The Ultimate Guide To Intermittent Fasting For Women

Intermittent Fasting For Women ImageYou’re not a guy, and you shouldn’t be trying to intermittently fast as a guy. Intermittent Fasting for Women is something quite different.

When I’ve done my research into intermittent fasting, I’ve noticed that most of the “experts” are men. And although I have learned a ton from them, I’m also not trying to build enormous biceps and pecs!

Men and women store fat differently and men and women definitely burn fat differently. So in a nutshell, women need to approach intermittent fasting differently than men do.

In this blog, my goal is to share with you the best approach for women to maximize their fat burning while intermittent fasting.

First of all, this advice is for all my healthy women out there that aren’t pregnant, breast-feeding or battling any health conditions right now.

We know all too well that us women like to store body fat more than men.  And we know this is because we are blessed with the ability to create life and sustain it. However, that does make it a bit tougher to have that lean and athletic body that many women are working so hard for.

Have you ever gone on a diet with your spouse only to have him lose weight twice as fast as you and consider grounds for divorce because of it? Yeah, me too!

I married my high school sweetheart, Mick, so we essentially grew up together. In our 20s, our diets were very high in carbohydrate and low in fat and we ate every 2 hours without fail.

We also lived in the gym seven days a week.

Mick was WAY leaner than me even though we ate the same types of foods and pretty much did the same workouts.

It was so frustrating.

In our 30s, we spent a little less time in the gym but adopted a higher protein diet. It was at this time that I really started being consistent with intermittent fasting. I got a job at the gym to teach group exercise in the morning and so I started doing that on an empty stomach. Mick was still getting up in the morning and eating breakfast.

That’s when I really started to notice that my physique was catching up to his.

He was still in the mindset he’d lose muscle if he didn’t eat breakfast. You should see him now though…hubba, hubba! Now that we’re both in our 40s, we both intermittently fast together and I will confidently say (even in fear of being tickled to death when he reads this) that through most of our 30s and 40s I have kept a leaner body.

It was this experimental truth that intermittent fasting not only gets you leaner but it’s especially true for women.

Intermittent Fasting for Women – How It Works

Our hormones play a huge role in how we look and feel…HUGE! Human growth hormone (HGH) is the key for women to shed the excess body fat that they’re working so hard to do. And naturally, men have higher levels of HGH than women do. But intermittent fasting for women is an exceptional way for us  to increase our production of HGH so that we can be fat burning machines as well.

Let me explain: HGH production is at its highest during sleep, exercise and trauma. HGH has an indirect relationship with insulin. So when your insulin levels are lower, your HGH is higher (and the very reason it rises when we sleep). HGH rises during childhood, peaks during puberty and then declines from middle age on…BOO!The good news is, is HGH rises when there is no insulin and your bloodstream. This only happens during a fasted state and at the very end of your sleep cycle. As I mentioned earlier, HGH also rises when we exercise… Keep that in mind. We want to get that HGH released as much and as long as we can in order to achieve the lean bodies that we are after.

This is going to happen by you doing 3 things in conjunction of one another. They are:
#1 choosing to get a good nights sleep every night. By getting in your eight hours of sleep every night, you are giving your body time to deplete the insulin in the blood stream and spiking HGH.
#2 waking up and continuing to fast for a few hours in the morning will continue to rise your HGH because you are not eating causing your insulin levels to rise.
#3 exercising in the morning, after a few hours of fasting is another way to continue to get that HGH up and you remaining a fat burning machine.

This is the trifecta when it comes to getting your body to reach for those fat stores, generate lean muscle to increase your metabolism and give you the energy to see results and make it a lifestyle.

So let me give you an example of how to implement this style of fasting. I call it my “11-7” rule. This means that you go to bed around 11 o’clock PM and wake up at 7 o’clock AM. Work out at anytime between 8 and 10 AM and then have your first meal around 11 AM. Have your last meal around 7 PM and close the kitchen down.

It’s a very easy habit to get into and to keep… Even while traveling.

Now I know for a lot of you that timeframe might not work. Maybe you work a night shift or your hours are very erratic. It is a bit harder to find that sweet spot for you but once you create a pattern that works well for you and you can stick with it… Then you will see just as good of benefits as I do with my schedule. It’s all about consistency!

