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Intermittent Fasting for Menopause: Top Doc Shares Easy Twist Just for Women Over 50

Dr. Mindy Pelz: "I truly believe this can make menopause years the best years of our lives!"

Ever worry your metabolism is so slow, it may be broken? If you’re a woman over age 50, you might want to try intermittent fasting for menopause. “When we’re younger, estrogen permeates every organ in the body, keeping us both fertile and metabolically healthy. But as estrogen levels drop over time, metabolism struggles,” says menopause expert Mindy Pelz, DC, whose YouTube videos boast more than 75 million hits. Here’s the good news: “All the metabolic changes we experience can be fixed.” Dr. Pelz adds that older women using her unique twist on intermittent fasting “say their bodies work like they did in their 20s. They have energy all day, better moods, better sleep. Many come off meds. And it’s the fastest way to drop weight once menopause hits.”

Minnesota mom Patti Constant, 53, is a huge fan. Patti not only used Dr. Pelz’s plan to shrink by five sizes, she eliminated severe plantar fasciitis pain that hadn’t responded to countless treatments. Read on for more of Patti’s inspiring story and to find out how Dr. Pelz’s approach could help you feel amazing during menopause.

Intermittent fasting for menopause: Why cycling is key

For anyone not familiar with intermittent fasting, it’s all about taking little breaks from eating, which can do great things for the body. How long are the breaks? Folks often eat in an 8-hour window and skip food for 16 hours. If that works for you, great. “But I’ve found men tend to respond better than women,” says Dr. Pelz, author of Fast Like a Girl.

That makes sense, given that men’s bodies are governed largely by one hormone: testosterone. “For women, even after we stop ovulating, it’s a symphony of hormones.” To create optimal harmony and restore metabolic health, different hormones require different strategies. That’s why Dr. Pelz created “fast cycling.” To date, “I’ve seen weight loss of up to 175 pounds.”

Related: Can Skipping Meals Benefit Your Body and Mind? Here’s What Science Says About Intermittent Fasting

Dr. Pelz’s “5-1-1” method for speedy results

Dr. Pelz says the easiest place for postmenopausal women to start “is with what we call 5-1-1. It’s five days of a comfortable fast, one day of pushing yourself, then a day with no fast.” On comfortable days, you get a 10-hour eating window (such as 10 am to 8 pm), and the strict day allows a 7-hour eating window (such as noon to 7 pm).

Dr. Pelz says beginners and even seasoned fasters who’ve hit a plateau get great results just by incorporating this easy form of cycling. Bonus: Many say frequent switch-ups are fun and make healthy eating like a game.

Related: Jennifer Aniston Swears by Intermittent Fasting to Stay Fit and Healthy in her 50s

Why cycling works

Fast cyclers still get all the benefits linked to traditional forms of intermittent fasting. For example, taking longer breaks between meals gives your body more “free time” to heal cellular damage that can lead to poor blood-sugar control, accelerated belly-fat storage and type 2 diabetes — an issue that’s common as levels of cell-protecting estrogen decline. Improving blood-sugar control is the main goal of easier fasts, notes Dr. Pelz.

Proof it works: A new study found one version of fast cycling used in traditional Chinese medicine helped 55% of type-2 diabetics fully normalize blood sugar and get off meds — and almost 90% reduced their meds.

Meanwhile, the no-fast day helps optimize levels of progesterone during perimenopause and menopause years. The hormone is crucial to healthy thyroid function. Dr. Pelz adds that no-fast days also reduce stress and belly-fattening stress hormones, which can become elevated more easily as we age.

The role of longer fasts? “It’s a small stressor that prompts the body to adapt and get stronger,” she says. Plus, the longer the fast, the longer you’re in autophagy — a metabolic state that helps us survive and thrive during times of scarcity. Basically, our cells begin to burn bacteria, viruses, waste, even entire dysfunctional cells as emergency fuel.

“Cells emerge rejuvenated or completely replaced with a fresh new cell,” says the doc. “You’re literally making your aging cells young again.” And young cells do everything better. So hunger hormones, energy metabolism, immunity, brain function and more improve.

