Women and Fasting: Top Tips for Women Going Through Menopause Part 1

Many women going through menopause often believe they’re doomed when it comes to losing weight.  I’ve had the privilege of working with thousands of women going through ‘the change’, and I’ll be the first to say it isn’t an easy.  But it isn’t impossible either.  In fact, these women can get amazing results, but they must be a bit more diligent than the rest of us when it comes to following some basic fasting principles.

I’ve yet to work with a single woman in the clinic who we haven’t been able to help, but it has taken a lot of trial and error to figure out protocols that really work.  In this series of posts, I’m going to share the top strategies that have helped women in this age group reach their weight loss goals.

 

Tip #1: Fast Consistently and Be Patient

 

Weight loss is much more complicated for women because we’re much more hormonally complex than our male counterparts.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t get the same results.  In fact, we can get the same results.  We just follow a different pathway to success than men do.

In my previous post on Women and Fasting, we discussed the two different pathways men and women experience when it comes to fasting and weight loss.  Men tend to lose a lot of weight at the start, but then they’re weight loss starts to slow down. A man can lose 10 pounds during Week 1, but then is only losing 1 or 2 pounds on Week 12, and some weeks he may not lose any at all as the body tries to dump the more stubborn fat.

What we see in women is the total opposite.  Women are slow to start with little or no weight loss some weeks.  But with patience and consistency with their fasting protocols, their weight loss starts to pick up!  A woman may not lose any weight on Week 1, but she may lose several pounds during Week 12.

I’ve watched many women throw in the towel after a few weeks because they think this is just another dietary fad that isn’t going to work for them.  As a former obese woman and someone who has tried almost every diet on the planet myself, I get it.  But nothing worthwhile comes easily.

Life is also a nonstop rollercoaster of happiness and sorrow.  One day you’re in a great routine and everything is going well, and the next day shit hits the fan and your world comes crashing down.  And what have we been taught to do when that happens?  Comfort ourselves with food.

If you’re a woman looking to lose weight at pretty much any stage of life, you need to nip this in the butt right now.  Life is never constantly stable.  There are bumps and hurdles we face almost every day.  You need to stick to your fasting regimen come hell or high water regardless of what the day brings you or you’re just not going to get results.

I’ve watched patients and loved ones my whole life yo-yo.  I spent the first 27 years of my life yo-yoing.  And because of this, I had to be real with myself.  I had just turned 27 years old and was diagnosed with one of the deadliest diseases on the planet – type 2 diabetes (DMII).  I had two choices.  First, I could tackle diabetes with my failed yo-yo approach.  The result would have been fasting on and off for most of a decade before I hit my goals because I was stressed out about work, angry at my husband, or sad my grandmother died.  And I’d just have to live with the damage the diabetes was doing to my body during that time.

My second option was to fully commit to my protocol for 6 months 90% of the time.  It could only be 90% of the time.  Anything less would put me in the yo-yo category.  Anything more wasn’t human.  I also had to permit myself to be human and not let one bad food choice turn into a day or week of bad choices.  And the goal would be to kick my obesity, DMII, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and fatty liver (NAFLD) in 6 months so I could move on with my life.  This way I could avoid the damage from the diabetes, and I could live my life on my own terms.  By buckling down this meant I wasn’t always a prisoner of a fasting regimen in the future.  I could fast when I want to and when it fitted into my life in the future.

In 6 months, my A1c dropped to 4.6%.  No more NAFLD.  No more PCOS.  No more obesity.  And it was slow as hell to start, but nothing that truly works comes easily.

Expert tip: Plan activities you can do ahead of your fasting days.  This way you always have a plan of action before you get into a funk or feel hungry during your fast.

Examples:

  • If you’re always hungry at 6 PM, then hit the gym or a fitness class during that time
  • If you’re feeling stressed out at work, go for a walk
  • Take an Epsom salt bath if you’re feeling tired and frustrated at home
  • Read a book on your back porch
  • Garden
  • Organize your closet
  • Plan a trip for when you reach your goals
  • Meet a good friend for tea or coffee

 

In next week’s post, we’ll talk about the importance of ‘clean’ fasting for women.

 

Megan Ramos

IDM Program Director

2019-07-11T08:03:03-04:0033 Comments

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Nicole
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Nicole

The actual saying is “nip it in the bud.” The meaning is to take care of a problem in its early stages before it gets too big to manage easily.

