The Down To Earth PCOS Nutrition Podcast

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Episode 13: Is Intermittent Fasting Right for Me?

Hey there! Welcome back to the Slim & Satisfied podcast with me, Dafna Chazin. Today, I want to clear up some confusion regarding intermittent fasting. I’ll explain what exactly intermittent fasting is, how it relates to things like keto, who can reap the benefits of fasting, how you can implement it in your wellness plan, and what a typical day looks like. To me, intermittent fasting isn’t really a single diet or strategy. This isn’t any sort of silver bullet, but it can be used as a helpful tool to augment a healthy diet in terms of nutrition, movement, and mindset. Not all fasting is created equal, and not everyone should be fasting. I’ll be sure to delve into some guidelines on how to practice sustainable habits throughout your weight loss journey. Let’s get to it!

What is fasting?

There are several types of fasting, but not all of them are sustainable and even fewer can help women with PCOS. First, let’s mention two types of fasting I typically do not recommend to my clients:

  1. Alternate Day Fasting. In this strategy, you eat as you normally would one day and the following day, you fast but can drink water.
  2. Energy Restricted Eating. Here, you eat 500-700 calories a few times a week. All other days are a higher amount of calories without restriction.

The reason I do not recommend these two types is that I find them hard to stick to, and they also do not work well for people who have frequent changes to their schedule (isn’t this everyone?!), eat out or eat socially often as well as those who like to travel. 

The type of fasting I would recommend is Time-Restricted Fasting. This type of fasting limits your feeding window to 8-10 hours every day.  It can flow nicely with 80/20 eating strategy I previously discussed, and doesn’t focus on overindulging or over-restricting.It’s a great way to practice mindful eating.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting:

There are plenty of studies that show the benefits intermittent fasting can have on our health and wellness, especially for women with PCOS. Here are some:

  1. Lead to favorable changes in how we metabolize food, allowing our body to focus on changing its source of energy from glucose to fat.
  2. Syncs our eating with our circadian rhythm (check out PCOS Basics Part 2)
  3. Reduces cardiovascular risks by lowering LDL cholesterol and reducing plaque-forming hormones.
  4. Lowers insulin levels and improves insulin resistance. For women with PCOS, this is highly beneficial because it can also reduce high sugar cravings, reduces the production of androgens, and can help with weight loss.
  5. It’s highly flexible. It shifts the focus away from food and calorie restriction. We naturally cut out calories when we have a limited time to consume them.

How Do I get started?

There are a few key tips I want to share to help you implement this time-restriction based fasting and fully reap the benefits it can provide.

  1. Start off with a larger feeding window—try 12 hours and work your way to 10 or 8 every day.
  2. Take a look at your schedule and find a time in your day that works best for you. I suggest aiming to end your window on the earlier side.
  3. Make sure to still eat 3 meals a day or 2 meals and 2 snacks.
  4. Consume fewer carbs in the latter part of the day
  5. Don’t calorie restrict!

  Who shouldn’t fast?

  1. People with blood sugar fluctuations
  2. People who are hypoglycemic
  3. People with adrenal fatigue
  4. Anyone with disordered eating
  5. Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

  What you’ll learn in this episode:

  1. What is intermittent fasting?
  2. The benefits of intermittent fasting
  3. How to get started and implement an intermittent fasting routine
  4. Who can benefit from intermittent fasting

Helpful Links:

You can

do this!