Intermittent fasting is a trend on the rise and has benefits similar to being on a keto diet with much less input and energy from you. It may be that women in menopause will find this to be a great way to counteract some of the symptoms that come with this time of life.
Back in the "olden days", as my two verbal terrorist teenagers put it, I used to do the 40 Hour Famine to raise awareness and donations for refugees and displaced people around the world. Intermittent fasting is nothing that extreme so if I can do 40 I can do 14.
you don't change WHAT you eat, rather WHEN you eat.
The premise is that you stop eating for a length of time that is longer than the time it would take to digest your last meal. Commonly, 12 to 16 hours.
I have just started on this journey so 12 hours daily works for me, with a view to stretching it to 14.
If I eat my last meal at 7.00pm then I can eat again at 7.00am. I find this easy as I wasn’t eating much in between those times anyway.
There are various ways to try fasting. Some go 12 or more hours without eating every day. Others will fast for 12-16 hours a couple of days a week. Then there is not eating for a full 24 hours one day each week.
a break from digesting food allowing it to do other things like repair and regeneration. After your last meal is digested (usually about 8 hours) your body uses fat as energy, leading to weight loss.
It’s success possibly lies in the fact that aside from eating between your chosen times there is not much else you need to change. That assumes of course that what you eat now is healthy wholefoods that is low in sugar, refined carbohydrates and saturated fats.
This way of eating is not a green light for binge eating rubbish in your chosen eating timeslot.
Some key benefits of intermittent fasting are:
In contradiction to this menopause often sees us suffer the exact opposite of the benefits that intermittent fasting can offer:
The extra fat that we gain generally pools around our middle around our main. This makes it dangerous to our health, increasing the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure among other things.
Do you think that the exta weight around your middle is your new normal now you are menopausal?
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It is important, as with any way of eating, to combine IF with exercise, good sleep, and a healthy eating regime.
Fasting is often seen as controversial due to the impact it can have on hormones and regular eating patterns.
IF is a “restrictive diet” and so can exacerbate unhealthy eating patterns. It is not recommended if you have a history of disordered eating such as emotional eating, binge eating, and eating disorders.
It is also important when you are eating not to see this time as an opportunity to binge on unhealthy foods. Eat healthy whole foods in normal size portions.
Due to the effect of intermittent fasting can have on hormones I would suggest if you are trying to conceive or have a history of metabolic disorders you should consult a doctor before undertaking an eating pattern such as this.
Listen to your body
If you cannot sleep, feel anxious or nauseous then stop.
My last point is something that I live by. I work to live with healthy habits for at least 90% of the time. The other 10% I allow myself to relax. If we go out for dinner and it is outside my 12-hour window I don’t stress. I certainly don’t stress about the delicious dessert we shared either. This philosophy for me is healthy.
Have you tried intermittent fasting? How did it work for you?
Hi, I'm Jane. I'm the author of the janelamason.com blog. Hitting midlife and menopause can be challenging. I write these posts to highlight my own experience for other women to read about and to give tips that might help to make their path into this time of their lives a little smoother.