The Complete Lowdown on Intermittent Fasting

Let’s talk variations, benefits, and more.

Almost everyone I meet asks me about intermittent fasting. Is it recommended? Is it beneficial? How should I do it? And what impact should I expect? So, here is the lowdown on intermittent fasting with specific tips for women.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is all the rage these days. But what exactly is it? Let’s start with what it is not. Although it has only recently started gaining popularity, the concept of fasting is certainly not new. In fact, fasting has been used for centuries and plays a central role in many major religions. 

While intermittent fasting restricts eating to a specific window of time, it is not a form of crash restrictive dieting for quick weight loss. There are several forms of intermittent fasting, and no one way works for everyone, so choose the method that feels natural for you. Most importantly, intermittent fasting should make you feel good, so if your fasting strategy makes you feel weak, you need to re-evaluate it.

woman spreading her arms

Is Intermittent Fasting Evidenced-Based?

Gaining popularity of this eating pattern in recent years definitely stems from the constantly emerging new research about the benefits of fasting. Research catches up on centuries-old practices and brings us back to ancient wisdom. Here are some of the researched benefits:

1. Weight Management

For most people, weight loss is the main motivation to try intermittent fasting. And indeed, this method of eating can positively impact your weight, especially when you complement it with balanced, nutritious meals. Intermittent fasting naturally restricts your overall calorie intake by limiting your eating window.

But it also boosts your fat-burning because you do not receive a constant sugar dose. When this happens, the body shifts to burning fat for longer-lasting energy. As a result, you may find that you lose weight more easily – and steadily – when you practise intermittent fasting.

2. Vitality Through Hormesis

Fasting is a type of stress that can have a hormetic effect on our bodies, promoting vitality and improved mitochondrial function. Hormesis refers to the health-enhancing stress you need in your life. Basically, “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger”. 

When we fast, we are causing minor stress to our systems, forcing our bodies to adapt to survive. This adaptation includes increased production of energy by our mitochondria. In other words, fasting helps us create more energy, leading to improved vitality.

finger being tested in a glucometer

3. Insulin Sensitivity

When you fast, your body is forced to rely on stored glucose for energy, which helps to improve your insulin sensitivity and prevent spikes in blood sugar. But take note that if you are diabetic, then keep in mind that proper medication adjustment and self-monitoring of blood glucose levels would be required to get into intermittent fasting safely. Take baby steps into implementation and always consult with your doctor first.

4. Immune Regulation

Fasting has been shown to have several benefits for health, including boosting the function of neutrophils. Incidentally, a neutrophil is a type of white blood cell that is more able to counteract pathogens when fasting, as they are not dealing with excess sugar particles. In addition, the balance of the microbiome shifts during fasting, favouring the growth of beneficial microbes over harmful ones such as salmonella. 

Fasting also supports a healthy response to inflammation and has been shown to promote brain and heart health, so if you’re looking for a way to improve your overall health, intermittent fasting may be a good option. As you can see, with all the benefits, it is evident that adopting some form of intermittent fasting would have a significant impact on your wellness. The caveat, of course, is to figure out which form best suits your body.

list of Intermittent Fasting Types

5 Ways to Do Intermittent Fasting

There are many forms and variations of fasting, and here are the most popular ones. Keep in mind that fasting refers to abstaining from solid foods. You can still have water and zero-calorie beverages such as herbal teas.

Circadian Fasting (12/12)

Circadian fasting is a practice that aligns with the body’s natural rhythm by refraining from eating at night and sleeping. For example, one might fast from 6pm to 6am. This allows the body to focus on cell repair and regeneration during sleep, when it does not have to deal with digesting late-night meals. As a result, circadian fasting can help to reduce inflammation, improve energy levels, and protect against age-related damage.

Time-Restricted Fasting (16/8 or 14/10)

Time-restricted fasting is a type of intermittent fasting that involves limiting your food intake to a particular window of time each day. For example, you might eat all your meals between 8am and 4pm, or fast for 16 hours each day and eat only during an eight-hour window (16/8). Or you might eat all your meals between 8am and 6pm, or fast for 14 hours each day and eat only during an 10-hour window (14/10). You can choose the hours that fit your lifestyle and daily schedule. 

