Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 40: Everything You Need to Know

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Intermittent fasting can be an effective way for women over 40 to lose weight. Here’s everything you need to know about intermittent fasting for women over 40 and a 7-day plan to help you get started.

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I’ve written before about how I finally lost 20 pounds of menopausal weight with Intermittent Fasting. Intermittent Fasting has been the only way I’ve been able to lose weight now that I’m (way over) 40, so I’m a big fan of this way of eating.

But there’s a little bit more to Intermittent Fasting than just not eating. You can choose from several different fasting windows, for example. And it can be difficult to get started if you’ve never fasted before.

So today, I’m sharing everything you need to know about Intermittent Fasting for women over 40: some of the benefits you can expect from fasting, how to pick the time window for eating and fasting, the shockingly controversial opinions about coffee when you’re fasting, and how to change your mindset so you can succeed at Intermittent Fasting.

Plus, I’m sharing the 7-day program I use to get started back with Intermittent Fasting along with a quick cheat sheet you can print and follow as you get started.

What is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent Fasting is simply a way fo eating that cycles between windows of time when you fast and windows of time when you eat. You already practice intermittent fasting every day. At a minimum, after all, you don’t eat when you’re sleeping!

How Does Intermittent Fasting Help You Lose Weight?

Most people naturally eat fewer calories when they practice intermittent fasting and restricting calories is a proven method of weight loss.

However, some studies suggest that practicing intermittent fasting can boost production of the hormone norepinephrine, which boosts your metabolism, and reduce your insulin levels, which helps with fat burning.

I know anecdotally many women over 40, including myself, who swear that Intermittent Fasting is the only method by which they can lose weight.

Some of the Benefits of Intermittent Fasting

I’m a fan of Intermittent Fasting because it’s worked for me. There are also many benefits of Intermittent Fasting that have been proved by scientific studies. (I’m a big fan of science.)

Here’s just a few:

  • Insulin levels drop, promoting fat burning and lowering your risk of Type 2 Diabetes.
  • Human Growth hormones level increase, also promoting fat burning and muscle building.
  • Inflammation is reduced in the body.

Can You Combine Intermittent Fasting with Keto?

You can, and many people do. However, I don’t because I love my carbs and I can lose weight with intermittent fasting alone.

I do restrict sugar and processed foods because I find that causes me to gain weight and be hungrier. I also personally don’t eat fruit because I’m allergic to a lot of fruits and I find that fruit seems to spike my blood sugar.

Types of Intermittent Fasting

There are many types of intermittent fasting. Here’s an overview of just a few of the more common forms.

The 5/2 Fast Diet. You eat normally five days a week and restrict calories 2 days a week.

Alternate Day Fasting. You eat normally one day and then restrict calories or drink only water the next day.

One Meal a Day Fasting. Often called OMAD. Pretty self-explanatory, right? You eat just one meal a day, usually at night. 

20/4 Fasting. You fast for 20 hours a day and then eat normally for 4 hours each day.

16/8 Fasting. You fast by drinking only water for 16 hours a day and then eat normally for eight hours a day.

You can find fans of all of these ways of Intermittent Fasting, but the most popular methods are 16/8 Fasting (especially for beginners) and 5/2 Fasting.

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Why 16/8 Intermittent Fasting is Good for Intermittent Fasting Beginners

I follow the 16/8 Intermittent Fasting method because it’s the easiest method for me to follow and causes less disruption to family mealtimes. It’s a great fasting for beginners at Intermittent Fasting because you are simply lengthening the period of time you fast naturally each day.

For example, I was already in the habit of not eating after dinner so I was typically fasting from 7ish until the next morning anyway.

In the form of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting I follow, I eat my first meal at noon and then finish eating and drinking by 8 PM. I like this schedule because it allows me to have a late-ish dinner if I want or a glass of wine during Jeopardy with my husband. (Wine is totally allowed. In moderation, of course.)