These three habits (sleeping well and fasting and exercising in the morning) all by themselves will give you great results but by putting the three together you will really see a return on your health investment.

Now I know what’s going on in your head right now. You’re asking me, “Well, what do I eat in that 8 hour window?”

That’s a great question but I want you to remember that intermittent fasting for women is about meal timing and not necessarily meal planning. But let me just remind you that if you put junk in your body, you’re going to look and feel like junk. Fill your plate full of things from the farm and not the factory. Look at the ingredients of your food and if you can pronounce them all and the list is no more than 8 ingredients long, then you should be OK.

We’ll cover what to eat specifically on a future blog. Let’s face it Intermittent Fasting for Women has worked for me.

About the Author Melissa McAllister

My name is Melissa McAllister. I just turned 44! I have a son and daughter and my husband and I are new empty nesters! My husband is the reason I eat, drink, and sleep health and fitness. He has 2 speeds, GO and GO Faster. We have been together for over 28 years and married for 23 (yes, he had me at “hello!”). Don’t get me wrong though…I was a Doritos and Coca Cola eating Hoover when I was in school! Fitness has been an essential part of my life for over 19 years. I have the 3 best jobs in the world—being a stay-at-home Mom, business owner, and group exercise instructor for several large fitness chains. I have been teaching everything from yoga to kickboxing for over 17 years. I have also had the great opportunity to train, inspire, and motivate other instructors for the past 11 years. You might even see me in a few fitness videos out there! 😉 Reaching out to others who are struggling to be healthy and happy is my passion. I couldn’t tell you next Fall’s latest fashion must have or what flowers to plant this season, but I can help you achieve your health and fitness goals. With your determination and my motivation, we can find and keep the best YOU! I will inspire by holding myself and those around me accountable!

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45 comments
Carrissa says June 21, 2017

How long does it take to see results?

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Brenda says June 22, 2017

How long before results should start. Plus, I work 8-5 and can’t do must exercise if any during my morning fast period and not able to cook my meals during work day. I haven’t seen a plan for a regular 8-5 work schedule. Please help?

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    VAL says July 9, 2017

    I do her method but a little backwards as it works for me and my schedule. I start eating at 8am and I have my last meal at 5pm on gym rest days. On days I work out, I start eating at 9a and have my last meal at 6p as I usually the gym by 4:30pm. I sleep from 8:30 a.m.-5a.m. Plus I still count macros and stay within my goals. Hope that helps!

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    Tina says October 24, 2017

    You have to get up earlier than your normal time & start meal prepping on Sundays. I work a 50 hour work week from 630-430. If I can do it you can do it and I’m a mother of 5. It’s all about prioritizing what’s important

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      Kamilia says December 11, 2017

      I work a similar shift. What time do you workout?

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    Angie says October 30, 2017

    I work an 8-5 job. Cook all of my mails. Prep in the weekends. I’m thinking of getting up at 6 to workout, then eating my first meal at 11 am and my last at 8.😉

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    heather says November 13, 2017

    The reality is 8 – 5 won’t work on a 8 hour eat schedule. That’s 9 hrs. But if your work or right before work, it’ll work out.

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    Dursa says March 15, 2018

    I have the same kind of work schedule..I wake up at 6am and do my HIIT for about half an hour and stop my fasting at around 1pm till 8pm i have been practising this for like 1 and half week and i have found great results..2kg down within this timespan…

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Bethany says August 1, 2017

Have you seen intermittent fasting affect your cycles at all?

