One of my favorite additions to a healthy lifestyle routine is intermittent fasting (IF), specifically time-restricted eating (TRE). Studies suggest that regular periods of TRE for 12-16 hours a day not only promote weight loss, but improve blood sugar, keep your heart healthy, heal digestive issues, reduce overall inflammation, boost immunity, and may lead to improved brain function and lower the risk for dementia.
I always advise my clients to start slowly. Begin by practicing a circadian rhythm fast, which means that you will be eating in a 12-hour window and fasting for a 12-hour window within a 24-hour period. This is easier than it sounds because you will be sleeping for most of it. Thus, if you finish dinner by 7pm, you will not eat breakfast until 7am the following morning.
Beyond the many health benefits, this will support you behaviorally. My motto is that the kitchen is closed after dinner so no late-night snacking or drinking beverages containing calories. You can consume strictly water and herbal tea.
My clients love the fasting app Zero. Hit the “start your fast” button right when you finish dinner, and you are done for the day.
The biggest caveat is that you still need to focus on eating nutrient dense whole foods, including vegetables, fruits, meat, poultry, fish, nuts, seeds, whole grains, beans, legumes, and healthy fats. Remember this is not a diet but a lifestyle change. If you continue to consume empty calories, such as sugar and heavily processed foods, you will not be supporting your immunity, metabolism, and overall health.
Note that some women with hormone concerns may encounter difficulties with longer fasts or when they are fasting daily. Therefore, listen to your body and consult with your healthcare provider before beginning any new lifestyle regimen.