Related: Wellness Icon Kathy Smith Reveals the Carb Cycling Plan That Helps Her Stay Healthy at Age 72, Plus How You Can Do It Too

The right post-fast foods to boost burn

Dr. Pelz says you can improve health and shed some pounds even if you continue to eat junk between fasts. But if you want to trigger the fastest transformation, she also recommends trading highly processed fare for more natural options. She’s also a big fan of varying carb intake throughout the week, limiting yourself to 50 grams of carbs a day during shorter fasts (to help speed improvements to blood sugar and sugar metabolism) and about 150 grams on all other days (to boost progesterone and prevent stress). 

In one study, women in their 60s using Dr. Pelz’s basic principles saw dramatic improvements in hunger, cravings and blood sugar. They also slimmed down 3.6 times faster than a group getting the exact same calories with no fasting. Translation: Intermittent fasting for menopause works!

Adds Dr. Pelz: “Traditional diets tend to make your metabolism worse, setting you up to regain lost weight. Intermittent fasting helps your metabolism heal, so it actually gets easier to stay lean and healthy. Try it and see how your body feels. I truly believe this can make menopause years the best years of our lives!”

Related: This Popular Type of Food is Making You Age Faster

Intermittent fasting for menopause before and after: Patti, 53

Once Patti Constant hit her 50s, her metabolism was clearly faltering: Her weight and cholesterol crept up, she became foggy and irritable, and poor blood-sugar control led to extreme tiredness after meals. Diets didn’t help, and exercise was out “because I had horrific plantar fasciitis that didn’t respond to drugs, PT or splints,” recalls the Minnesota mom, 53.

Then Patti’s friend Lisa used Dr. Pelz’s approach to drop 100 pounds. “She said fasting might help my pain, so I was in.” Patti gradually implemented Dr. Pelz’s strategies. “I’m not a great rule follower. I just did the best I could.”

Despite a once-raging appetite, “as I got the hang of fasting, it was easy. My body felt amazing, my brain was clear and I was shocked by the energy I had.” In 12 weeks, her pain was gone. In a year, she’d traded her size 18s for 8s. Her blood work is great. “I maintain with a minimal regimen, just adding longer fasts if I need to. It’s the best thing ever!”

Related: Top Doc Reveals the Salt Trick That Makes Intermittent Fasting Easier

Meal hacks to boost intermittent fasting results

To try Dr. Pelz’s 5-1-1 plan, cycle between five shorter fasts, a longer fast and a day with no fast. At meals, avoid processed food, focusing on good stuff like colorful produce, probiotic-rich foods, protein and good fat. Alternate between lower- and higher-carb days using a free app like CarbManager. We’ve got guidelines to get you started. Find more free resources at

The gentle way to break a fast

To avoid GI upset after a fast, go slow. Start with a little bone broth; wait a bit, have avocado or nut butter; wait a bit then have a full meal. 

How to eat on lower-carb days

Five days a week, eat during a 10-hour window (like 10 am to 8 pm). Enjoy fun but healthy fare with up to 50 g. net carbs daily.

How to eat on higher-carb days

Once a week, eat during a 7-hour window; another day don’t fast. On each of these days, have up to 150 g. carbs

Bonus recipe: Dr. Pelz’s Everything Quiche

intermittent fasting for menopause: Vegetarian quiche with green pea, tomatoes and cheese.

Customize this dish to your tastes for a great make-ahead meal on low-carb days. It works on higher-carb days too if you add a side salad topped with beans!


  • 8 beaten eggs
  • 1 tsp. your favorite herb blend
  • 1 cup diced onion, sautéed until clear
  • 3 cups veggies, diced, excess water removed
  • 3 cups any cheese, shredded


  1. In large bowl, mix eggs, herbs and salt/pepper to taste. Add remaining ingredients.
  2. Pour into greased deep-dish pie pan or 8-inch square pan.
  3. Bake at preheated oven at 350ºF until pick in center comes out clean, 30-40 minutes.

Click through for more benefits of intermittent fasting:

“I’m 71, and Intermittent Fasting Saved Me From a Wheelchair — Plus I Lost 121 Pounds!”

Eat Like a Bear to Lose Weight? The 200 + Women Who’ve Lost 100 + pounds on the Plan Say ‘You Bet!’

Boost Energy and Drop up to 18 Pounds a Week With This Keto Intermittent Fasting Plan

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