013: Intermittent Fasting for Women
Welcome! I’m Kay Dorelus, your host. And this is the Good Girl Gone OMAD podcast, a go-to resource for people like yourself looking to learn more about their health and happiness through intermittent fasting in a world that is constantly telling us to do more, be more and eat more.
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Hi GOOD girls and guys, welcome back to another episode. Today is a special one because today is dedicated to all my ladies out there. I feel like playing some Beyonce. But I’m not going to. OK! Anyway, most of you Good Girl Gone OMAD listeners out there are women. I know it, I see you, I hear you and today and I want to speak specifically to you.
Y’all know me, or at least I hope you do, I’m 13 episodes in, so you should know me by now. But if this is your very first episode and you’re wondering, who is Kay Dorelus? What is a Good Girl Gone OMAD? And why is she talking about intermittent fasting all the time? Let me kindly point you in the direction of Episode 2 appropriately titled “Allow Me To Introduce Myself” and Episode 11 “You Don’t Know The Half” thats a great one too. Just so you know I’m not just a girl with a microphone.
So, now you know me, you now know I am clearly 100% pro-intermittent fasting to a point where I’d recommend it to any one, even if they don’t want to adopt intermittent fasting as their lifestyle, they should consider taking a break from eating all the time. Our accessibility to food 24/7 is just way too normalized.
I’ve been on this journey now since November 2017 and before I even made a decision to give intermittent fasting a try, I did a lot of hunting and gathering of information, knowledge and research and facts. And mostly all of it came from a male, a guy, a dude.
So no offense, when it comes to gathering facts, I don’t consider the gender BUT the scope of intermittent fasting about women, provided by women is little to none. And when you are looking for information and you see that it is coming from some one that looks like you, sounds like you and is made like you, it tends to resonate more. Am I right or am i right?
So I was doing some searching and it is true. Almost all clinical studies show that both men and women experience the same benefits when fasting. But when you read most articles about intermittent fasting and women, most take the positioning that they are against women practicing IF. Why is that? Within the same article they glorify the benefits of intermittent fasting, they also recommend we, we meaning us women, don’t practice it because it may cause complications like irregular periods, anxiety, fertility issues, sleep issues amongst a lot of other cautionary side effects. So with that… I’m just going to say right off the bat that I absolutely am a proponent of women doing intermittent fasting and here’s why.
Because the benefits are there… obviously I stumbled upon intermittent fasting because of my goals to lose weight and that’s a huge one and why most people do it. It also helps to increase your natural energy, so no more feeling tired all the time and relying on Red Bull. It’ll also improve your thinking. You’ll be able to think clearly and increase cognitive memory. And another important benefit is that it helps to balance glucose levels and makes you less insulin resistant, warding off diseases like diabetes.
So, these sources are steering women away from intermittent fasting because they say we shouldn’t “disrupt our natural rhythm”. Now, let me stop, if you’re listening to this and within your entire history of existence, you’ve ever had a man look into your eyes and tell you, “I’m concerned about your natural rhythm”. Pause this show right now and send me a message. Seriously. I’ve never had a man in any capacity express their concern about my natural rhythm. It’s laughable really. Who’s to say what our natural rhythm is? I, for sure know that my natural rhythm is not eating 6 meals a day, it’s not in a 10 day juicing cleanse and it definitely won’t be found in some fad diet cookbook. However, in regards to extreme fasting methods, I will say that ‘natural rhythm’ statement is true and it can be applied to anyone. But I refuse to consider that I am “messing up my hormones” by practicing intermittent fasting, with the key word being intermittent. If some one says to you “it’ll disrupt your natural rhythm” to me it just sounds like a blanketed statement about being female because no one has answers on how exactly we should intermittent fast because we are women and there are a lot of variables and intricacies that need to be factored in when researching intermittent fasting in women.
So, not only are women intricate beings but there are so many types of fasting methods, I just learned of a new one today that I never heard of before but the foundational methods are 16:8, the Warrior method, OMAD, 5:2 and the eat stop eat method. I do have a freebie beginner’s guide to these methods if you need it, it can be like your starter kit to intermittent fasting. Just go on my website and send me your email to receive it. But the majority of us tend to skip breakfast, drink coffee and eat our meals later in the day. The type of fasting you do depends on what you can sustain and what your goals are.
