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Women and Fasting: Why Not?

You may have heard that fasting is bad for women and that their bodies are not made for it especially with modern day hormonal problems. You may think it is impossible for women to fast who have adrenal and thyroid issues? Well, this is not true!

Modern-day hormonal problems do exist and the subject is very real. Women’s hormonal systems are under a lot of pressure, and there are many women with thyroid and adrenal issues, but avoiding fasting is not an answer. While it’s true that women with these conditions generally do have a harder time and there might be a longer adaptation period, women can still reap the incredible benefits of fasting. The benefits of fasting are weight loss by burning fat and not just glucose, activating stem cells, optimizing hormones, resetting your DNA and even healing the gut and the brain.

The following are three facts you need to achieve success with fasting:

1) What is Intermittent Fasting and Ketosis?

Intermittent fasting (IF) is eating in a restricted time window within the 24 hours of a day. Whether it be 8, 6, 4 hours, or even a single meal for the day- IF is the act of consciously eating within that limited time window. This extended time without food supports the body in becoming “fat adapted,” whereby it uses fat (ketones) for fuel, instead of the conventional sugar (glucose) provided when we’re eating around the clock.

Ketosis is a metabolic process that happens when you consume a very low amount of carbohydrates per day, forcing the body to use fat for fuel. It goes very well with an IF lifestyle, because the body’s blood sugar levels become very stable, and the body gets really good at burning fat.

2) What is Varying the Diet and why it works?

Varying the diet is using a low carb (ketogenic) diet. Also, by incorporating at least one day per week of increased of carbs, or of protein, or even just a general increase in calories and at least one day per week of intermittent fasting. There are different ways to vary the diet, which you can tailor to your individual needs and also change over time as your body adapts and gets more metabolically flexible.

Varying the diet works because it forces the body to adapt thereby getting hormone optimization. During adaptation, there are hormonal shifts that trigger the body’s ability to burn fat for energy (which means fat loss), but also prevents us from burning out. This burnout is particularly prevalent with those suffering from underlying hormonal and adrenal issues, which most of the time are women. Remember that varying the diet is not only for women, in fact, it helps all people get better results! Not only are people losing fat, getting more energy, clearer minds, and healthier bodies…but they are finding that varying the diet is more conducive to leading a happy and balanced life.

3) Listen to Your Body

Women are by nature, incredibly cyclical beings. Following your menstrual cycle alone is a great way to vary the diet to support the needs of your body as it transitions through the month. It’s generally the week leading up to menstruation that the body craves more carbohydrates: so listen! The body actually requires more insulin to make hormone conversions, so this is the right time to provide your body with higher carbohydrate foods. Incorporate this at a time when your body is intuitively calling for it.

It is important to work with a trained practitioner especially if you have adrenal and thyroid issues, to insure you are choosing correct varying diet strategies and fasting windows.

Larisa Belote, INHC, AADP, Integrative Nutrition Health Coach and founder of Step by Step Wellness is dedicated to keeping up with the latest research and creating individualized programs that fit best with our client’s needs. Contact Larisa to set up an appointment or to learn more about the Seven Week Makeover Program. 732.490.5770, email: or visit

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