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Intermittent Fasting: Does It Work For Women?

Men rock intermittent fasting,  but does it work for women? As women we have three hormones that we have to take into consideration when fasting.   Estrogen, progesterone and testosterone.  Estrogen loves when you keep glucose down. Progesterone, is completely the opposite way. In fact, I always say that progesterone and estrogen are like twin sisters. They look the same. We call them sex hormones, but they have massively different personalities.

In this episode Dr. Mindy Pelz teaches us from her Book “Fast Like a Girl” how to rock intermittent fasting as a woman.

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Bio

Commonly known as “The Reset Doc,” Dr. Mindy Pelz is a renowned holistic health expert who is on a mission to start a women’s health revolution!

Teaching her signature “5-Step Approach,” Dr. Mindy has empowered hundreds of thousands of people around the world to harness their body’s own healing abilities through fasting, diet variation, detoxing chemicals from the body, stress management, and lifestyle changes – as keys to achieving optimum health and slowing down the aging process. Her private coaching group, The Reset Academy, teaches women how to sync a fasting lifestyle with their hormones.

She is the author of several bestselling books including the newly-released Fast Like a Girl, The Menopause Reset, The Reset Factor, and The Reset Kitchen. Her members-only Facebook group, The Resetter Collaborative, includes over 30,000 active members. Dr. Mindy’s podcast, “The Resetter Podcast,” is ranked within Apple’s top 40 category of U.S. science podcasts.

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What is intermittent fasting?

Myrna: So to start off, Dr. Mindy you are a renowned holistic health expert. Can you share with our audience, what exactly is, intermittent fasting, and what our body does in, ketosis?

Dr. Mindy:  Yeah, it's such a good place to start the conversation. Thank you for asking that because, intermittent fasting, has become this buzzword that so many of us throw around, but I could put you in a room full of 100 people and everyone will have a different definition of what is, intermittent fasting.

And that is the whole premise of what I teach. So, here is the best way we can look at, fasting. We must remember that we have two energy systems. So, when you're trying to get energy to go about your day when you're trying to get mental energy, you want energy to heal.

A lot of the conversation in the health world has been around quality of food and what to eat and, and what foods are going to be the best for you. And so, there has been a lot of food conversation, but what we don't realize is that's only one of our energy systems, that when glucose goes high, yes, glucose in a balanced way can really help support Cellular Healing specially if you're eating the right foods, but it's only 50% of the conversation.

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The Ketogenic energy source

Because this other energy source is what we have come to know as the ketogenic energy source. Now, the ketogenic energy source, I like to lovingly call it the fat burning system, because the only way you can make ketones is by burning fat. So, hallelujah, because we can start to see that we can make ketones and lose weight at the same time.  Those ketones what they will do is they'll go up into the brain and they start to supercharge your brain, they repair neurons, they kill hunger, or they repair any mitochondria throughout your body.

So, it is this healing state that we put ourselves in. So, when you ask what is, intermittent fasting, it is you are tapping into the, ketogenic, fat burning healing energy system. That’s why so many people are crazy about it. Most of us until we try fasting we've never experienced the power that our body can have using this energy state as fuel.

Myrna: So if we eat bad food for 8 hours and fast for 16 hours does  that mean that we don’t get fat?

Dr Mindy: That's really a great question.  So, there are two things that will happen is one you what you're doing if you eat that meal, you're eating that fast food and you're eating it in a confined period. During that time when you are eating that fast food, your blood sugar is going up, your inflammatory markers  are going up, your cholesterol is going up.  Those things are still going to happen and I'm not advocating for that style of food. But so many people are addicted to that way of eating.

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Intermittent fasting allows your body to heal

But here's the catch. If you give yourself 16 hours to heal, after you've eaten that toxic food, all those markers come back down. Fasting insulin comes down, glucose comes down, CRP cholesterol, all of them comes back down because you gave your body a chance to recover from the toxicity of that food.  I've seen incredible changes to, autoimmunity. Do you know, 80% of autoimmune conditions happen to women. So that's why it is so important for women to understand how to use fasting for themselves.