Missy
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Very well written Megan! Thank you for sharing your testimony. It gives me great hope! Missy

Sharon
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Sharon

I laughed at that too 🙂 But I wouldn’t mind someone nipping some of my butt off! LOL

Linda Wolfe
Guest

Just FYI, it’s “Nip this in the bud”,not “butt”.

Luna
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Luna

Thank you so much Megan! Tip #1 was so true for me. I had to get a handle on work stress eating, winter hunger and now just now in July I’ve lost the first 10/30, finally!! It took the 90% and patience. Looking forward to Part II. I found that also, menopause brought me zero tolerance for any carbs.

Merry
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Merry

How is this about women in menopause when the example used is a 27 year old? Did I misunderstand something?

Trisha Rappaport
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Trisha Rappaport

Hi Luna, I just joined so I’m new. Can you elaborate please about the zero carb post? I’m having trouble losing weight and I think it’s because I’m starting menopause. I eat low carb, but it doesn’t seem to be working. Thank you!

Cindy
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Cindy

Hey Luna, congratulations on your progress. Sorry I’m a noob, what is 10/30? 10lbs of a 30lb weight loss goal? Also, when you say menopause caused zero carb tolerance what do you mean? You don’t want carbs any longer or you can’t eat carbs without your body responding in a negative way?
I am perimenopausal- just hoping that perhaps you meant menopause may stop the desire for carbs (although I’d not heard of that before, that would be great)

Anita
Guest

I can confirm that menopause does NOT stop the desire for carbs, unfortunately. lol That said, I have not yet begun and a total newbie, too. I did read The Diabetes Code and now reading The Obesity Code. I half-heartedly printed out the sample diet with the every other day fast, did it for 2 DAYS and lost 5 lbs~! I have NEVER had success like that with anything. It makes sense because I love carbs and was following the “eat 6 small meals daily” mindset – which means you eat pretty much all of the time~! There’s not enough… Read more »

Diane Kobrynowicz
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Diane Kobrynowicz

Thanks! And I’d love to hear more success stories about women in menopause

April Ricker
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April Ricker

I really needed to hear this today! Thank you! I’ve been following IF for just over month month and I have been in a surgically induced menopause since I was 32. The struggle is SO real! Thank you for speaking to me this morning <3 Take care!

Nicola
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Nicola

Tips for cooking for the family during fasting days. This is v hard. I haven’t the luxury to hit the gym and leave them ?

Allison
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Allison

Great post! I am currently in the throws of early perimenopause probably brought on by Lyme Disease (and or the intensive antibiotics from it). I have gained about 10 lbs in the last 2 years while doing nothing different. And losing has been nearly impossible. Joined Jenny Craig and lost only 1 lb. Worked one on one with a personal trainer and gained fat and inches! Finally I discovered IF and saw a modest drop—maybe 1.5 lbs. Adding in Barre classes a few times a week and taking Thyroid and Adrenal supplements as well as HRT has helped. Now going… Read more »

Terry
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Terry

I’m 67 and past menopause, A1c has gone frm. 13.5 to 6.2, while not the victory, a huge battle won. . Recommended by cardio doc, Nadir Ali, ( LCHF doctor) not to fast more than 18/6. I lov fasting and it has changed my life. Any advice for us oldsters ?

Thanx for all you do.

Anita Nelson
Member
Anita Nelson

Thank you for that! I’ll be 56 this week and I did the 18/6 a few times, lost 5 lbs. Right now, I’m on 29.5 hour fast so far. I feel great, like my body is clearing things out. My mind is sharp and I’m alert. I am starting to get hungry though, but I’ve been just riding the waves and they go away. I cooked dinner and a snack for my husband and put mine in the fridge. I wonder how others handle the cooking scenario.

cobalt1spot
Member
cobalt1spot

Hi Anita, I work in a living history museum, where I’m demonstrating cooking all day long, talking about 19th century foodways to the visitors. We’re cooking our own-made bacon, making cheese, baking cakes, breads, and pies on the hearth. I’m allowed to eat the food, too; the visitors love to see the costumed interpreters actually eating the hearth-cooked food, 19th century style. You can imagine how it might be to be in the 36th hour of a 48 hr fast, in that context! The only thing I’ve found that keeps temptation at bay, is previsualizing my choice to keep fasting.… Read more »

Anu
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Anu

Hi Megan, i have fasted for 6 months 16/8 with 0 results. I am 50 and have 10kgs to loose. I am menopausal. This has been very frustrating for me. I have decided to try for 1 more month but 2 days nomad, 2 days omad and the rest 2mad as suggeated by another coach on IDM.

