Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50: 7 Tips for Success
Women's Health

Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50: 7 Tips for Success

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Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50: 7 Tips for Success

Posted 2 years ago

Brian Stanton

Brian Stanton

Author

People of all ages have been fasting since time immemorial. Our capacity to fast is fairly universal. 

But that doesn’t mean intermittent fasting (IF) affects everyone equally. Today, you’ll be learning about intermittent fasting for women over 50.

Most women over 50 are wrapping up a series of hormonal changes called menopause. Combined with the natural aging process, these changes can promote increased abdominal fat, osteoporosis, accelerated muscle loss, and other troubling issues.[*

Keep reading to learn intermittent fasting benefits, special considerations, and tips for women over 50. 

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting is the practice of taking regular breaks from calories. It’s that simple. 

To be considered an intermittent fast, these breaks must last anywhere from 12 to 36 hours. Anything longer is considered an extended fast.

Our ancestors practiced intermittent fasting all the time. They didn’t have a fully stocked fridge to raid when hunting and gathering failed. They had to fast. 

Fortunately, they were well-adapted for this situation. While fasting, they fueled themselves with body fat. 

That’s also how intermittent fasting works now. When you don’t eat, the hormone insulin stays low.[*] Low insulin, in turn, facilitates the breakdown and oxidation of body fat. 

This fat-burning state drives most of the potential benefits of IF. 

Benefits of IF

Weight loss is a well-documented IF benefit.[*][*] When you eat all your calories in a compressed window, you tend to eat less overall. Less overeating, less weight gain. 

Beyond weight loss, intermittent fasting also:

  • Promotes ketosis (ketosis may help with hunger management and mental acuity)
  • Has been shown to improve cardiovascular risk markers[*][*
  • May help reverse type 2 diabetes[*][*]
  • Helps enhance the circadian rhythm, your 24-hour wake-sleep cycle[*]
  • Helps activate a cellular longevity program called autophagy

Let’s explore how these potential benefits might apply to women over 50. 

Can IF Work for Women Over 50?

The short answer is yes. Intermittent fasting has shown promise for both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. 

One study looked at alternate-day fasting (ADF) in 75 obese men and women.[*] For 12 weeks, participants ate 500 calories on fasting days and as much as they liked on non-fasting days.

Regardless of sex or menopausal status, everyone benefited on average. All groups saw similar reductions in fat mass, fasting insulin, insulin resistance, and blood pressure. Interestingly, postmenopausal women saw greater declines in LDL cholesterol (a heart disease risk factor) than premenopausal women. 

Another group of researchers looked at a type of fasting called time-restricted feeding (TRF).[*] When you practice TRF, you eat all your daily calories in a compressed time frame. 

In the study, obese women ate within a 4 to 6 hour feeding window for 8 weeks. For those familiar with IF protocols, this is somewhere between 16/8 and OMAD

The results were similar to the previous study. Both pre and postmenopausal women lost weight and showed metabolic improvements. 

These are desirable benefits for women over 50. Due to declines in the hormone estrogen, postmenopausal women are at higher risk for weight gain, cardiovascular disease, and blood sugar regulation issues.[*][*] More research is needed, but IF may help offset these risks. 

7 Fasting Tips for Women Over 50

Ladies over 50 should consider these tips to create a sustainable IF practice.

#1: Start slow

If you’re new to intermittent fasting, start with a simple overnight fast. In other words, go from dinner to breakfast without eating. 

Counting sleep, a 12-hour overnight fast requires only 4 hours of wakeful fasting. Once you’re used to overnight fasting, you can proceed with longer fasts if you like. 

#2: Get enough calories

Most intermittent fasting studies allow participants to eat as much as they’d like during feeding windows.[*][*] Even with this liberal policy, most people end up eating fewer calories overall. 

Too much calorie restriction is undesirable. To avoid fatigue, sleep issues, and other calorie restriction side effects, maintain a mild caloric deficit of about 10% by tracking your meals with the Carb Manager app.

#3: Prioritize protein

Inadequate protein intake accelerates age-related muscle loss. This condition (called sarcopenia) is a major cause of morbidity for older people.[*

The more you fast, the more challenging it becomes to hit 100 grams of daily protein. (100 grams is a good target for muscle maintenance). Tracking your protein intake with Carb Manager can help. 

#4: Resistance train

All forms of exercise can complement IF, but strength training is especially important. Why? Because strength training helps you maintain the lean mass (muscle) that you’d otherwise lose while fasting.[*

Muscle keeps us functional as we age. And the older we get, the harder it is to maintain. Throw the brakes on this process by strength training and eating enough protein.

#5: Get enough electrolytes

While fasting, you lose electrolytes like sodium and potassium at higher rates.[*] To prevent the headaches, fatigue, and cramps of electrolyte deficiency, these electrolytes need to be replaced.

This means salting your food, eating electrolyte-rich foods like spinach, and possibly taking an electrolyte supplement. Check out this blog on electrolytes for more on this topic. 

#6: Consider a Keto diet

Keto and intermittent fasting can be a useful tandem for women over 50. Both regimens may help lower insulin, promote ketosis, and stimulate fat loss.[*][*

And yes, the Keto diet has been shown to help postmenopausal women lose weight.[*

#7: Eat a nutrient-dense diet

When you practice IF, you have fewer opportunities to fuel your body with nutrients, you need to make those opportunities count. 

