Fasting for women over 40 may differ from fasting earlier in life. Women over 40 often suffer from unexplained weight gain, sleep and mood issues, and low energy. Did you know fasting can help alleviate all of these issues? However, there are some important considerations to keep in mind.
Benefits of Fasting
The benefits of fasting are so incredible; one would be wise to pay attention! Here are just some of the benefits that you may experience whether you are a woman over 40 or not:
- Lower insulin levels: Helps improve fat burning.
- Higher HGH (human growth hormones) levels: Helps with fat burning and muscle growth.
- Reduced inflammation: Significantly decreases inflammatory markers.
- Enhanced heart health: Improves blood pressure, triglycerides, and cholesterol levels.
- Improved brain function: Increases the generation of nerve cells to help enhance cognitive function.
- Weight loss: Limits calorie intake and boosts metabolism.
- Longevity: Studies on animals suggest fasting increases lifespan.
- Cancer prevention and chemotherapy effectiveness: Fasting blocks tumor growth.
I am passionate about sharing how to use fasting to reach your health goals. That’s why I created a Weight Loss Transformation program that includes all the resources needed to achieve your weight loss goal by biohacking with intermittent fasting. Furthermore, my program specifically targets fasting for women over 40.
Intermittent fasting is recognized as a way to take advantage of the benefits of fasting without going hungry for extended periods. Typically, intermittent fasting doesn’t require you to fast for more than 24 hours (except for Alternate-Day Fasting, which involves a 36-hour fasting window).
Methods of Intermittent Fasting
There are different ways to implement intermittent fasting. When it comes to fasting for women over 40, I suggest the following methods:
- Daily fasting window: The 20/4 window, or even the 23/1 window but no more than 4-5 days a week.
- East-Stop-Eat: A 24-hour fast once or twice a week.
- The 5:2 Diet: Eat 500-600 calories two days a week.
Intermittent Fasting Before the Age of 40
You can learn more about the effect of intermittent fasting on women here, but for now, let’s focus on women over the age of 40. Before reaching 40, you can use the 16/8 method or any other daily method to reach your health goals. After age 40, thyroid issues, lower muscle mass, and hormonal changes can contribute to a slower metabolism. Women over 40 may be more susceptible to hormonal imbalances caused by fasting.
How Intermittent Fasting Can Work Against Women Over 40
- Although intermittent fasting may help boost your metabolism, it could have the opposite effect for women after 40 if done daily.
- Reproductive health is closely tied to your energy intake. Reduced fertility may not concern you, but what about decreased libido?
- Intermittent fasting may affect estrogen production, which affects everything else in your body: cognition, mood, digestion, etc.
How to Use Fasting for Women Over 40
Fasting for women over 40 is slightly different, depending on the situation.
Regarding fasting for women over 40, I recommend you use the 20/4 method 3-4 times a week rather than a daily 16\8 window. Here’s why:
- More anti-aging benefits: Longer fasts increase the telomere response, which provides cellular anti-aging benefits. Telomeres are compounds at the end of your chromosomes that unravel with age. When you restore telomere length and produce more stem cells, you delay the effect of aging.
- Risk of slowing down metabolism: After 40, the 16/8 window could slow down your metabolism. It’s better to decrease your eating window more dramatically but less frequently.
- Phasing benefits: Phasing your diet, whether your caloric intake or the type of macros you consume, is the best way to ensure you do not get stuck in a plateau. The idea is not to give your body enough time to adapt to your new eating pattern.
- Better overall response to fasting: Longer fasts magnify many benefits of fasting, including increased production of human growth hormones.
Biohack Your Intermittent Fasting Window
When it comes to fasting for women over 40, it is especially important to biohack your intermittent fasting window. What does that mean? It means ensuring g that you achieve ketosis on your fasting days. When you fast, your body runs out of glycogen. That’s when the magic happens, as it will need to use fat cells to produce energy. With practice, you will notice that you feel different in ketosis.