When it comes to women, our being is synonymous with hormones. Right or wrong… but hormones play a huge role in who we are. I think, unless you had a clinical reason to pay attention to your hormones, there was a point in time when you’d equate hormones solely with your period. That’s it. Or at least that was my upbringing. I wasn’t taught anything about the insulin hormone and serotonin or adrenaline in the perspective of my own health. Your mood, your health, your happiness has a lot more to do with hormones than you realize but unfortunately for us women it’s all negative. It’s like your hormones equals your period. Like, if I snapped on a dude right now, if I just completely went off… no matter what he did, or who he is, he might think oh! she’s PMSing.
As women, I believe that we are more sensitive to hormonal imbalance than a man because we are created to carry life and give birth to babies, making it extremely important to consider your health condition before deciding if you’ll practice intermittent fasting. Intermittent fasting is a tool that you can use to help regulate your hormones, and you need that because if one hormone is out of whack, they all are. Let me quickly go over some hormones that you should know are inside of you and that are most importantly impacted by intermittent fasting…
I’ve covered this big one in most of my other episodes so I won’t get too into the details here. But what I will say for all of you newbies out there is that insulin is not an injection, it’s actually a hormone that your body produces. Insulin is the primary hormone to understand when intermittent fasting. It’s made in the pancreas and the reason you need it is because it lowers blood sugar. That is it’s only function. It’s role was made to move, ideally, about a teaspoon of sugar a day. One teaspoon but you know we are consuming way more than that. Anyways, intermittent fasting is recognized as thee most effective way to improve your insulin resistance. Why does this matter? Well when you eat, and depending on what you eat, so for example carbs, sugars and refined grains, those are broken down into sugar and your body uses it as energy. The role of insulin is to allow the sugar into your cells. It literally acts like a key to a door, your insulin level goes up, opening up the door letting all the sugar that you need in, but once that room is filled the door closes but that excess sugar has to go somewhere. All that excess sugar gets stored in our body as fat. When your insulin levels go down, your fat cells release stored sugar and you can lose weight. You can only begin to lose weight if your insulin is down. Balancing your insulin levels is critical to weight loss and maintenance.
Also known as your exercise hormone. It is literally released by exercising. It helps to fight against fat by turning white fat cells into brown fat cells. Did you know that not all fat is created equal? Of course you did, but do you know the difference between white and brown fat cells and why are the brown ones good? White fat cells store energy as fat and brown fat cells burn energy.
Irisin helps convert white fat cells to brown fat cells through heat production. It facilitates the uptake of glucose, providing you the energy to keep going during a workout, its fueling your muscles. Working out is a form of stress. If you’re crazy like me, you actually love working out but the reality is working out is stressful, honestly, intermittent fasting is stressful. But I call these healthy stresses, these are the type of stresses that are worth it. Think about it, you running around, throwing your arms, pushing some weight, your heart is beating out of your chest, you dripping in sweat, this is highly stressful. Why do we do it? And why is Irisin involved? Well, all of this is still being studied but basically these hormones are communicating to your muscles that the body is a hostile situation and the cells that pick up this signal that you’re in distress are… DO DO DODO, your fat cells. But the thing I have to tell you, the thing that is going to BOOM, blow your mind is that the signal isn’t going to your fat cells, like they are on the chopping block or that they’re being sacrificed. Oh no! Your fat cells are made for this, they’ve been preparing their whole life to burn themselves up for you. See you have to change how you view fat. Fat is fuel, and it is the most efficient one at that. So when you are cranking it out at the gym. It’s the fat cells time to shine, they use irisin to convert from fat storage, which are the white cells, to fat burners, the brown fat cells. Scientists call this the browning effect.
So how do you activate irisin? You need muscle, and then you need to make those muscles work hard. This is why I am pro-lifting weights, I’m not saying go be a body builder but LADIES… if you’re shying away from picking up a heavy weight you are sadly underserving yourself.
this thee hormone of hormones when it comes to our body ladies. Its responsible for all of our lady curves or breast, our hips, our period, kinda everything that makes us women! Even our bone health and cholesterol are impacted by this hormone. However, it gets a bad rep, because when it comes to mood swings, hot flashes, period problems we don’t always see this hormone in a positive light. And obviously excess estrogen is a no-no as it could put you at risk for breast cancer. Exercise is a great way to lower the dominance in your body.
yup! It’s not just for the guys. Girls need love too. We have testosterone too, but not nearly as much as a man. It’s key role is to help your muscles grow, and will repair your muscle proteins after you exercise. And actually exercise helps stimulate this hormone and that’s good for us ladies because not only are we doing activity for our health but we’re also boosting our sex drive and reducing our belly fat.
