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The Benefits Of Intermittent Fasting For Menopause And Beyond

While you are asleep, your body naturally fasts. During those nocturnal periods our bodies are regenerating and recovering. All this magic happens automatically, so consider how much your body does for you that you’re unaware of. When you stop and really think about it, it’s quite miraculous! And yet so many don’t and take our bodies for granted.

It’s one of the reasons we need to consider what we are doing to ourselves when we consume artificial foods, drink alcohol or put synthetic products on our bodies from hair dye to makeup. The body absorbs these chemicals and substances which can build up in our system over time. We all have free will to choose and this is not about shaming anyone into giving up their hair salon visits for highlights or changing their laundry detergent. It’s about bringing awareness to how these things impact our health.  I use to do highlights and growing up my mom used Tide laundry detergent. I just got to a point where I’m more committed to living a certain lifestyle that reflects my current values of being closer to nature. 

Kjpargeter

Nature’s cheapest and easiest biohack: Intermittent Fasting

What if you could biohack your body to another level of health where you’re generating human growth hormone, removing dysfunctional cells from your body (i.e autophagy), burning fat for fuel (ketosis) and improving insulin sensitivity. I’m not saying that it’s still ok to abuse your body and expect that fasting will give you a get out of jail card and all is well. No my friends, it’s important to adapt and maintain healthy habits on an ongoing basis. This is an investment in you and your health. 

Here’s a quick explanation of human growth hormone for those who like to geek out on some science: Hgh or human growth hormone is produced by the pituitary gland and is responsible for cellular growth and regeneration throughout our entire lives. Growth hormone makes sure that our muscles, bones and fat tissues stay in a healthy balance.  

I’ve had many people ask me about fasting and if it’s good to do. The short answer is yes and the long answer is it also depends. I say it depends because if someone is immunocompromised with a serious condition, they need to consult with their health care provider to determine if it’s safe for them to fast. If their doctor gives them the green light, then this individual will be closely monitored during the entirety of the fasting period. 

Menopause and fasting

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Menopausal and postmenopausal women can benefit tremendously from fasting. Navigating the changes that come with menopause and postmenopause can be challenging, especially when it comes to maintaining optimal health and managing weight. 

Types of Intermittent Fasting:

Time-Restricted Feeding (TRF)

  1. TRF involves limiting your daily eating window to a specific time frame, such as 8 hours, with fasting for the remaining 16 hours. This approach can help regulate hormones, improve insulin sensitivity, and promote weight loss, which are all beneficial for menopausal women dealing with hormonal fluctuations and metabolism changes.

Alternate-Day Fasting (ADF)

  1. ADF consists of alternating between days of regular eating and days of fasting or severe calorie restriction. Studies have shown that ADF can lead to significant weight loss, improved cardiovascular health, and better insulin regulation, making it a valuable tool for managing weight and reducing the risk of chronic diseases during menopause and postmenopause.

Extended Fasting

  1. Extended fasting involves fasting for periods longer than 24 hours, up to several days or even weeks. While this approach requires careful planning and monitoring, it can promote deep cellular repair processes like autophagy, which may help mitigate age-related health issues and promote longevity in menopausal and postmenopausal women. An example would be a water fast. Water fasts are more extreme and you definitely want to be coached and do this with an experienced practitioner or functional medical clinic that incorporates alternative healing methods that can set you up for success. One of the women I train recently told me about a coworker whose mother had a cancer diagnosis and did a 28 day water fast at a holistic healing center and she’s had positive results. 

Health Benefits for Menopausal and Postmenopausal Women

Hormonal Balance:

  1. Intermittent fasting can support hormonal balance by reducing insulin resistance and improving leptin [Leptin is a hormone that helps manage energy. It signals to your brain when you need food or when you’re satiated. But, leptin resistance can cause the brain to miss this signal, which may contribute to obesity] sensitivity, which are crucial factors in managing menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, and weight gain.

Weight Management:

  1. During menopause your metabolism can slow down, if you are not engaged in regular exercise like strength training. Strength training helps to build and preserve muscle mass and promotes an efficient metabolism where it’s easier to maintain a healthy weight. If you’re in menopause or are postmenopausal and not exercising at all and eating processed food with a higher carbohydrate ratio to protein, then weight management becomes more challenging along with chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease. Intermittent fasting can help women in this stage of life maintain a healthy weight by promoting fat loss and preserving lean muscle mass.

Bone Health:

  1. Osteoporosis becomes a concern for many women post-menopause. Studies “suggest” that intermittent fasting may help improve bone density by enhancing bone turnover and mineralization, potentially reducing the risk of fractures and osteoporosis. More research is needed to support the relationship between intermittent fasting and bone health over a longer period of time. The little information that is available shows that intermittent fasting does not negatively impact bone health between 3-6 week time frames. See the study HERE.  If you are doing strength training exercises like squats, dumbbell chest presses and pull-ups which places a significant load on the joints, then you are stimulating and promoting bone density which is positive. 

Heart Health:

  1. Menopausal and postmenopausal women are at increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Intermittent fasting can improve cardiovascular health by reducing blood pressure, cholesterol levels, inflammation, and oxidative stress, thereby lowering the risk of heart disease.

Intermittent fasting offers a holistic approach to health and wellness for menopausal and postmenopausal women, addressing hormonal balance, weight management, bone health, and heart health. By incorporating different fasting methods into their lifestyle, women in this stage of life can optimize their health and well-being, empowering them to thrive during and after menopause.

 

Use this intermittent fasting cheat sheet to help you understand the different time frames and what they do

Different time frames yield various physiological effects. Here’s a breakdown:

  1. 12-14 Hours: This is typically considered the entry-level phase of intermittent fasting. It allows your body to enter a fasted state, which can help regulate insulin levels and promote fat burning.
  2. 16 Hours: At around the 16-hour mark, your body has used up its glycogen stores and starts to enter a state called ketosis, where it begins burning fat for fuel. This is often referred to as the “fasting window” and is popularized as the 16/8 method.
  3. 17-18 Hours: Extended fasting beyond 16 hours starts to stimulate autophagy, a cellular repair process where your body breaks down and removes dysfunctional cells and components. This can have benefits for cellular health and longevity.
  4. 20-24 Hours: During this time frame, your body continues to ramp up autophagy, and growth hormone levels may increase. This can support muscle maintenance and fat loss.
  5. 24+ Hours: Extended fasts of 24 hours or more may lead to deeper states of autophagy and increased ketone production. Some proponents suggest benefits such as improved insulin sensitivity, mental clarity, and potential longevity benefits.
  6. Multi-Day Fasts: Fasts lasting several days can lead to more profound metabolic changes, including greater autophagy and potential stem cell regeneration. However, these longer fasts should be approached with caution and ideally under medical supervision.

It’s important to note that individual responses to fasting can vary, and it’s essential to listen to your body and adjust accordingly. Also, factors such as age, gender, activity level, and overall health should be considered when determining the appropriate fasting regimen for you.

A good book to check out and learn more about the metabolic and health benefits of fasting (the book also addresses menopausal and postmenopausal women) is “Fast Like a Girl” by Dr. Mindy Pelz. 

If you found this post helpful, please pass it on and share it with anyone you know that may benefit 🙂 

 

Look ~ Feel ~ and ~ Be ~ Kuhle! 




Tags

alternate day fasting, autophagy, blood sugar, bone density, extended fasting, fasting, fasting benefits, hormonal health, human growth hormone, insulin resistance, insulin sensitivity, intermittent fasting, ketosis, menopause, metabolic health, metabolism, postmenopausal, stem cells, time restricted fasting, weight loss, weight management


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