Here is an aritcle on “Real thoughts with Debbie Potts” today as I work on my coaching clients as well my own health and see a common theme… women, hormone imbalances, low carb keto, and fasting.
I was inspired to put together information on fasting and low carb for the female as well as the female athlete -since so many of us are experiencing hormone imbalances and struggles that have a common theme. CHRONIC STRESS from various sources externally but also hidden internal stressors that we don’t know about until we run functional lab tests.
As we say as FDN Practitioners… “TEST and not GUESS” but don’t treat anything specific or treat the lab results as the body is all connected (think orchestra) so when one “player” is off then the entire system is off leading to what we call “METABOLIC CHAOS®” (see image below).
Once we have collected enough clues and are able to start putting the missing pieces of the puzzle back together – then we create an individuals rebuilding protocol to restore the WHOLE you back to balance (homeostasis) and vitality! We need to look at the big picture instead of throwing darts or being stuck in the cycle of “trial and error” (try this and that).
I review a great informational packed blog article and resource written by my friend Kelsey Hess, the content editor at GET KION, as women are not the made the same as men! Our hormones fluctuate more each month as compared to men! Especially peri menopausal and menopausal women.
“Procreation is a very ‘expensive’ process. Because of the energy and nutrients required to conceive, grow, and nurture a child, female bodies are naturally much more sensitive to external stressors. For men, on the other hand, procreation is… ahem… not as energy demanding.
When the female body senses too much stress, whether that’s from calorie restriction, infrequent meals, not enough sleep, too much exercise, or something else, reproduction is the first process that gets shut down. The last thing your body wants to do when it’s stressed out is give all your precious energy to a growing baby.”Get Kion, Kelsey Hess
As with everything… my rules are:
- The Goldilocks Effect
- N = 1 as we are all unique bio-individuals
- Everything in moderation …too much of anything can be toxic and too little of anything can lead to deficiencies
From Kion, Kelsey’s research article found that fasting may not be ideal for women who:
- Are athletes or very active
- Are extremely lean (<18%)
- Have sleep disorders or poor sleep
- Have low reproductive hormone levels
- Have subclinical hypothyroidism (low thyroid hormone)
- Struggle with infertility, irregular periods, or amenorrhea (unless associated with PCOS or obesity, in which case fasting may benefit)
Kelsey found that the following groups of women should definitely avoid regular extended fasting (no more than 12 hours), and would be better of focusing on getting in a surplus of calories and nutrients:
- Young women and teens
- Women planning for pregnancy
- Pregnant or breastfeeding women
- Females with a history of eating disorders
Now with everything that is “good for us” -creates positive benefits in small doses can often be taken to the extreme as many of us live by the “more is better” philosophy which gets us in trouble. Ideally, we want to avoid CHRONIC STRESSORS (externally and internally) and add more acute doses of stress – the good kind!
Hormesis …a Hormetic stressor as intermittent fasting and periodic longer 24+ hour fasting, is considered to be a “good” type of stress- as small dose, then adapt, recover, and repair. Similar to lifting weights or high intensity interval training. SMALL doses… not more is better. Less is more sometimes! MORE IS NOT BETTER!
Acute doses of stressors can make us stronger and build resiliency! We gain the benefits from the small dose of stress – shock and recover. Other types of hermetic stressors are listed on the Kion blog pages and in Ben Greenfields giant new book.
- Cold Therapy
- Heat Therapy (infrared sauna as my Sunlighten)
- HIIT Training
- Strength Training
- Oxygen deprivation
Here is an article on hormesis from Dave Asprey to learn more.
Here is a research article on stress and disease as they discuss “growing evidence suggests that hormesis is directly linked to an organism’s (or cell’s) capability to cope with pathological conditions such as aging and age-related diseases.
