If you push the fast long enough, males will get a little wonky and frantic, but overall they maintain pretty well. It’s like they’re equipped with the ability to handle nutritional stressors.

In female rats:

Any degree of nutritional stress (fasting or mere caloric restriction) causes increased wakefulness (during the day, when they normally sleep), better cognition (for finding food), hyper alertness, and more energy. In short, female rats become better at finding and acquiring food when they fast, as if their bodies aren’t as well-equipped to deal with the stress of going without food. They also become less fertile, while the males actually become hornier and more fertile (probably to account for the females’ plummeting fertility). Ovary size drops (bad for fertility), adrenal gland size increases (which in rats indicates exposure to chronic stress), and menstrual cycles begin to dysregulate in proportion to the degree of caloric restriction.

In humans, the male-female fasting literature is quite scant, but Stefani also found considerable differences beween the sexes, when data was available:

  • One study, which I’ve cited before as evidence of a benefit to fasting, found that while IF improved insulin sensitivity in male subjects, female subjects saw no such improvement. In fact, the glucose tolerance of fasting women actually worsened. Ouch.
  • Another study examined the effect of alternate day fasting on blood lipids. Women’s HDL improved and their triglycerides remained stable; men’s HDL remained stable and their triglycerides decreased. Favorable, albeit sex-specific results.
  • Later, both obese men and women dropped body fat, body weight, blood pressure, total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyercides on a fasting regimen. These people were obese, however, and perimenopausal women were excluded from the study, so the results may not apply to leaner people or women of reproductive age.

I figured I’d look through my other recent fasting posts for data on female (preferably pre-menopausal) responses to fasting. Here’s what I found:

  • In the only heretofore extant human study on fasting and chemotherapy, seven females (including a 44-year old woman who was likely premenopausal, given when menopause usually onsets, though it wasn’t explicitly stated) and three males found that IF improved their tolerance to and recovery from chemotherapy. Takeaway: male and female (mostly middle aged, though that’s the population that generally gets cancer and undergoes chemotherapy) chemotherapy patients appear to benefit equally from IF.
  • Although both men and women displayed greater increases in VO2 max and resting muscle glycogen concentration in response to fasted cycling training, only men showed greater skeletal muscle adaptations when fasted. Women had better muscle adaptations when fed. Takeaway: fasted endurance training, then, may work better for women than fasted weight training.

As it stands right now, I’d be inclined to agree that pre-menopausal (and perhaps peri-menopausal) women are more likely to have poor – or at least different – experiences with intermittent fasting, at least as a weight loss tool. That said, it appears to be a potentially gender-neutral therapeutic tool for chemotherapy, cancer, and age-related neurodegeneration patients.

As I alluded to earlier, this is what I love about this open forum we call the Internet: the fact that if you leave something out, or overlook a key point, someone will call you out on it, most likely publicly. When that happens, you grow despite yourself. If not for Stefani’s posts, I may never have taken a closer look at the inherent differences in men’s and women’s metabolic responses to fasting. I certainly receive enough feedback from female readers for whom fasting has been helpful, so it’s good to see another side.

To sum things up – if such a thing can even be done – and answer the questions in the intro, men and women have inherent metabolic and hormonal differences, and it’s evident that these differences in part determine how we respond to a stressor like intermittent fasting. I’ve never prescribed intermittent fasting as a requisite piece of the Primal lifestyle, but rather as an adornment, a choice, a potentially therapeutic strategy that each individual must test for him or herself. Although my recent series on fasting might have thrown some people off, I want to reiterate that I am not a huge IF guy. For myself, I generally fast when it makes sense – if I’m traveling and good food isn’t available, if I’m just not hungry, stuff like that. I periodically do 16/8 or 14/10 (i.e. eating in an 8 or 10 hour window) and find it works great for me because I am fully fat-adapted. But even I don’t hold rigidly to that. It’s not for everyone. And that hasn’t changed.

So who should and shouldn’t consider fasting? Have my recommendations changed?

