The desire to look and feel one's best doesn't diminish with age for most women. The 16/8 method of intermittent fasting can be a safe and effective weight loss and anti-aging method for senior women. It promotes fat loss, improved memory, and a longer life span.
"Aging is out of your control. How you handle it, though, is in your hands." – Diane Von Furstenberg, fashion designer, age 74.
A mature woman may have seen a few more sunrises, but it doesn't mean she is ready to fade into the sunset.
Sixty-five and older is the consensus on what is considered senior, but an arbitrary number doesn't define how a woman feels about herself on the inside. The body ages a lot quicker than the brain. Many women say it is not until they catch a glimpse of themselves in a mirror that they remember they aren't 20, 30, or 40 years old anymore.
There typically appears to be a shift in wellness priorities as women age, from looking good to the desire to feel good. However, one study of women ages 61-92 revealed that although older women will state health as their primary reason for losing weight, the #1 driver is actually vanity (1). Many senior women, regardless of age, still desire to be at an ideal weight to feel sexy and confident.
If you are under 60 but above 50, you may want to check this specific article for women above 50 that fast.
Intermittent fasting can be the perfect plan for looking and feeling good, resulting in weight loss, vitality, and longevity for seniors.
Although there are different methods of intermittent fasting one can follow, senior women should first consider the 16/8 method. Fasting for 16 hours with an 8-hour eating window to consume all their calories fits into most senior women's lifestyles. The fasting length is long enough to be effective but not too long as to overdo it and create problems for the body.
The 16/8 method allows the flexibility to adjust for taking medications, attending social engagements, and last-minute scheduling changes. It is typically the easiest method for senior women to stick to and adopt permanently (2). It yields the best results compared to longer or calorie-restrictive fasts such as the popular OMAD (one meal a day) fasting and the alternate day fasting methods.
Although the benefits of intermittent fasting have been well-researched, most studies have been conducted using male or younger female subjects.
Even though most of the proven benefits – including increased insulin sensitivity, decreased inflammation, improved brain and gut health (3) – are attainable by the sixty-five and older crowd, a few studies have shown additional intermittent fasting results specifically significant to senior women.
A study showed that after 6 weeks women over 60 who followed a 16/8 fasting schedule lost nearly 2% body weight compared to the control group losing only 1% (2).
Several risk factors decrease the potential for coronary artery disease and stroke, including reducing blood pressure and increased insulin sensitivity when fasting (3).
Intermittent fasting results in improvements in long-term memory retention and learning (4).
The ability to fall and stay asleep and sleep quality improve when practicing intermittent fasting (5).
Intermittent fasting has both a direct and indirect effect on increasing longevity for women over 60 (3).
As with beginning any new diet, exercise, or health plan, consult your physician before starting intermittent fasting if you currently take medications or supplements or have a diagnosis that may be affected.
It is essential to continue taking prescribed medications and supplements. Adjusting the fasting time and length can make things easier.
If it isn't required to take the medication or supplement with food it is okay to consume during the fasting period without fear of ending the fast.
If you're required to take your medicine or supplement with food, you should ideally wait until the eating window opens. If you must take medications or supplements during the fasting period that can’t be consumed on an empty stomach then take them with a small amount of healthy fat such as avocado, nut butter, or coconut oil.
Healthy senior women should feel comfortable trying intermittent fasting. The anti-aging benefits of the 16/8 fast – as well as improved cognition, fat loss, cardiovascular improvements, and increased life span – are great motivators. Pay close attention to your body and seek medical advice before starting intermittent fasting if you have any concerns about possible conflicts with current diagnoses or medications you're taking.
Meet other older women intermittent fasting online in this community for women.
Intermittent fasting causes physiological changes and improves overall health. Learn more about how intermittent fasting works.
Fasting may cause unwanted loose skin when losing weight. Long and short fasts, exercise, and healthy eating can offset this.