This means eating nutrient-dense foods like meat, fish, eggs, offal, vegetables, fruits, and healthy fats. Skip the refined foods and shop the periphery of the supermarket instead. 

Maintaining a Sustainable Fasting Routine

If you want to succeed with fasting, you need to make fasting part of your routine. You need to make it a habit

One key to habit formation? Accountability. 

Specifically, you want to be accountable to yourself. But how?

By measuring your progress. When you track yourself daily, your personal accountability goes through the roof. 

If you haven’t tried Carb Manager yet, it’s never too late. The premium version of the app has a customized IF tracker that handles your fasting journey soup to nuts. You can also use the basic (free) version to track calories, macros, and weight. Not a bad deal for $0. 

And ladies: if you’re new to fasting, you might also enjoy this comprehensive guide to IF for women.

Disclaimer: This article contains affiliate links. Carb Manager may earn a commission for qualifying purchases made through these links.

Comments 26

  • Iluvcheese1

    Iluvcheese1 3 months ago

    Im doing 16:8 fast 5 days per week. I’m basically not eating breakfast and my first meal of the day is lunch. Carb manager still has my macros for breakfast in my daily log. Do I eat 3 meals a day in the 8 hours I can eat? Or should I just disregard breakfast in my daily log?

    • FavorableKetone559753

      FavorableKetone559753 2 months ago

      You can go into your app settings and turn off/on various meals and snacks. I have just lunch and dinner turned on.

  • StellarRadish226603

    StellarRadish226603 a year ago

    I got diagnosis with Breast cancer. I started right into a 16 hour fasting. This is my first week. It is hard to find out what to eat in my 8 hours of feeding.

    • Jo0853

      Jo0853 2 months ago

      Stay strong! Read Dr Bosworths book on how she cared for her mother diagnosed with cancer.

  • MirthfulKetone198965

    MirthfulKetone198965 a year ago

    Now 61, I have been on IF for 16 months and it has changed my life! I usually follow 18/6, eat low carb/high fat, avoid seed oils, sugar, and processed foods and have lost 28 pounds, (My highest weight was 100 pounds over this!) bringing me back to a normal BMI and a return to my high school weight. It is now a lifestyle that I just follow with ease. When I do get those cravings to snack, it is at least not on the junk that kept me overweight most of my life. Take it a day at a time and celebrate each small change.

    • BlithesomeArugula964509

      BlithesomeArugula964509 a year ago

      Thank you pjbennie66 for your motivation and telling me about the Carb Manager! I’m already seeing results!

      • drkelley89

        drkelley89 2 years ago

        Great article! Being over 50 has been hard on me. I’m currently doing a 12/12 fasting. One more week and I’m going to do a 14/10 for a couple weeks and then change to a 16/8.

        • Ambler007

          Ambler007 a year ago

          How is that working for you? I am hitting a plateau and have to change things up!

      • FortuitousKetone153350

        FortuitousKetone153350 2 years ago

        Have been fasting for a year now and lost 15 kgs. My annual check up results were the best I have had for years. Still working on IF, can’t always be perfect but I have realized now that this is a way to live not a diet ti follow for some time and stop.

        • Riverrock

          Riverrock 2 years ago

          65 years old and have dropped 25 pounds in 3 months. I was eating low carb, but getting ready to see what some Keto meals will do for me. So many health benefits to fasting beyond the weight loss❤️

          • Ambler007

            Ambler007 a year ago

            How has the change been? Have you had steady weight loss?

        • SplendidCauliflower690328

          SplendidCauliflower690328 2 years ago

          I started fasting to fight my type 2 diabetes and within 2 weeks I had lowered or reversed it to 6.4. wow and I feel good.

          • joysheph

            joysheph 2 years ago

            What if it's sugar free creamer? I newbie

            • WDrymon

              WDrymon a year ago

              I use heavy cream and a sugar free syrup, like Torani or skinny girl

          • KatKittyKat

            KatKittyKat 2 years ago

            Can I consume clear broth during fasting?

            • Gdmac1225

              Gdmac1225 2 years ago

              I have started drinking tea in the morning. I must have cream in my coffee, so I just keep it until the afternoon when I eat a late lunch.

              • SpectacularKale239731

                SpectacularKale239731 2 years ago

                Does 1 tbsp of cream with coffee really take you straight out of ketosis?

                • BlithesomeAvocado767990

                  BlithesomeAvocado767990 a year ago

                  Keto allows the cream , you just can’t have cows milk

                • SplendidKale223243

                  SplendidKale223243 2 years ago

                  Let your body tell you.

                • Ketoconnie

                  Ketoconnie 2 years ago

                  No

                • Carnivore_Girl

                  Carnivore_Girl 2 years ago

                  Absolutely not.

              • Nirmaleep

                Nirmaleep 2 years ago

                To drink Black coffee in the morning is what I need to do. This is very helpful as I take 3 tbs of cream in my coffee. No sugar. From tomorrow No Cream too!

                • FortuitousKale679816

                  FortuitousKale679816 a year ago

                  I use sugar free heavy cream

                • Kathy

                  Kathy 2 years ago

                  Try using MTC oil with a small blender.

                • SplendidCauliflower690328

                  SplendidCauliflower690328 2 years ago

                  you can use butter.

                • AmazingKale695588

                  AmazingKale695588 2 years ago

                  Same with me. I cut the cream out of my coffee. Now I can have my coffee while still in my fast