This article will focus on a step by step guide on Intermittent fasting for women.
I help women find their perfect fast loss solution through personal metabolic strategies.
Intermittent fasting for women is an advanced fat loss strategy that helps to burn more fat, increase health benefits and surge long term results. But with so much information available, sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start! In this post, I’ll share with you some top benefits to intermittent fasting, WHAT to eat for best fat loss results, my personal daily schedule, AND fat loss eating tips I adhere to while sticking to the Intermittent Fasting lifestyle.
Several years ago I started running free accountability groups complete with a meal plan to help women get back on track or kick start their health journey. Part of my plan included an ‘eating window’ of 10-12 hours during that week. I would have participants adhere to eating within a 12 hour time frame (example: 7am-7pm) and try to get to a 10 hour time frame by the end of the week (example: 9am-7pm). This simply meant they consumed all of their calories within that 10-12 hour period. And what were they doing the other 12-14 hours a day?? FASTING!
Who knew that Intermittent Fasting would become what it has today….
So let’s look at the BENEFITS of Intermittent Fasting for Women
There have been NUMEROUS health benefits of intermittent fasting shown over the years. One of my favorite resources for researching this topic is by Jason Fung titled ‘The Complete Guide to Fasting: Heal Your Body through Intermittent, Alternate Day and Extended Fasting’. In that he lists out several benefits to our health with intermittent fasting:
- more regulated insulin levels
- ghrelin levels
- decreased inflammation
- obesity prevention
- sharper mental acuity including improved memory
- cell renewal
- more energy
Those are just a select few that really stick out to me because not only have they been proven in several studies but I have also personally experienced them.
REGULATED INSULIN LEVELS
Insulin is quite possibly the BIGGEST culprit to weight gain, development of diabetes and overall health issues related to weight. Our bodies truly stay in either the FED state (high insulin levels) or the FASTED state (low insulin levels)…so basically we are either storing or burning food energy throughout the day. And if the majority of the time is spent storing (Fed state, high insulin) then we will keep gaining weight or at the very least not be able to lose it. So by lowering our insulin levels, we are actually burning food energy and this leads to FAT LOSS! One of the MOST consistent effects of fasting is lowered insulin levels. When we fast, our insulin levels are kept lower for longer periods of time which allows our bodies to dip into the fat stores for energy rather than relying on the glycogen that our recently eaten meal produces. So YAY for more regulated insulin levels 😉
We actually have MORE energy when doing fasting. Seems counter intuitive, right?? The biggest difference is that our bodies dip into our fat stores for energy rather than burning off food. Not just that, but adrenaline is released into our systems to help accelerate the fat burning state AND it helps to stimulate our metabolism…not a bad deal in my book 😉 Fasting can actually rev up the metabolism rather than slow it down and several studies have proven it to be so! But again, you have to remember that you are STILL eating, it’s just in a shorter amount of time during the day.
SHARPER MENTAL ACUITY
Although you would think that when you are fasting, your brain activity would falter, it’s actually quite the opposite! When we are hungry we actually become more alert and engaged. There is a process that happens called BDNF where basically there’s an increase in brain connectivity and new brain neuron growth…that’s totally my non-scientific self trying to relay total scientific info to you, lol! But just know that this regeneration of neuron growth in our brains has been related to to less symptoms of Alzhiemer’s, Parkinson’s and other neurological disorders. This is because memory is improved and electrical activity in the brain increases. So if fasting can be a preventative for those things, it’s no wonder just every day mental alertness is improved when we are fasting regularly!
Those are just a few of the top benefits to Intermittent Fasting, so now let’s check out what to actually eat while doing this, ok?
WHAT TO EAT with INTERMITTENT FASTING
WHEN we eat is a huge piece of the fat loss puzzle and Intermittent Fasting can REALLY help with that part. But it’s also important to focus on WHAT to eat. I mean if you are doing your 8 hour eating window each day but only having cheeseburgers and fries, then there’s a pretty solid chance you won’t be doing yourself any favors 😉 So what DO we eat when we want to LOSE fat?!?!
I wrote an article on HEALTHY EATING v FAT LOSS EATING which is a really great first step to try and understand what the differences might be and how you can change some things up to focus more on FAT LOSS eating. If you can focus on eating for fat loss 80-90% of the time, you will see a HUGE difference happening. But what does that mean? First of all, you need to figure out what your body will respond best to. You can start by taking my FREE METABOLISM QUIZ! Once you know what your body responds best to, then you can start to make some small changes.
WATER!!! Drink more water! Aim for AT LEAST half your body weight in ounces. If you weigh 150 pounds, drink at least 75 ounces of water per day. I know it may seem crazy but you’ll feel so amazing when you start down that path AND chances are that you will have some decreased hunger and cravings as well.
VEGGIES VEGGIES VEGGIES…I’m telling y’all this is ALWAYS number one! You want to increase that veggie intake as much as possible. Some suggestions? Add some spinach to your shakes, mix in veggies with your eggs, have a salad with every meal…find ways to add in more veggies to your daily diet.
