Is intermittent fasting the key to weight loss in the over forties? An Expert weighs in

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  • When we embark on a weight loss regime, we don’t really want to start cutting out all our favourite foods. And we also don’t want to be feeling hungry 24/7. So is intermittent fasting the answer?

    Basically, we want to eat delicious foods, whilst still watching the pounds drop off, which as we get older becomes harder, especially when it’s not recommended that women over 40 diet and exercise at the same time.

    However, this is where intermittent fasting and carb cycling come into the equation, both of which could help burn fat, even in the over forties.

    What is intermittent fasting?

    CEO of Nosh Detox Delivery, Geeta Sidu-Robb, explains that intermittent fasting is a method of eating where you cycle between periods of fasting and eating.

    Fasting has a long history; ancient hunter-gatherers didn’t always have access to food so we evolved where we could thrive on eating nothing for some extended periods of time.’

    She adds: ‘It’s not so much a diet as an eating pattern. Studies show that fasting helps you not only loose weight but also makes you much healthier.’

    Is intermittent fasting recommended for the over forties?

    Anyone thinking of trying intermittent fasting should discuss this with their doctor first. But generally intermittent fasting can be done by an adult of any age, as long as they are eating a balanced diet, are in good health and have no serious medical conditions. Skipping meals and severely limiting calories can be dangerous for people with certain illnesses, such as diabetes. And people who take medications for blood pressure or heart disease should also avoid fasting.

    How fast intermittently according to the professionals

    There are a few ways to fast; we recommend a variation of what is known as the 16/8 method.

    ‘This method requires you to fast for 16 hours and eat for 8.’

    For women however, Geeta recommends a 15 hours fasting, 9 hours eating approach.

    ‘Our Hormone profiles make this more advantageous for us. Eating too little over a long period of time affects women’s hormones and thyroid production.’

    So for example, you would choose your 9 hour eating slot; say 10am to 6pm, and the rest of the day would involve no eating. This can be adapted to suit your lifestyle. Perhaps you eat out a lot in the evening, so might change your 9 hours to 1pm to 10pm, or if you love breakfast first thing, adapt it to 7am to 4pm.

    How to stick to intermittent fasting

    Of course, if you’re preparing food for others; kids, family members or a partner, outside of your eating window, you might struggle to avoid food.

    You could try brushing your teeth after eating to trick your mind into thinking that meal-time is over. As well as this, be sure to remain hydrated; try enjoying flavoured herbal teas, to keep taste buds happy.

    Consider carb cycling as too

    Alongside intermittent fasting, carb cycling can also aid in weight loss.

    Geeta tells us: ‘Carb cycling is a dietary approach where you alternate carb intake on a daily basis. It’s a process frequently used by athletes and bodybuilders and is the rationale behind the 5:2 diet. The rationale is that the body when it gets limited carbs relies on fat as the primary fuel source relapsing ketones. Generally fat intake increases on low carb days.’

    Not convinced?

    Geeta explains that ‘there is a large body of research that shows intermittent fasting improves biomarkers of disease, reduces oxidative stress and helps memory function with people losing up to 8% of their body weight in 8 weeks.’

    Supposedly, your body turns to your fat stores for energy when you don’t eat for 10 to 16 hours.

    Geeta adds: ‘In terms of carb cycling, it’s been shown in numerous studies that an overall reduction in calorie intake results in marked health increase and prolongs survival. But carb cycling also gets the body to go to its fat stores to burn stored fat.’

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