Guide to Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50

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Women over 50 can face numerous struggles when trying to lose weight. And while there are many factors to consider, the major factor is a slowed metabolism. Typically, your metabolism is faster with the more lean muscle your body has.

However, as we grow older, we begin to lose that lean muscle mass. We have also become a lot less active than before. We end up with body fat that doesn’t seem to disappear.

Intermittent fasting is a trend that has become extremely popular recently thanks to its plethora of health benefits. It also helps that it is one of the diet trends that doesn’t place restrictions on the type of food you eat.

Research has shown that fasting can improve your mental health and metabolism and even help prevent some cancers. Intermittent fasting has also been shown to stem certain joint, nerve, and muscle disorders that typically affect women over 50.

For the skeptics, it is important to understand that intermittent fasting for women over 50 isn’t a dieting trend. Rather it is a lifestyle that preaches time-restricted eating habits, which can help you practice wellness, feel healthier, and lose weight.

This article aims to find out how effective intermittent fasting for women over 50 is coupled with a detailed guide on how to begin intermittent fasting for women over 50.

What Is Intermittent Fasting?

Intermittent fasting for women over 50 can be defined as a time-restrictive diet where one switches from eating to fasting. There are various methods to achieve this; however, the underlying principle is to concentrate on the time windows instead of the foods you can consume.

Intermittent fasting is built on the concept that our prehistoric ancestors had long periods between eating and hunting. These prehistoric humans also engaged in more activity than the average person does today. Theoretically, following a prehistoric eating pattern can lower the risk of heart disease, obesity, and high blood pressure.

Some adherents of intermittent fasting claim that it can help the body achieve ketosis. When ketosis happens, the body burns fat instead of carbs, turning it into fuel, and promoting fat loss, while providing more energy.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50

For various women, intermittent fasting’s attraction lies within the possibility of losing weight; however, is intermittent fasting safe for women over 50?

A study placed women over 50 in different dietary groups: 70% calorie intake alternate day fasting, 100% calorie intake alternate day fasting, and the Mediterranean diet. The women in the 70% calorie intake alternate day fasting had the best results, losing the most weight and body fat.

Furthermore, recent research has supported the claim that intermittent fasting benefits women over 50. Nevertheless, every individual is different, so you must do what works best for you.

Women over 50 are more prone to weight gain, particularly during menopause, due to fluctuating levels of hormones. Furthermore, women typically have elevated levels of ghrelin—the hunger hormone—resulting in belly fat.

This means that it is quite reasonable to want to try intermittent fasting as a way to lose weight. Nevertheless, you must do this in a safe manner that optimizes the benefits.

Apart from helping you lose weight, intermittent fasting benefits include the following:

  • Promoting a healthy lifestyle
  • Boosting physical stamina
  • Preventing heart disease
  • Lowering glucose and cholesterol levels
  • Enhancing cognitive brain function, including memory recall
  • Lowering body fat
  • Reducing the risk of diabetes and obesity
  • Lowering blood pressure.

While all these benefits sound great, intermittent fasting isn’t something everyone should do. For example, individuals with blood sugar issues, diabetes, or eating disorders need to speak with a medical professional before embarking on an intermittent fast.

Is Intermittent Fasting the Same as Keto?

When intermittent fasting is described, it is easy to think that it is the same thing as a keto diet. However, that isn’t the case, as both diet plans are different, even if they share benefits.

With a keto diet plan, you are prohibited from consuming certain foods, while with an intermittent fasting diet, you simply concentrate on eating healthy food during certain times.

Research has shown that a diet can help you lose weight, but how does it work? An intermittent fasting diet isn’t one of those diet plans that are extremely strict on what you can eat and what you can’t. The main aim is to restructure when you can consume food instead of what you eat.

This means you don’t drink(apart from water) or eat anything while fasting. Once it is time to eat, you then consume low-carb foods such as:

  • Healthy fats
  • Whole grains
  • Veggies
  • Fruits
  • Lean proteins
  • Complex carbohydrates

What’s great about an intermittent fasting diet is that you can still consume many of your favorite foods—within reason—but only during the eating window.

Find out what you can drink while fasting and eat when you break your fast here.

Types of Intermittent Fasting

There are various types of intermittent fasting to select from. This section of the article highlights the various types of intermittent fasting diets.

Meal Skipping

Meal skipping is a different type of intermittent fasting diet best suited to beginners. With this diet, you can choose the meals you can skip based on time limitations and your hunger level. Meal skipping is typically successful when you can watch your calorie intake consuming fewer calories.

When you skip meals, you must remember to only eat healthy foods such as vegetables and fruits. Perhaps the easiest method to deal with meal skipping is to eat when you feel hungry and skip meals when you aren’t.

12-Hour Fast

The 12-hour fast is an everyday intermittent fast that requires you to fast for 12 hours. This type of intermittent fasting is best suited to a beginner as the fasting window is especially small. Generally, most of the fasting window occurs at night. You can also set your eating time to your own preference.

For instance, you could fast from 6 pm to 6 am. This means you need to finish eating by 6 pm and then wait till 6 am the next morning before you can eat. However, the majority of the fasting period occurs when you are asleep, making it quite an easy fast to undertake.