One more article on Getting Stronger: Hormesis is here if you want to learn more
We can measure our Heart Rate Variability (HRV) to track stress load on the body, recovery, and repair as well as quality deep restorative sleep with a device as the OURA ring. Training Peaks can be used to track workouts and metrics as your HRV and sleep. I am working on a code for OURA ring (use LOWCARBATHLETE) for you to get $50 off! Click here to learn more
Remember we are working on identifying (investigating) and reducing our sources of external CHRONIC stressors as well as collecting clues via running functional labs to identify HIDDEN internal sources of CHRONIC STRESS leading or contributing to METABOLIC CHAOS®.
As my friend Kelsey wrote in her Kion article… constant stress from various sources accumulate and overload our “beaker of stress” -then leading to overwhelming the body stress or emergency response system – the HPA Axis and mitochondria function (cell danger response theory!).
“That’s a lot of constant attacks our stress response has to deal with. At some point, the body isn’t able to distinguish ‘good’ stress from ‘bad’ stress: It just becomes chronic stress. And knowing that women are already more physiologically sensitive to stress (especially when it comes to the HPA-axis and reproductive function), fasting can be the straw that breaks the camel’s back for some females. Men, on the other hand, seem to be able to get away with more stress before it causes problems. This also means two seemingly similar women can have vastly different experiences with fasting, simply based on their current level of stress.”
I might have been fasting too long the past two years as I could feel okay and excited to be able to go so long without eating and still lift weights in the morning, run/walk with a client then go to masters swim workout then train clients (observing) then home to eat at late lunch by 4pm on Wednesdays! More is not better! Too much of anything can lead to imbalances, dysfunction and overloading the stress response system! I know it from firsthand experience.
We can also dive into research from my friend Dr. Anna Caveca on women’s hormones, keto, fasting and burning fat. Click here for her new book on Keto Green.
Dr. Anna has a great new easy to read book and nutritional supplements designed for women with hormone imbalances.
Dr. Anna Cabeca resources for females:
- Click here for Keto Calculator
- Click here for Keto Greens
- Click here for Maca Greens
- Click here for Women’s Cream
- Click here for Women’s Progesterone Hormone Cream
Lastly, I love what Kelsey says at the end of her part two article… so make sure you read this section if you are trying to do too much and having hormone imbalances! Now we can figure out WHY – or part of the problem to your “METABOLIC CHAOS” and sources of chronic stress.
Kelsey wrote … “Tip 4: For the Love of All That Is Holy, Please Don’t Do Daily 16-18 Hr. IF and Restrict Calories and Do Keto at the Same Time …we’re going to break it down with as few words as possible:”
Daily extended fasting can*…
Calorie restriction can*…
Low-carb diets can*…
How many of us got into reading too many articles/blogs and listening to podcasts to burn fat and improve our cell autophagy for longevity- then started daily extended fasting (because we weren’t hungry!), calorie restriction (old school diet mentality) and too low of carbohydrates for our metabolic type, genetics and activity level.
Are you experiencing METABOLIC CHAOS®?
Let’s focus on eating real, nutrient dense food that is not processed and filled with gut irritating foods. While we work on what we are eating, we will also work on WHY we are eating, WHEN we are eating (timing) and HOW we are eating (PNS vs. SNS).
As Kelsey shared in the article “So when you combine these three approaches (listed above), you’re essentially 3x-ing your chances of cortisol dysregulation, hypothyroidism, hormonal imbalances, and all the gnarly side effects that come with them. (A big one being weight gain, which is the opposite effect that most people want this combination to have!)”
Does this make sense and sound familiar? The struggle is REAL!
Let me know your thoughts and questions! Mix up your eating and timing … see how you feel and review the “Metabolic Typing” record form attached to know what to pay attention to when eating and after eating! Schedule a discovery call with me here!
If you are looking for options for fueling before a workout, as I know I prefer to be fasted but sometimes we need a little something in the tank, I like these options before and/or after my workouts:
Your Health (RE) Building Coach,
Contact me here to schedule a call to discover more!