If you haven’t satisfied the usual IF “pre-reqs,” like being fat-adapted, getting good and sufficient sleep, minimizing or mitigating stress, and exercising well (not too much and not too little), you should not fast. The pre-reqs are absolutely crucial and non-negotiable, in my opinion, especially the fat-adaptation. In fact, I suspect that if an IF study was performed on sugar-burning women versus fat-adapted women, you’d see that the fat-burning beasts would perform better and suffer fewer (if any) maladaptations.

I would also caution against the already lean, already calorie-restricted woman jumping headfirst into IF. I mean, fasting is ultimately sending a message of scarcity to your body. That’s a powerful message that can get a powerful response from our bodies. If you’re already lean (which, depending on the degree of leanness, arguably sends a message of scarcity) and restricting calories (which definitely sends a message of scarcity), the response to fasting can be a little too powerful.

I’d also say that daily fasts, a la 16/8 or even 14/10, run the risk of becoming chronic stressors and should be approached with caution by women. Same goes for ultra-long fasts, like a 36 (or even 24) hour marathon. Most of all, though, I’d simply suggest that women interested in fasting be cautious, be self-aware, and only do so if it comes naturally. It shouldn’t be a struggle (for anyone, really). It shouldn’t stop your cycle or make it harder for you to get pregnant. It should improve your life, not make it worse. If you find that fasting has those negative effects, stop doing it. It should happen WHEN (When Hunger Ensues Naturally), if it happens at all.

I’m not going to say that women should or shouldn’t fast. I’ll just echo Stefani’s advice “to look at options, to be honest about priorities, and to listen to one’s body with awareness and love.” Frankly, everyone should be doing that, but with regards to fasting, it looks like women should probably hew a little closer to her words.

Of course, if I had to make one minor quibble with the content of Stefani’s otherwise outstanding posts, it would be her source for the number of unique visitors Mark’s Daily Apple gets each month. Nowadays, we’re actually getting closer to 1.5 million monthly uniques, not 250-300,000… but who’s counting?

That’s it for me, today. What about you? If you’re a woman who has tried fasting, or know someone who fits the description, let us all know about your experiences. I’m intensely curious to hear from as many of you as I can. Thanks for reading.

You want comments? We got comments:

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  1. I am absolutely horrified that there are 70+ studies on IF in men, and yet absolutely ZERO studies done on reproductive-aged women. How can all those scientists have completely forgotten to study women? Such an extreme gender bias is mind-boggling.

    Well, I think it’s time for action. There needs to be legislation in place that forces scientists to study equal numbers of women. If women are not represented in studies, then it’s going to flow down as poorer health for women. We can’t accept that.

    Similarly, when the media (Hi Mark!) report these kinds of findings, they need to specify that it’s not yet applicable to humans on the whole, because the studies only looked at men.

    IF is being touted as a godsend and cure-all, when we actually have no idea how it affects over 50% of the population because nobody has done the studies. And apparently, before Stefani brought it up, nobody even noticed…

    Helen wrote on July 12th, 2013
  2. The following three studies show that regular mealtimes (basically the opposite of IF-ing) improved insulin sensitivity in women. Regular mealtimes also improved postprandial glucose and lipid profiles. Having breakfast, instead of skipping it as many IFer’s do, had similar beneficial effects. In general, there were very positive results for women having small, regular mealtimes and not skipping meals.

    When you add this information to the fact that one study found IF did NOT improve insulin sensitivity in women, AND actually worsened their glucose tolerance, and you’ve got some pretty interesting evidence to be going on with. Obviously, fasting has vastly different effects on men vs women. We can’t assume that what’s good for one will be good for the other.

    These studies are small and sparse, and more research is needed, but the indication is that small regular meals, including breakfast, may possibly be better for women’s health than IF.

    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/81/2/388.short

    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/81/1/16.short

    http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/81/1/16.short

    Helen wrote on July 12th, 2013
  3. I do not create many responses, however after browsing a few of the comments here
    Should Women Fast? | Mark’s Daily Apple. I do have a couple of questions for you if it’s okay.
    Could it be simply me or do a few of the comments look like they
    are left by brain dead individuals? :-P And, if you are posting on other places, I’d like to keep up with anything new you have to post. Would you make a list of all of all your social community sites like your twitter feed, Facebook page or linkedin profile?

