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The Flipping 50 Show

Let's start Flipping 50 with the energy and the vitality you want for this second half! I solve your biggest challenges and answer questions about how to move, what to eat, and when, along with the small lifestyle changes that can make the most difference in the least amount of time. Join me and my expert guests for safe, sane, simple solutions for your second (and better) half!

Dec 22, 2023

If you are trying to use intermittent fasting and exercise after 40, it’s tricky. You’re choosing to apply two hormetic stressors to a body already under hormetic stress going through physiological changes. We really can separate this into three areas – which might help you understand the dilemma. 


The benefits of intermittent fasting for women in midlife are potentially many: 

  • Improved gut health
  • Autophagy
  • Busting a weight loss plateau/imposing a hormetic stressor
  • Reduced inflammation 


Yet the midlife hormonal changes mean: 

  • Muscle loss(anabolic resistance)
  • Bone loss 
  • Adrenal stress 


Enter optimal exercise prescription unique to midlife and beyond: 

  • Support muscle preservation and actually, gain muscle
  • Reverse or prevent bone losses 
  • Minimize adrenal stress 

Community Member Question: Intermittent Fasting and Exercise

Molly asked, “Debra  I have been wanting to incorporate fasting into my health regime.  However with your current recommendations of working out in a fed state I have found it is very difficult to get enough protein and to maintain the fasted state. I read the book Feast Fast Repeat and it goes against a lot of the information you recommend. It’s difficult for me to fast for 18 to 20 hours and feel good. Just wondering what your thoughts are on fasting?” 

Start earlier. That makes it simple! You don’t have “dinner” at dinner time.. You have a last high protein meal at 3 or 4pm. 

Fasting has a purpose. Getting off a plateau. You can kickstart with an 18 or 20 hour fast but there is NO reason if you’re an active person to do this regularly. Rotate.., 12, 14, 15, 18 …. 

Rotating the amount of carbs you have also becomes important. Overall, lower than you’ve probably had before in your life (remember when you’d have two bagels at a sitting?) But you might toggle between 50 and 100 grams a day. If you always go long fasting, if you also restrict calories when you are in an eating window, and if you never vary carbs and always go low, you will have no metabolic flexibility. For the majority of humans that just won’t work. Your body is getting stressed by each of those things and never rewarded and replenished. Just where is that energy to do work and fun stuff going to come from? 

If this was your first book? Keep reading. It’s good but there are dozens of ways to fast. They include just going lower calorie for 5 days (with higher fat and lower protein), and using bone broth or doing smoothies twice daily. There are so many ways to start. But for intermittent fasting to be the goal then starting to extend your overnight fast is the beginning. Hit 12 hours. Try 13 and 14. See how you do. But don’t always do it. 

Your week should NOT ever look the same every day or you lose metabolic flexibility. If your goal is to stay active and gain muscle and bone density … tell me in a 20 hour fast how you manage to get micronutrients in.

What we all have to do is prioritize. It’s not intermittent fasting and exercise. It’s intermittent fasting OR exercise. Which do you need most right now and why? 

Also relevant: do you have any emotional eating tendencies or a history of eating disorder or diet and binge? If yes, this is a slippery slope for you. (see resources)

To Decide Whether Your Priority is Intermittent Fasting or Exercise

Are you inflamed? Need to reduce that and kick up the autophagy? Fasting for a short time may be your priority.

But high intensity exercise and fasting long are NOT going to coincide together well. That leaves you energy deficient. That puts you in stress. That causes a loss of muscle. 

Keep in mind lots of low intensity activity also becomes high intensity as it relates to causing cortisol. Say you’re fasting and going for a significant walk a couple times a day. Not what you want to do. Be kind to yourself. 


Stronger: Tone & Define:

The Flipping 50 Cafe:

Other Episodes You Might Like: 

Fasting for Women Over 50 | What Is and Isn’t Fasting Q and A

Intermittent Fasting for Women | Health & Wellness | When Yes When No

Midlife Changes with Intermittent Fasting Expert Gin Stephens