When Women Should NOT Be Fasting

Yoga child's post - Resting and taking a break from fasting
Your body knows when it needs a break…

ETA: It occurred to me how uncommon common sense has become, so I thought I would add that this article is relevant to women who are not pregnant or breastfeeding. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding you should, of course, not even think about fasting.

There is simply not enough information out there about intermittent fasting for women – Especially not for women who are peri-menopausal, so I thought I would add my two cents based on real life experiences. Of course, as I learn more, I will share what I learn here on the blog so please stay tuned!

As you are already well aware if you are a woman, there are certain times of the month where you experience intensified cravings for carb-rich foods. Is this your body just trying to trick you to pile on pounds unnecessarily or is there an underlying physiological reason for these cravings?

Of course your body isn’t stupid! According to Dr Mindy Pelz, in the week leading up to a woman’s period, the body needs more carbs to help replenish the stores of oestrogen and progesterone which start to surge around day 23 in the cycle.

Had I been aware of this fact the last time around when I decided to try an extended fast, I might have avoided what felt like almost a month worth of severe PMT/PMS (especially irritability) and a cycle that was delayed by two weeks, which has literally never happened to me before. I seriously started to think I had gone into menopause but now that I have adjusted my eating to accommodate for my hormones, I have my cycle back.

Keto and intermittent fasting work very well indeed for us ladies – We just have to do things a little bit differently to the dudes. By avoiding extended fasting during that week of the month when our bodies naturally tell us to carb load, we manage just fine (unlike what some mansplainers on YouTube would have you believe).

What to Eat When The Cravings Begin

So what should we carb up on in the week leading up to our period? Does this mean we can binge on whatever we feel like? No, of course not! We don’t want to undo all the good work we have done and we do want to focus on the kind of carb-rich foods that actually help boost our oestrogen and progesterone.

Funnily enough, I had been craving beans but resisted those cravings because a) I had been determined to continue fasting and b) they were not ‘keto’ – Well, according to Dr Pelz, beans/pulses are one of the best carb-rich foods for women to eat on a ketogenic diet in order to replenish our hormone stores. She also recommends things like dried apricots, which I found interesting considering the correspondence with the womb/sacral chakra which is orange.

Love & Light,

Lisa

Comments

  1. Chloe says:

    I found this really interesting, Lisa. May well explain why I only lasted a month on keto *doh* Though I have to say my cravings are so strongly emotionally triggered that there’s sometimes hardly room to notice the hormonal stuff *rolls eyes* I plan to try going back to keto when I’ve got the emotional side more under control – work in progress… 🙂

    1. admin says:

      Interesting. Does tapping help with the emotional triggers at all? I think a less strict version of keto might be worth a go. Aim for maybe 50 g of net carbs a day rather than 20. You’ll still be in ketosis most of the time if you combine with IF. Also there is a lot of room for personal variation. Some of us are lucky. I can get away with 100 g carb a day and still not get kicked out. It’s as if I was made to run on fat which explains why my general health has improved so much. You just have to keep testing (preferably your blood) to see where your level of carb tolerance lies.

      1. Chloe says:

        Ha ha, yes, tapping does help with the emotional stuff. However, I don’t know if you saw my recent post on Red Queen syndrome. It was based on both a couple of clients and myself as well. Sometimes I feel like I’m tapping 3-4 times a day just to stay where I am. But if I stopped tapping, I’d be in a much darker place. Like a friend and I who met when we were roughly the same weight. She has put on 40 kilos, while I have put on 6. So, I could be much worse! I’m in a Judgement, Justice, High Priestess year… so I kind of hope I may have some resolution by the end of it 😀

  2. Chloe says:

    P.S. When I was in ketosis, I was testing blood regularly, having found the breath machine useless. It was fascinating, because I sometimes tested several times a day, to see what difference fasted/non-fasted, bulletproof coffee, post exercise etc made. Not always what you’d expect – like post exercise was quite often less keto. Now, I’m not even bothering looking. I manage IF – 16 or 17 hours fasted every day for nearly a year and a half, now. But dropping the carbs… maybe someday soon…

    1. admin says:

      Having less blood ketones after exercise makes a lot of sense, actually. The liver releases glucagon in response to exercise. My husband’s blood glucose goes up after certain types of exercise, such as weight lifting, for this very reason. I blood test too, by the way and I agree that breath testing is useless.

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