Susan Stewart
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Susan Stewart

Per week or per month?

LAURA
Guest
LAURA

It was actually easier for me to lose weight on an Alternate Day Fasting regimen when I was going through menopause (6 years ago – then I stopped ADF, and yep – gained the weight back +. What was I thinking??) . than it is now that menopause is in the rear view mirror. Don’t forget about us post-menopausal women!

Sara Rainey
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Sara Rainey

I love this! Thank you Megan! I’m gonna give it another whirlwind try to do nothing less then 90% good choices during my intermittent fasting regime! You’ve inspired me to keep the consistency going. Even when all else seems to fail.

Janet
Guest
Janet

This really helped me thank you x

Corinne
Guest
Corinne

Hi Megan! Love the posts. I understand that everyone is different and will respond differently to fasting; I’m wondering – given the other posts on ‘Women and Fasting’ where it’s mentioned that 3×36/42 hour fasts/week tend to be most effective for women – does this also apply to women during menopause?
Many thanks in advance.

rachel
Guest

yes, it does

Aksynie
Guest
Aksynie

3×36/42 hour fasts/week regime is only that can help me

Anita Nelson
Member
Anita Nelson

I’m coming up on my first 30 hours. Thanks for this information, I think I will hold out! I’m not sure I could do it that often, but I think any fasting I do will have positive results.

Francine D
Guest
Francine D

Thank you so much. I’m now in full menopause and It’s been 2 months since I started IF. The weight loss is slow, but I will stay diligent.

Susan Stewart
Guest
Susan Stewart

Megan, I am really hoping that you will address the issue of menopause bringing on insulin resistance and carbohydrate intolerance. My understanding is that estradiol is need to sensitize the insulin receptors. If so, then most menopausal women will be insulin resistant due to the lowered estradiol levels. I was one of the unusual ones who had high progesterone which made my very low estradiol levels even worse. Overnight, I began gaining weight despite being on a low carb diet and being careful all the time. Fasting glucose went from 4.2 to 5.7 within 12 months… while eating less than… Read more »

Susan Stewart
Guest
Susan Stewart

A naturopath found that I had high levels of lead toxicity … urinary metals test. I can imagine that lead toxicity could really screw up the metabolism but I haven’t found any information indicating a connection between IR (or weight gain) and lead toxicity. Megan, have you ever heard of this? Thank you.

Pat
Guest
Pat

You are probably suffering from the need to replenish your electrolytes; sodium, magnesium and potassium. This can happen to some people, especially in the beginning of a LC- Keto diet. It make make you feel just a little “off” to fatigued and miserable. A simple and effective fix is re-hydrating with the right balance of electrolytes. Here is a simple recipe: Ingredients 1/3 tsp of sea salt 2 tsp of Natural Calm (If I want to drink this with cold water, I pre-dissolve this in 1 cup of hot water, then add it back into the remainder – no need… Read more »

Anita Nelson
Member
Anita Nelson

I had endometriosis with numerous surgeries for cysts & tumors and put into menopause overnight at 28. I began gaining weight right away. I also had crying and hot flash symptoms that made my life miserable. I tried all the HRT available at that time in the 90’s, but it wasn’t until I tried these creams from Amazon that I got my life back. It didn’t help much with the weight because I was “eating 6 small meals daily to avoid type 2 diabetes”, but it stopped the crying and hot flashes! I do not use as much as they… Read more »

bailey4127
Member
bailey4127

Thank you Dr Fung for all your worthy knowledge , and sharing something that is so important to so many people . I think you can one handedly solve the Diabesity issue, I’ve been an ER nurse for 29 years , and have seen so many people that are so sick with diabetes and up goes the insulin drip to bring down that blood sugar , i know everyone may not be cured but I am grateful you are able to cover a huge population !! Thank you ??

Marianne Tinkler
Guest
Marianne Tinkler

I am menopausal and struggling to loose weight, doing 18/6 but supplementing with small amount of heavy cream when fasting. After reading this will have to stop, 48 years old on HRT

What is the best fasting plan for me initially for a 30 pound weight loss and then maintenance

Since being menopausal I have gained 30 lbs, I am very active and have always been insulin resistant, I feel good when in a fasted state but think the heavy cream has been sabotaging my weight loss

Look forward to reply

Cheers Marianne

rachel
Guest

Definitely cut out the cream. It will help.