14-Hour Fast

The 14-hour fast is a type of intermittent fasting diet that uses the 16:8 diet philosophy. In the 16:8 diet, men fast for 16 hours daily while women fast for 14. This fast typically ends with dinner each night and begins with breakfast being skipped. You cannot eat till noon with this fast.

This form of intermittent fasting can be great for those that can be helpful for those that have attempted the 12-hour fast without any results. Research has shown that limiting your calorie intake window to about 8 hours can help prevent inflammation, obesity, and liver illness.

Alternate Day Fasting

Alternate-day fasting is a type of intermittent fasting that requires you to fast on alternate days. This form of intermittent fasting is typically recommended for individuals with prior intermittent fasting experience. It is also not suited for individuals with medical issues.

Studies have shown that alternate-day fasting can result in significant weight loss and improve metabolic health, digestive health, and the immune system. In one study, participants lost 5.3 kilos over 12 weeks.

The study also showed that this type of intermittent fasting is extremely effective at improving heart health and reducing weight in both overweight and healthy adults. You should note that this intermittent fasting diet requires discipline, as you will have to fast every other day.

The Fasting-Mimicking Diet

The Fasting Mimicking diet is one of Hollywood’s best-kept secrets. It was developed by a UCLA doctor and it allows you to eat micro-portions of food that will not break your fast. If it sounds too good to be true, read our complete article here.

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The Warrior Diet

The Warrior Diet might sound intimidating, but it is far from it. It is an intermittent fasting diet with a 20-hour fasting period. This diet requires you to eat a couple of servings daily and then eat a large meal before bedtime. This type of fast isn’t recommended for newbies as it requires you to skip breakfast and other meals during the fasting day, with only dinner permitted. You will be required to fast for 20 hours daily, giving you just a 4-hour window for calorie intake, primarily from healthy foods.

This form of intermittent fasting helps promote weight loss, lowers stress levels, and enhances mental clarity while helping build the lean muscle mass required to boost metabolism. Nevertheless, you should note that this diet can be quite difficult for certain individuals to adhere to since it requires them to eat just a couple of hours a day.

Fasting for Two Days a Week Or 5:2

The 5:2 diet, also referred to as the Fast Diet, is a type of intermittent fasting for women over 50 that requires you to fast for 2 days and normally eat for 5. During the 2 fasting days, you are expected to consume a certain amount of calories. Women are expected to consume just 500 calories, while men consume 600.

When conducting this type of intermittent fasting for women over 50, most people tend to separate their fasting days during the week. For instance, they may choose to fast on a Tuesday and Friday, regularly eating on other days. To receive the intermittent fasting benefits, you need to have at least 1 non-fasting day between the 2 fasting days.

Currently, research is limited on this diet; however, a study showed that restricting calorie intake twice a week and consuming fewer calories can lead to increased weight loss levels.

Nevertheless, one of the main intermittent fasting benefits noted in the study was that insulin levels significantly decreased at a rate that promoted weight loss.

Weekly 24 Hours Fast

This type of intermittent fasting is one of the most popular ways to conduct intermittent fasting. With this fast, you restrict your drink and food intake for an entire day once a week while consuming all the required nutrients during other days of the week.

With a weekly 24-hour fast, you can reflect inward and practice self-discipline without adversely affecting your physical health. Adverse effects such as dehydration and hunger are typically linked with longer periods of liquid and food restrictions. You should note that you can still drink tea, water, and other non-calorie drinks while fasting. Water intake is an important aspect of this type of diet.

While it might sound challenging, it is quite possible to achieve. For one, you get to eat dinner the night before your intermittent fasting day and sleep. Once you finish your dinner, the 24-hour fasting period begins. This means you miss breakfast and lunch the next day only to have a healthy dinner at night, which concludes your fast.

You can return to your normal calorie intake without restrictions on days you aren’t fasting. Eating this way can lower your overall calorie intake without restricting the type of foods you can consume.

To read more about all the benefits of a 24 hour fast, check out our full review here.

Tips for Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50

If you are reading this, you are undoubtedly interested in intermittent fasting or women over 50. With that in mind, here are a few tips to guide you on your diet plan:

If you notice fatigue, weight gain, muscle loss, insomnia, or lightheadedness during your intermittent fast, it could mean that you are consuming fewer calories than required. Monitor your calorie intake either by writing a journal or using an app.

Ensure you consult with a medical professional before you begin your intermittent fast. This is especially important as your doctor knows your medical background and history, which they can use to guide you on the most healthy and effective intermittent fasting approach.

When undergoing intermittent fasting, take the time to experiment with different fasting and eating windows. There will always be one window to which your body responds better, so attempt a couple until you get a rhythm. Intermittent fasting for women over 50 means starting off with a 16:8 or 12:12 ratio. This enables the body to adjust to the new routine.

If possible, integrate an exercise routine to burn the fat off and stave off any long-term weight gain. You should also avoid consuming fast food and empty carbs during your eating window, as this simply fills you up temporarily.

You should concentrate on consuming whole foods that leave you fuller for longer.


Anne Haliday has spent her career in the food industry both as a chef and a food critic. She is passionate about health and nutrition and has spent years studying food and it’s impact on our health. In her free time Anne can be found kayaking or practicing yoga


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