Speaking of belly fat! You may have heard cortisol referred to as the stress hormone—and for good reason. It’s essentially responsible for regulating changes in the body that happen in response to anxiety and tension, whether its mental or physical. If you’re listening and you are one of the ones that’s feeling the pressures of modern life, which is basically every single one of you, you generally have excess cortisol circulating inside you, which shows up in our lovely body as abdominal fat. Pooch, fupa, pudge, belly, gut, bump… whatever word you use, this is the most dreaded part of most women’s exercise goals because it’s so freakin stubborn and it feels like we’ll never lose that belly fat. So get your cortisol levels down. But cortisol is very necessary, however, studies have shown that high-intensity exercise can increase cortisol. So imagine, you’re in the gym, beasting it out, giving it 110% yet you still have that stubborn belly fat. I know what that’s like, I’ve been there. I was you and let me tell you, you could be fighting your own body thinking that you are doing the right thing. I know so many women that tell me about their experience. They are doing intermittent fasting, and they’re working out but they’re frustrated, they can’t seem to lose the weight. And I always ask them, “what’s your stress like?” And 9 times out 10, that is a pain point for them. Many of us are taking on so many roles, wearing so many hats, dealing with so many personalities, we’re juggling 57 balls in the air all at the same time… and not once do we stop, and pause and reflect to make sure we get our stress under control. Not once do we consider, is one of those 57 balls I’m juggling right now self care for me? I know I’m talking to the masses right now when I say that self-care is huge and it’s trending right now, but don’t think it’s this froufrou, lofty thing. Self-care should be at the top of the list so we can attend to everything else. We, as women have to demand the time we need to take care of ourselves, we burn out too easily and then are critical of ourselves and judge so harshly when we drop the ball. I know that by you listening to this episode, you care enough about your self to start to change… I also know that some of you listening about to rewind this part right now because you missed what I just said because you’re juggling other things… It’s ok. I’m joking with you. Just remember I said, never shy away from taking the rest you need to help lower those cortisol levels.
HGH- Human Growth Hormone-
I love this one! HGH plays multiple roles in your body but the primary one is that it’s essential for building and maintaining lean muscle mass. So why do I love this one so much, because HGH is naturally produced when you sleep, when you work out too, but definitely when you sleep. How cool is that! This powerhouse of a hormone, is also called the hormone of youth because it regulates fat metabolism, ultimately changing your body composition and increases skin elasticity. So I’ve been doing a lot more before and after photos on my instagram where I only show my face and let me tell you the comments that I get. “Wow, that doesn’t look like you” or “You’re aging backwards” or “You look like mother and daughter” How does that work? and my favorite “Am I suppose to believe that’s the same person.” If you’ve made those comments, or you’ve seen my pictures and thought the same thing… just know it’s not surgery, it’s not Botox, its not photoshop, its good ole HGH and all I had to do was go to sleep! So when you say you really want intermittent fasting to be your lifestyle, yet you’re skipping the sleeping part… mmm mm mm. You pride yourself on being a night owl… I know, I was just like you but carry your butt to bed! So there were nights when I skipped the gym and went straight to sleep. HGH is shown to increase by 75% when you’re sleeping so now you see when I tell you I’m about working smarter, not harder. In some cases, sleeping is just as effective as working out.
And here’s another tip for you, insulin and HGH work like a see-saw, when your insulin is high your HGH level is low and vice versa, so it’s a must that we keep your insulin levels low and stable and intermittent fasting is one of the the best ways to do it.
If this kind of stuff fascinates you, then listen to episode number 3, “What Goes On In Your Body During Intermittent Fasting”.
And obviously, full cautionary disclaimer here and I should’ve mentioned it early, you should not be practicing intermittent fasting if you are pregnant, trying to conceive, nursing, have an autoimmune disorder on medication, or have a history of eating disorders. And you should always consult with a professional medical practitioner before you make any changes towards your health.
I know a lot of you ladies are on the hunt for answers and have more questions than answers. I’m so glad you’re listening right now. But before I answer your question, should I be fasting? Know that fasting can be tough for some women and easier for others. Trust me, anything you find out there that works for some one and they are raving about it, you’ll also find some one that had the worst experience. There’s some one had the most amazing results while some one else is saying that this is horrible. That’s life.