HEALTHY FATS…I ’m not going to tell you to load up on cheese and bacon! I mean are they good? Heck yes they are!!! But for me personally when I load up on those things I just feel gross and I don’t like that. For some who do the Keto diet, they have had INCREDIBLE results eating more full fats like bacon and cheese but it’s jut not for me so it’s not what I coach people on. I encourage more healthy fats such as oils, avocados, whole eggs, nuts, nut butters, etc. Some suggestions? Cook your eggs in a couple teaspoons of avocado oil, eat sliced avocados with your meals, don’t strain out the yolks and just eat egg whites, have nuts on hand to snack on, sauté your veggies in olive oil. There are PLENTY of ways to incorporate more fats into your diet without a ton of effort 😉
PROTEIN…surprised this is nearly last?!?! I know, we are supposed to eat super high protein diet right??? Well if you are a body builder then chances are this is what your trainer will suggest and I am absolutely not going to go against them. However, for a mom like myself who wants to lose body fat and stay healthy….I’m going this route. I suggest moderate protein and high veggies. Why? It works for me and the hundreds of women I’ve trained. Through what I learned from my FREE METABOLISM QUIZ along with research and personal experience, it’s how I feel best. If there is an option between a protein and a starch, choose the protein to stick to a more fat loss based lifestyle…protein over starch any day 😉
STARCHES…there is a big misconception on carbs! When people talk about ‘CARBS’ it’s assumed we are referring to pastas, breads, crackers, etc. But that’s not really the case. Do you realize that fruits and veggies are actually carbohydrates??? Not BAD ones, but that’s the category they’re listed in! So when referring to the things like whole grains and such, I like to talk in terms of STARCHES. Limiting our starches to the cleaner versions such as quinoa, oats, sweet potatoes, brown rice AND adhering to the bite rule that is best for your body type, you will see a HUGE difference! Not just that, but if you can time when to have your starches in accordance to when your body will actually BURN the glucose more immediately, fat loss will become the name of the game! Sure, avoiding them for the MOST part can lead to great results, it’s not always realistic! That’s why the ‘bite rule’ through my Fat Loss Project is so beneficial…it allows BALANCE and is real life 😉
MY PERSONAL INTERMITTENT FASTING SCHEDULE AND FAT LOSS TIPS
When breaking your fast during intermittent fasting, it’s described as anything OVER 50 calories or anything that contains sugar. Why? INSULIN! Remember how important it is to have our insulin regulated?!? Anything that will cause your insulin to rise, is going to end your fast. My window is 11:00am-7:00pm…I say I have an “8 hour eating window” while others refer to it as the 16:8 method:
11:00am-I break my fast!
7:00pm-my last meal of the day
If I eat my last meal closer to 8:00 or 9:00 then sometimes I will move back the time the next day for breaking my fast. However, if it’s still going to keep me in a 14-16 hour fasting window then I don’t really change things up too much. Because there is still a benefit to even a 12 hour fast 😉 Refer back to my 3 SCHEDULES FOR INTERMITTENT FASTING to learn more on which might be best for you! It’s not about perfection, but I love Intermittent Fasting because it is so flexible with my lifestyle!
So let’s get a more in depth look at a day in WHAT I eat and WHEN just to give you an idea. I’ll share my personal Intermittent Fasting schedule but it’s also important to know that aside from this, I also workout 5 days a week, I try to get at least 6-7 hours of sleep a night, I make self care a priority AND I fill my nutritional gaps with top notch supplements where they’re needed.
5:15am-workout and have my workout drink…yes, I workout on an empty stomach so that my body will dip into fat stores for energy rather than glucose.
6:00-11:00am water and possibly coffee. I don’t drink coffee everyday, it’s just if I want it for the flavor more than anything. Plus, caffeine is a natural appetite suppressant so it’s helpful with intermittent fasting
11:00am-shake with spinach and nut butter, 2 eggs, 1 egg white, sautéed veggies
2:00pm-big salad with protein and healthy fat dressing OR leftovers from night before
6:00pm-protein with veggies or something similar from my 4 WEEK EAT CLEAN plan
Now I ’m going to shoot you 100% straight…I know you don’t see any ‘starches’ listed in my daily regimen right? Don’t let that fool ya! I ’m a mom of 3 and the occasional (or often) handful of goldfish or animal crackers or nilla wafers absolutely somehow make into my mouth. And yes this is my routine 90% of the time…BUUUUUT I live in Texas and Mexican food is it’s own food group . So that’s a weekly necessity along with a glass of wine when I feel like it to keep me sane 😉
In addition to WHEN to eat and WHAT to eat, there are a couple of other things that can really help you to accelerate your fat loss journey. Here are some extra Fat Loss Tips…
SLEEP!!! You GOTTA get your rest. When you aren’t letting your body get the rest that it needs you can find your cortisol levels elevated which leads to a big hurdle in losing weight and burning fat. Cortisol is more of a fat ‘storing’ hormone rather than fat ‘burning’…which is obviously no bueno! When you let your body get the rest it needs, your cortisol levels can be lowered to healthier levels that can allow for your other fat burning traits to shine through.
Not only does rest allow your cortisol levels to be more regulated but it also allows your muscles to recover. If you are working out intensely and not getting the rest you need, your body will start to fatigue and injury could be more likely. I actually referenced this whole issue in my post about WHY YOU MIGHT FEEL SO CRUMMY.
WORKOUT…you KNOW this is necessary right?!?! I mean YES our eating habits attribute to at least 80-90% of the results we get with weight loss BUT when you add in some effective metabolic strength training, you’ll see that the sky is the limit! Check out this post to learn more about the type of training I do and what I train my clients in as well: SHED MORE BODY FAT WITH THESE WORKOUTS
Did you find this useful? Make sure to pin it HERE and check out these other posts that might help you on your Fat Loss Journey too!!!
As a wife and mama of 3, health and wellness is Natalie’s passion and she loves being able to help others through this platform. Natalie has been in the industry for 10 years with experience as a personal trainer and group fitness instructor. Her certifications include CPT through the Cooper Institute, AFAA, Power Pilates, CrossFit and several other formats including her nutritional consultant certification through Metabolic Effect.
Natalie loves to share her knowledge and experience with others to help them find a long term and sustainable solution for the fat loss lifestyle. It’s a true gateway into FINDING A BALANCED LIFE…Natalie’s focus is to help women find their perfect fat loss solution through personal metabolism strategies and mindset makeovers.