    Corazon wrote on July 18th, 2013
  4. I am a 28 year old female and I’ve been on IF for almost a month now. I have adopted a 16/8hr schedule, according to Leangains. Sometimes I push it to 18/6 if I am very busy, but that’s really uncomfortable at the end of the fast. I make sure I eat exactly as much as I burn. I have not tried fasted training yet.
    As far as I am concerned it has benefits and some drawbacks.

    Benefits:
    1. I am MUCH thinner and look much better
    2. Belly doesn’t bloat anymore, no matter how much I eat in one sitting
    3. My mind is much more clear, I can think better while fasting
    4. Greater output during training
    5. Energy levels don’t drop at all and my blood sugar seems to be much more stable
    6. I’ve dealt with random daily nausea for years, but that has completely vanished
    7. No more cravings for terrible food
    8. The happiness I experience when I have to eat large amounts of food really rejuvenates me psychologically. I have always hated the tiny meals of the ‘grazing’ method
    9. Food tastes INCREDIBLE
    10. So much free time during the fast, I get more things done, more quickly

    Drawbacks:
    1. I still wake up hungry
    2. My BM’s have become incredibly erratic, sometimes I don’t go for days, they are smaller and sometimes come with abdominal cramps. But, no bloating.
    3. If I have a slow day I am constantly thinking about food
    4. There are days where I sleep less, on other days I sleep more

    Looking at this I seem to experience more benefits. However, waking up hungry really bums me out. Like, seriously, that’s super annoying. I haven’t done this long enough to find out if IF affects my cycle. I am very curious about that!

    I hope my info helps :)

    Layla wrote on July 20th, 2013
  5. I have PCOS and have been thinking about doing some water fasting, about 5 days. I don’t want to mess up my hormones any further, but on the other hand they’re already messed up. I’m not sure how to handle the situation.

    Gry wrote on August 30th, 2013
  6. I’m a 37 yo female, martial artist, no medical conditions. Overall, lean and fit but I do still have a few extra baby pounds hanging on for dear life. With 2 young children, active lifestyle and ultra-busy schedule I think IF hasn’t worked for me because of additional stressors. My husband uses IF to great affect and does it twice per week. Usually he fasts on a regular day, but will fast on a different day if schedule/situation dictate.

    My experience, on the other hand, is completely different than his. I am a miserable wreck on IF. I am painfully hungry, have a bad attitude, low energy, wakefulness at night, painful morning and noticeable lack of strength. Although I had an initial weight loss with IF, it quickly rebounded and with a vengeance. I actually felt like my body’s response to short term IF (1 day and 2 day fasts were tried) was to add fat. I’ve had much better results by eating 5 small meals per day, “juice fasting” 1-3 of those meals every day and focusing on extra water intake. I choose a high-quality vegetable/fruit juice that packs in the vitamins on a small caloric load (usually 100-150 calories). Occasionally, I will juice fast nearly all day when my hunger is low but I never make it any longer than 16 hours without eating.

    Meg wrote on September 10th, 2013
  7. Adding my experience for anyone still reading :) (I’ve read many of your comments and appreciated them all!)

    I am a 31 year old female, 5’5, about 140 lbs, active via Crossfit (2x week) and biking to work. I am not a Primal eater, but rather follow the WAPF/Traditional Foods diet. I was on the pill for about 10 years (ugh) and went off one year ago. Menstrual cycle was very slow to come back, but started to after about 6 months. However, I decided to try the 5:2 diet seven weeks ago, just when my cycles were starting to get normal… and have not had a period since then (should have had 2 by now). My concern about this led me here, and I’m now feeling like IF certainly is not worth it for me. While I did lose about 10 lbs (which certainly wasn’t easy or fun), I do not want to put my fertility and hormones at risk. More fats for me I guess :)

    Amanda wrote on September 12th, 2013
  8. Hi Mark,

    I’m actually trying out fasting right now. I fasted on yom kippur and it didn’t go so well towards the end, which made me want to work on that. I’m doing a fast from 7am-7pm (because thats the only thing that fits my scheduale :( ) with a workout before I eat, 3 days in a row, since more holidays are coming up and this is all the time I’ve got. So far, I seem to get really hungry around 1 when I would have eaten lunch. After that I’m fine. I’m REALLY surprised at how capable I am at working out on an empty stomach!