5:2 Method

The 5:2 method is another way to do intermittent fasting. The premise is simple: eat a regular, balanced diet for five days each week, and then restrict your calorie intake to 500-600 calories on two non-consecutive days. For example, choose Monday and Friday as the restricted days and eat normally on the other days.

Those two days are considered a “fasting mimicking” diet (500-800 Kcal/day, low-carb, low-protein) and have a similar or even extended effects to fasting. It may also be safer to begin with, if you are planning to follow the 5th type of fasting.

Alternate Day Fasting

As the name suggests, this diet involves alternating between days of eating normally and days of fasting. On fasting days, you restrict your calorie intake, consuming only enough to maintain your basic body functions. 

The 24HR Fasting (Or Eat: Stop: Eat Method)

The 24HR fasting method is simple. The basic premise is to fast for 24 hours, starting from the day’s first meal till the next day’s first meal. You can drink water, tea, and coffee during the fast, but you should avoid any calorie-containing beverages. After the fast is over, you can return to your normal eating pattern. Some people choose to do this once or twice a week

bottle and tape measure on top of a weighing scale

Tips for Success

If you’re looking to start intermittent fasting, you should keep a few things in mind. First, experiments have shown that women respond better to circadian or time-restricted fasting rather than extended or whole-day fasting. Our bodies and hormones dictate our needs, and they’re simply different from those of men. 

Next, think about your lifestyle. If you normally exercise before heading to work, it does not make sense to starve yourself until 12pm! Eat when your body needs it; this is not about feeling starved or pushing your body to work hard on an empty tank. Additionally, if you are completely new to fasting, I suggest starting with circadian and slowly building up to the method you like to follow. 

Furthermore, give yourself three to four days to adjust and assess if this works for you. Fasting should make you feel great, so if you feel weak, you must re-evaluate your strategy. Next, drink more herbal teas or cucumber-infused water for the initial day or two to help get your body used to the rhythm. Second, if your goal is weight loss, you need to pay attention to what you’re eating.

Weight Loss with Intermittent Fasting

If your goal is weight loss with intermittent fasting, you’ll want to focus on eating balanced meals that consist of quality protein, healthy fat, and fibrous vegetables. This will help to keep cravings at bay. You’ll also want to choose nutrition-dense foods versus nutritionally poor, calorie-dense foods. Your body reacts differently to a bowl of steamed vegetables with grilled chicken than pizza! 

Additionally, drink enough water to help flush out toxins that may get mobilised out of your fat tissues shrinking. Toxins are stored in fat tissues, so following a gentle approach to weight loss makes it easier for your body to handle the influx of circulating toxins. You can also hydrate your body with herbal teas, bone broth, and low-sugar veggie juice. Lastly, eat the appropriate amount for a meal – do not overeat or undereat. Listen to your body’s cues and trust the process!

clock in a plate

Who Should Not Do It?

Becoming a bit more informed about intermittent fasting before diving in headfirst is always a good idea, especially if you have diabetes. Easing into the intermittent fasting plan under your doctor’s supervision will help ensure that your medication stays where it needs to be, blood sugar-wise. Additionally, it’s essential to remember that not everyone can (or should) fast – pregnant or breastfeeding women, for example, should avoid fasting until their blood sugar is better regulated. 

And if you’re vegan, you might also want to think twice about fasting. This is because animal proteins (especially red meat) contain carnitine, which is needed to utilise fatty acids for energy production in the mitochondria. So if you feel low on energy or experience hypoglycemia between meals, this could be why. Moreover, some people have a genetic disposition and experience issues metabolising fats to produce energy, leading to the same symptoms as the above point.

You should always listen to your body, ease yourself into any changes, allow your body to find its balance, and choose a different strategy to achieve your goals if what you’re trying is not working for your body. Finally, if you have any underlying health conditions or are taking medications, it is essential to talk to your doctor before making any changes to your diet or routine.

 food with clock on the table

Final Thoughts

People often mistake intermittent fasting for some kind of crash diet. However, it is so much more than that. Intermittent fasting is a way of life that comes with a multitude of health benefits. It is flexible, easily adaptable, and does not require you to give up any foods you love. Plus, it can be part of your lifestyle instead of some temporary weight-loss programme.

