Blog Diets Fasting Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 40. Is it Healthy? 

Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 40. Is it Healthy? 

As you get older, a lot of hormonal changes become a part of your life. Perimenopause prepares your body to transition to menopause. Irregular periods, hot flashes, night sweats, disrupted sleep, and problems with short memory and focus characterize this.
Then menopause occurs. One of the symptoms is gaining weight, particularly around the midsection, even though you may be eating the same food as before menopause. 

I’m sure your thought on this issue is something along the lines of “Well, I didn’t sign up for that”, but this is the reality and many women find they need to look for healthy solutions to feel invigorated, productive, and satisfied with their bodies. 

This is where intermittent fasting comes in – a popularized eating plan where you don’t eat during a specific period of time each day or week. Some of its methods are better for beginners and are easy to stick to. Intermittent Fasting For Women over 40 – is it healthy? The answer is both yes and no as it has benefits and downsides.
You’ll uncover all of them in the following article. In addition, you will learn about the most accessible intermittent fasting for 40-year-old women and how to stick to it wisely. 

Check out intermittent fasting for women over the age of 40: the complete guide, and enhance your well-being today. 

How many hours should a 40-year-old woman intermittently fast?

The hours of intermittent fasting for women aged 40 and older are entirely dependent on the schedule and lifestyle of each female.
In addition, if you’re familiar with intermittent fasting, you have probably heard of the four main types of fasting. Let’s take a look at them. This may help you choose the most suitable hours for your personal fasting schedule. The four main types of intermittent fasting are (6):

  1. Time-restricted eating (the 16/8 or 14/10 method) 
  2. The twice-a-week method (the 5:2 method)
  3. Alternate day fasting
  4. The 24-hour fast (or eat: stop: eat method) 

Time-restricted eating (the 16/8 or 14/10 method)

This method involves a set of fasting and eating windows. For example, you don’t eat food for 14 hours of the day and are then allowed to eat during a 10-hour window.

This method is suitable for beginners as most people fast while they’re sleeping. You simply finish eating by a certain time at night and don’t break your fast until a certain time the next morning. 

There are two common methods: 

The 16/8 method: You consume food during an 8-hour window, for example between 10 am and 6 pm.

See also
5 Health Benefits of a 20-Hour Fast

The 14/10 method: You consume food during a 10-hour window such as between 9 am and 7 pm.   

Some people do this every day, while others only do it on certain days of the week. It’s particularly convenient for women who don’t feel hungry in the morning as they can easily eat breakfast a bit later or those who like to eat an early dinner.

The twice-a-week method (the 5:2 method)

This method involves eating as usual for five days and fasting for two days a week (7). During the two fasting days, you need to cap your calories at 500 and on the other five days, you maintain a healthy diet and eat normally. On fasting days, your diet may consist of one 300-calorie meal and one 200-calorie meal (6).
The best part of this method is that you choose the two fasting days yourself, as long as they are non-consecutive. 

Alternate day fasting

This option entails “modified” fasting every other day. You eat a normal amount one day and on the next day, you fast. A good example is limiting your calories on fasting days to 500 ― or approximately 25% of your normal intake. On non-fasting days, you can enjoy a regular healthy diet (6).

The 24-hour fast (or eat: stop: eat method) 

This method is more challenging and is not suitable for beginners as it involves fasting completely for 24 hours. Usually, people do this once or twice per week. Most individuals fast from breakfast to breakfast or lunch to lunch. 

Side effects of this type of fasting can be extreme and you may face fatigue, headaches, irritability, low energy, and hunger (6). You may also encounter sleep disturbance as falling asleep can be difficult when you’re hungry or irritated. 

After following this method, it’s beneficial to return to a normal, healthy diet on your non-fasting days. 

It is important to note that any type of fasting should be done under the supervision of a medical physician. Therefore, if you want to start a fasting routine, you should talk to a healthcare provider first. 

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Is intermittent fasting good for women in their 40s?

Is it healthy or not healthy? The answer is dependent on several factors. On the one hand, yes, intermittent fasting can be good for some women in their 40s. Potential benefits for females include: 

  • Weight loss
  • Improved gut health
  • Reduced inflammation 
  • Better blood sugar regulation
  • Lowered blood triglycerides 
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Improved immunity 
  • Improved blood pressure (3)
See also
17/7 Intermittent Fasting: A Practical Approach to Time-Restricted Eating

The truth is that Low-Carb Intermittent Fasting or any other type of fast can be risky for  certain groups of people:

  • breastfeeding and pregnant women
  • children
  • people who are at risk of hypoglycemia 
  • people with certain chronic diseases, who are taking certain medications, or who must take medication with food (6).

Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 40  

It should be noted that fasting may also negatively impact people who menstruate. In this case, it may affect the levels of estrogen and progesterone in your body, which can cause the following symptoms:

Changes in menstrual cycle, including skipped periods, moodiness or irritability, hair loss, acne, infertility, dry skin, low libido, hot flashes and night sweats, headaches, disturbed sleep, and heart palpitations (3).

When it comes to intermittent fasting after menopause, the situation is relatively better. This is because women in their post-menopausal period don’t experience fluctuations in estrogen and progestogen levels.

This means that after the menopause, intermittent fasting will not affect ovulation and menstruation because these things are no longer happening (3). 

To summarize, females who have already gone through the menopause may be able to reap the benefits of intermittent fasting without some of the side effects younger women experience. However, discussing with a healthcare provider should be your first step before you start intermittent fasting. 

Read more: Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 60: Discover the Benefits and How to Fast After 60

What is the best fasting schedule for women over 45?

The best intermittent fasting schedule for women aged 45 and older can vary as females juggle multiple responsibilities on a daily basis: some drop off and pick up their kids from school, go to work, and even find time to spruce up their houses. 

Others have fewer responsibilities and more time for themselves, which also makes intermittent fasting much easier. 

However, there is one good schedule of intermittent fasting for females that is suitable for newcomers: time-restricted eating (the 16/8 or 14/10 method). 

This option is particularly convenient as your time of fasting can be while you’re asleep. In addition, you will not need to count calories which can be quite a burden. However, your dietary choices should be healthy enough to sustain good well-being. 

A balanced diet of intermittent fasting includes: 

  • fruits and vegetables, which can be fresh, frozen, or canned
  • whole grains such as brown rice, barley, quinoa, brown rice, and oats
  • lean protein sources, such as fish, poultry, beans, nuts, lentils, tofu, seeds, low-fat cottage cheese, and eggs
  • healthy fats from fatty fish, olive oil, olives, coconuts, avocados, nuts, and seeds (1).
See also
7 Zero Calorie Drinks for Intermittent Fasting (And a Few More to Avoid)

Enjoying fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is particularly beneficial as they are all sources of fiber, which keeps you feeling full for longer. In another article, we discuss the Intermittent Fasting Meal Plan Examples

Don’t forget to stay hydrated during your fasting windows. The 16:8 method allows calorie-free beverages: water, unsweetened tea, and coffee (1). It’s important to continue drinking fluids during your fasting period to avoid dehydration.  

Which fasting is best for women aged 40?

Whichever regimen that works for you may be beneficial. If you’re in your 40s, it’s important to analyze your daily activities and determine which method is the best for you. The truth is that your doctor knows what is better for you, so rather than mulling over the answer, you should talk to them to understand whether fasting is suitable for you and which method could be your best choice. 

You’re already aware of the four most common methods:

  1. Time-restricted eating (the 16/8 or 14/10 method) 
  2. The twice-a-week method (the 5:2 method)
  3. Alternate day fasting
  4. The 24-hour fast (or eat: stop: eat method) 

Beginners should start with the first or second variant. As we’ve already mentioned, the first option is the most convenient and easy as you’ll fast while you sleep. There are different eight-hour eating windows to choose from: 

  • 9 am to 5 pm
  • 10 am to 6 pm
  • noon to 8 pm (1)
  • Any other eight-hour window that works for you

Within this timeframe, you can eat your meals and snacks at convenient times. Eating regularly will help prevent blood sugar dips and avoid excessive hunger (1).

After you have experimented with milder strategies and reaped all the benefits, you can switch to more advanced methods if you wish, or stick with whatever works for you.  

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How to fast safely?

All the intermittent fasting success stories after menopause start with rules that females follow to gain their desired results. Fasting safely will protect you from the potential risks while also helping you achieve your goals. 

See also
When Does Intermittent Fasting Start Working?

