Disclosure: I am not a doctor nor a dietitian, so I recommend consulting a physician before trying any type of diet. This is especially important for people with underlying health conditions such as diabetes, an eating disorder, or if you are pregnant or breast feeding. The information in the Blog has been collected from several professional articles, and from my own personal experience. Article sources will be listed at the end of this post.
INTERMITTENT FASTING FOR MID-LIFE WEIGHT LOSS
Mid-life weight gain started for me after my 43rd birthday. That was the year I received the fabulous gift of perimenopause! Wow, I was not prepared for the challenges “the change” was going to present for my mind and body. I can’t completely blame perimenopause for the 15lbs I’ve put on over the past 2 years, but it certainly played a part.
After several failed attempts at losing my mid-life weight, I knew I needed to change my approach. I began researching weight-loss after 40, but there seemed to be too many opinions with not enough specific guidance. For a short period of time, I contemplated trying either Keto or the Ideal Protein program. Friends and co-workers had attempted one or the other, and they all succeeded at losing weight. However, almost every one of them regained some, all, or more of their weight back within a year or so. I’m not going to knock any diet, as I’m not qualified to present a professional opinion. I’ve been in the fitness industry long enough to know that people need to find what works for themselves. However as a personal trainer, I won’t promote a diet either. I recommend getting professional medical advice when it comes to starting any type of extreme diet.
That said, I do believe that eating a healthy diet of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean proteins is appropriate for the average healthy person. This has been the basis of my diet for years, and I was able to maintain my weight throughout my adult life. You are probably asking yourself, why then, did I start gaining weight? The truthful answer is two-fold: I was drinking too much wine, and I was eating too much/too often. The more weight I gained, the more I would drink and eat. I started to hate my body, and I was becoming depressed. I wanted nothing more than to regain control of myself, so I continued looking for answers. Recently, I came across a blog post titled “Should You Intermittent Fast During Menopause? A Hormone Expert Explains” written by Taz Bhatia, M.D. 1
Now I’ve heard of intermittent fasting before, but I never gave it much thought. The word “fasting” was enough to turn me off. However, after reading the blog post, I was enlightened, and I wanted to learn more about the benefits of intermittent fasting (IF). Luckily, there is no shortage of information on IF, and I was fascinated by the science behind this type of eating pattern. Without getting into too much detail, I will summarize IF and what it’s done for me.
WHAT IS INTERMITTENT FASTING?
Simply put, intermittent fasting involves a period of cycling between fasting and eating. There are different approaches to intermittent fasting, but the one that seems to be easiest is the 16:8 method. For this fasting method, a person fasts for 16 hours and has an 8-hour eating window. The fasting and eating time are not specified, so a person can pick times that work for their own schedule. Personally, an eating window of 10:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. worked the best for me. During your fast, you can have water, and plain coffee or tea.
HOW TO BENEFIT FROM INTERMITTENT FASTING
Intermittent Fasting is not a diet, so there are no set guidelines for what you eat. However, for weight loss, many experts suggest eating non-processed whole foods: lean proteins (fish, chicken breasts, lean cuts of beef or pork, or plant-based proteins), whole grains (quinoa, brown rice, whole wheat), healthy fats (avocado, olive oil), fruits and vegetables. 2 This is my preferred diet: I also eat small amounts of plain Greek yogurt and cheese. Additionally, weight loss is easier by reducing or eliminated alcohol from diet.
Calorie counting is not part of IF; however, I’ve chosen to count calories to get a good understanding of how much I should eat at each meal. I’ve settled on approximately, 600 cals for both meals. I eat brunch at 10:30 a.m. and dinner between 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. – no snacking between or after meals. If I have to eat dinner later than 6:30 p.m., I simply adjust my brunch time the following day.
MY CURRENT RESULTS
It’s been two-weeks since I stopped drinking alcohol and started intermittent fasting. I’m more than pleased with the results I’ve had so far.
- 9lbs lost
- Improved sleep
- More energy
- No more bloating
- Better digestion
- Improved mood
I did experience side-effects during the first few days such as, reduced energy and sleep disturbances. However, the side-effects went away, and I’m feeling good overall. In addition to intermittent fasting, I do exercise daily to stay both mentally and physically fit.
Intermittent fasting is working for me, and I will keep you posted on my progress. If you decide to try it for yourself, please do your research and consult with your physician if you have any health considerations. I’d love to hear your thoughts or opinion on this topic, so feel free to leave comment below.
Additional suggested IF Readings: