How Intermittent Fasting Works for Women

Cynthia Thurlow, NP

IF done right helps women balance hormones, improve metabolic health, lift brain fog, get more sleep and crank up physical and mental energy.


In this Episode of The Human Upgrade™...

  • You’ll learn about the science-based benefits of intermittent fasting for women, especially during midlife.
  • You’ll get details about intermittent fasting advantages for women like how to gain hormonal stability and metabolic health, and how to improve your energy.
  • You’ll get practical intermittent fasting how-tos, nutritional guidelines, carb cycling recommendations, food lists, and recipes to try during your feeding window.

Cynthia Thurlow experienced a health breakdown when she entered her 40s that intermittent fasting fixed. She lost weight, put food cravings to rest,  gained energy, and lowered her blood glucose levels. She even went viral with her 2019 TEDx Talk (more than 10 million views and counting) about it “Intermittent Fasting: Transformational Technique.”

She joins the show to talk about how intermittent fasting can help women change their body, metabolic system and brain function. She has tips for women at all stages: from active menstrual cycles to perimenopause to menopause.

Cynthia is a Johns Hopkins-trained nurse practitioner and functional nutritionist founded and serves as CEO of Everyday Wellness Project. She holds a Master of Science degree in Nursing and Functional Nutrition certifications with advanced trainings in Endocrinology and Gastroenterology. Her career in healthcare includes nearly 20 years of emergency medicine and cardiology experience.

She brings a broad perspective when working with women to improve the state of their health.

“I really start from a foundational level talking to women about fasting,” Cynthia says. “It’s really honoring our own unique physiology. It’s leaning into that menstrual cycle. It’s leaning into the lifestyle piece that so much of us forget to talk about with our patients, our sleep quality, stress management, anti-inflammatory nutrition, our exercise quality, our connection with nature, all of which are critically important. When all of those things are really reigned in well fasting can be an incredible, incredible strategy.”

“I do not believe nor do I support the limiting belief that women have to accept weight gain as a normal function of aging.”

Cynthia Thurlow, NP

She also addresses diet dogma that frustratingly persists, even with established and emerging science about the benefits of intermittent fasting.

“We’ve been conditioned, and we’ve been conditioning our patients, to believe meal frequency stokes our metabolism,” she explains. “[For example] breakfast is the most important meal of the day, which is complete BS. And so we really have to start with the basics, and this could apply to men and women. But the differentiator is when we go from stopping snacking to restructuring our macros, the next thing that’s really talked about is honoring where you are physiologically.”

She tackles this outdated dogma (and a lot more!) in her new book, “Intermittent Fasting Transformation: The 45-Day Program for Women to Lose Stubborn Weight, Improve Hormonal Health, and Slow Aging.”

  • Bad Dogma #1: Calories in, calories out—this is what matters.
  • Bad Dogma #2: Breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
  • Bad Dogma #3: What we eat is more important than when we eat.
  • Bad Dogma #4: Eating small meals throughout the day promotes fat-burning and stabilizes blood-sugar levels.

“[Intermittent fasting] restores our intrinsic rhythms, burns fat, regenerates our health right down to the cellular level, and stabilizes our hormones,” Cynthia says in her book. “In turn, we are less likely to develop obesity, diabetes, vascular diseases, and autoimmune disorders.”

At the end of this conversation, you’ll have the tools to decide if intermittent fasting is the right choice for the state of your own health.

Enjoy the show!

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  • You got 10 million view on your TEDx Talk about intermittent fasting.  – 1:45
  • For so many of us, especially licensed healthcare professionals, it’s like, if you’re not talking about fasting the question is, why not?  – 6:42
  • Two weeks out of the month where we need to back off on stress, not as much intense exercise, not as much fasting. – 10:50
  • Do they tend to do better with longer fast, with shorter fast? Talk to me about fasting and menopause.  – 16:32
  • I’m not a fan of formal fasting for teenagers because generally speaking, they’re still grow growing.  – 21:26
  • The most inflammatory foods generally tend to be the most problematic and certainly for women in middle age, gluten, dairy, grains, soy, processed sugars, alcohol, depending on the individual. – 27:21
  • The other thing that I think is important for people to understand that actually digestion starts in our brains.  – 31:42
  • I would still say a young woman that is on oral contraceptive should not be doing long fast the last five to seven days of her menstrual cycle.  – 35:34
  • Women taking synthetic hormones that urinate into the water supply, that exposes all of us as a society to all these synthetic hormones. And it’s just the downstream domino effect.  – 38:38
  • What’s the fasting protocol for losing weight?  – 42:14
  • The mindset of everyone has to do the same is outdated. The mindset of everyone has to be rigid and inflexible is outdated.  – 51:33
  • They find that intermittent fasting really fits in nicely with their lifestyle and is really aligned with their chronobiology.  – 55:31

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