Can You Have Your Morning Coffee When You’re Doing Intermittent Fasting?

The number one question I see about Intermittent Fasting is this one: “Am I breaking my fast if I start the day with a cup of coffee?” The consensus seems to be that a cup of black coffee is totally fine.

But what if you need your coffee to start the day and you can’t drink it without cream and/or sugar?

Intermittent Fasting purists will tell you that you’ve ruined your fast if you have a cup of coffee with cream and sugar. But here’s what I think.

Change is hard. A lot of change is really hard.

If you drink coffee and think you can’t quit it, then go ahead and have your morning cup. Don’t let that stop you from trying Intermittent Fasting.

If you find that you’re not losing weight or if you feel that you get too hungry after drinking your morning cup of coffee, you may want to focus on switching to black coffee first and come back to Intermittent Fasting later.

It’s always totally up to you.

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If you feel like you can’t give up your morning cup of coffee with cream and sugar, that’s ok – you can get started anyway. We’re looking for progress, not perfection, here.

The Secret to Success at Intermittent Fasting

Here’s something that isn’t talked about enough. If you’re making a change in your life, your brain might freak out and make that change really difficult.

Let’s say you’re used to having a full breakfast every morning as soon as you wake up. But today is the day you’ve decided that you’re going to fast until noon. Easy peasy, right?

Well, it might be. Or you might find yourself thinking about delicious breakfast foods. Your stomach may start growling. And the next thing you know, you’re grabbing a Danish at 10:00 am because you’re starving.

That’s your brain doing its job: protecting you from danger.

You’re trying something new by extending the time between meals. And your brain is freaking out. What if we can’t get food ever again! What if food is always restricted? Where is my toast and bacon? 

That’s why I find that it helps to ease into fasting, rather than jumping into 16/8 Intermittent Fasting on the first day. Easing into the program keeps your brain from freaking out and basically retrains it to expect that you’ll still be able to eat even when the first meal of the day is later than it used to be.

The Best Way to Begin Intermittent Fasting

I followed a 7-day Plan to ease into Intermittent Fast when I first started and I follow it whenever I want to start fasting again after a period of time when I haven’t been following the program, such as when I’m on vacation or during the holidays.

You start by

  • Focusing on waiting longer before eating, 
  • Eating small portions of high protein foods that keep you full, 
  • Learning to listen to when your body is truly hungry
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By easing into intermittent fasting with this 7-Day Plan, you can avoid the scarcity mindset and set yourself up for success.

Foods That Support Intermittent Fasting

Lemon Water

I like to start every day with lemon water. It’s a good source of vitamin C, and although most of the health benefits are anecdotal, I feel better when I drink it on a regular basis. I add the juice of half a lemon to warm water from the tap, but lots of people like to heat their water in the microwave.

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Start Every Day with an 8 Ounce Glass of Lemon Water

Bone Broth

I’m a big fan of bone broth and frequently drink it as a snack or a morning beverage. I find it incredibly filling, and the collagen in bone broth has been shown to have skin-firming benefits (among other health benefits.) On average, one cup has only 40 calories and 10 grams of protein so it’s an excellent way to support you and ease your hunger as you ease into Intermittent Fasting.

You can make your own bone broth (I never have) or choose from some of the many options.

Kettle and Fire has a lot of options (here’s a nice variety pack to try out what they’ve got) or you can buy bone broth at most supermarkets these days. Just make sure it’s really bone broth, as opposed to regular broth or stock. Look for at least 10 grams of protein on the label.

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Bone broth is a great way to add filling protein to your diet for very few calories and it has other health benefits as well.

Low Calorie, High Protein Foods

As we’re easing into Intermittent Fasting, we’re focusing on low-calorie, high-protein foods that keep us full and take longer to digest. I’m using hard-boiled eggs and cheese sticks in this plan because they are both under 100 calories with around 5 and 6 grams of protein, so they’re good choices for a quick snack if you’re hungry.