But it does suck to exist in a male-dominated world wondering, is this [intermittent fasting] safe for me? Will I have the same results as men?
Why do I bring this up? Because we count ourselves out to the point where we have questions upon questions and we don’t trust anything and everything. Many women don’t trust other women. What is that about? For example, when it comes to weight loss, we’ll say things like, “that’s not real. She never had kids so of course her stomach looks flat. Or she only had one kid so it was easier for her to lose weight. She has more time to dedicate to losing weight. She cooks fresh everyday so her diet helped her lose weight” … these are things that I’ve heard, obviously none of them apply to me. These are all the ways that I’ve heard women discredit other women so it makes sense that may innately tend to seek information from a man because we perceive his results to be more authentic while we deem our results to be purely situational… ya know, the whole “if she did that it was only because of this” HA! Some women are just funny… or funny acting, I don’t really fool with a lot of the crazy ones but let’s move on.
So ladies, if you’re listening, wondering, concerned if fasting is something you can do or should be doing, and specifically if you are wanting to it as your new lifestyle. I have a 4 things that I want to tell you that’ll maybe help you decide and help stay on course.
#1 - Me
ok, you know that was coming… but seriously, what do you think I’m here for. Use me an example to feel the confidence you need to say “yes I can do this too”. I started Good Girl Gone OMAD because I love intermittent fasting and wanted to help spread the word but also to show others that I’m just like you. And in some situations you’re actually better off than me. You too, could be a black girl from Atlanta by way of Chicago, love pizza, lose weight and regain your health through intermittent fasting.
#2 - Consider a hybrid approach
I meet a lot of women that want to start out doing OMAD on their first day and I just die a little on the inside. While that is admirable and ambitious, you may want to rethink that. I think the perception is the longer you fast, the better the results. And while that makes a lot of sense, that is not the only way that works.
The before and after photos that I post on my instagram on Tuesdays are mostly from doing 16:8. Occasionally, I’ll do Warrior and of course OMAD, but I didn’t place that type of pressure on myself in the beginning to go that long without eating because I knew I would definitely fail. So till this day I go back and forth between 16:8, warrior and omad. Whatever fits my mood, whatever fits my schedule, whatever keeps me consistent. I am consistently inconsistent and that’s why I think I get results. Many people out there may not agree. But I’m not here to do things perfectly according to some unspoken standard, I’m here to help you understand that there is no standard. Anyway… next is
#3 - Pay Close Attention
The question I get all the time is very funny, ladies will ask me when will I see results. I’m always thinking results of what? On day 1, your body will start responding. And if it doesn’t call me. On day 1, you will feel your stomach rumble, have headaches, you might even snap on somebody cuz you’re hangry. And guess what, your body will continue to respond to whatever you decide to do. Pay attention to that and don’t be afraid to adjust. Everyone’s tolerance level is different and its ok to change and modify your eating based on how you feel.
For example, I know y’all are going to think I’m weird when I say these things but I’m hungry all the time. I’m just greedy like that but intermittent fasting has taught me not to give-in to thoughts of hunger all the time. However, when I am well into my fast and I feel hunger pains, it doesn’t bother me at all. I actually see it as a signal that my body is responding and I play a little game with myself to see how long I can ride out these hunger pains, past my eating window.
I also have phases where I’m extremely tired, extremely tired, not just saying I need a nap, but getting-in-bed-at-9:30 tired. And even though I’m tired, I will continue to fast but I won’t workout. Nope! Not going to find me working out at all. I would never push myself through any low energy feeling because I see that as a signal that my body is craving rest. And I adjust.
There is some one out there, that may do the exact opposite in these scenarios but my point is pay attention and push when you want to and pull back when you have to. And since I’m in the mood of over-sharing in this episode, another little fun, weirdness about me before we move on is that I look forward to being cold. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, listen to episode 10 titled the Top 7 Unspoken Effects of Intermittent Fasting. So I honestly hate being cold because coming from Chicago I’m over it but I appreciate that cold sensation as another sign that my body is reacting to my fasted state. I know, crazy right, don’t judge me, but if you’ve been doing intermittent fasting for a while let me know if there are any weird things you look forward to. Send me a message… or should I do a poll?? HA!
Ok #4- EAT!
I can’t stress this enough. Eat. Your. Food. Eat!
