Intermittent fasting has become very popular. It is now something that many women jump onto.

Intermittent fasting takes on many different forms. Some examples are:

  • The 5:2 diet. This involves lower calories on 2 days of the week, with the rest of the days still having moderate calorie intake. The original research around it was related to women who had breast cancer and were on medication after treatment.
  • Alternate day fasting, where calories are restricted every second day.
  • Time restricted eating – for example only eating between 11 am and 7 pm or 10 am and 8 pm.
  • 24 hour fast, where fasting is done a few times per week.

As a dietitian working with and seeing how many women are negatively impacted by any kind of diet, it is personally not something I recommend.

Women’s hormones are very complex – they fluctuate through the month, but then we also have cortisol and insulin and our hunger hormones that are changeable through the day. While intermittent fasting has become popular, I don’t recommend it for women’s health or hormonal balance. Intermittent fasting doesn’t work with your hunger and satiety hormones.

Restricting food can be OK for a while, but this in itself causes changes that may result in weight gain, especially around the abdominal region in the long run. It also increases cravings.

It may seem like a lifestyle, but it’s still a diet. If you are a mum – you are still promoting a diet mentality and the effects of that are far reaching – look at the eating disorder statistics!!

The more we restrict or put tight controls around food, the more likely it is to result in disordered eating, guilt and shame.

Being stressed around food increases cortisol and cortisol works against insulin. The less effectively insulin is working in your body, the more likely you are to start storing fat and increasing your risk of hormonal imbalance.

If you have been caught in a diet mentality, that you would like to break free from – I especially developed an 8 week comprehensive Food Freedom course. I first ran it as a group course to make sure that it worked well and was successful. I have now converted it into an online course. To find out more, click this link.

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