Most importantly, intermittent fasting stresses the concept of bio-individuality; what works for one person may not work for another. So, if you feel intermittent fasting is not right for you, don’t force it. However, if you decide to try it, then be sure to listen to your body and choose a plan that feels good for you. Lastly, if you need help getting started, reach out to a certified health coach who can help you implement the best strategy for your unique needs.

Garineh Serpekian is a Board Certified Health and Wellness Coach. Visit @gratifying_wellness or follow her on LinkedIn for more information.


Our Newsletter

Our Newsletter

Your Female Email

Gaggler your inbox for a 10% discount on your first order!
By clicking ‘Subscribe’ you agree to receive emails from The Gaggler and accept our privacy policy and terms of use.

Revitalise After Feasting: A Post-Thanksgiving Workout Regimen to Recharge Your Body

Revive, Recharge, Thrive

As the Thanksgiving feast fades into fond memories, it’s time to give your body the attention it deserves. In this post-feasting recovery guide, we’ll explore a tailored workout regimen designed to revitalise your body, recharge your energy, and counterbalance the indulgences of the holiday season.

Meow Yoga

The Wellness Journal

AED 175.00


Yoga Starter Kit – Green

AED 389.00

Gypsy Rose Holistic

Relax Essential Oil Roller

AED 75.00

Gypsy Rose Holistic

Digestion Essential Oil Mist

AED 95.00

Rut Essentials

Sandalwood Pure Essential Oil

AED 70.00


Meow Yoga

Aroma Diffuser – Chestnut

AED 70.00


7 Chakra Balancing Pillow & Room Spray

AED 95.00

C&S Active

Nafs Eco Sports Bra – Black

AED 180.00

C&S Active

Nafs Eco Leggings – Black

AED 200.00


Green Tea Assorted Energy Drink

AED 278.00

Beauty Treats

The Energy Cookie

AED 98.00


RAW Protein Isolate Vanilla

AED 290.00

1. Wake Up the Body with Cardio Bursts:

Kickstart your post-Thanksgiving regimen with invigorating cardio bursts. Whether it’s a brisk morning walk, a jog, or a dance session, get your heart pumping and awaken your body from its food-induced slumber.

2. Core-Strengthening Pilates:

Engage your core muscles with a Pilates session to restore balance and stability. These low-impact exercises are perfect for toning and strengthening, providing a gentle yet effective workout for your post-feast body.

3. Yoga for Digestive Ease:

Explore a sequence of yoga poses designed to aid digestion and promote relaxation. Gentle twists and stretches will help soothe your stomach and release tension, leaving you feeling rejuvenated.

4. High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT):

Inject a burst of energy with HIIT exercises to elevate your heart rate and boost your metabolism. Short, intense intervals followed by rest periods are an efficient way to burn off excess calories and jumpstart your fitness routine.

5. Mindful Cool Down with Stretching:

Wind down your workout with mindful stretching. Focus on areas that may have tightened during the holiday festivities, allowing your body to recover and preventing post-feast stiffness.

As you embrace this post-Thanksgiving workout regimen, remember that it’s not about punishment but restoring balance. This curated routine aims to invigorate your body, clear your mind, and set the tone for a healthy and active holiday season. So, lace up those sneakers, roll out the yoga mat, and let’s embark on a journey to revitalise and recharge after the Thanksgiving feast.

Frequently Asked Questions

How soon after Thanksgiving should I start this workout regimen?

The post-Thanksgiving workout regimen can be started as early as the day after the feast. However, listen to your body, and if needed, allow a day or two for digestion before engaging in more intense exercises.

Can I customize the workout routine based on my fitness level?

Absolutely! Tailor the regimen to suit your fitness level and preferences. Modify intensity, duration, or choose alternative exercises to ensure a comfortable and effective workout experience.

Is it necessary to follow the entire workout routine, or can I focus on specific exercises?

Feel free to adapt the regimen to your needs. While the full routine provides a well-rounded approach, you can choose specific exercises based on your preferences or focus on areas that feel particularly tight or in need of attention.


Our Newsletter

Our Newsletter

Your Female Email

Gaggler your inbox for a 10% discount on your first order!
By clicking ‘Subscribe’ you agree to receive emails from The Gaggler and accept our privacy policy and terms of use.
Load More