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What Is The Best Method Of Intermittent Fasting Based On Body Type?

Learn about different body types and what method of intermittent fasting, foods to eat and exercises are best for losing weight.
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Summary

Comparison kills motivation. Women tend to judge themselves and their ability to lose weight based on other women’s successes. But different body types have different needs for them to function best.

Learning your body type helps you make better food and exercise choices. It can also help you pick the most effective method of intermittent fasting so that you don’t struggle to achieve your weight loss goals.

Written by
Jill Lebofsky
15+yr Women's Wellness Expert, Holistic Menopause Support, Intermittent Fasting, Midlife, Essential Oil, Author, Speaker

A woman’s body can be long and lean, athletic and muscular, or soft and round. When it comes to weight loss, you will find that there isn’t a “one size fits all” plan. Women often wonder, “Is there a best method of intermittent fasting for my body type?”

 

Most common types of intermittent fasting

 

Intermittent fasting is built around the timing of your meals.

 

16/8 Method

Implementing this method, you fast for 16 hours and then choose what foods you want and how much to eat during an 8-hour eating window.

 

5:2 Method

Doing this version of intermittent fasting for five days you eat normally and for 2 consecutive days you eat only 500 calories. 


Alternate Day 

This type of fasting is like the 5:2 except you switch daily between a full feasting day and a 500-calorie restricted day.

Prolonged fasting

Prolonged fasting is an extended form of intermittent fasting. You refrain from eating for 36 hours or more.

You can learn more about different intermittent fasting methods in a separate article.

Defining body types


The concept of somatotypes was developed in the 1940s by psychologist William Herbert Sheldon, MD, PhD. His idea that different body types have different elements determining personality isn’t widely accepted, but it may prove worthwhile when it comes to weight loss (1).

A study in 2017 analyzing the three-day food diaries of women over age 57 found that body type was related to factors such as dieting, physical activity, and one’s body mass index (BMI) (2).

Determining your body type can help you form a realistic plan and decide which is the best method of intermittent fasting, the best foods to eat, and the most effective exercises for your body type. This will make your intermittent fasting journey easier and more successful.

 

Somatotypes

There are three main body types. Lifestyle activities and hormonal changes due to pregnancy or menopause often change your body so that you become a hybrid of two types.

Here are some guidelines for making the healthiest choices for your body type (3).

 

Ectomorph - Thin, small size frame, lanky, trouble gaining weight

Slim, sportive woman.

Recommended Foods: moderate protein, lower fat, higher carbohydrate diet

Recommended Exercise: endurance sports (running), strength/resistance training (body-weight exercises), HIIT workouts (high intensity interval training)

 

Mesomorph - Muscular, medium size frame, hourglass figure

Sportive woman jumping.

Recommended Foods: balanced amount of protein, fat, and carbohydrates

Recommended Exercise: sports with bursts of power and strength (soccer), there’s a tendency to hit fitness plateaus so mesomorphs should change up their routine often, HIIT workouts

 

Endomorph - Curvy, tend to hold onto weight in the waist, belly, hips ,and thighs, harder to lose weight

Recommended Foods: High protein and fat, limited carbohydrates


Recommended Exercise: HIIT workouts for extra fat burning


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Glandular body types

You can also distinguish body types by the location of the extra weight and the dominant gland affecting hormones and weight gain (4).

 

Adrenal - Sagging lower belly fat caused mostly from stress and the release of the hormone cortisol

Recommended Foods: high protein, carbohydrates should be eaten during or after exercise

Recommended Exercise: exercise later in the day to relieve built-up stress, stress reducers

(yoga, walking, swimming), avoid heavy weights

Thyroid - Gains weight all over the body, usually due to high estrogen levels

Recommended Foods: high protein, avoid sugar, white flour, and rice, limit carbs, avoid caffeine

Recommended Exercise: cardio and resistance training

Ovarian - Weight is put on thighs and lower belly and is also affected by changes in estrogen levels

Recommended Foods: protein at every meal, healthy fats (e.g., avocado), lots of vegetables, avoid soy and soy-based products

Recommended Exercise: walking, bicycling

Liver – The belly is protruding but not sagging. The person often has low body fat, but their liver leaks a fluid that fills up a sac that sits on top of the intestines.

Recommended Foods: cruciferous vegetables (broccoli), lean protein, limit high fat and oily foods, avoid alcohol

Recommended Exercise: HIIT workouts

 

Intermittent fasting based on body type

 

There is no specific research on intermittent fasting based on body type, but understanding

how intermittent fasting works and knowing your body type can be a guide.


Intermittent fasting helps with fat loss, decreases insulin sensitivity, reduces inflammation, and provides anti-aging benefits which can benefit all body types (5).


A major benefit received from the combination of the endomorph body type and intermittent fasting is decreased insulin resistance. This body type may benefit the most from longer fasting intervals such as the alternate day or 5:2 fasting schedule. On these schedules, you fast for a whole day or consume very few calories on that day. 

Assuming that on non-restrictive days eating is healthy and not overdone, these two methods are very powerful in improving insulin sensitivity. These body types might also benefit from periodic prolonged fasting.


Although fat-burning and weight loss isn’t the focus for the ectomorph body type, they still reap the other benefits of intermittent fasting. The ectomorph body type should avoid prolonged fasting. They may do best with the 16:8 method, adjusting fasting times as needed to avoid too much fat loss.


When it comes to intermittent fasting and adrenal body type, it is important to understand that all forms of fasting add stress to the body. Therefore, people with adrenal body type should opt for short fasting times and extend their fasting windows very carefully. (6).

 

The bottom line

Intermittent fasting based on body type isn’t a well-researched subject but there are some conclusions you can make. Knowing how fasting works, as well as what body type you have, can guide you towards making the best choices in terms of method of intermittent fasting, the food choices you make, and the type of exercise you engage in.


References:

  1. William Sheldon. Psychology Wiki. 2021. https://psychology.wikia.org/wiki/William_Sheldon..
  2. Kulik S. Somatotype, diet and nutritional status of women. Anthropological Review. 2017; 80(4). doi.org/10.1515/anre-2017-0028
  3. Catudal P, Colino S. Just Your Type: The Ultimate Guide to Eating and Training Right for Your Body Type. Da Capo Lifelong Books; 2019.
  4. Berg E. 7 Principles of Fat Burning: Lose the Weight. Keep It Off. S.l.: Kb Pub; 2014.
  5. Stockman M-C, Thomas D, Burke J, Apovian CM. Intermittent Fasting: Is the Wait Worth the Weight? Current Obesity Reports. 2018; 7(2): 172-185. doi: 10.1007/s13679-018-0308-9
  6. Fung J. The Obesity Code Unlocking the Secrets of Weight Loss. Melbourne: Scribe; 2016.

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