Never Fast the Week Before Your Period! The Shocking Science About Intermittent Fasting & Women’s Health


The Mel Robbins Podcast with Dr. Mindy Pelz


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In this episode, researcher, respected expert on intermittent fasting, and bestselling author of Fast Like A Girl, Dr. Mindy Pelz, is here to explain fasting—and, in particular, how it impacts women’s hormone health.

Men and women’s hormones are different, and because of that, women MUST fast differently than men.

Dr. Mindy is the first person who explained this to me, and this is why I wanted to have her on.

I had no idea that fasting would screw up my estrogen and progesterone. Why? Because I first learned about fasting from a male.

When I tried intermittent fasting, I wasn’t seeing the health benefits that everyone talks about. Now I know why: I was using the fasting protocol that works for men (and according to research, can wreak havoc on your hormones and metabolism).

You’ve seen fasting advice trending on TikTok and in health articles; even your friends are talking about it (just like mine), and after this episode you will know exactly what fasting is, why you might want to do it, and what every woman needs to know to get started.

I want you to get the right information from a respected female expert in this field.

Everyone needs to hear this. 

This conversation is loaded with research and resources, and as always, extensive show notes are available on You can find them for this episode here. ( 

Today, Dr. Mindy Pelz reveals:

  • The scientific protocols you need so you can fast the right way
  • How to fast with your 28- to 30-day cycle for hormonal, physical, and mental health (and what to do if you’ve lost your cycle, like me)
  • The hormone science about how the female body operates (no one talks about this)
  • How to manage PMS and why intermittent fasting may help
  • Why women must fast in "on and off" cycles (and the impact it has on progesterone if you don’t)
  • The research that explains why fasting wrong tanks your progesterone
  • How this relates to you if you are in menopause and have an irregular cycle
  • What the 30-day reset is, and its powerful ability to transform your health
  • Why it’s a myth that you will lose muscle mass when fasting
  • How to incorporate fasting into your life (and never miss a good meal with your family and friends)
  • Why coffee doesn’t break a fast, but a frappuccino does
  • 3 hacks to get started with a fast that will make your fasts more successful
  • The 6 fasting windows and their unique and extraordinary health benefits
  • The easiest way to put your body in a healing state (it only takes 16 hours)

We are going to focus on the step-by-step guide for women, what to do, and why this matters, but we do cover fasting protocols and how-to advice that both genders need to know.

I learned so much from Dr. Mindy, and as with all episodes, this is a free resource where you get to learn straight from somebody who has literally written the book on this topic. It's up to you to determine whether or not this is information that you want to implement.

Thank you for listening, and I would definitely send this to absolutely anyone that needs to hear it.

Xo, Mel

IMPORTANT: This podcast discusses fasting, and its advice may not be suitable for anyone with an eating disorder. If you have an existing health condition, are pregnant or nursing, or are taking medication, always consult your healthcare practitioner before going for prolonged periods without eating.

In this episode:

  • 1:30: What exactly IS fasting and what is the purpose? (Hint: It’s NOT a diet trend.)
  • 5:45: What does fasting look like for a PhD who studies fasting?
  • 7:15: What’s okay to include during your fasting window?
  • 8:15: 3 simple hacks to help you get started with fasting.
  • 9:00: Start thinking about fasting in THIS way and it will change your life.
  • 13:00: Who is fasting NOT for?
  • 16:10 Here’s how you may feel when you first try fasting.
  • 17:50: Women need to fast differently than men. 
  • 18:45: How your hormones are impacted by intermittent fasting.
  • 25:00: Why most women were not successful when fasting was first introduced.
  • 30:15: How do you figure out your menstrual cycle if you use an IUD?
  • 34:20: Menopausal women can use the moon for what?
  • 37:00: Can we just say, “F-You progesterone”?
  • 38:50: 4 steps to determine which of the 6 types of fasting works best for you.
  • 42:00: How to make intermittent fasting more flexible.
  • 43:00: What happens to muscle when you fast.
  • 45:00: Limit these 3 foods when you’re fasting.
  • 47:50: 4 ways to break a fast.

Resources and go deeper:

Dr. Mindy Pelz

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