March 8, 2019 by Dr. Varner in Intermittent Fasting

If John Gray’s classic Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus taught us anything, it’s that men and women have fundamental differences.

Without getting into the toxic whirlpool of modern-day politics when it comes to men vs. women… the basics are that sometimes —at least physiologically—we’re built for different things.

This isn’t something to be ashamed of, it’s something we just have to bear in mind when it comes to how we approach things.

This actually applies to something which, while not as controversial as sex and politics, is nonetheless very important.

And that’s food.

I’m a huge fan of intermittent fasting (IF). Select eating and fasting windows lead to weight loss and a slew of other health benefits.

But men and women’s bodies are different, and IF affects women differently; so we can and should modify IF to suit our individual needs.

Aside from breastfeeding, pregnant and low-body-fat women, who should never fast, there are certain fasting plans that are optimal for females.

In no particular order, below are the four best types of intermittent fasting methods for women…

1. Eat-stop-eat method, or 24-hour protocol

You fast for 24 hours (but no more!) once or twice a week.

You can start with 14-16 hours to build up. Like the crescendo plan below, there’s some adjustment. Some people may find 24 hours a bit too much at first.

2. Modified alternate-day fasting and the 5:2

You eat normally every other day, and in between those days, you can eat 500 calories.

There’s a variation of this called the 5:2 diet, where you do the 500-calorie fast on two days of the week. This would naturally be the option to get you started.

3. Crescendo method

You adopt a 14/10 interval on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. A 14/10 interval means that you fast for 14 hours, and eat for 10.

You could, for instance, only eat between 10 am and 8 pm, and on the other days, you would eat ‘normally.’

This method is similar to the eat-stop-eat/24-hour protocol method, but is less compartmentalized.

It’s designed to slowly introduce intermittent fasting so your body can adapt, which will help your results last longer.

After two to three weeks, you can add another fasting day, or increase the fasting window by an hour. Hence the name “crescendo.”

4. 16/8 method (also called the “Leangains method”)

You could call this the ‘standard’ entry-level fasting ratio. With it, you fast for 16 hours a day and eat during an eight-hour window. For example, you could have a late breakfast at 10 am, and then have dinner at 6 pm.

For women, you should start with a 14/10 instead and work your way up to it.

Why these plans work for women

So, why are these the best IF plans for women? It’s because women’s bodies react differently to periods of fasting.

For example, when people fast, they tend to eat less protein. And protein is super important for women’s hormonal balance.  

Conclusion

Practicing intermittent fasting is one of the best ways to lose weight and improve your health, but like all-things food, not every type is equal.

For women, it’s best to be more relaxed when it comes to IF.

Extreme fasting will disrupt the hormonal balance men simply don’t need to think about. It’s best to start slow and work your way up. But even then, no fasts longer than 24 hours!

Have you tried any of these intermittent fasting methods? Which one worked best for you? Let us know in the comments below!

This information is intended to help readers be more informed about their health options when speaking with a professional, but it should not be used alone to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any disease or condition. Be sure to speak to a qualified doctor before taking any action to make sure that your choices reflect your actual health situation.

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