Are you trying to lose weight? In perimenopause? Have you tried intermittent fasting (IF)?
In perimenopause, this seems to be the #1 question I get asked, why can’t I lose weight? I now have this spare tire around my midsection and it just keeps getting bigger – what can I do?
In “most” cases it is a question of cutting back on the highly refined carbs, not constantly eating all day and having periods of not eating at all.
Intermittent fasting (IF) is nothing new, it’s been around for centuries. There are times in history where there was famine and feast, times when food was more plentiful and times when it was scarce. We don’t seem to have that problem in the modern world, we can get food all year round, from different countries and in large quantities. Food is on demand 24/7.
So, why would IF be an option for you? There are a number of reasons why IF does the body good. One reason is that it allows the body to digest the food that we put into it, which can take anywhere from 3-7 hours depending on the food and amount. By allowing our bodies to fully digest the food that we eat, our digestive system can do its job efficiently and not have to constantly be on its game.
IF can also create a different focus, by not focusing on our next meal, right after we just ate, it allows us to think of other things in our lives like our jobs, our families, our goals etc. By giving us this breathing room we don’t have to think about what we are going to eat, what groceries we need, what time we need to start cooking, who’s going to cook? who’s going to clean up…etc. It can actually create more time for you, time you would normally spend making, eating and clearing up food is now free time.
IF can also help with inflammation. During the time of fasting, only healthy cells will be given the energy they need to perform their jobs, cells that are damaged are left to fend for themselves, and likely die off and get cleaned out by the body.
Why do I like IF for weight loss? I like it because it targets abdominal fat! You can actually see the weight coming off. IF works with our fat storage hormone, Insulin. Insulin goes up as we eat and comes down as we process the food. By allowing a good chunk of time between eating and fasting we allow our insulin to become normalized, and sugar and fat are pulled from the liver and utilized within the body as energy. If we are constantly eating this mechanism doesn’t happen. If we eat every few hours our bodies don’t get to dip into our stored energy and uses the readily available fuel you keep adding in.
So, if you haven’t yet used IF as a strategy I suggest you try it. Start out with 14 hours. Stop eating at 6 pm the night before and break your fast at 8 am the next morning, you will have been asleep for most of this time so you won’t feel it as much. See how you feel. Do you actually feel hungry? If you do, gently break your fast with maybe a handful of nuts and then have your first meal. If you don’t feel hungry, wait until you do.
“The key to losing weight is breaking into the body’s fat stores for energy, and the main hormone that controls this is insulin. Eating food, particularly carbohydrates, throughout the day maintains raised levels of insulin, even if the overall calorie intake is reduced. This instructs the body to switch off lipolysis (fat burning) whilst activating lipogenesis (fat creation), resulting in fat gain. On the other hand, abstaining from caloric intake altogether, for an extended period of time, lowers insulin levels and allows lipolysis to be switched back on, thus, the body is permitted to break into its fat stores for energy. This practice is called intermittent fasting and has physiological effects distinct from those of calorie restriction” Dr Jason Fung (2)
*If you are suffering from adrenal fatigue or cortisol issues make sure to consult your healthcare provider before starting a fast. IF maybe not be for everyone, but if you start off small you will get more and more comfortable with the feelings of hunger and be able to push the time further and further.
I personally use IF and have seen great results, both in my mental clarity and my waistline.