As we all know one of the bugbears of the ‘meno’ years (peri, meno and post) is weight gain.
Debra Waterhouse explains it in her book Menopause Without Weight Gain:
“As soon as your fat cells detect a slightly lower estrogen level, they come to your aid to produce estrogen. (Fat cells producing estrogen? This may surprise you, but it’s one of their highly evolved functions.) They know that eventually, your ovaries will stop producing estrogen, so they start preparing to take over the ovaries’ job. They increase in size, number and ability to store fat. The fat cells in your waist grow the largest because they are better equipped to produce estrogen than the fat cells in your buttocks, hips or thighs.”
Ha. OK, so that’s what happened to my waist. I don’t know about you, but while I appreciate knowing the physiology it’s no comfort when it comes to doing up my trousers!
A lot of people find losing weight at this time of life difficult, but I’ve found losing a few kgs with the help of intermittent fasting (IF) works well. IF is the practice of having periods of eating times and non-eating times – in my case eight hours of eating, 16 hours of not eating.
I won’t tell you it’s easy at first; after all changing lifestyle habits always requires discipline and commitment (it’s far simpler to be lazy!). However, it’s a tool I’ve embraced since I first tried it three years ago.
It’s All Good:
IF is trendy right now but that’s not why I became a convert. I like that it’s easily incorporated into my life, it works and that more and more research is coming out about a number of health benefits aside from weight management.
IF is actually an ancient tool, but because food is so freely available in the 21st Century (some would say too much so) many of us have forgotten what it’s like to be hungry. Once upon a time, it was forced on us, and in the days of old fasting periods were also used as a method of purification.
Purported Benefits of Intermittent Eating:
- Weight loss
- Increased growth hormone
- Lower cholesterol
- Lower insulin and sugar levels
- Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
- Reversal of Type 2 diabetes
- Cellular repair
How It Works:
Pretty amazing, huh? And the beauty of IF is its simplicity. I and friends of mine who are also practising IF do 16/8, which as I said earlier basically means eating for an eight hour period and refraining for 16 hours. I tend to eat brunch at about 10 am and then what I call ‘Linner’ at about 6 pm. Or if I have a dinner to go to I may start at 1 pm and finish at 9 pm. That’s what works for me, but you can accommodate your needs around your home and family.
Another fan of the regime does the 5/2. This means eating normally for five days and eating just 500 calories for two days. She’s had great results with that.
Eat, Drink & Be Merry:
Of course, eating normally also means eating sensibly. No gorging on chocolate and chips because you won’t lose weight. It’s not a free pass for junk food binges. I tend to eat lots and lots of green leafy vegetables and avocados. There are some fantastic healthy recipes out there.
The bottom line is IF is not a diet, it’s a way of eating. And really, it’s quite natural as back in our ancestors days they’d have times when they needed to go for periods of time without eating before new food sources were found. They couldn’t go to the fridge or the supermarket like we can. That being said, if you are underweight, have a history of eating disorders or similar you should not try IF. And if you have diagnosed health issues, please consult your doctor first.
Other Benefits of Intermittent Eating:
- Saves time
- Reduces your food bill
No matter how much you eat or what time you eat, it’s always best to avoid processed foods and up your intake of fruit and veggies.
Your body and your menopausal signs will smile.
Have you got your own story to share of weight management with intermittent fasting? We’d love to hear it and you can let us know here.
Jennifer is a certified integrative health coach with a specialty in 40+ women and hormone balance for weight loss.
Main image via Pixabay