To fast safely, you must (3): 

  • Start with a milder approach. That being said, don’t go to the extreme when you start. You could start with a 12 or 14-hour fasting schedule rather than depriving yourself of food for a full 24 hours. 
  • Practice healthy eating habits. Consider cutting down on ultra-processed and packaged food, and stick to vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein.
  • Ask for help. It’s important to talk to your healthcare provider before you start any fasting regimen. They can help you determine whether fasting is safe for you and advise you on how to do it safely.  
  • Stay hydrated. You must drink enough water during fasting and non-fasting windows. Water is essential as it keeps you hydrated. It also has zero calories, so it can also help with managing body weight and reducing calorie intake (2).
  • Think less about food. Let’s face it, sitting at home and imagining yourself devouring a chocolate cake won’t make you feel at ease. On the contrary, it will most likely make you crave food even more. In this situation, a good decision is to distract yourself with enjoyable activities. 

You could meet up with your good friends, declutter your house, go on a bike ride, or simply meditate. You should choose something pleasurable and distracting. 

Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 40

Will intermittent fasting help middle-aged women lose weight?

Intermittent fasting may be effective in promoting weight loss. There are a few reviews that demonstrate this. 

In a review published in JAMA Network Open in December 2021, researchers found some beneficial associations (5).

The researchers found intermittent fasting, particularly modified alternate day fasting, to be associated with moderate weight loss and reduction of some cardiometabolic risk factors in overweight or obese adults(5).

Another review that was published in Biological Research for Nursing in May 2022 examined 42 studies where overweight people used intermittent fasting as a weight loss strategy. 

The review found that in the majority of these short-term studies, the technique helped people lose weight. However, the authors also found other calorie-restricting eating plans to be effective as (4).

Therefore, intermittent fasting may be helpful for losing weight as long as you stick to healthy eating during non-fasting hours and your overall calorie intake decreases. Some people feel like they deserve a reward for not eating for a certain period of time, but this can lead to overeating or indulging in energy-dense, less nutritious food. You should avoid this mistake to increase your chances of losing weight.

See also
Fasting vs Starving: Knowing The Difference Will Save Your Life

Read more: What Is The Best Intermittent Fasting for Women Over 50?


What is the best fasting schedule for women in their 40s?

The best fasting schedule for women in their 40s is entirely dependent on the lifestyle of each woman, but a popular option is a 16:8 or 14:10 fasting plan. This allows you to incorporate fasting easily and is more convenient as your fasting hours involve the hours where you are asleep. 

How can a woman over 45 lose weight fast?

Losing weight fast doesn’t sound healthy. Striving for quick results generally comes with additional consequences. The best tips for females over 45 to lose weight include: staying active, relieving stress, eating better food, and staying hydrated. In addition, intermittent fasting may be used during this process but only following consultation with your healthcare provider. 

What should I drink during intermittent fasting?

During intermittent fasting, you are allowed to drink calorie-free beverages, such as plain water, unsweetened tea and coffee, zero-calorie flavored water, and diet soda. You should avoid sugary and alcoholic drinks as they contain a large amount of calories. 

Should you intermittently fast during perimenopause?

Intermittent fasting may have side effects during perimenopause due to its impact on hormonal balance. It may lower the estrogen and progesterone in your body, which can contribute to a number of symptoms such as hot flashes, mood swings, irritability, acne, hair loss, dry skin, infertility, and low sex drive. Therefore, you should contact a professional doctor to ensure intermittent fasting is safe for you. 

The Bottom Line

There are a variety of different intermittent fasting schedules, all of which involve eating for certain hours during the day and restricting calories or not eating at all during others. The most common types of intermittent fasting are time-restricted eating (the 16/8 or 14/10 method), the twice-a-week method (the 5:2 method), alternate-day fasting, and the 24-hour fast (or eat: stop: eat method).

Intermittent fasting for women over 40 may provide both benefits and downsides. The most popular intermittent fasting schedule for midlife women is the 16:8 method. However, to do it safely, you should consult your doctor first. In addition, you must stay hydrated, eat balanced meals during non-fasting times, and lead an active lifestyle.

Reviews have shown that intermittent fasting may help with managing a healthy weight, but using it as your only weight-loss strategy is not recommended. 


This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. A guide to 16:8 intermittent fasting (2023,
  2. Benefits of Drinking Water (2022,
  3. How Intermittent Fasting Affects Women (2023,
  4. Intermittent Energy Restriction for Weight Loss: A Systematic Review of Cardiometabolic, Inflammatory and Appetite Outcomes (2022,
  5. Intermittent Fasting and Obesity-Related Health Outcomes (2021,
  6. Intermittent Fasting: How It Works and 4 Types Explained (2022,
  7. What is intermittent fasting? Does it have health benefits? (2022,
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