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Home arrow Nutrition arrow Intermittent Fasting arrow Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 40 – What You Must Know

Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 40 – What You Must Know

Written by Thalia Oosthuizen
Fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
Last update: October 21, 2023
6 min read 1410 Views 0 Comments
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Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular diets in the US. Is it effective for women over 40?

We are going to explore how intermittent fasting works and whether it's a viable option for women over 40 to lose weight.

You’re tired – tired of trying every single diet out there and not losing a single pound. We get it. It’s frustrating and demoralizing and can really harm your self-esteem. 

But don’t give up because we just might have the solution for you.

Once we reach a certain age, it becomes more difficult for us to lose weight, but intermittent fasting aims to provide a solution to this dilemma. 

In this article, our medical team at Health Reporter is going to take a look at whether intermittent fasting works for women over 40. Read on for more.

Intermittent Fasting for Women: Is It Effective?

Intermittent fasting is a kind of diet in which you only eat at certain times of the day or on certain days of the week. It has been proven to aid in weight loss and help people of all ages achieve their weight loss goals, but what does it do for women over 40? That’s what we’re here to learn.

Intermittent fasting has been around in various forms for quite some time but has gained attention in the last few years as a weight-loss method, especially when it comes to reducing body fat. This is mainly due to reducing your caloric intake.

This kind of eating pattern promotes healthy weight loss, mostly due to the fact that periods of fasting have an impact on metabolism. If your body does not break down and use all of the carbohydrates you consume, the excess is stored in fat cells. 

Does Intermittent Fasting Work for Women to Lose Weight?

Intermittent fasting serves as a safe option for women over 40 who want to lose weight. 

A number of studies show that these diets produce excellent health benefits, especially when you work with a registered dietitian – a strategy that’s even more useful for those who have type 2 diabetes or other health conditions.

Let’s explore how intermittent fasting can help you achieve your dream body at over 40 years old.

Benefits of Intermittent Fasting for Women

We don’t doubt that you’ve heard of the numerous health benefits that intermittent fasting methods can provide. By controlling your food intake, you’re able to experience the benefits of weight loss, improved mental health, and more.

#1 Weight loss

Weight loss has been proven as a result of intermittent fasting, as well as the “traditional” way of losing weight, known as continuous calorie restriction. 

In another study that involved more than 50 women, participants were placed on one of the following three diets:

  • Alternate-day fasting with 100% of their estimated caloric requirements
  • A Mediterranean-style diet that provided 70% of their estimated caloric requirement
  • Alternate-day fasting that provided 70% of their estimated caloric requirements

The women who were placed on the alternate-day fasting diet lost the most weight and body fat, which means that ADF was more effective than traditional diets with fewer calories. In fact, consuming a healthy diet that meets 100% of their caloric needs allows these women to lose 6lbs of weight and 5lbs of fat in just 8 weeks.

#2 Helps to reach autophagy

Intermittent fasting is one of the best ways to induce autophagy. Infection, general wear and tear, as well as inflammation, can damage the cells in our bodies and the organelles that make up these cells.

When this happens, lysosomes, which are organelles that exist in the body, locate the damaged areas, salvage what they can, and break the rest of the cells down to recycle them. This recycled material is then used to create new cells.

Of course, waiting a few hours between meals will not induce autophagy – your body must be in a state of low liver glycogen to enter this state. This normally takes around 14–16 hours of fasting.

Following a 5-day fast can help the body fight diseases and slow aging by increasing its rate of autophagy. However, autophagy, so a more realistic fasting ratio of 16:8, is often the best place to start.

#3 Better mental health

While there are, of course, a range of other health benefits that involve our physique when it comes to intermittent fasting, practicing intermittent fasting can actually improve our mental health.

According to research, there are two ways in which intermittent fasting is able to have a positive effect on our cognitive function and mood.

The first is that the eating plan can increase levels of brain-derived neurotrophic factor, which is a protein in the brain. And, as we’ve already discussed, an intermittent fasting plan can help you reach autophagy.

BDNF is a neuroprotective substance that increases resistance to damage while also encouraging the growth of new neurons in the brain.

Studies have shown that BNDF levels are often lower in people with anxiety, depression, and major depressive disorder – the lower the levels, the more severe the symptoms.