They are also convenient to take on the go, so you’re never without something to eat when you’re hungry.

Hard-boiled eggs are pretty self-explanatory. By cheese sticks, I mean a cheese snack, similar to this.

The 7-Day Plan to Get Started Intermittent Fasting

Here is the 7-Day Plant I like to follow to ease into Intermittent Fasting. I’ve included sample times, but adjust as necessary because the key is to listen to your body.

If the plan says to eat and you’re not hungry, don’t eat. You can always eat later if you want. If the plan says to not eat and you’re looking at your watch over and over, wishing it was time to eat, go ahead and have an extra cup of bone broth. If you’re still hungry 30 minutes after drinking the bone broth, then go ahead and have a hard-boiled egg.

THERE ARE TWO KEYS TO REMEMBER: ONLY EAT WHEN YOU’RE HUNGRY AND YOU CAN ALWAYS EAT WHEN YOU’RE TRULY HUNGRY

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FREE BONUS! Download a Printable Version of this 7-Day Plan to Get Started with Intermittent Fasting Now. No Signup Required!

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DAY 1

7 AM: 8 ounces Lemon Water, Black Coffee or Tea (if you drink it – see What About Coffee?)

8 AM: 2 Hard Boiled Eggs, 1 Cheese Stick, 8 ounces Water

9 AM: 8 ounces Water

10 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

11 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

12 PM: LUNCH AS USUAL

DAY 2

7 AM: 8 ounces Lemon Water, Black Coffee or Tea

8 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

9 AM: 2 Hard Boiled Eggs, 1 Cheese Stick, 8 ounces Water

10 AM: 8 ounces Water

11 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

12 PM: LUNCH AS USUAL

DAY 3

7 AM: 8 ounces Lemon Water, Black Coffee or Tea

8 AM: 8 ounces Water

9 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

10 AM: 1 Hard Boiled Egg, 1 Cheese Stick, 8 ounces Water

11 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

12 PM: LUNCH AS USUAL

DAY 4

7 AM: 8 ounces Lemon Water, Black Coffee or Tea

8 AM: 8 ounces Water

9 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

10 AM: 1 Hard Boiled Egg, 8 ounces Water

11 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

12 PM: LUNCH AS USUAL

DAY 5

7 AM: 8 ounces Lemon Water, Black Coffee or Tea

8 AM: 8 ounces Water

9 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

10 AM: 1 Hard Boiled Egg, 8 ounces Water

11 AM: 8 ounces Water

12 PM: LUNCH AS USUAL

DAY 6

7 AM: 8 ounces Lemon Water, Black Coffee or Tea

8 AM: 8 ounces Water

9 AM: 8 ounces Water

10 AM: 1 Cup Bone Broth

11 AM: 8 ounces Water

12 PM: LUNCH AS USUAL

DAY 7

7 AM: 8 ounces Lemon Water, Black Coffee or Tea

8 AM: 8 ounces Water

9 AM: 8 ounces Water

10 AM: 8 ounces Water

11 AM: 8 ounces Water

12 PM: LUNCH AS USUAL

What Next?

You’re ready now for a regular practice of 16/8 Intermittent Fasting. But, remember to always listen to your body! If you’re hungry in the mornings, you can still have a snack of bone broth or a low-calorie, high protein snack like a boiled-egg or cheese stick. Respect what your body is telling you!

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FREE BONUS! Download a Printable Version of this 7-Day Plan to Get Started with Intermittent Fasting Now. No Signup Required!

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1 thought on “Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 40: Everything You Need to Know”

  1. I think intermittent fasting is the only real way I will be able to lose some of the 7 pounds I gained after menopause. I workout hard 3-4 days a week. Eat very well, low sugar and low carbs. I do like my wine, though, and drink 2 glasses a day. I simply cannot lose any weight, though. I tried intermittent fasting about 2 years ago, and it really did work. I’m 56 now. Thanks for your article. Very, very helpful!!

    Reply

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