We have seen fasting totally obliterates chronic pain. It'll go away. Mood Disorders, reboots the whole dopamine system it can help with it can upregulate GABA so your anxiety will change. I mean menopause symptoms, you name it.

Myrna: Yeah, that's amazing such good information. You teach us to check our blood sugar to see what foods are taking us out of ketosis.  I used to drink apple cider vinegar and honey every morning not knowing that the honey was taking me out of ketosis.  So, let's say that you were trying to fast for 16 hours. What are some of the foods we can eat and stay in ketosis.  I believe you call them, fat bombs.

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Intermittent fasting and fat bombs

Dr. Mindy: Okay, so the most common question we get because most people will fast in the morning is what about my coffee? And I would say that I'm going to give you sort of the general ideas of what works and then we'll give you a formula on how you can test it on yourself. But generally coffee works for most people. It is how many of us get through our fasting window. We get up in the morning, we have our coffee, and it keeps us going and there’s great science showing that coffee stimulates, autophagy, which is one of the mechanisms we are trying to trigger with fasting. So now what you put in that coffee really matters.

So, if you're putting coffee mate in it or a creamer that's very toxic or you're putting sugar in it, you're going to pull yourself out of a fasting state. So, what can you put in your coffee? A heavy cream typically works, some people use, MCT oil, which will actually kick up your ketones production and it will also turn off the hunger signals. So, I put a little scoop of, MCT oil, in my coffee. And you can do Ghee butter if you want.  Ghee butter was really popular for a while. Yeah, but like a fat bomb, that would be fine.

  • I wouldn't do nonfat milk, It's too high on the glycemic index. You need some fat to slow that spiking of the blood sugar down.
  • And I wouldn't do coffee mate,
  • I wouldn't do creamers.
  • I wouldn't do oatmeal or almond milk, they have tend to spike the blood sugar. really good. So does cow's milk.
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Does intermittent fasting work for women?

Myrna: So, does intermittent fasting work for women?  Talk to us about, intermittent fasting women. The last nutritionist that I had on the show, when I told her about my husband lost 40 lbs. doing, intermittent fasting, she said it usually works for men and doesn't work so much and women. What's the deal with, intermittent fasting weight loss?

Dr. Mindy: So, here's what we need to know about the difference between men and women. And when we look at our hormones, we are our hormones play out differently for us. So, let's start with men. A man's number one hormone is, testosterone. Most people know that. But what's interesting is testosterone goes up into the brain and converts into estrogen. So, you'll hear a lot of people say, men have estrogen. too.

They do, but it starts with testosterone and then it converts up into the brain. When a man is fasting, the research shows that he can improve his testosterone levels by 1300% in a 15 hour fast and he can he can improve his testosterone levels by 2,000% in a 24 hour fast so men rock fasting.  In fact, if you ever if you're married to a man, and you go into a fast together, I see this over and over again. The man's like I lost 30 pounds in like three weeks and the wife is like, I lost one pound! And that’s because of the difference of hormones.

Myrna: Wow.

Dr. Mindy: Yeah, literally, I've I feel like I could be a counselor for couples. So men, you rock fasting,  women we have three hormones that we have to take into consideration.  estrogen, progesterone and testosterone. So, an estrogen and progesterone play by vastly different rules. Estrogen loves when you keep glucose down. Estrogen is very tolerant of cortisol. So, if you want to go into a longer fast, or glucose goes down, insulin goes down and cortisol goes up, because cortisol will go up in a fast very much like exercise increases cortisol, and estrogen is going to love that. You want to clean up your estrogen system.

Listen Notes Transform Your Mind
Listen Notes Transform Your Mind

Intermittent fasting, estrogen and progesterone

Progesterone, is completely the opposite way. In fact, I always say that progesterone and estrogen are like twin sisters. They look the same. We call them sex hormones, but they have massively different personalities. And so, when we look at what progesterone wants, she wants you to bring glucose up. So, if you're fasting and you're keeping glucose down, you're going to make progesterone. Progesterone also wants you to keep cortisol low. So, it is the incomplete inverse of estrogen. That is why the book is called, fast like a girl.