#4 Improves insulin resistance

Another study involved women between the ages of 30 and 45, who had gained at least 10kg since the age of 20, and over a half had a history of breast cancer and high blood sugar levels.

The women were made to follow either a 5:2 intermittent fasting strategy with consecutive fasting days or a diet that restricted calories.

For the modified fasting day, the menu consisted of 1.1L of semi-skimmed milk, one portion of fruit, four portions of vegetables, and a salty, low-calorie drink.

The result was that all women experienced improvements in their blood sugar and insulin levels and insulin resistance, but the group who followed the 5:2 fasting method had even better improvements in these areas.

Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 40: Results

As you can see, intermittent fasting can be a healthy lifestyle that offers a range of benefits, from burning fat stored in those problem areas to fat-burning to addressing nutritional deficiencies and more.

It’s a great option for women over 40 who have been struggling to lose weight and who are tired of trying every diet under the sun to no avail!

Look at these fabulous results:

intermittent fasting for women over 40 results 1
Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 40 results 2
Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 40 results 3

Intermittent Fasting and Menopause

Menopause is the natural decline in hormones (estrogen and progesterone) that occurs in women as they reach their 40s and 50s.

During this time, the ovaries stop producing progesterone and estrogen, which stop menstruation as a result. When you haven’t menstruated in 12 months, you will have officially reached menopause.

We all know the many uncomfortable symptoms that menopause can cause, but intermittent fasting can actually help with several of these symptoms.

It can halt weight gain, improve insulin resistance, improve mental clarity, promote a significant reduction in brain fog, and enhance your overall psychological well-being.

Fasting has helped deal with this hard period for thousands of women around the world.

How Long Should Women Practice Intermittent Fasting?

There isn’t a definitive answer to this question because there’s no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to dieting.

Most women will experience weight loss differently, so different types of intermittent fasting will work differently. However, in general, women should take a more relaxed approach to fast than men and include plenty of healthy foods in their eating window.

Here are some of the best intermittent fasting methods for women:

  • Eat Stop Eat – Also called the 24-hour protocol, this method involves a full 24-hour fast once or twice each week. It helps start with a 14–16-hour fast and slowly build your way up from there.
  • Crescendo method With this method, you’ll fast for 12–16 hours, 2 to 3 times each week. Your fasting days should not be consecutive and spaced evenly between your eating days. For instance, you could fast every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  • 5:2 diet Also called the fast diet, this plan involves reducing your calories to around 25% of your average intake for 2 days each week. You’ll then eat as usual for the remaining days of the week while allowing one day between your fasting days.

Word From Our RD

We all want to lose weight for different reasons. It’s completely understandable – we want to feel more confident in our bodies, we want to stop eating processed foods, we want to eat more healthy meals, etc. Whatever the reason may be, we get it.

Intermittent fasting can be an excellent avenue for weight loss, especially in women over 40. As we’ve already seen, the diet offers a range of benefits, both physically and mentally, but it’s important to understand that all diets come with a certain level of risk.

It’s perfectly natural to want to lose some weight, but you have to be careful not to step over into eating disorder territory.

Restricting your caloric intake, even on the days that you allow yourself to eat, can be dangerous, so it’s important to know your body and limits and to listen to your body – if you’re really hungry during your fasting hours, eat!


Weight loss is a frustrating subject for many women over 40, but intermittent fasting offers a brilliant avenue for shedding those extra pounds and becoming more comfortable in your body.

IF has a lot of health-related benefits, including improved insulin resistance, better mental health, reduced oxidative stress and inflammation. Of course, it can help you maintain a healthy weight or shed a few pounds with ease. 

Intermittent fasting is one of the most popular diets around the world. However, you should always seek the advice of your medical provider before starting a new diet.

Written by Thalia Oosthuizen
Thalia has always wanted to be a writer, starting her first local newspaper at the age of 11. She also has enjoyed a passion for health and fitness since a young age, playing many sports through her schooling career, and still enjoys biking, running, and swimming today. She studied English Language at University for 3 years, developing a passion for spelling, grammar, and research. She now has over 10 years of experience writing, proofreading, and editing, and has paired this with her love for health and fitness by writing health content.
The article was fact checked by Rosmy Barrios, MD
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