Keto seems to be all of the rave these days. Both my husband and I have played around with it. Once you experiment with Keto, you are likely to dabble in intermittent fasting.
eSo much research has proven that all sorts of fasting from 16-48 hours are beneficial for men, Oddly, the research is not as true or not as available about women. Fasting is a stressor to the body. All types of stressors can benefit the body, because our bodies are so fascinating and resilient, thus learning to evolve from these stressors.
However, women, especially those pregnant and breastfeeding, already have enough "stress" on their body. I am here to discuss how small fasts (once you meet certain criteria) can benefit women in all stages of life.
I have been fasting for 12 or more hours a day while breastfeeding for over eight months now. Here are a few things that I needed to be able to do to get to that point. First of all, you MUST be fat adaptive. Your body and brain must learn to burn fat instead of glucose. For some, this might only take a couple of days, for others, it could take weeks or months. It is best to start your fast right after dinner and give yourself a couple of fasted hours before bed. You will sleep better and your body will be able to recover at it optimum level if you are somewhat fasted (not too hungry and not too full). This fast is the easiest, because you just eat breakfast once you are hungry. Remember, the goal is not to starve yourself or see how long you can go. Simply eat when you are hungry. The other thing that needs to be done with a fast, is that it should be broken with a healthy fat. Avocado, ghee, olives, coconut oil, olive oil, macadamia nuts, really any sort of nut, are all great ways to break your fast. The second criteria you should have before starting a fast would be eating relatively primal/paleo for this to be an easy transition.
Some days fasting will be harder than others. I have learned that I have to listen to my body. If I am hungry, then I eat. When you starve your body, you add those stressors back to it. Intermittent fasting should not be as much as a stressor, as it is a break for your body to process the food it has already eaten. Women's bodies are more likely to have hormone disruptions, lose their cycle, or prevent fertility if there is too much stress on the body, The cool thing about your body, is that if you are stressing it too much, it will tell you in obvious ways. Your hair might fall out, you could can weight, you could break out, or your sleep could be disrupted.
Now, the benefits I have seen. Please note that this has not affected my milk supply because I gradually changed and increased my fasts over the span of 6-8 weeks. I have fasted for as long as 24 hours and rarely go less than 14 hours. An average day would be eating dinner around 7-8 pm and breaking my fast around 11-1pm (this all varies based on the small human I am chasing around) In the morning, I will have black decaf coffee (caffeine hyper-sensitivity makes me weird) mixed with some sort of coconut oil or mct oil. At this point, I do not consider this breaking my fast. Scientifically, it is breaking your fast, but there are still benefits to not technically eating. Plus, if coffee or bone broth, or whatever you prefer, helps you prolong your fast, then you should totally do it. And I digress. Back to those benefits...
-Sleep was improved
-Muscle tone was improved
-Fasted work outs are the most bang for your buck in my opinion. You burn so much and in a shorter amount of time
Please not that I have not done a fast while pregnant, because I was not experimenting with intermittent fasting during my previous pregnancies. My OB has told me that it is the best way to eat and everyone, not just pregnant people, should be eating in a smaller window. Because researching pregnant women is prohibited for obvious reasons, let me know your thoughts. Have you done any sort of fast during pregnancy or while breastfeeding? Did it relieve or cause any symptoms? I would love to hear from you!