What are the Best Types of Intermittent Fasting for Women?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to diet, lifestyle, or intermittent fasting. Overall, if you’re a woman, you should take a more relaxed approach to fasting and take time to figure out what feels best for you.
You might feel better with fewer fasting days, shorter fasting periods, and/or eating a small number of calories on some fasting days.
The most popular fasting methods for women include:
Start with 14-16 hour fasts and work your way up to a 24-hour full fast once or twice weekly.
With this method, you fast for 12 hours to 16 hours for two to three days a week. Make sure your fasting days are nonconsecutive and spaced out evenly across your week. For example, you could fast Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
The 5:2 Diet or the Fast Diet
For two days a week, you restrict your calories to 25% of what you usually eat, which should be around 500 calories. Eat normally the other five days and allow one day between fasting days.
The 16/8 Method or the Leangains Method
This method involves fasting for 16 hours a day and consuming all calories in an eight-hour eating window. It’s advised you start with 14-hour fasts and gradually build up to 16 hours.
Modified Alternate-Day Fasting
Eat normally on your non-fasting days but make sure you’re fasting every other day. On a fasting day, you can consume 20-25% of your typical calorie intake, which should be around 500 calories.
Some women also try fat-fasting, which isn’t technically fasting, but it mimics the biological effects of fasting.
Is Modified Intermittent Fasting Safe for Women?
While some studies show side effects, such as lack of concentration, headaches, and mood swings, IF has been shown to yield various health benefits. Modified versions of IF appear to be safe for most women.
It’s especially important to seek a medical consultation if you:
- Have diabetes or blood sugar issues
- Have a history of disordered eating
- Are pregnant, breastfeeding, or trying to conceive,
- Have a history of amenorrhea (missed or irregular periods)
- Are underweight, malnourished, or have nutritional deficiencies
If you begin intermittent fasting and you notice any problems or negative changes, stop immediately and visit your healthcare practitioner or doctor for medical guidance.
Whatever you choose, it’s crucial you’re eating healthy, nutrient-dense meals to break your fast. You might not obtain the same weight loss results or health benefits if you’re eating a large amount of calorie-dense, unhealthy foods during the non-fasting periods.
The right approach for you is the one you can sustain long-term and incorporate into your lifestyle without feeling overwhelmed or overthinking it. It might take time to determine how you can become the most metabolically adapted and which method is best for you.
You’ve likely had experience fasting before when you’ve occasionally decided to skip breakfast or dinner. The easiest way to start is to choose a method and give it a go, but you don’t need to worry about being too structured as you become accustomed to the IF lifestyle. You could just fast when it suits you by skipping meals sometimes when you don’t feel hungry or when you don’t have time to cook.
- Intermittent fasting is a dietary pattern involving regular, short-term fasts and fasting and feeding windows
- IF might be beneficial for heart health, weight loss, reducing inflammation, diabetes, and more
- Some women report side effects and have more difficulty with certain types of fasting
- The best types for women include modified alternate-day fasting, the 5:2 diet, and daily 14-16 hour fasts.
- More research is needed on the long-term effects of fasting in women
- Modified versions of IF appear to be safe for most women and might be a more suitable choice than stricter or longer fasts
If you’re a woman interested in improving your health or losing weight, you might consider intermittent fasting.