Intermittent Fasting Your Way to Lose Weight for Better Fertility

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Is it 16/8 or 5/2, or should it be every other day? Is intermittent fasting really better than low carb or keto?

Pink alarm clock with fork and knife for hands for intermittent fasting | Reproductive Science Center of the SF Bay Area

Forty percent of the American population is obese, and this translates into a lot of women trying to get pregnant who are not at their ideal in terms of physical health. They are often struggling to figure out the best way to lose weight while keeping their body healthy enough to conceive. Intermittent fasting is a possible solution.

Fortunately, or unfortunately, the math always tells the truth. Reducing caloric intake while increasing expenditure is the only real way to lose weight and keep it off.

For many people, subtle changes in what they eat as well as increasing exercise will help them move steadily toward their desired weight without causing undue stress on their body. By cutting down on simple carbohydrates, including the simple sugars in sweets and desserts, the body can better utilize proteins and vegetables with some healthy fats to get all of the nutrients it needs – without the extra calories or the detrimental effects of glucose and insulin.

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Intermittent fasting could be the not-a-diet plan for those ttc (trying to conceive)

However, following a diet plan requires an enormous amount of will power to maintain over the long haul, and this has proven to be impossible for most. But intermittent fasting introduces a novel idea: shorten the number of hours that people are allowed to eat, then let them eat what they want. This is not a diet at all!

“Most subjects lost 8-9 pounds in three months. Their systolic blood pressure decreased by 7 mmHg.”

Time-restricted eating is often suggested in a 16/8 ratio: 16 hours is for the fast (allowing water and calorie-free beverages) and 8 hours is the time during which they may eat (a regular, healthy selection of foods). Most people will eat from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Some time-restricted eating plans alternate days where there is a relative fast with a subsequent day being greater than average intake. Another variation requires that patients have two nonconsecutive days per week of only 500 calories a day.

The exciting thing is that intermittent fasting works! A study by Dr. Krista Varady over 12 weeks showed that the eight-hour, time-restricted feeding produced mild caloric restriction (300 calories) and weight loss, without calorie counting. It also reduced blood pressure.

Weight loss, improved health & a lifestyle change you’ll stick to that can help you get pregnant

Most subjects lost 8-9 pounds in three months. Their systolic blood pressure decreased by 7 mmHg. However, there was no significant difference in fat mass, diastolic blood pressure, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, triglycerides, fasting glucose, and fasting insulin. By shortening the window even more to only 6 hours of eating, 500 calories a day on average were restricted and there were improvements in metabolic disease risk including less insulin resistance and less oxidative stress.

Most importantly, patients opted to stay on this “diet” even when the study was closed as they felt that intermittent fasting was easy to maintain. While it may be a slower process of weight loss, the benefit is that patients, men and women, will be able to stick to it longer, maintaining their ideal body weight.

So if you’re noticing that the scale has gone a bit higher recently and you’re hoping to trim down to give yourself the best chance of pregnancy, intermittent fasting can be a reasonable approach while you are attempting to conceive.