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Should You Try Intermittent Fasting?

Updated: May 7

One of the things I get asked about the most is intermittent fasting. It's become a pretty popular approach for people who want to lose weight or improve their health. A lot of my clients have tried this before working with me, and none of them have seen significant success or stuck with it. Why is that?

Here is why I don't recommend IF for my clients, and what I recommend instead.

First things first, intermittent fasting (IF) typically involves restricting your eating window to a certain number of hours each day. Sounds simple, right? Wrong. Here's the science, mama: our bodies crave energy. We're constantly on the go, fueling little monsters, wrestling toddlers, and keeping the house from becoming a disaster zone. Skipping meals can leave you feeling hangry, struggling with brain-fog, and running on fumes, and that's exactly what I hear from moms who have tried it. Not exactly how we want to conquer motherhood, right?

But it goes deeper than just feeling grumpy.

  1. Hormonal Imbalance: Women are more sensitive to changes in calorie intake and fasting, which can disrupt hormonal balance. Research indicates that intermittent fasting may lead to irregular menstrual cycles. No thanks, if you're navigating postpartum hormone fluctuations, don't add this to the mix.

  2. Increased Stress: Navigating motherhood is already stressful, and intermittent fasting can add stress responses in the body for women, including increased cortisol levels. When the body is in 'fight or flight' mode non-stop and then we add something like IF, it just exacerbates things, hindering our ability to feel more energized and our best self.

  3. Energy Levels and Cognitive Function: Studies suggest that intermittent fasting might impair cognitive function and reduce energy levels in women more than in men. This could affect productivity, concentration, and overall well-being - does that sound like something you want on top of trying to think of what to make for dinner and remember where your kid left their ballet shoes?

  4. Metabolic Adaptation: Women's bodies may adapt differently to intermittent fasting compared to men, potentially leading to metabolic slowdown or other metabolic disturbances. This could hinder weight loss efforts or even lead to weight gain in some cases.

It's not really sustainable long-term from what I've seen in practice. Another problem?, if your goals are to increase muscle (they should be!) and to stabilize your metabolism, skipping breakfast or delaying it, which most people who do IF typically do, works against you. During the night we go into a fasted state, and our first meal of the day breaks that fast and stimulates our metabolism again. Starting your day first thing with protein supports muscle recovery and growth and weight management.

Here's what I recommend instead: focusing on nourishing your body, not depriving it. Think regular meals and snacks packed with protein (keeps you feeling fuller longer!), healthy fats (hello, sustained energy!), and whole grains (fiber for the win!). All of my clients who have started prioritizing this instead have seen more energy throughout the day, less hunger and less brain fog.

The bottom line? Trendy diets can be a recipe for stress and yo-yo dieting down the line. Instead, let's focus on making small, sustainable changes for long-term health. Maybe it's swapping that third cup of coffee for water or fitting in a quick 10-minute walk during nap time. These tiny wins add up, mama, and before you know it, you'll be feeling like your most radiant, energized self again.

So ditch the intermittent fasting for now, mamas. You've got enough challenges to tackle. Let's focus on fueling our bodies for the amazing things we do every single day.

If you want even more guidance, check out my group & one-on-one coaching options, let's navigate this journey together!

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