If you are looking at how to do intermittent fasting for women over 40 then I might give you beneficial insight.
I am going to turn 40 soon and I know how scary it is to reach 40 years old, to not feel great about your body. And I know whatever happens to you is happening to me, my mom, and others too.
It is not your fault, that you are having trouble losing weight. Did you know the main culprit is your hormonal imbalance?
Intermittent fasting and hormone imbalance for women over 40 are common however some studies have shown positive results with doing intermittent fasting.
Being a professional healthcare myself, I would recommend doing intermittent fasting over 40 after I have assessed my patients’ health condition. However, if you have problems with:
- You regularly experience low blood sugar level
- You are underweight
- You are immunocompromised
- You have an eating disorder
I wouldn’t suggest you do intermittent fasting. I would implore you to find the nearest healthcare provider and seek help and get medical advice.
What is Intermittent Fasting?
Intermittent fasting in layman’s terms is time-restricted feeding. The are no rules about how many calories you can take, just when you eat them.
However, I insist that while you are fasting for women over 40, the best practice is you should choose a well-balanced and nutritious meal to break fast.
Subsequently, you wouldn’t need to worry to count calories as eating right will help you feel fuller, and eventually, you will lose weight.
Before I explained more in-depth about intermittent fasting for women over 40, to make this plan succeed, it is important that you are able to manage your stress and have good quality sleep.
Intermittent Fasting And Hormonal Imbalance
Hormonal imbalance can lead to health problems and uncomfortable symptoms. Because hormones are involved in so many body processes, even a slight imbalance can have unpleasant effects.
Women are more sensitive to fasting compared to men due to hormones.
Hormones play important role in the metabolic process, reproduction growth, sexual function, water and electrolyte balance, cognitive function and mood, hunger, thirst, and body temperature.
All hormones are important, but I will highlight specific hormones in women that play the biggest role in a woman’s health:
Estrogen: One of a woman’s two main sex hormones. It helps control your menstrual cycle, plays a vital role in reproduction, protects bone health, keeps cholesterol levels under control, and affects your heart, skin, and brain (that’s including your mood).
Progesterone: The other main sex hormone. It helps to regulate your menstrual cycle, prepares your body for conception, and controls your sexual desire.
Testosterone: Testosterone is the main male sex hormone, but women have it too in small quantities. In women, testosterone contributes to bone strength, maintains ovarian function, and plays a role in sexual health and desire.
In order for your ovaries to function well, need to have a balance between estrogen and testosterone.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH): GnRH is classified as a releasing hormone. It acts on the pituitary gland, signaling it to make and release luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH)
Luteinizing Hormone (LH): LH is released by the pituitary gland. It helps regulate your menstrual cycle and triggers ovulation or the release of an egg from the ovary. LH levels are highest before you ovulate.
Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH): FSH regulates your menstrual cycle and triggers the growth of eggs in your ovaries. FSH levels are highest right before ovulation.
Does Intermittent Fasting Help Balance Hormones?
My concern when it comes to us, women, is that doing intermittent fasting incorrectly can disrupt one of all of these crucial hormones, leading to infertility or trouble conceiving.
When hormones are in perfect balance, everything in your body will sync harmoniously and make you feel good.
However, if hormones become unbalanced, health problems and uncomfortable symptoms will appear.
Because hormones are involved in so many body processes, even a slight imbalance can have wide-ranging effects.
Some of the signs of hormonal imbalance in women:
- Heavy or irregular periods
- Vaginal dryness
- Inflammation in the vaginal walls
- Pain during sex
- Night sweats
- Thinning hair and/or hair loss
- Increased hair growth on the face
- Darkening of the skin
- Skin tags
- Weight gain and/or trouble losing weight
- Blurred vision
- Increased sensitivity to cold and heat
- Dry skin
- Puffy face
- Bowel problems like constipation and/or diarrhea
- Changes in heart rate
- Sudden weight loss
- Frequent urination
- Muscle weakness
- Muscle aches and pains
- Pain, stiffness, and swelling in the joints
- Increased sweating
- Prominent stretch marks, usually purple or pink in color
- Increased hunger
- A fatty hump between the shoulders sometimes called a buffalo hump
Above said signs of hormonal imbalance are due to common diet and lifestyle habits that women tend to overlook such as:
- Eating late at night
- Eating lots of sugar
- Having too much stress
- Not getting enough sleep
- Drinking too much coffee
- Having nutrient deficiencies
- Having an unhealthy diet
- Lack of regular exercise.