    I really appreciate this review of this topic for women specifically. Thanks!

    Lital Bridavsky wrote on September 16th, 2013
  9. I am a woman and I have been practicing IF for most of my life without labeling it. I have never been a big breakfast eater. I would begrudgingly eat what my Mom put in front of me before school (Elementary age), and quickly started skipping breakfast most days once I reached Junior High. It just felt more natural to me. I felt less sluggish and more alert in the early AM on no food. My body naturally wants to eat somewhere between 10:00 am and 12:30 pm. I continued this pattern of eating through my adulthood even while pregnant. It never caused an issue for me. I started working out in my early 30′s, and tried to adopt the 6 small meal thing because everything I read said to do so. I felt less focused/more tired and after a bit of time eating like that would become ravenous and binge eat. Obviously I put on weight even though I was working out. I decided breakfast/6 small meals didn’t work for me, so I went back to my normal eating patterns, dropped the excess weight and focused again on building muscle. I eat once my body tells me to eat, and I normally aspire to eat my last meal at 6:00 pm although I do not stress myself out about it. This is of course just me….however if you have never been a big breakfast eater I wouldn’t recommend forcing yourself to eat it, and IF may work for you.

    Elizabeth wrote on September 17th, 2013
  10. I did intermittent fasting (16/8) for a year, and then I started to have menstrual cycle changes. I’m 45, and lo and behold, I was going into menopause! Not that I want to get pregnant, but I don’t want to be menopausal right now either! So I stopped the IF, and in 2 months, I was back to normal. I’m thin anyway, so IF is not necessarily something I “need” to do, but I’m always looking for ways to optimize my health. I’ll definitely do it again in my mid-50s because it saved time not to have breakfast and I felt fine. So I like what you wrote up here because men and women are different, and that ought to be a consideration for IF. It’s not “one size fits all.” If you want to give it a try, go for it, but if you don’t like how your body responds to it, give it up.

    Paleomama wrote on November 10th, 2013
  11. Hi Ladies,
    I am a long term IF lady, it came as normal to me, for me, it’s always been the evening dinner as I don’t sleep well at nights with food in my stomach (perhaps was a Buddhist monk in my past life).
    Now as long as I remember, since a kid of 10, I have been never like eating later than 5pm and a light meal for that. But 10 years ago, I became very committed to yoga, and in the evening, it is my pranayama and meditation practise, hence, my last meal has to be 6 hours beforehand, which means around 2pm, the meal must finish. From 2pm to 8am the next day, I have nothing but water or hot teas.
    I loved the emptiness in the body as it helps to access deep spiritual insights.
    I love the expansiveness of the mind not hindered by a full heavy stomach.
    I eat pretty well since in my early 30s, especially, the last 15years, no junk, again, I was a fitness trainer, then a yoga teacher. My weight been pretty much the same since I was 17, I weigh around 48- 50kg on 163cm frame.
    I have always been super active and healthy, meaning rarely get any flus or colds while others are down and out in winters or any health concerns.
    However, 4 years ago, I started having a bad case of heart palpitations out of the blue, and was diagnosed as having benign ventricular ectopic beat. It may be benign but it is a huge clam down on my very active lifestyle.
    My mojo is seriously downtrodden!
    In the last years I noted that it is a lot worse when I am hungry, or menstruating.
    I felt that IF could mean a woman may not get enough nutrients in, so I researched and came across your article, and am every pleased you have shared so much knowledge.
    We don’t always absorb all the great food that we eat…
    I came to the realisation that it is what we eat, how we eat, our state of mind whilst eating and also how the body uses and absorbs the food.
    I have started taking a little protein shake or an avocado around 5pm now, and it helps settling my anxiety which also increases when I am hungry,
    I love IF, but long term health consequence, for me, it’s 20 years IF on a regular basis, the last 10 years ago IF every day, could have contributed to my heart electrical functioning, plus my over zealous practise/training, given the amount of food I consumed, I was never a cardio girl, but weights and long walks.
    I am now 48years old, 49 in 2 months, no sign of menopause yet, hair still all shades of dark brown.
    If anyone has any offer of advice, I would be most grateful and thank you all in advance.
    Take care, ladies, remember you are AWESOME!
    Xxx

    Jacque wrote on December 21st, 2013
  12. All if the catty remarks between the little girls and the sexist remarks back and fourth both by little boys and by little girls make you all look like your still mentally stuck in high school. What a bunch of grown idiots! Grow the F up!

