Have your attempts at weight loss after hysterectomy been unsuccessful so far? Want to know what remarkable strategy worked for me?
After struggling for eight years with weight gain after my hysterectomy, trying different diets and exercise programs, the result was always the same. I never managed to keep the weight off.
You may be interested to learn how I managed to lose 38 pounds in three months. And have been able to maintain my target weight ever since.
But first, let me explain why the other diets didn’t work. And how a few lifestyle and dietary changes gave me new insights into how our body works. These are the three key factors for successful weight loss after hysterectomy.
- Intermittent fasting helps your body to burn fat and not sugars.
- Eating a low carb diet provides your body with less glucose and more fat
- Exercise helps to use up the body’s glucose so it starts burning fat quicker
Interested? Let me explain …..
Intermittent fasting for weight loss after hysterectomy
When I first read about intermittent fasting, I immediately rejected it. Fasting means no food and no food means terrible hunger….. or not?
I became intrigued after watching a video of Dr. Berg on intermittent fasting. All of it made a lot of sense. It explained clearly why losing weight was so difficult after hysterectomy and what I was doing wrong.
When you eat carbohydrates the pancreas releases insulin to regulate your blood sugar levels.
When there is insulin present in the blood you cannot lose weight. So if you are eating 5 to 6 meals a day your body continuously makes insulin. Your body’s first choice for energy will always be sugar. It will not use the fat stored in your body as an energy source unless it’s run out of sugar.
So if you want to burn fat you will have to increase the time between the meals you eat. When you don’t eat (fast), insulin will drop and your body. Instead, it will produce the hormone for fat loss called the human growth hormone (HGH) and start using your fat reserves. The longer you can stretch this period of not eating the more fat you will burn.
This is the idea behind intermittent fasting. It’s not a diet but changing the pattern of eating and not eating.
During the day when you eat your body is in the fed stage and burns glucose to use as energy. It also stores the glucose it doesn’t need in your fat cells.
In the fasting stage, your body uses fat from your body as its energy source. What you need to do, is to give your body the time to go from the fed to fasting stage.
Delaying the time your body is in the fasted state is a way of exercise in which you train your body to burn its own fat instead of continually using glucose. This will take time like with any exercise, as you cannot expect to run a marathon, from one day to the other.
This is how I recommend you start with intermittent fasting.
First, you stop eating snacks between your meals and just eat three meals a day. The next step is to narrow your eating window or the fed stage.
Most people prefer to do this by skipping breakfast and taking advantage of the time you sleep during the night. If you sleep eight hours and add another 4 hours of not eating you are already 12 hours in the fasting stage. You also benefit from the fact that most of the fat burning hormone HGH is released at night.
It takes at least 12 hours after you had your last meal before your body enters the fasted state. So you will need to lengthen the time to start burning fat.
A lot of people prefer the 16 – 8 scheme, where they fast for 16 hours and have their meals in the remaining 8. You can do that in the time frame you prefer and suits your lifestyle. If you normally have your last meal at six in the evening, stick to that, and add 16 hours to it. This way you can have your first meal 10 in the morning.
I’m never hungry in the mornings and prefer the last meal later in the evening. This means I have my first meal around two o’clock midday.
You may even see that you lose weight eating the same amount of calories as before but by changing your eating window to eight hours or less.
Benefits of intermittent fasting other than weight loss
Intermittent fasting will not only help with weight loss after hysterectomy, it has many other health benefits. Because of its increasing popularity, more and more research is done and new benefits identified. Here are a few of the benefits:
- Reduces insulin resistance and lowers your chance of type 2 diabetes
- Keeps the heart healthy by lowering blood pressure, bad cholesterol and triglycerides
- Triggers autophagy ( the body detoxifies and repairs itself)
- Improves brain health and may delay the onset of Alzheimer’s
- Promotes longevity
- Helps fight inflammation and protects against common diseases
Eliminate your worst enemy: Sugar
The first thing you need to understand if you are serious about weight loss after hysterectomy is that most of us women consume much more sugar daily than we need. For your body to have normal blood sugar levels you need no more than 1 to two teaspoons of sugar a day.
The fact that the average person consumes 30 to 31 teaspoons a day may cause the body cells to stop responding to the hormone insulin correctly. This means you have what they name insulin resistance.
With sugar, I do not just mean chocolates, candy, cakes and so on but also bread, pasta, rice and all the carbohydrates that our body converts to sugar.
Sugar is highly addictive and many feel they cannot live without it. But the more sugar you eat the more your body craves for it. You have to break this cycle if you want to lose weight. You can start by substituting the sugar for sweeteners.
A few good examples of sugar alternatives you can try are:
- Coconut sugar
- Raw honey
- Maple syrup
- Monk fruit extract
This way you will satisfy your need for sweet tasting food but will not spike the insulin levels in your blood. It also will gradually restore your natural sensitivity to sugar and is a way to get yourself out of the sugar trap
One more good reason for cutting out the sugar is that eating too much sugar over the years can cause damage to your nerves, inflammation, obesity, Alzheimer’s, and cancer.
