What is most women's number one pain point? Yes, it's our weight.
Especially from the age of 30 onwards, our metabolism slows and the weight creeps on, decade by decade. What are we to do about it?
Particularly as Cynthia Thurlow, a functional nutritionist, has said that the traditional way of extra exercising and fewer calories is not really an effective strategy for weight loss for most women. Instead, Cynthia Thurlow suggests intermittent fasting.
As an introduction to the topic of intermittent fasting, do read my previous blog, Glow with Clear Skin: Healthy Food, Elimination and Fasting which also includes the link to Cynthia Thurlow’s TedEx talk where she goes more in-depth on intermittent fasting and whether this eating lifestyle is suitable for you or not.
Before we get deeper into this topic of intermittent fasting there are two things I need to address.
The first is: why am I addressing this topic on a skincare website and blog?
You may know by now that I am about more than skincare. I am about glowing inside and out with a whole person focus. Our outer glow with good skincare is important and so is our inner glow of self-care and soul care. One of our greatest glows is when we love being in our skin and feel good about our weight.
The second is: what makes me an authority on this topic?
Honestly, nothing does. I am not a medical professional, I am not a dietitian, and nor am I a nutritionist. I am simply a midlife woman who, like many women, has experienced the weight gain that slips onto our hips, thighs and elsewhere because of a lower and slower metabolism that comes with aging. I have investigated ways to deal with this for myself and I am merely sharing what I have found works for me, with you.
Here we go…
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting is a way of eating. Even though it talks about fasting, it's actually a way of eating where we focus more on when we eat rather than what we eat. That’s not to say that what we eat is not important. It's just not the prime focus, it is a secondary focus.
This is how it works.
You would take your 24-hour day and split it into two-thirds of fasting and one-third of eating. For example, if you finished eating your dinner at seven o'clock, ideally you wouldn't eat again until 16 hours later, 11 o'clock the next morning. Most of us are sleeping for a good part of that time, so in the morning you would skip breakfast and keep hydrated by drinking water, herbal teas and, surprisingly, coffee with no milk or cream until you break your fast.
What are the benefits of intermittent fasting?
The litany of benefits includes an increased metabolism which is high on the list for most mid-life women. An increase in our metabolism will automatically generate weight loss and extra energy. Intermittent fasting gives our bodies a break from digesting food. Because most of us eat too much and too often, our bodies spend so much time digesting food there is not enough time to repair our cells.
Another health benefit is dealing with insulin imbalances. You may have noticed that it become harder for our bodies to balance our blood sugar. That is why a lot of mid-life women start having issues with bladder infections. I have also found that drinking Rooibos & Buchu Herbal tea does a superb job of balancing my blood sugar levels including stopping any bladder infection right in its tracks.
Additional benefits of intermittent fasting are greater mental clarity and helping to repair skin cells as well as the cells of our other organs. So, it is a whole package deal and giving us a vibrant glow, inside and out.
My experience so far with intermittent fasting.
I am eager to try intermittent fasting as an added ignition for my metabolism to lose that extra weight that's sitting on my hips. You know that last little bit that stubbornly refuses to budge the closer you get to your ideal weight?
However, as much as that would be a lovely bonus, it isn’t my main reason for giving intermittent fasting a go. My main goal is to age well.
I know that I am not getting any younger and, rather than deny it, I am keen to move forward in my life as healthily as I can. I am passionate about making the rest of my life the best of my life, and I want a healthy body so that I can make that dream a reality.
I have just recently started intermittent fasting. Although there are a couple of small challenges, I can say, so far, so good.
One of the changes I made is to swop out my much-loved first cup of orange pekoe tea with milk in the morning with a milk-free Rooibos tea. I drink a lot of Rooibos tea every day, but my first cup of the day has always been an orange pekoe tea. But all is not lost, I have merely switched them around. I now drink the orange pekoe tea with milk in the afternoon during my eating window, enjoying a Simply Rooibos tea in its place.
I find it interesting that Cynthia Thurlow lists black coffee as a permissible drinking during the fasting window. To me, coffee is a diuretic and not a hydrating drink. And so I stick with drinking water and Rooibos teas during my fasting window. However, a good café latte is a real treat for me. One of my daily pleasures is my 10 o'clock cup of coffee. I don’t want to give that up and, so, that means that my fast window is 15 hours, not the optimal 16 hours.
I am comfortable with that. I find that if I bring too many changes in at once, I start off great with a lot of gusto but I can't maintain it. I'm much better setting myself up for success by introducing one change and building on that, before introducing another. To be honest, that aside, my coffee is a ritual and routine that gives me pleasure, and I see it staying just where it is.
My greatest challenge is pasta.
Cynthia Thurlow speaks about bread and pasta as two things we need to minimize or cut out. I like good bread, but my bigger issue is pasta. Not only do I love pasta dishes, I find pasta a quick and easy busy-week-day meal.
To compromise, I've decided to introduce whole grain pasta in with my white pasta so as to get used to eating it that way. I don’t see myself giving up eating pasta altogether, but if I was to minimize my pasta dishes to once a week and replace white pasta with wholegrain pasta, I believe that will work well for me.
Which of these benefits of intermittent fasting appeals to you - weight loss, reduced bladder infections, mental clarity, greater energy, or that all-over healthy glow? Do you see yourself making some realistic dietary changes as I have done? I’d love to hear about it!
Whichever it is, don’t forget to get an opinion from your medical practitioner before you start intermittent fasting or make changes to your way of eating.