Crescendo Fasting: What is it and How it Works
Why Crescendo Fasting is a Better Method for Women
How to Do Crescendo Fasting
Should You Try Crescendo Fasting
When to Stop Crescendo Fasting
Crescendo Fasting is a type of Intermittent Fasting method with a few alterations to fit better for women.
First, let’s briefly look at what Intermittent Fasting is.
Intermittent Fasting (IF) is a way of eating where you cycle between periods of eating and fasting. Its primary focus is not to change what you eat, but WHEN you eat.
In Intermittent Fasting, you eat within a particular time window, known as the feasting period and then fast within a particular time window, known as the fasting period.
To know more about IF as a whole in detail, read our comprehensive guide on Intermittent Fasting for Women.
Now, while Intermittent Fasting has proven to be a highly successful method for losing weight and improving metabolic health; women aren't designed to handle very long periods of fasting as men can.
That’s why typical IF methods like the popular 16/8 method of Intermittent Fasting where you fast for 16 hours a day every day aren't recommended for women.
So, how can you reap the benefits of Intermittent Fasting without causing any detrimental side effects?
The Crescendo Method
Crescendo Fasting is a modified version of Intermittent Fasting that is designed specifically for women to reap the benefits of IF - without the nasty hormonal fluctuations and other side effects.
Unlike typical IF methods which have you fasting anywhere from 12 to 20 hours every day; Crescendo fasting cuts that time down to 12 to 16-hour fasts for just 2-3 non-consecutive days of the week.
The name "Crescendo Fasting" describes the intent of the method - to gradually increase the amount of fasting your body can handle.
So, for example, let's say you choose Monday and Thursday as your fasting days with a 14-hour fasting period on each of these days.
You eat a meal at 9 pm on Sunday and then fast till 11 am on Monday. You then eat normally for the rest of Monday and up until Wednesday night. Again, on Wednesday, you eat at 9 pm and fast till 11 am on Thursday. And repeat.
As you can see, this method is incredibly simple and easy to follow. It takes the pressure of fasting daily off you and allows for a much smoother transition from your current eating pattern to Intermittent Fasting.
Over time, as your body adapts, you can increase the number of fasting days from two to three to more; or even increase your fasting time from 14 hours to 16 hours. And this way, slowly move towards following a more conventional IF plan.
We’ve already established that long periods of fasting are not recommended for women. Moving from your regular eating lifestyle to a restrictive one can be a big jump. If this change is too sudden, your body might react vigorously. And women are more susceptible to health risks because of that.
Jumping on a highly rigorous fasting routine can alter your lifestyle harder than your body may accept. This may lead to stress therefore running the risk of gaining weight instead of losing it.
A study revealed that stress can increase the odds of the risk of obesity in women.
Thus, starting with something like the Crescendo fasting method can be a great way to avoid that stress.
As you’re fasting only 2-3 days in a week, you still have normal eating days where your body can find time to recover from the fasting period. Over time, as you adapt to fasting, you can move on to more traditional methods of Intermittent Fasting like the 16/8 method.
As you move further into your fasting program, you can even combine different fasting methods to your preference.
For example, you follow the 16/8 method on the 2 days that you fast. This way you’re slightly increasing the amount of time you fast in a day without exerting too much more stress on your body. This way you’re incorporating the benefits of other methods into an existing program. Talk about getting the best of both worlds!
But while you make these changes, monitor your body’s reaction to them. If you experience any sort of discomfort or unbearable hunger pangs, it’s best to switch back.
1. Fast on Alternate Days
Start with a 2-day fasting plan. Decide which two days you wish to fast (for example Monday and Wednesday). You can add more days of fasting to your week as you start easing into it.
2. Choose your fasting hours
Decide how long you wish to fast in a day. Keep the period between 12-16 hours. If you wish to start slow, you can fast for 12 hours and gradually increase the time. For example, if you go for a 12-hour fasting plan, then you start fasting from 9 pm until 9 am the next day.
3. Eat Well During your Feasting Hours
You must provide enough food for your body when you aren’t fasting. It doesn’t mean that you eat junk but a good healthy meal that has the right amount of protein and carbs. There are plenty of Crescendo Fasting meal plan options on the Internet that you can try to cook yourself a good meal.
Have separate workout routines for fasting and non-fasting days. Opt for light exercises like jogging, yoga and stretching on fasting days. Your body needs recovery time and any heavy exercise will cause fatigue and add extra pressure on your body. You can do HIIT training and weight training exercises on your non-fasting days. This will help boost weight loss and even your metabolism.
5. Stay Hydrated
Ideally, you must drink 12 glasses of water in a day. Try to avoid alcohol and carbonated drinks as they will hamper your body’s water levels. If you happen to drink either of the two, drink an equal amount of water to compensate for it. To know more about what you can drink while fasting, check out this article.
6. Get Enough Sleep
Your body is constantly repairing and restoring dead cells especially when you’re sleeping. This process is more important when you’re fasting as your body needs rest to compensate for the temporary lack of food. Sleeping through your fasting period also makes it that much easier to spend that time without constantly being aware of your fast or feeling the urge to snack. Ideally, you need to get 6-8 hours of sleep.
7. Have Electrolytes
As your body starts to burn up glycogen, you might feel tired during the day. To keep your energy levels high, you can use electrolytes. A few natural ways are cucumber and mint drinks. You can cut up cucumber and add it to your bottle of water to make cucumber-infused water. You can find a lot of recipes online to make electrolyte drinks.
8. Maintain High Magnesium Levels
Magnesium is one of the most important minerals for your body. It’s necessary for a variety of body functions, like nerve and muscle functions, production of energy and protein and is also responsible for bone and heart health.
If you’ve been interested to try out Intermittent Fasting and are looking for a way to start; Crescendo Fasting is your best bet.
Just as we discussed before, starting with a rigorous IF plan may not be beneficial for you as a woman. The short fasting periods accompanied by non-consecutive days of fasting will help you get your body ready to fast longer hours.
Moreover, the simplicity of this method will help you to stick to fasting and not throw in the towel. This is why women are recommended to do Crescendo Fasting for Weight Loss.
With time, you can progress to more rigorous methods, like the 16/8 method.
Why Fasting May Not be the
Right Option for You
For people who have a medical background of eating disorders or Diabetes, fasting isn't recommended.
According to Healthline, people who suffer from any of the health issues listed below should consult a doctor before trying out fasting. These include people who:
Also, If you lead a highly stressful life, Intermittent Fasting may not be the best idea. If you still wish to go forward with it, you need to find ways to minimize the amount of stress you take. You can do that by smartly planning out your day and with meditation.
While crescendo fasting is a gentle form of fasting, it still may not be for you.
The main reason you may go for Crescendo Fasting would be to avoid any hormone imbalances and hunger pangs.
However, if at any point do you feel uncomfortable or struggle with disrupted menstrual cycles, stop fasting and return to your normal eating routine.
This may be due to your diet. Check if you are eating well during your feasting periods. Visit a doctor to get yourself checked for any problems you might have encountered on the way.
If you are feeling tired throughout the day, feel uneasy or stressed; you should consider reverting to your normal eating habits as well.
You can even consult a nutritionist to help you plan a fasting routine based on your body.
Challenge yourself without exerting too much pressure on your body.
Fasting is a trial and error method and with changes in your body, you will have to change your fasting routines as well. Do not hesitate to go back to a normal eating lifestyle if you find fasting extremely difficult.