How to Know Your Are in Ketosis
The first time I achieved ketosis was during a modified fast. That’s why the first step of my Weight Loss Transformation program is to become fat-adapted using a modified fast or a keto cycle. Here are some signs I noticed:
- More energy
- Less appetite
- No more feeling “hangry”
- Better sleep
Fasting for women over 40 often ensures that ketosis is achieved on fasting days. This successful biohacking may require the use of a ketone monitor. When you use a ketone monitor, you can start tracking how you feel with a ketone level on the monitor. I use the Keto Mojo (affiliate link).
How to Get Maximum Benefits From Your Fast
Fasting for women over 40 is about making the most of your fasting windows (like we just discussed regarding achieving ketosis, for example). These other tips will enable you to get maximum benefits from your fasts:
- Himalayan pink salt in water: 1 tsp per half-gallon (2 liters)
- Coffee and tea only before noon: After 40, you are more sensitive to catecholamines, hormones your adrenal glands make. Three cups of coffee will significantly increase catecholamine production and could negatively impact your adrenals after a prolonged period.
- Get enough rest.
- Work out at a lower intensity in the morning in a fasted state.
- Avoid grains during fasting days: Grains contain wheat germ agglutinins (WGAs). These are proteins that clump together and cause leaky gut. Instead, eat starches like potatoes, plantains, cassava, etc.
- Switch your proteins up: This will help promote gut bacteria diversity.
- Eat seaweed: The natural iodine will benefit your thyroid.
- Take diet breaks: Make sure you go at 1-2 weeks without fasting to ensure your metabolism doesn’t slow down. The MATADOR (Minimising Adaptive Thermogenesis And Deactivating Obesity Rebound) study demonstrates the benefits of restricting calorie intake intermittently rather than continuously. It improves the fat loss benefits without negating any of the other benefits. Read more about using intermittent fasting for fat loss here. The fasting-mimicking diet (FMD) is an excellent way to accomplish that.
Do You Have to Follow All the Rules to Succeed?
In all honesty, I am not a rule person. Everyone is unique. Some women thrive on carbs, while others thrive on a low-carb or keto diet. Some women feel better when they break a fast with a protein snack, while others love having a banana. My goal is to give you tools to listen to your body’s cues and discover the best approach for you. This also applies to fasting for women over 40, including the tips above. Don’t stress about not eating grains and having seaweed. Fasting successfully doesn’t have to be complicated whether you are 20, 40, or 60.
Do you want to know how to use fasting for women over 40? Well, as I mentioned becoming fat-adapted is crucial! And Fasting-Mimicking is an effective tool to achieve this.
To learn about the fasting-mimicking diet (FMD), read my post Fasting Mimicking Diet: The Benefits of Fasting Without Giving Up Food. Fasting mimicking is not the same as intermittent fasting, although you are alternating fasting cycles with eating cycles. With the FMD, the purpose is slight starvation accomplished by rigorous calorie restriction for a prolonged period (4-5 days). Fasting mimicking is the perfect way to ensure you are phasing your diet, allowing for maximum benefits; as discussed above, it helps you avoid reaching that plateau where your body has adapted to your new eating pattern.
I cannot overstress this: fasting for women over 40 requires some biohacking. This can be done with fasting-mimicking or a keto cycle. Then, go on and pick your favorite intermittent fasting window but avoid fasting daily.
How to Break Your Fast
Start with a smaller meal (lean protein) and a more substantial meal 2-3 hours later. It helps you to learn to control your appetite as you break your fast. When you are over 40, consume enough protein when you break your fast. Sufficient protein intake limits atrophy, which is the natural effect of aging.
Moreover, make sure you are getting enough prebiotic fiber. During your second meal, eat enough prebiotic fiber. Read more about fiber and what foods to eat for gut health. During a fast, much of your gut bacteria will die off, and it’s essential to replenish it.
Fasting for women over 40 can be summarized like this: Adopt intermittent fasting as a lifestyle practice will help you live a longer and healthier life. However, do not neglect to listen to your body to follow a bunch of “rules.” Stop whatever method you are trying if you notice some warning signs. Experiment with different fasting windows and food choices to ensure your hormonal health is not compromised. Furthermore, ensure you are phasing your eating restrictions for maximum benefits and biohack your fasting window.