I started to look at those hormones and go what is it that that needs? What are these behaviors and when you look at a woman who has a cycle, the front half of her cycle is when estrogen is in her glory. So fasting works great. The back half of her cycle is when progesterone is in her glory. So, no fasting is great. And so one of the things that I've that really propelled me to write this book was that the word got out into the world that women shouldn't fast. And it's like, yes, we should not fast when progesterone is coming in, which is the week before our period.

So, the diet that you ate at 35 that kept you slim and feeling great is not going to work for you at 45 because you've got to consider the loss of estrogen. I also believe women who have been all the way through menopause should actually go into longer fast, like three days fasting. It is a beautiful way to clean up that imbalance that estrogen, but you still have progesterone, she didn't go away, she's just a little less. And so with her you just are going to need to make sure that you step out of fasting and you step out of low carb or keto at least once a week, maybe a couple of times a week depending on how low your progesterone is.

So, in the book, I call it hormone feasting foods and these are the foods that you can feed progesterone to be able to give her the nutrients she needs.

Google Podcast Transform Your Mind
Google Podcast Transform Your Mind

Fasting like a girl

Myrna: So, why did you write the book Fast Like a Girl, why did you call it that? And what do you want people to walk away with after reading?

Dr. Mindy: It is a great question.  The catalyst for writing this book was because of what I was seeing in my clinic, what I was seeing on my YouTube channel where I teach fasting.  A million and a half people join the channel every month and they were leaving their comments.  I talk about a specific formula of fasting that took six different fasting types and two different food styles and mapped it to a woman's hormones.

And I was watching women hormonally come back into balance. I fixed my hormonal system using these six differently fasting tools and mapping them to my hormones or to my menstrual cycle in my mid-40s. So, I knew it worked for me. Then I taught my patients and I saw it work for them. And then I taught millions of other women across the world and I knew that I was on to something.  It's really interesting because right now we're getting so many incredible reviews on the book and everybody's like it works. It works.

So, that was sort of the meaning behind why we got this in print so that every woman has it. Now the title, I think there's a lot in the title that I want. I don't want women to lose because I've had a lot of women say to me, Well, I'm not a girl. Well, you know what, there's actually a feminist philosopher who wrote an essay back in the 1980s. About why the concept of running like a girl or throwing like a girl is actually an accurate statement. And the reason that it's accurate is because when you look at the Kinesiology or the mechanics of what it takes to throw a ball, our bodies are built differently than men.

So, we aren't going to throw a ball like a man because our hip ratio is different. Our arm length is different. Our muscle balance is different. Same thing with running like a girl so that's the idea behind the title Fast Like A Girl.  Women don't fast like your husband, don't do it like your brother, your father best friend. Do it like the girl design of you, of your feminine body.

Book: Fast Like a Girl
Book: Fast Like a Girl

Conclusion

Myrna: I Like that, right. Okay. And now you have your YouTube channel, you have a Facebook group, you have a podcast. Tell us about your social media handles and how we can follow you on social media. I've already started following you on Instagram. So, I see your videos on Instagram.

Dr.  Mindy: Yeah, thank you. Well, YouTube is my passion project. So, we I put out the science and the application of fasting all over YouTube. So, if you're interested in learning more, that's a great place to go. I am on Instagram @drmindypelz

My podcast is called The Resetter podcast and we have incredible discussions there with some brilliant minds. So, and you'll see if you listen to repetitive episodes, I always bring fasting into it and ask people about, intermittent fasting. So you can connect with me on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, we have a closed Facebook group called that's free. And it's called The Resetter Collaborative, it's a fasting group has over 60,000 people in it. And there are some really amazing fasting minds in there.

So if you want more support, that's a great place. Yeah, we have an academy that is a membership group, where people who want assistance from me and my coaching my team of coaches and fasting warriors, we have a whole supportive group called the Reset Academy. And if you forget all of that, you could go to www.DrMindyPelz.com And it's all there.

Additional Resources

The Role of Probiotics in Gut Health and Brain Health