It’s pretty well established that not eating is not a healthy choice! However, intermittent fasting (IF) is a form of dieting tons of women are talking about. Some pros even say it’s highly effective.
Intended to help with weight loss, IF requires cutting your calorie intake down to just a few hundred calories for a couple of days each week. There are lots of different strategies for this practice. But before you forsake food, there are some things you need to know:
Intermittent Fasting Pros and Cons
Intermittent fasting can be controversial. These views don’t necessarily represent the Gold’s Gym organization, but we hope the information gathered helps you make informed decisions about this practice. Knowledge is power!
Check out these pros and cons:
Many Women Say IF is Easier than Dieting Intensely Everyday
Half the battle of shedding pounds is the psychological fight of having to be super disciplined every day. The science behind the cheat day applies to IF dieting too.
Basically, IF only requires you to be disciplined a couple of days (or hours) each week. The rest of the time you can eat more freely as long as you are making healthy choices. Many women find committing to just a day or two each week of fasting is more reasonable than scaling back every day.
IF May Be Able to Help You Shed Stubborn Fat
The main reason some nutritionists and scientists believe IF works is that it makes you less insulin resistant. As a result, your metabolism works more efficiently. Many women find that this metabolic improvement helps them knock off those last stubborn patches of fat.
Studies Show Several Health Benefits
A number of studies have found that IF diets can benefit the body in a number of ways. For example, benefits of IF can include:
- Increased energy
- Improved memory
- Enhanced metabolic rate
- Immunity boosts
- Lower heart and diabetes risk
- Possibly staving off some degenerative diseases
Some People Experience Negative Side Effects
For all the potential benefits of IF diets, there are can be serious risks. Women with diabetes or blood sugar problems cannot safely participate. If you get hangry when you’ve gone a couple of hours without food, IF may cause headaches, moodiness, and more. Some women experience digestive trouble, weakness, or fatigue. Not all bodies function properly without eating regularly!
Women’s Hormones Can be Impacted by IF
Intermittent Fasting is very different for men and women. Women’s bodies tend to be sensitive to hormones, including those that react to hunger and regulate metabolism. Fasting can mess with women’s hormones to the point that ovaries can shrink and menopause can set in early as a result. Fertility and menstruation can be hindered.
IF Won’t Support Certain Fitness and Health Goals
One of the most obvious issues with IF is that bodies deprived of food are lacking the energy needed to perform intense workouts. If HIIT workouts or other more intense forms of exercise are part of your routine then IF diets may weaken or stall your progress.
Also, if you don’t have much fat to blast, you also don’t have much fat to burn. So intermittent fasting might leave your body depleted and unable to build the muscle you’re striving for. A diet incorporating protein supplements may be a better option for going low-cal while also giving your body what it needs to meet your goals.
Should You Try It?
Whether or not you give intermittent fasting a shot, be sure to make an informed decision. If any of the cons of IF seem relevant your body and lifestyle, take the time to learn more about IF and to talk to professionals who can give you advice.
There are a bunch of different protocols for IF diets. Some may work better for you or help you reach your specific goals. Check out some popular IF options to understand which may work best for you if you want to try IF:
- The 16/18 Method
- The 5:2 Diet
- Alternate Day Fasting
- The Warrior Diet
- Spontaneous Skipping
If you’re interested in bodybuilding or intense exercise, intermittent fasting may not be for you. Check out our FREE Bodybuilders Nutrition Guide to get some alternate ideas of how to eat to reach your goals.