I’ve seen many women put on weight after they turn 40, it’s common and there’s a number of reasons why. Very often their hormones are out of balance but growing older can play a part too. But what I see mostly is hormone imbalance. It’s a huge contributor to stubborn weight gain. Huge!
There Is No Perfect Diet
Wherever you’re sitting currently let me be clear. It doesn’t matter if it’s hormone or ‘other reasons’ related weight gain. There is no perfect diet. Keto, Paleo, Low-Fat or Vegan etc. are just labels. The important thing is to set a goal, look at your mindset, work on hormone balance and reduce stress and toxins as these things are KEY to weight loss success. Then kick processed foods, refined carbohydrates and sugar to the kerb and ‘crowd them out’ with vegetables, lean protein and unrefined carbohydrates. It’s real food that will make all the difference. Ensuring your blood sugar levels are stable, your digestion is working well, your thyroid is supported and your cortisol levels are lowered is important too. Cortisol is your ‘stress’ hormone and the higher it is the more your body will resist letting go of excess fat.
My Secret Weapon
Ever since I’ve made intermittent fasting part of my life I’ve been more able to manage my weight and feel far happier with how my clothes are fitting. I’ve said before I’m not perfect by any manner of means and I tend to be most comfortable at the upper level of a healthy weight range as when I get too slender (and as I grow older) it’s not flattering to my face. The other – and probably more important point – is that my health is so much better. And if you’ve read my story about chronic pain, which I now understand was due to inflammation, it gets less and less all the time. In fact, it’s now almost a distant memory.
What Is Intermittent Fasting (IF)?
IF is the practice of having eating ‘windows’ and periods of fasting. There are several ways to do it, I find the easiest and simplest way is the 16:8 process. This involves eating for eight hours and nothing for 16 hours. Some people choose to fast for 12 hours only and that’s definitely the simplest way to begin. I recommend this when you’re starting out as it’s more achievable – the thought of 16 hours without food can be daunting to some people! Others opt for the 5:2 regime which is five days of eating normally and two days where you only eat about 500 calories.
Note: for women, it doesn’t need to be a daily regime. And it probably shouldn’t be. Perhaps try fasting a couple of days a week or every other day and see how you go.
I first became aware of IF when I was at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat in Queensland a number of years ago. Gwinganna is a health retreat and it’s their business to keep up to date with the latest information and research for wellness, exercise and nutrition. They noted the amount of research that highlighted that IF was not just a great weight loss tool it also had numerous other health benefits.
Health Benefits of IF:
- Weight loss
- Increased growth hormone
- Improved heart health
- Lower insulin and sugar levels
- Prevention of Alzheimer’s disease
- Reversal of Type 2 diabetes
- Cellular regeneration and repair aka autophagy
- Reduction of inflammatory conditions (as I’ve proved)!
IF and Body Composition/Clinical Health Markers
Impact of IF on health and disease processes
How It Works
I’m sorry, but you can’t decide to take up IF and use your eating window to indulge in potato chips and chocolate. It’s about focusing on health and nutrient-rich foods like green leafies, lean proteins and good fats. I love to pack in the colours of the rainbow and oodles of green. Plus I recommend following the PFF rule: protein, fat and fibre to keep fuller for longer and serve up optimum health. Bonus? Your skin will love you for it and your energy levels go through the roof. And those hormonal symptoms of yours? They will settle down and you can get back to being you again.
For my 16:8 regime, I choose to begin at 10 am and finish at 6 pm or thereabouts because I work at home. If I have an evening catch up with friends or date night I’ll change it to accommodate that or I simply won’t practise IF that day. You might have – say – a family or partner dinner at 7 pm so you could begin earlier and finish later. Or if you work 9-5 and have a commute you could start at 12 midday and finish at 8 pm. The point is it’s up to you.
Close The Kitchen Three To Four Hours Before Bed
The earlier you begin and the earlier you finish the better as several studies show evening eating is one of the bigger contributors to weight gain. That’s why I always recommend not eating anything at least three hours before bed.
Focus On Health Rather Than Weight
Intermittent fasting is more lifestyle than a diet. Historically it’s probably the way we once ate when food wasn’t plentiful and we couldn’t just pop to the supermarket to fill the cupboards. The trick is to focus on your health and not your weight. Load up on all that good stuff we talked about earlier during your eating windows: fresh vegetables and fruit, lean proteins and good fats. You could try it for five days a week or follow it for only one or two, it’s totally your choice. I love that it’s flexible and saves time and money!
One caveat though, IF is not for everyone. If you’re not on top form healthwise, have a chronic disease, an eating disorder, are underweight or are struggling with a very stressful lifestyle it’s probably not a good idea. As with any substantial life changes that affect your wellbeing you should check with your doctor first.
Hope that helps!
Written by Jenna Moore – Youology Founder
If you need an accountability partner to help you lose weight or you’d like to follow a supported online program get in touch with her here.
THANKS FOR STOPPING BY!
YOURS IN HEALTH & HAPPINESS 😀