Now, you may well be thinking, “Come on gang, we already do this. It’s called sleeping.” Technically, you’re not far wrong. Sleep is definitely a factor, natch, but the fasting we’re talking about starts before your head hits the pillow, and continues after you’ve woken up. Welcome to real overnight fasting. And it could well be the simplest way to help control hormone imbalances you’ve ever seen. Because all you have to do is not eat for 12 hours.
Insulin levels and our hormones
Believe it or not, and if you’re a regular Hormona, you’ll definitely believe it, there’s a link between insulin and your sex hormones. Estrogen and testosterone in particular are inextricably linked to the level of insulin in your blood.
Too much and testosterone can run riot, leading to breakouts and facial hair growth. High insulin levels can also lead to more estrogen in your blood. Which in turn can result in heavy periods, fibroids, and painful boobs.
And as we all know, too much insulin can eventually lead to Type 2 diabetes, one of the most common Endocrine issues.
How can fasting help?
So, how does not eating overnight make any difference? Well, first off, there’s a specific fasting routine necessary for this to have an effect on your body.
To begin with, you need to stop eating a few hours before bed – which means absolutely no late-night snacking. For example, if you’re generally abed by 10 pm, your last meal should be completed no later than 7 pm. This gives your body a chance to completely digest the food long before you start dreaming, as it can take a few hours to leave your stomach. Then, after you get up in the morning, don’t eat until about 9 am. That’s 12 hours of fasting.
Then you’ve got 12 hours to eat regular, nutritious meals, before doing it again.
Why can fasting help?
That’s the how. Here’s the why. Not eating for 12 hours allows your body to convert all the nutrients it needs from your last meal, which means your blood sugar should be on its way to lowering once you arrive in dreamland.
After which, if your body needs energy, it’ll start to convert the fat stored in cells. This has two benefits. Firstly, a fasting body will have lower blood sugar, and therefore, lower insulin levels. Which, through the magic of hormones, means you’ll likely sleep better and feel more energized in the morning.
Yes, even before the 9am breakfast. And lower insulin means less bossing around of your Estrogen and Testosterone levels.
Fasting and weight
Secondly, and this is a wonderful side benefit: You could also lose weight. As we mentioned, if a body has less sugar to convert to energy, then it starts on stored fat. And all of this is basically happening while you’re asleep.
During the day, though, it’s a good idea to cut down on sugar and complex carbs and really make sure you’re getting the right nutrients. Also, hydration is crucial – we get a lot of liquid from food, so make sure you’re drinking water regularly throughout the day.
No more than 12 hours!
One more thing. If you identify as a woman, then you need to be aware that you’re likely incredibly sensitive to metabolic stress. So, please don’t fast for more than 12 hours, because, honestly, we just don’t know how that might affect you.
Your health is paramount, but please don’t push yourself too hard. And that goes double if you’re living with Type 2 diabetes or a thyroid condition. Make the 12:12 system a lifestyle change, though, and you might just feel better, sleep better and kick that hormone imbalance in the behind!
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