    My metabolism is ultra fast, I cant gain weight to save my life. Intermittent fasting caused adrenal fatigue where I was fine before adding in intermittent fasting and until I read this article I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me.

    Betsy wrote on January 1st, 2014
  13. I wonder if the majority of problems women are experiencing are from restricting calories and not the IF itself. I think a 24 hr fast could be problematic because, say, over the course of a week it could be difficult to maintain an adequate calorie level. However, i find it hard to believe that eating in a reduced window of 8-10hrs (10 hr being recommended for women) with adequate calorie intake would be detrimental.

    IMO, women have a tendency to slip into undereating tendencies and IF could definitely exacerbate or at least facilitate this. These anecdotal stories are great and I enjoy reading them, but until we have well controlled, condensed feeding window with ADEQUATE calories studies on women we can’t truly know the effects of IF.

    andria wrote on February 19th, 2014
  14. Hi Mark,

    I recently tried IF and i did the 36 hour one. I would say throughout the day i wasn’t even hungry. I think i only felt hungry twice. And it wasn’t the STARVING hungry either. But one thing i noticed – is that the morning of the 36th hour (7am) i felt exhausted. I could barely accomplish anything. Now i’m not sure if i maybe just didn’t get a good sleep, but as far as i’m concerned – i get a sleep like that every night. I kept up on plenty of water. Just wanted to let everyone know how i felt … and if that’s natural? This is my first attempt at IF.

    Thanks!

    Natasha wrote on March 5th, 2014
  15. I am a model,30yr old, 5’81/2″ and since I have some pressure in keeping a certain shape I thought perhaps IF would be a good way of keeping a steady weight whilst allowing for some late night “treats”. Oh boy was I wrong. I went from being 125pounds to 132 pounds in a couple of months, my metabolism seems to have slowed down and my periods went from being 6 days long to 1-2 days long. I have always been healthy,regular periods, I eat mostly paleo (although champagne,wine and occassional restaurant dessert is my weakness), I run, do power plate, yoga flow and pilates. I only eat full fat, and lots of it… It has always worked a treat. I always hovered around the 125 pound mark, give or take a couple of pounds. Then everyone raved about 5/2 so I thought to try it -I did IF a couple of times a week- I followed the book and did 36hr fasts. It worked for a little bit- I lost a couple of pounds and felt very energised, but then the trouble started. Insomnia, ravenous hunger on off days ( i never ever got hungry like that before), and shortened periods. Now, IF doesn’t make me lose weight anymore. Even if I do a 500calorie day, there is no weight loss AT ALL, and the next day , with normal calorific intake, I put on weight instead. The scales have been creeping up-eek! I understand I am still slim for my height and I am not saying I NEED to lose weight, but I do notice quite a bit of fat deposits around my mid section ( I always used to only put on weight around my hips), which makes me think something bad is happening. I am working on just going back to how I did things before – 2-3 meals a day to fullness, WHEN eating, fast for 14hrs overnight, exercise on empty stomach, eat 1 hr after exercise .Now I just want my old body/metabolism back. Do you think it can come back? HELP!

    Tanya wrote on March 5th, 2014
  16. Hi my name is Martine and I have been on IF for a little over a week now and I feel fine. I do not feel weak. My body adapted to the change. I did feel a bit scared to try it cause I have heard so many bad things can happen especially if you are a woman, but thankfully nothing happened to me. I feel great and all my friends noticed the changes. I look better cause I dropped 10lbs since I started. I am happy about that. I truly think I can make this become a lifestyle for me. I can stick to it three weeks on one week off. I exercised moderately like three times a day(yoga). I feel wonderful. At the beginning I did feel a bit nauseous though but it went away now. IF works for me.