What should you eat to lose weight after hysterectomy?
Limit your carbohydrate intake
As I said we also need to consider all the carbohydrates we eat. Consuming too many refined carbohydrates is one of the main reasons for obesity in women.
Yes, our body needs carbohydrates to work properly. But it doesn’t need unhealthy carbs, in the form of processed and refined sugars. These will only spike your blood-sugar levels and offer nothing else than empty calories.
Fill your diet with healthy vegetable carbohydrates or complex carbs. Complex carbs contain vitamins, minerals, and fiber which you can find in whole grains, legumes, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. Because they are high in fiber it takes the body longer to digest them and they will make you feel full much longer.
A low carb diet (more fat)
So what about fat? We were all brought up with the belief that fat is bad for our health. And because of this, the low-fat diet products industry flourished for many years. Low-fat products often loaded with sugar and full of calories.
You have to overcome the fear of fat. More recent studies show that low carbohydrate diets give better results than low-fat diets.
Eating more fat and fewer carbohydrates stabilizes your blood sugar levels. Fat does not raise your insulin levels and makes you feel less hungry and longer satisfied after a meal.
Avoid bad fat
That doesn’t mean you should eat lots of unhealthy fatty foods like potato chips, fried foods or ready-made baked goods.
Most of these foods contain partially hydrogenated vegetable oil or trans-fatty-acids and they have a bad effect on your health.
By raising the bad cholesterol and lowering the good cholesterol it raises your risk of heart disease.
Most trans fats are bad for you except the type we know as vaccenic acid that is naturally present in full-fat dairy and grass-fed organic animal products.
Eat more healthy fat
Confused about which fats you can eat and how much?
You may include the following type of fat in your diet. Your daily calorie intake should be 50 to 85 % of these fats.
- Full-fat dairy products – butter, whole milk, full-fat cheese, cream
- Nuts – macadamia, almonds, pecans, walnuts, pine nuts
- Coconut oil, olive oil, fish oil, nut oils
- Seeds – Chia, poppy, flax seeds
Many people who are on a low carb or Keto diet do also include saturated fats, like bacon, beef, pork, lard, and tallow.
Despite the bad things about eating saturated fats commonly believed, the results of a recent study show that consuming dietary saturated fat is not associated with an increased risk of heart disease.
Eat protein in moderation
When on a low carb diet, it’s easy to overeat on protein. High protein diets are popular but too much protein over time may cause liver and kidney problems.
How much protein you should eat depends on several factors. For example, younger people need more than older people and athletes need more than less active people
The average you need is about 40 to 70 gram of protein daily. Here you can see how much protein is roughly in each food. Prefer to get your protein from good quality grass-fed animal products and organic plant foods.
How to exercise when intermittent fasting
Exercise can really accelerate your weight loss after hysterectomy when you combine it with intermittent fasting.
Start exercising together with intermittent fasting only when you feel ready for it. In the beginning, you may be a bit light-headed when you exercise while you fast because you’re your blood sugars are low. In this case, it is better to stop and do your exercises between your meals or even after your last meal.
Once your body has adjusted to burning fat instead of carbohydrates you get optimal results when you exercise during the fasting stage. If you get very hungry after your work out then do it just before you can have your first meal of the day.
Here are some of the benefits of exercise for weight loss after hysterectomy.
- Reduce your blood glucose.
- Reduce your insulin levels.
- Boost insulin sensitivity.
- Boost cellular fat oxidation (fat burning).
- Raise your glucagon (opposite effect of insulin).
- Raise human growth hormone
Weight loss after hysterectomy will not happen with exercise alone. Focus on changing the program of when and what you eat and you will see some surprising results.
Whether you are struggling to lose weight or desperately trying to get past a certain weight loss plateau, intermittent fasting is worth to try.
Intermittent Fasting is not for pregnant women, breastfeeding moms and kids. They rely on a consistent supply of nutrients for proper development. But also if you are a diabetic you should consult your doctor first.
With intermittent fasting, I managed to lose the weight I had gained after the hysterectomy. After three months I was at my target weight. Ever since I still fast every day for 12 to 16 hours. This is easy as my body got used to it and I never feel hungry anymore. I believe this also helps immensely not to put the weight back on. During the feasting hours, I now eat three meals instead of two.
What if you could start looking the way you did before the hysterectomy surgery?
What if you could experience that incredible feeling of seeing the numbers on the scale go down week by week?
Imagine how great it feels when people start complimenting you and ask how you managed to do it.
That is exactly what happened when I started with a low carb diet combined with intermittent fasting. And I sincerely believe that you can do it too. Go ahead and try it.
What do you think? I love to hear (in the comments below) if you have tried intermittent or are tempted to give it a go.