Weight Loss with PCOS 101: What is Intermittent Fasting?

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Oh goodness, writing this post has me all nervous. Like I’m about to say something crazy controversial and no one will ever be my friend again.

…will you please still be my friend? {said in the saddest little voice possible}

And I have no idea why I feel that way. After all, I’m *just* telling you how I lost weight and got my fertility back with PCOS. That’s it. I’m no doctor. I’m not telling you what is right for your body. I’m just telling you what worked for ME.

So, what is intermittent fasting? (Oh! First I should say you would only do this once you are comfortable with a Keto-lifestyle.)

Our body is always in two states–one of feeding or one of fasting. Technically, any time you are not eating you are fasting. I like to think of my body as a car. I’ve got all this stored fuel in my gas tank {aka belly fat in my case!} and yet I continue to add more fuel (food). Before my weight loss there were some days where I would put too much fuel in my body and it would get stored in my gas tank–meaning my belly would get bigger and bigger (and my cheeks…and my wrists…and my feet–it’s amazing where all you lose!). Once I started doing Keto and got in a calorie deficit I wasn’t putting “enough” fuel in each day so my body would use some stored fuel {aka belly fat!}.

Now, you can get technical and talk about how your body burns glucose easier than it does fat and protein, blah blah blah. But at the end of the day I try to put less fuel in my car than I actually need so my body/car can burn the extra fuel it already has.

And one day–gosh, late spring last year I guess–it occurred to me that I was adding fuel to my car when my car didn’t even need gas. Meaning, I was eating just to eat sometimes. And then I started wondering WHY.

Why do we do that?

Why do we eat three meals a day?

I didn’t NEED those calories from those three meals (I was 55 pounds heavier last spring than I am now). I had all this stored fat that my body could consume instead.

So why did I do it?

I remember listening to people talk about metabolism. Or listening to others talk about eating five small meals a day to keep your blood sugar even.

But I didn’t think that applied to me. After all, my blood sugar runs naturally high with PCOS (with insulin resistance) and if anything I want it LOWER.

So I Google’d “Fasting with Keto and PCOS” and angels sang.

Suddenly, my body and the way it had always been working made sense to me. I wasn’t EVER giving my body a chance to show hunger…never giving it a chance to use that stored fuel.

I learned there are three types of fasting (if you’re interested here is a great book to read more about them!):

  1. Modified fasting. Basically restricting your calories to 25% of what you normally eat for 2 or more days and then eating regularly the other days.
  2. Religious fasting.
  3. Intermittent fasting. Meaning you restrict your food intake during certain windows. Most people already do this–say from 9pm until 6am, right? {You can read a 99-cent Kindle book on intermittent fasting here. Or here’s a FREE Kindle version for women on fasting.}

Well, with more purposeful intermittent fasting you “up the ante” a little more. You might skip breakfast (so you’re fasting from 9pm-12pm) or maybe you don’t snack after dinner (so you’re fasting from 6pm-6am).

Or, you can do what I do.

And it sounds SO ridiculous simple to me now that I do it.

I only eat when I’m hungry.

I don’t snack if I’m not hungry. I don’t eat breakfast/lunch/dinner if I’m not hungry. I have to be hungry (my stomach growling) to eat.

Crazy, huh?

It sounds so simple. I mean, why WOULD we eat unless we’re hungry? Right?!

My ideal day would probably be just to eat every day around 2 or 3pm (you’d call that a “23/1” (meaning I fast 23 hours and eat during a 1-hour window) and that would be it. BUT life/kids/jobs/routine just gets in the way of that. So usually I fast from 6pm-2pm and I have a four-hour window where I’ll eat everyday–I’ll snack around 2 or 3pm because my stomach is growling and then have dinner around 6pm (this is called “20/4 fast”).

And not only do I feel so much better (because I’m not walking around with a full stomach and high blood sugar all the time), but I end up eating less calories a day. I actually have to MAKE myself keep eating sometimes to get enough calories (fat/protein) a day.  My blood sugar is steady throughout the day and my body uses my stored fat. Intermittent fasting helped break my weightless plateau (after I had Lawson I lost back down to my pre-pregnancy weight (which was a 40 pound weight loss) by six months post-parteum, but then I couldn’t get the scale to budge at all (mainly due to breast feeding). Intermittent fasting changed that!

Now can I tell you if intermittent fasting is right for YOU? Oh my goodness, no. But it might give you something to think about. For me personally, intermittent fasting plays JUST AS BIG OF A PART in my weight-loss journey as Keto. There is no doubt in my mind that I’ve been as successful as I’ve been because of intermittent fasting.

And as always, feel free to ask me questions in the comments, on Instagram, on Facebook, or email me. I’ve had two more ladies ask Keto questions (meal ideas and Keto & menopause) and I’ll be answering those next Friday. 

List of Resources for Keto:

5 Responses to Weight Loss with PCOS 101: What is Intermittent Fasting?

  1. Sarah Beth Toms February 24, 2017 at 3:21 pm #

    Thank you for these tips Natalie! What a revelation? We don’t have to eat when are not hungry!

  2. Natalie February 27, 2017 at 10:35 pm #

    Hehe, I know it sounds so ridiculously easy to get…why did it take me 35 years!?

  3. Amanda Dyer February 28, 2017 at 3:28 pm #

    I’ve recently started Keto and felt bummed when “recommended” veggies were coming up as 6,7, even 8 carbs a serving in My Fitness Pal. Do you count net carbs or total carbs? Thanks again for posting this information, it’s inspiring!

  4. Natalie March 1, 2017 at 12:47 am #

    Awesome question! I do net carbs (though there are some die-hard Keto’ers that do total carbs). That’s why I suggested getting the MyFitnessPal app–without it you wouldn’t realize just how many carbs are in certain vegetables!
    Thanks for commenting. 🙂

  5. Emma September 14, 2017 at 11:49 pm #

    Hi Natalie, thank you so much, this makes so much sense!

    Do you think IF helped with fertility/ovulation? I have PCOS and have had 4 failed IVF transfers, we have taken a few months off to focus my health before jumping back in. I have been doing ‘lazy keto’ but I just can’t meet the recommended fat macro without feeling sick so just focusing on low carb & mod/high protein. I have just started fasting 16:8 and researching success for fertility.

    It would be great if you could share your experience with this 🙂

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