If you want to make sure that you don’t throw your body out of whack, you need to eat. Now far be it from me to tell you to hit a caloric goal or eat a deficit because I don’t prescribe to those theories. You’re listening to the girl that tossed her FitBit and deleted the MyFitnessPal app… same girl that has platinum status at Chickfila… because numbers aren’t nearly as important to me as feeling and sensation. But eating provides your body with the building blocks of vitamins, nutrients, minerals and fuel to help you sustain. And before you say it… I can almost bet you $20 that my intermittent fasting vets out there are going to mention that they don’t even feel hungry once it’s time to eat, especially if you do OMAD. You would be shocked, so for all my 16:8-ers out there, that have never done OMAD, you’d be surprised to know that most of the time, the longer you faster the quicker it is to fill full. I posted on Instagram just the other day that I was mad, that I fasted for 23 hours, only to get my ChickfilA and feel full after eating just 9 fried. Is this you too? Has that happened to you too? On my OMAD days, it is almost impossible to eat a lot. The longer I go with out eating, the more that my eyes are bigger than my stomach. Often times, I order more food than I can eat and barely take a couple of bites.
Lastly #5 - Join A Family
Man oh man! If I could start this whole intermittent fasting journey over, the one thing I’d do is surround myself with a group of people that are supportive. Let me say that again, supportive! It can be nerve wrecking, and down-right lonely to try intermittent fasting alone. But you’re not alone, you have me and also some awesome groups on FB to join and be apart of. That is why I’m excited to announce that the Good Girl Gone OMAD group is now on Facebook.
Pause this episode right now, search Good Girl Gone Omad and join. Ok listen, because this is very important to the newbies. I started this Facebook group for two reasons, one being that I get messages from Good Girl Gone OMAD listeners all the time about how intermittent fasting has changed their life and I want you all to be able to share your stories. Yes, you are listening to my podcast but this is more about you than it is about me and in the group we’ll be able to share those experiences and really interact. Secondarily, and this is probably the biggest driver… those Facebook groups with members in the 5 and 6 figures, can have you feeling a little lost. I belong to a couple of groups and I get lost and I’m not new to this. Being in those larger groups can quickly become a very impersonal experience, everybody’s posting pictures, nobody’s answering your question and frankly, people can be flat out rude. Besides that, your timeline is flooded with posts you have to cypher through in order to find the “good stuff”. Not the most efficient environment depending on how you like to engage. So go to Facebook and search for Good Girl Gone OMAD to be added to the group.
So let me leave you with this truism. Both, men and women will benefit from intermittent fasting. And, for my tastes, not enough research has been conducted on female humans to conclude whether intermittent fasting is good for women. But can’t you say that about most diet theories? The key to making this way of living work for you is to listen to your body, constantly and adopt the mindset that you are and you’re going to be master of your own health, because, I can’t think of anything else worth getting good at. And that’s your health.
That’s it for today’s show, I’m so glad you’re taking charge of your health. Listen, I know that when I do episodes like this, I’m using terms that frankly even I haven’t spoken since 6th grade biology class but when I think about longevity, and I think about my family… you have to ask yourself, what’s really important? Yes, it’s important that I make a living and support myself. Being good at what you do and passionate about what you do is important. But you want to know what else is important? Knowing what a pancreas is. Knowing how your kidneys operating. Understanding what impacts cognitive functions. Listen you know I love you all, I think you are such beautiful souls, but we are nothing with out this shell of a body, and it should be your mission in life to know it, nourish it, take care of it because its valuable. And if no one has told you today, I want you to know, I’m saying this to you…you are valuable and you are worth it. Just by listening to this podcast, you’ve gained so much knowledge to make better decisions for yourself. So until next time my good people, by for now.
If you like this episode, join me on instagram and in the new Facebook group by searching Good Girl Gone OMAD, and let me know what’s your favorite part from today. I love to hear what you think about the show… did you laugh? Did you cry? Does this make you think any differently about fasting for women? Or are you like me, where you have a intermittent fasting weirdism like getting cold. If you do, share it. Leave a comment or send me a message so I don’t feel so alone about my weirdness.
And while you’re at it, if you’re loving this podcast, please give me a 5 star rating and subscribe. That’s like donating a million dollars in the podcast world.
Most importantly, text a link to this episode with a friend or another good girl you know who needs it. Maybe you know of a friend that you’d wish had a more open mind about intermittent fasting and this just might be the message they need to hear to join you. Or, you know what I just thought of, what if you know some one that is interested in intermittent fasting and never told you because they don’t want to be called crazy. Remember, fasting is better with a friend so don’t be shy, over-share.
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