- Using toxic beauty and cleaning products
- Use certain plastics
And if you are not careful about your approach, there’s that potential that intermittent fasting can earn a spot on that list too.
Hence, you might have heard people say that intermittent fasting for women over 40 shouldn’t be done but that’s not necessarily true.
If you ease into it, listen to your body cue, and do it right, intermittent fasting at age 40 can actually help to keep your hormones balanced.
You just need to get your stress levels and hormones under control.
How Do You Do Intermittent Fasting For Women Over 40?
One of the most important steps before you even start to do intermittent fasting over 40, is deciding when you and your body are ready to start fasting.
This is the most crucial step.
Now, don’t be misunderstood that you need to be in perfect health to start fasting. After all, you might want to try intermittent fasting to correct some weight issues or health problems that you are currently facing.
But if you have good stress level management, and are not overwhelmed by life in general you can increase your success rate ten-fold.
Some signs that you are ready to start fasting for women over 40 are:
- You don’t feel completely overwhelmed by stress
- You have enough energy to get through the day
- You feel rested (or at least somewhat rested)
- Exercise makes you feel tired but energized, instead of completely drained.
- You’re able to feel relaxed, rather than completely wound up all the time.
Once you are ready and decide to start fasting. Do it in small, actionable steps, and build on these steps over time.
This will help you from getting overwhelmed and make it easier for you to stick to intermittent fasting for the long term.
The best way is to know your eating habits.
Whether you are practicing small frequent meals or three large meals with snacking in between, you can start by not following a specific fasting protocol but making small changes that will help your transition easier.
If you’re someone who eats a lot of snacks, make it your goal to stick to meals only.
Once you nailed it, try to skip breakfast. When that becomes easy, start eating your dinner early, half an hour or an hour at a time.
Making small goals, and hitting them will help your body to adjust and prepare.
I highly recommend that you start an intermittent fasting journal thus can help you to record and keep track of your progress, food intake, and habits.
Research showed those who keep journals are more successful in losing weight and keeping it off for good.
Best Intermittent Fasting For Women Over 40
Crescendo Fasting – Crescendo method fasting is a type of fasting where you gradually increase in intensity. Rather than jump into doing 16:8 intermittent fasting try to do twelve to fourteen hours a few days per week.
It’s best to make these fasting days non-consecutive, like Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for example.
This method helps to ease your body slowly and avoid shocking the body too much at once and to ensure your hormones don’t react negatively.
Time-restricted Fasting – This is the most popular and well-known form of intermittent fasting. With time-restricted fasting, you choose a specific eating window and a specific fasting window and stick to it every day.
You can choose to do 12-hour, 14 hours, or 16-hour fasts. If you choose 12 hour fast, you would eat between 8 am – 8 pm. For 14 hours you will eat between 10 am – 8 pm.
A 16:8 intermittent fasting has an eating period window between 12 pm to 8 pm.
My advice would be to start slow and learn to listen to your body signal. If you feel you are ok then gradually increased the intensity like in crescendo fasting.
If you are worried, your body might not get the best results if you do less than 16:8 intermittent fasting then I can reassure you that based on a published study even those who manage to fast 10 hours are able to reduce weight, waist circumference, lower cholesterol, and blood sugar level.
Alternate-day Fasting – As its name suggests, you fast every other day and eat whatever you want on the other days.
The most common way to do alternate-day fasting is by limiting your calorie intake to 25 percent of your needs on fasting days and then eating 125 percent of your calorie needs on feast days.
For example, if you need 2,000 calories per day to sustain your energy, then you would eat 500 calories on Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday and 2,500 calories on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday.