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Ganga says August 7, 2017

i am 48 years . Have been a trainer for more than 16 years..Now a co founder of ilove9months, dedicated to pregnancy wellness and support services. i have always been muscular and trying to get lean..started IF..Your article was a good read and only encourages me to continue ,,

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Sarah says October 3, 2017

Thank for this it really helps! But since I work on night shift I feel lost as to when I should fast vs eat vs work-out :/
I work 4 days in a row, then 4 days off. When i work my day goes like this: work from 22h to 8h, sleep from 10h to 17h and I usually work out (tabata or cardio Hiit) in my lunch time around 1 or 2h in the morning. The problem I have is that if I dont eat a good meal before going to bed I keep wake up bc I’m hungry 🙁
On days off I sleep from ~3h in the morning to 12 and I usually do more intense work out on those days.
Please help ! I’m kind of lost here.
Thank you so much ❤

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Sara says October 25, 2017

On days I work I don’t get to go workout until 3:30 pm and get home at 5pm. I would have to eat during the day but it’s better to have the workout on an empty stomach. I do that on the weekends but it’s impossible Monday through Friday. Would I eat 7am-3pm and the fast from there or would my eating window be shorter like from 5 to bed time?

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Rebecca says November 30, 2017

Hey there! Thanks for the great article!! I am 39, and my fiancé got me into intermediate fasting. We’ve been doing it together for about 7 months now. I feel great and I’ve lost so much body fat! I’ve been a personal trainer for 9 years, and I’ve always eaten pretty healthy. I work out hard and fasting enables me to have some freedom with my diet. I follow a similar “rule” for the timing of my fast!

Thank you for the well laid out article and the benefits that most people don’t know about!!!

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Ashley says December 8, 2017

I would just be afraid that after all that fasting, my insulin would spike like crazy when finally eating at 11am.

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Cat Livingston says December 18, 2017

Great article. I never thought about the male/female situation concerning this, but it made sense to me. I believe a long fast of about 10 days would totally heal so many issues, diseases, etc. I have fasted that long and never felt better in my life! IF is a great way to stay healthy. I start the day with warm lemon juice every morning. Do you think this would interfere with IF? I am 66 and feel 20! I eat organic and never crave junk. It is worth feeling so well at my age. Never had to take medicine because I believe the body can heal itself. That is the way our Creator made us.

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Shipra says December 19, 2017

Hi…just wanted to ask that i m a tutor who has classes at 5 am and then again from 3:30-8:30 pm…my sleep pattern is from 12:30 am to 4:30 am and then 9:30 am -11:30 pm…can u advice some diet variatios for me to follow intermittent fasting….plz

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Susanah says December 19, 2017

This information is very good and easy to follow. I look forward to seeing sone great results.

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Terry says January 2, 2018

What foods to eat ??

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Mary says January 7, 2018

Is this diet right for me when I have high cholesterol?

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Nicole Nagy says January 18, 2018

Thank you! Your explanation on fasting and meal timing…I have connected so many dots that weren’t making much sense to me…I have now seen the light! Awesome!

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Angela says January 22, 2018

I am really wanting to try this intermittent fasting, my question is is it better to excercise before i go to work at 5 am and continue to fast until about 11 or fast then excercise after work about 430-5 pm, does that have any effect on the fasting?

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Jennifer Terry says January 24, 2018

Thanks for your info! I’m 49yo, active with a 13yo son and 11yo daughter. Looking for a healthy way to stay fit at my age and keep the energy BUT mostly I want to keep my skin, hair, weight and “horror”mones balanced and healthy. I felt your advice and insight was very clear and helpful.

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Caitlin says January 26, 2018

I’d really love to hear your thoughts on the risk of infertility/hormonal imbalances as a result of IF? I feel like all the info I’ve ready completely varies!

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Kimberly says February 5, 2018

Is it ok to still drink lemon water and/or green tea during the “fasting hours” of 7-11 am and 7-11 pm?

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Courtney says February 8, 2018

Hi Melissa, this is a very helpful guide! did you ever make a post about what specifcially to eat? That’s what I’m really having problems figuring out. Do I eat my regular macro goals everyday but within the 8 hours? Or do I need to change up my carbs/fat based on if I can work out that day? I have not had much luck finding anything explaining this on the internet but see it just briefly mentioned so that’s why I’m confused. I really just want to know if I keep my calorie goal and percentages of protein, fat and carbs the same as if I was not doing IF or if this needs to be switched up. Any info you can provide would be so so appreciated. Thanks so much!! (sorry if I just double posted this, wasn’t sure where to put it!)

