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Intermittent Fasting

Menopause and Intermittent Fasting: What Do You Need to Know?

menopause and intermittent fasting

Intermittent fasting has become a recent buzz on the internet, especially for women. It has been linked to many things, including better menopause, heart health, improved gut, and even longer life span. Is this buzz just a short-time sensation, or could intermittent fasting provide an effective real-time solution during menopause? What are the precautions to follow? Find out more about intermittent fasting and how it is linked to menopause here:

What is Intermittent Fasting?

The practice of intermittent fasting has been around for a long time but has recently gained more attention as a practice to lose weight. They help reduce body fat, which is a result of reduced intake of calories.

Intermittent fasting promotes weight loss because the fasting period has metabolic impacts. The extra carbohydrates get stored as fat cells if the body doesn’t break down or use those carbohydrates.

When you follow right fasting, the insulin level decreases, which allows the fat cells to release the extra carbohydrates (sugar) that have been stored in the body and use it as energy.

No tracking of micronutrients and calorie counting is done during intermittent fasting. Also, this type of fasting does not put any strict restrictions on the foods you can and cannot eat. More people who follow intermittent fasting consider it more of a lifestyle.

Stages of Menopause 

Before evaluating the impacts intermittent fasting has on menopause, it is important to understand each stage of menopause.

  • Perimenopause: This stage is the transition period leading to menopause, and it is the beginning of the fluctuating hormone levels. The common indicator of perimenopause is irregular periods and symptoms like mood swings and hot flashes. These symptoms last for several years.
  • Menopause: If a woman hasn’t experienced a menstrual period continually for 12 months, then it can be menopause. It is the stage when the ovaries don’t produce any eggs, which would result in the end of fertility.
  • Postmenopause: Fluctuations in hormones will stabilize after some years following menopause. This would result in many symptoms starting to reduce.

The Reason for Weight Gain during Menopause  

Weight gain is one of the visible and common symptoms during perimenopause and menopause. On average, many women gain extra weight in their 40s, and the reason is that this shift in body fat distribution can be linked to changing hormone profiles during perimenopause.

As stated earlier, perimenopause is the beginning of fluctuating hormone levels. Estrogen and progesterone, which are the primary sex hormones, will be in flux during this stage as the functions of the ovary start to decline.

Incidentally, this is also the time your metabolic rate gets affected, which would result in increased weight gain even without any change in diets and exercises.

Apart from the metabolic activity during perimenopause and menopause, you may be affected by changes in insulin sensitivity and how nutrients are used and broken down. This will also impact the weight gain.

Intermittent Fasting to Reduce Weight Gain in Menopause

It is not always healthy for women to gain extra weight during perimenopause. It is because the extra weight surrounding your abdomen can result in increased health problems like high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure.

So, it must be emphasized that the goal of reducing fat goes beyond simply changing the physical appearance.

For women in menopause, intermittent fasting can be a successful dietary modification. The first reason for its effectiveness is that it doesn’t restrict you from eating or not eating certain foods. The reason behind this is that people who take off-limit foods find it difficult to avoid.

The next reason for making use of intermittent fasting during menopause is that it can follow the natural rhythms of the body. For instance, if you want, you can fast overnight and even for some additional hours in the morning.

Fasting reduces the chances of indulging in late-night snacking, which may impact blood sugar and circadian rhythm.

Types of Intermittent Fasting for Women in Menopause

There are various types of intermittent fasting that women experiencing menopause can follow. It includes:

  1. 5:2 method: In this method, for two days a week, you will only consume 500 calories. For the remaining five days, you will have a normal, healthy diet.
  2. Overnight fasting: This method involves a 12-hour fasting period every day. For example, if you take a meal at 8 pm, you can eat the next meal at 8 am.
  3. 16:8 or 18:6 method: This is a daily fasting method that you can only do during certain periods of the day. According to the 16:8 plan, you won’t eat for 16 hours, but you will eat normal meals in the remaining eight-hour period. In the 18:6 plan, you will fast for 18 hours, and you will eat in the remaining six hours of the day.
  4. Alternate day fasting: From the name itself, it can be guessed that fasting is followed on every alternative day. You can take around 500 calories during the fasting day.

Tips for Intermittent Fasting during Menopause

Here are five important tips you should consider if you are going to take intermittent fasting during menopause:

  • Start with shorter fasting periods and then gradually increase your fasting time according to your comfort level.
  • Do not restrict too much of the calorie intake, which can cause a negative impact. If you don’t get enough energy, your body will hang on to extra calories, which will neglect weight loss or any health benefits.
  • Drink enough water and stay hydrated. Drinking tea or coffee would not be an issue.
  • Take this time as an opportunity to find new ways to spend your time.

Precautions When Taking Intermittent Fasting During Menopause

While intermittent fasting has many positive impacts when followed during menopause, there are also some risks that you should be aware of:

  1. Nutrient Deficiencies

You should be aware that including intermittent fasting in your diet can result in nutrient deficiencies. This can be problematic, especially during menopause, when you may need higher key ingredients.

  1. Blood sugar problems

Following intermittent fasting may not be safe if you have a metabolic condition like type 2 diabetes. This is because it can interfere with the control of blood sugar and increase hypoglycemia risk. So, you should get proper advice from doctors.

  1. Re-bound binging

Many eat unhealthy foods during the time they can eat while following intermittent fasting. This would result in blood sugar problems and unhealthy eating habits. Getting calories is important, at the same time, it is important to make sure that you get the right calories.

  1. Medications

Some medications are best when taken along with your friends, but some may affect your blood glucose level. So, discuss with your doctor before following intermittent fasting.

Conclusion

Following intermittent fasting offers a hopeful solution for weight gain during menopause. It can also reduce other symptoms like hormonal changes that can occur during this stage in life.

If you have any health issues or are taking any medicines for health problems, it is better to consult with the doctor before starting to follow an intermittent fasting plan.

FAQs

  1. What is the best time to follow intermittent fasting?

It is best to start with overnight fasting, which is a 12-hour fasting. Then, improve the fasting with the guidance of a medical professional.

  1. What are some of the basic rules of intermittent fasting?

The three basic rules of intermitted fasting are,

  • It doesn’t need any specific food or diet to work
  • It is recommended to exercise during non-eating time
  • Separate your day into two, one for eating and the other for fasting.
  1. Does intermittent fasting have positive effects on menopause?

Following intermittent fasting during menopause has some advantages, such as weight reduction and reduced inflammation. However, you should be aware that there are also some significant risks when considering the individual level.

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