    Martine B Cylet wrote on March 31st, 2014
  17. By the way I am 30 years old

    Martine B Cylet wrote on March 31st, 2014
  18. I know I’m late to the party on this thread, but I just had to add a bit of my experiences to it.
    I’m a woman. I’m 66. Post menopausal obviously. Two years out from chemo, radiation, and stem cell transplant therapy.
    Without realizing it I’ve been gradually shifting to something like paleo eating.
    I’ve lost 50 pounds in the past three years and wouldn’t mind dropping another 20.
    Now, to what I really want to say. The biggest mistake I ever made was to do week long fasts when I was in my twenties.
    Each time I regained more weight than I’d lost. It became harder and harder to lose weight.
    Then, around the time I entered menopause, I began gaining weight in spite of eating only a thousand calories a day and running. I also got severely depressed and lost a lot of hair.
    Blood work revealed that I had Hashimoto’s Syndrome, which is an auto-immune disease that is inheritated. My problems had nothing to do with diet.
    My point is that, just because something happens around the time of menopause, doesn’t mean it actually has anything to do with menopause. So I advise all women to get a complete check up if they are having problems.
    That said, I am using your books and site to shift even more to the paleo way of eating simply because it makes sense to me that our bodies are more in tune with a million years of development than they are to the past 10,000 years.
    Oh, and I’m also adding Mindful Eating and Breathing to my efforts, because it seems to me that paying more attention to what I’m eating, what I want to eat and when I begin to feel full is an important step as well. The breathing seems useful to slow me down and help me pay better attention to my body.

    Elizabeth J. Baldwin wrote on April 5th, 2014
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    Danner Clay wrote on May 6th, 2014
  20. I am 5’5 and currently 120 lbs. I have been doing the I.F for 5 months now. I am 34 years old and a mother of 4, my youngest being 9 months old. I started off at 139 lbs. With each child I gained about 10 lbs and at my biggest I was 150lbs. I have had no problems with I.F. it is the easiest way to lose weight for myself and for my husband. I never have been able to break 127lbs.

    Esther wrote on May 14th, 2014
  21. I am a 45 year old female nutritionist, nurse and personal trainer. I counsel people on their diets and train them as well. I have been getting many asking me about a fasting protocol for weight loss and decided to try it myself. I do not need to lose weight per se but thought I’d see what effects it may have on my body. They were all positive. I did drop my body fat percentage by 2 points, noted an increase in alertness, and was able to cut out my morning coffee. At 45 I’m not menopausal nor perimenopausal, I think my paleo style of eating and exercise has kept me physically younger than most. I think the take-home here is everyone’s biology is different whether you’re comparing women to men or women to other women. Would I prescribe it for my type II diabetics? No, like Mark said one must be a fat burner first. But for most of my other clients and patients, I would if they already had their diet under control and needed the extra boost to reach their goals.

    Sherry wrote on June 19th, 2014
  22. I am a 42 year old pre-menopausal woman who is on depo (so no cycles anyway). I have been doing daily 16/8 14/10 cycles (listening to body hunger) and I choose to eat upon waking and stop eating between 4-5pm.

    I am technically “overweight” by the scale but at 5’8″ and 205 lbs I’m a size 10/12. I also lift heavy but have not been to the gym in eight weeks.

    Frankly, the HGH gains brought me to IF. I wanted the youth, muscle mass, and cognition benefits and didn’t much care about the possible masculinization. I DO worry a bit about the glucose tolerance, but as a low carber (generally) I suspect it has less effect, since my body burns ketones.

    Thus far in 3 weeks I’ve dropped a ton of weight. 16 pounds to be exact. I sleep just fine. The big problem for me is getting in enough fat and protein in the 8-10 hour window. My macros right now are 70% fat, 25% protein, 5% non-grain non sugar carbs.

    I didn’t want to lose weight, so this is an interesting side effect. I used to be obese, and wasn’t an overeater. I knew my problem was insulin, hormones, and genetics which is why I turned to ketones and lifting. So I wonder if MY experience with IF is because of those differences in hormones.

    Laura Holst wrote on July 22nd, 2014

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