This is a question that I get asked all the time. The answer isn’t straightforward.
There are a lot of people with strong opinions about it, which means you’ll get a different answer depending on who you ask. But since you’re here, I’ll tell you what I think based on my personal and professional experience, as well as years of research from reliable sources.
I’ve been fasting for 4.5 years, and I credit fasting with vastly improving my bumpy menopausal journey. I was able to finally lose those extra pounds and keep the weight off, and I’ve also experienced a multitude of health benefits:
- Improved sleep
- Better blood results
- Fewer aches & pains
- Healthier gut/digestion
- No more hot flushes & night sweats
- Healthier skin
- More energy
- Fewer sugar cravings
- Less brain fog
Am I biased? Perhaps. However, I’m also the type of person who researches things to death before I try them, especially when it comes to my health. So, while I’ve personally seen amazing benefits, I understand that it takes more than one person’s success story to feel safe about trying intermittent fasting.
Don’t just take it from me…
Fortunately, there are plenty of other menopausal women who are also singing its praises. Take Gin Stephens, for example. She’s the author of Delay, Don’t Deny, Fast. Feast. Repeat. and Cleanish. Now postmenopausal, Gin started fasting during perimenopause and feels strongly that it helped with her menopause.
In a recent podcast with Professor Tim Spector from the personalised nutrition company Zoe, she says: “I think intermittent fasting was a great adjunct to the menopausal transition.” Aside from losing around 80lbs, fasting has brought her many other wins, which she refers to as non-scale victories.
I highly recommend Fast. Feast. Repeat. to women who would like to try fasting and want a clear explanation of how it all works with science-backed references.
If you want to hear about more real stories, I can also recommend the book that I co-authored with 20 other women, most of whom are either peri- or postmenopausal. It’s called Women Action Takers Who Gained by Losing: Inspirational and Motivational Stories from Women Who Use Intermittent Fasting and will Never Diet Again!
You can download a free PDF copy by clicking here, or if you prefer a paperback, it’s available on Amazon and all proceeds go to charity.
Each chapter/story is relatively short, so you can dip in and out of the book and read the chapters in any order you want, whenever you have a few extra minutes. Most of our readers have found at least one person’s story that really resonates with them.
Back to the original question: Is intermittent fasting OK during menopause?
Based on the research I’ve seen, my personal experience and other women’s anecdotal experience, I feel that it’s safe to say “yes” – with a disclaimer that I’m a health coach & mentor, and I’m not a medical professional providing medical advice.
Is fasting safe for everyone? Not necessarily. If you have an eating disorder or you’re pregnant/breastfeeding (which is not out of the question if you’re still peri), then I’d steer clear of trying fasting.
But for the majority of women, it’s worth giving it a try if you feel so inclined. It’s important to give it a proper try (at least 8-12 weeks) and make sure you’re doing it correctly so you don’t sabotage your efforts. Be sure to find a reliable source of information (like Fast. Feast. Repeat. or a coach/mentor who specialises in intermittent fasting for menopausal women) because there are a lot of versions of “fasting” that aren’t really fasting at all.
Any time you start a new health-related lifestyle change, it’s best to check with your doctor first. If you’re diabetic or on other medications, this is especially important because you may need to be monitored more closely and your medications adjusted.
The Big Intermittent Fasting Study
One more thing: While some scientific research concludes that fasting benefits menopausal women, there’s not much research into intermittent fasting that’s aimed at menopausal women specifically. That’s about to change.
Tim Spector’s company Zoe has started a new study on intermittent fasting and will look specifically at how fasting affects menopausal women. The best news is that WE can join the study! They’re only accepting UK participants for now, but they plan to roll it out to other countries soon.
If you’re interested in contributing to scientific research on intermittent fasting, here’s more information with a link to sign up: The Big Intermittent Fasting Study.
I hope you find these resources helpful. If you still feel like you don’t know where to start, you may want to check out this fully referenced article that I wrote for Menopause Matters magazine: Intermittent Fasting: Top Tips for Menopausal Women.
And of course, feel free to get in touch with me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Have a great day,