5:2 Intermittent Fasting – This method is almost similar to alternate-day fasting, the difference is you fast on two nonconsecutive days of the week and eat normally on the other five days.
This method has you eating about 500-600 calories on each of your fasting days.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 40
Heart Health – IF helps to lower LDL cholesterol levels by 25% and triglycerides by 32%. The study also showed positive results on both obese men and women able to lower blood pressure as early as 6 weeks.
Diabetes – IF helps to reduce some risks of diabetes by lowering insulin levels and insulin resistance.
Insulin is the hormone that has been tied to weight gain, especially around your belly. Doing intermittent fasting for hormonal belly can help you tremendously.
In a randomized controlled study of more than 100 obese adults, doing IF for 6 months helped to reduce insulin levels by 16% and insulin resistance by 29%.
Weight Loss – A lot of studies suggest that intermittent fasting women over 40 are as effective as doing traditional calorie-restricted diets for short-term weight loss.
One review showed intermittent fasting can reduce body weight by 6-8% in overweight or obese adults over a period of 3-24 weeks, and able to reduce waist circumference by 3-7% over the same period.
May Help You Eat Less – Several studies have shown that those who are doing intermittent fasting are able subconsciously to reduce their calorie intake.
Reduced Inflammation – Chronic inflammation can cause weight gain and health problems. Some studies have shown doing intermittent fasting over 40 can help reduce inflammation markers.
Improved Psychological Well-being – In eight weeks study, obese adults showed decreased depression and binge eating behaviors with intermittent fasting.
Preserve Muscle Mass – Doing intermittent fasting for women over 40 can help to preserve muscle mass compared to a calorie-restrictive diet. Did you know that higher muscle mass burns more calories even at rest?
FAQS On Intermittent Fasting For Women Over 40
Which Intermittent Fasting Is Best For Women Over 40?
Intermittent Fasting that is best for women over 40 is doing 14:12 or 12:12. Based on recent studies doing IF less than 16:8 is beneficial for women over 40 and helps to lose weight, reduced waist circumference, and is good for overall body well-being.
Does Intermittent Fasting Work For Women In Their 40?
Intermittent fasting does work wonders for women in their 40. Combining it with a well-balanced nutritious meal and regular exercise can help to balance your hormone, reduce weight and waist circumference, and ultimately your body and mental well-being.
What Happens After 1 Week Of Intermittent Fasting?
After 1 week of intermittent fasting, you will notice less bulging and bloating, and a tighter, slimmer look and feel to your midsection. Within this first week, you might lose weight significantly or not, but with your body adjusting you will see positive results in 4-6 weeks.
Which Intermittent Fasting Is Best For Belly Fat?
Limiting meals to a 10-hour window (followed by 14 hours of fasting) is best for belly fat as shown in a study able to reduce waist circumference, weight loss, lower blood pressure, well-controlled blood glucose, and LDL (bad) cholesterol.
How Many Months Should I Do Intermittent Fasting?
Experts suggest doing it for at least 10 weeks to witness some positive changes while doing intermittent fasting. My suggestion is to incorporate a healthy diet when you break fast and do regular exercise.
Does Water Fasting Help Balance Hormones?
Water fasting can help balance hormones regulating reproduction which resulted in improved functions of the lower urinary tract in middle-aged healthy men.
To make your intermittent fasting enjoyable, I recommend you try these products:
Fasting for women over 40 can be daunting.
I understand your concerns and how you feel, as I have consulted many women who are facing health problems, and obesity and want to change their life towards a healthier and more meaningful life.
While there are a lot of ways to do intermittent fasting for women over 40, I would always recommend starting small, actionable steps, and building that habits over time.
Always listen to your own body.
Start from 10 hour fasting period to 14 hour fasting period to 16 hour fasting period. Increased the intensity of the fasting period with the crescendo method fasting gradually and your body will work towards you and not against you.
If you feel that this article is beneficial to you, do help me share it with your family and friends. I am looking forward to hearing about your journey doing intermittent fasting and your success story.
I wish you the best of luck and know that I will always be rooting for you.