How to Use Intermittent Fasting to Lose Weight After 40
Millions of men and women over the age of 40 struggle to shed their excess pounds, despite trying every type of diet and working out every week. Often they have tried low-carb, high-fat diets, counting calories, ‘juicing’ etc. etc. but often the problem is that after losing a few pounds their food cravings take over. They ruin weeks of effort by just giving up and putting the weight back on. This weight loss “rollercoaster” can feel very discouraging but the problem is usually that these diets are extreme and hard to sustain over the long term because they’re overly restrictive. What tend to have longer term benefits are the diets that don’t feel like diets. The ones that don’t create resistance from our body, such as food cravings, hunger, or mood swings. For example regimes such as intermittent fasting.
Unlike what many people think, fasting doesn’t mean that we should starve ourselves. It just means we should carefully choose WHEN we eat instead of being obsessed with WHAT we eat. You can eat pretty much whatever type of food you want, as long as you’re eating the right quantity of food at the right time. The way intermittent fasting works is pretty simple: After fasting for more than 12 hours, our body has depleted all its glucose reserves and is forced to burn fat to find energy. When this fat burning “metabolic switch” is on,it is easier to lose weight without having to eat salad all day.
A recent study from Cambridge University has shown that our body starts burning fat about 25% faster after 13 hours of fasting as insulin levels in our blood drop, allowing our bodies to burn more fat as fuel. This is also helpful for patients who are insulin resistant, meaning their bodies make more insulin than normal.
Dr. Angela Fitch, MD, FACP, FOMA, Associate Director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Weight Center says “It takes 10 to 12 hours to use up the calories in the liver before a metabolic shift occurs to using stored fat. After meals, glucose is used for energy and fat is stored in fat tissue, but during fasts, once glucose is depleted, fat is broken down and used for energy.” “Many things happen during intermittent fasting that can protect organs against chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, age-related neurodegenerative disorders, even inflammatory bowel disease and many cancers.”
Dr. Mark Mattson, a neuroscientist at John Hopkins University, who studied intermittent fasting for 25 years says “When people lose weight, typically 75% is fat loss and 25% is muscle mass. But with fasting, the ratio actually changes so that 90% of weight loss is fat and 10% is muscle.”
However, while many doctors agree on the effectiveness of intermittent fasting in helping us lose weight, many people don’t know how to integrate this diet in their daily life. It’s also important to remember each of us has a unique metabolism. So if we want to lose fat, we either need to consult a doctor or nutritionist for a tailor-made plan suited to our needs. Or we can simply experiment with timings ourselves to see what suits our lifestyle and food preferences. Certainly worth giving a go!