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Tammy says March 20, 2018

I really enjoyed your blog and you look amazing. I have been working out for several years now, but I’ve never been able to cut the fat around my stomach. I just turned 49 in February and have only been doing the intermittent fasting for only a few days. I really hope this will give me the results I’m looking for.

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Kristin says March 29, 2018

What about Coffee or bullet proof coffee between that 7am to 11am fasting after you wake up? Or workout?

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bijal says April 12, 2018

I am not loosing the way I should according to “The 8 hr diet” book. i don’t want to give up IF, as I feel i can really sustain this for life , please help me

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Bijal Sheth says April 12, 2018

my eating window is 9:30 am to 5:30 pm, the hunger pangs i experience in the nights make me cry.

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Edye says April 17, 2018

Hi! Great article. I have been fasting usually 16-17 hours. I have had trouble in the past with low blood sugar. I have always liked to drink hot lemon juice, vinegar with the mother and a tsp of natural organic maple syrup. Am I messing up my fasting by drinking this in the morning?
Edye

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    Melissa McAllister says April 18, 2018

    Hi Edye,

    I’m actually releasing an article tomorrow on the subject of what to drink while fasting, so stay posted for that! Many fitness experts say that lemon water with just a little bit of lemon should not break your fast, but studies show that just tasting something sweet can trigger an insulin response. The brain is weird like that! Also, the maple syrup could stimulate insulin release due to the sucrose. Personally I would stick to being sugar-free while fasting, so you don’t take that risk!

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Heather says April 22, 2018

I just started intermeditant fasting yesterday. It went pretty well… my work schedule is odd so I’m fasting from midnight to 4pm. I eat during the 4pm to midnight window since I’m isually up super late (like now, it’s 2am). I barely had any hunger issues today while at work. I’m a chef and I’m around food ALL day long. There are all of the temptations you could possibly think of. But so far so good! Gotta try getting up earlier to get in a workout before work.

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Can I Do Intermittent Fasting If I Have High Cholesterol? says May 18, 2018

[…] is pretty much beneficial for everyone, but not absolutely everyone. After all, in my popular Guide to Intermittent Fasting for Women, I said that depending on what medical condition you’re dealing with, IF may not be right for […]

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Mc says June 17, 2018

What are the Recomended foods?

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Megan says July 1, 2018

Liked the article, then saw the awful tshirt and it ruined it for me

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Debashree says July 8, 2018

Is Bulletproof coffee allow within fasting period?

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    Melissa McAllister says July 11, 2018

    Hi! Technically yes, Bulletproof coffee will break your fast for purposes of autophagy, but there are experts who say that <50 calories doesn't break your fast, and will still allow other fasting benefits to take place, just not autophagy. Please send me a direct message so we can talk more about your specific needs 🙂 – http://m.me/FitnessMelissaMcallister

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KJA says July 9, 2018

I fast after 9am. I’ve always been a morning eater.. lunch and dinner have always been “options” for me.. so easier for me to fast during the day and night as opposed to morning. But laely I have been incorporating 2 36 hour fasts during a week.. generally Friday and Mondays, I don’t eat. Water and occasionaly teas with full fat cream. This is working for me. Exercise is yoga s/ walking currently as winter I tend to take it easy, beacuase mind and body need to break. I listen to my body and just chill when I needs to. So winter for me is hibernation without the food and resting my body so that spring is “go time”.. in my 40’s for me exercise is about sustainability and health, not instagram worthy body pics.

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Susana Mora says August 13, 2018

I have been doing the 11-7 rule for 9 months and the most I have lost is 5 pounds using a good diet. Should I switch to 2-9pm??

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    Melissa McAllister says August 14, 2018

    Hi Susana! I don’t think you need to necessarily change your eating window. I want to see what else might be going on, and if we can figure something out! Please send me a direct message so we can talk more about this specifically – http://m.me/FitnessMelissaMcallister

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Julie Sontag says September 20, 2018

You’re awesome. ALWAYS trying to find stuff on IF for women and there’s just no info out there. We need more. And meat over wheat T had me at hello. The wheat they are making now is bad bad stuff. I was just like you w chips & soda, and now am as well with fitness & recovery & health. Rock on babe! Xoxo

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