Symptoms Of Menopause | Intermittent Fasting And Menopause Symptoms | Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting Post Menopause | How To Start Intermittent Fasting During Menopause
Generally, women gain weight during menopause. Weight gain can be modest for some and can be managed by following a simple diet and exercise routine. But, women who are already overweight may experience obesity and associated health problems. In such conditions, you should make more conscious efforts towards your weight management and health improvement.
Intermittent fasting is an increasingly popular eating pattern to lose weight and improve health. This time-restricted feeding can benefit you beyond weight loss and help with healthy aging, better focus, improved insulin resistance, etc.
Though intermittent fasting brings excellent health benefits, will it work for post menopause women? With this fasting, can you lose weight and feel healthy during menopause? Let’s find out.
Symptoms of Menopause
Menopause becomes a cause of many concerns among women. One of the most important worries is the fear of weight gain. Also, it is believed that obesity and metabolic syndrome are found in women during menopause three times more often than before menopause.
Other than weight gain, you may experience symptoms like;
- Hot flashes
- Mood changes
- Disturbed sleep
- Vaginal dryness
- Reduced libido
You may also experience insulin resistance leading to type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disorders. The symptoms of menopause can be troublesome and may make you feel anxious.
Menopause and Weight gain
Women over 50 experience a significant decline in sex hormones. The ovaries reduce the production of estrogen and progesterone to stop menstruation. When you don’t get your menstruation for more than 12 months, then it is considered menopause.
According to research studies, the main cause of obesity during menopause is a rapid fall in estrogen levels. Estrogen in women is responsible for the accumulation and distribution of fat. The study results also indicate that environmental factors like unhealthy eating habits, reduced physical activity, illnesses, and medication contribute to this condition.
Dietary modifications that include consuming low-calorie food, more fruits and vegetables, and whole grains are highly recommended during menopause. Understanding the potential causes and following a healthy lifestyle can help to overcome menopause-related issues.
Can Intermittent Fasting Help Deal With Menopause Symptoms?
Yes, intermittent fasting addresses many symptoms of menopause and can bring positive changes. Intermittent fasting for women over 50 is believed to bring various health benefits.
To know what intermittent fasting is and how it works, read – A Complete Guide To Intermittent Fasting + Daily Plan & Schedule.
Here is a list of menopause symptoms and how intermittent fasting helps.
4 Benefits of Intermittent Fasting Post Menopause
1. Weight Gain
Intermittent fasting is considered a safe and effective weight loss strategy. In this, eating for a fixed period of time results in calorie restriction. Also, the fasting phase boosts metabolism and improves insulin sensitivity.
In a research study where postmenopausal women followed intermittent fasting, the participants experienced weight loss within the first 5 weeks. The study revealed that diet restriction also improved fasting glucose levels and body weight.
The risk of metabolic syndrome is significantly increased during menopause. Intermittent fasting addresses these metabolic abnormalities, helps in glucose regulation and results in weight loss.
2. Mood Changes
Menopause may lead to depression, anxiety, mood swings, brain fog, and stress. According to a study, fasting can effectively diminish stress and depression levels in women.
Research studies say, even short-term fasting in healthy women can result in positive psychological changes. The food we consume affects not just our physical health but also our emotions. And fasting is believed to bring positive mental health with improved self-esteem.
3. Insulin Resistance
Changes in hormonal levels during menopause result in fluctuations in blood glucose. Also, increased insulin resistance may result in type 2 diabetes. The research study has revealed that intermittent fasting improves insulin sensitivity and helps to avoid the risk of type 2 diabetes.
Brain fog and confusion are commonly experienced in menopause. Short-term fasting is believed to trigger neuronal autophagy, which results in better mental clarity. As your brain starts cleansing out the junk and stimulates new cell growth, your brain cells become more efficient. It leads to better clarity and alertness.
How to Start Intermittent Fasting During Menopause
There are various types of intermittent fasting like 16/8 fasting, One Meal A Day, 5/2 fasting, etc. You can choose any fasting method depending on your routine. If you are a beginner and fasting feels overwhelming, you can start with a simple overnight fasting routine.
How intermittent fasting will work for you and how fast it can bring results depends on your health, weight, metabolism, and goals. However, if you have any concerns or experience any severe side effects during fasting, consult your doctor. Intermittent fasting encourages eating well during the eating window and allows having low-calorie foods and beverages during the fasting period. It does not recommend starving yourself, which may worsen some symptoms like anxiety or depression.
Some Tips to Follow Intermittent Fasting During Menopause:
Intermittent fasting can ease your menopause symptoms when followed the right way. Follow these simple tips;
- Start with a short fasting window and gradually move to a more restrictive form of fasting.
- Don’t count calories or restrict your eating, as you need to meet all your body’s nutritional requirements. Only a well-nourished healthy diet can bring all the health benefits of intermittent fasting.
- Drink enough water and stay hydrated. You can choose water-rich foods and non-caloric beverages to meet your daily needs.
- Longer periods of fasting can be challenging and sometimes lead to binge eating. Be mindful when you eat, listen to your body needs, and, if needed, reduce your fasting window. Try to avoid developing an eating disorder, stress, or anxiety related to food.
- Take professional guidance when needed. If you find it hard to plan your fasting routine or healthy meals, you can look for professional help.
For guidance with planning your intermittent fasting meals, check out – 21-Day Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan. Here you will get customized meal plans, easy and quick recipes, and also tips to get started with your fasting. You will get a complete nutrition-based meal plan for your intermittent fasting.
Potential Side Effects
There is some research that claims that intermittent fasting works better for men than women. As every individual is different, results may not be the same for all. A 2005 study has indicated that alternate day fasting worsened the blood glucose level in women and the same was not observed in men. Hence, if you experience any variation in your blood sugar while following intermittent fasting, consult your doctor.
You can follow a less restrictive type of fasting with a short fasting window or 12-hour intermittent fasting to avoid the risk of blood sugar fluctuations.
Want to try intermittent fasting and see if it works for you? Take a 21-Day Intermittent Fasting Challenge. Get a challenge guide, daily tips, and reminders that keep you motivated throughout your fasting routine.
Menopause can be challenging, but you can stay healthy and fit with the right diet and lifestyle modifications. With the ongoing hormonal changes, it is normal to feel stressed and depressed. Following intermittent fasting can significantly improve various menopause symptoms like body weight, insulin resistance, and mood swings. With the right balance of nutrients, intermittent fasting can help you look and feel your best.