Intermittent fasting (also referred to as IF) has recently emerged as a scientifically proven way to lose or maintain weight, reduce inflammation in the body, and boost overall health. But although the practice is fairly straightforward for men, it can be a little more complicated for women. Since women’s bodies are constantly going through hormonal changes (especially during menopause), it’s important to understand that fasting can have a direct impact on optimal hormone balance. Consequently, if it’s done incorrectly during menopause, it may cause you to feel worse instead of better.
Fortunately, there are strategies you can adopt and plant based menopause supplements you can take to support a healthy intermittent fasting lifestyle during menopause and beyond. Follow the advice in this guide to experience optimal success when intermittent fasting during menopause.
Benefits of Intermittent Fasting During Menopause
There are many notable benefits of fasting intermittently during menopause. They include:
- Increased energy
- Decreased rates of depression and anxiety
- Increased lean muscle mass
- Weight loss
- Improved cognitive function
In addition to these impressive benefits, intermittent fasting may also boost immune function, improve insulin sensitivity and protect against certain types of diseases. For many women, intermittent fasting—when done correctly—can also mitigate some of the most common symptoms associated with menopause.
If you’re still experiencing unwanted menopause symptoms despite following a carefully-planned IF schedule, your body may need more help keeping hormone levels stable. For this reason, it’s important to learn how to control menopause mood swings using relaxation techniques, avoiding certain foods known to trigger symptoms, and taking supplements as needed to keep your mood stable.
Intermittent Fasting Schedule to Follow
During menopause, your body is more sensitive to hormonal changes. Since intermittent fasting can cause an increase in the production of certain homes (such as ghrelin and leptin) and could cause a decline in other hormones if you fast for too long, it’s important to start slow. Before adopting a long-term IF schedule, start with a small fasting window and gradually build up to a window that provides maximum benefits and is something you can sustain.
For example, when you first get started with intermittent fasting, you may want to begin with a 12:12 format. This refers to 12 hours of fasting followed by a 12-hour eating window. This doesn’t mean you eat consistently throughout that 12-hour window. Rather, it means that you will fit your regular meals into that 12-hour window so you’re getting the right amount of caloric intake for your body’s needs within that time period.
Once you’re comfortable with a 12/12 IF format, you can gradually increase your fasting window to a 16:8 format. This means you’ll fast for 16 hours and maintain an eating window of 8 hours. This is the ideal intermittent fasting schedule for many women during menopause. To keep your hormones balanced, try not to fast longer than 16 hours. Remember to drink plenty of water while fasting. You may also want to supplement with menopause weight gain supplements, bone broth and herbal tea during your fast.
No matter how you choose to implement your intermittent fasting schedule, pay close attention to your body. If you start to feel weak, more irritable or ill, it may be time to shorten your fasting window until you find that “sweet spot.”