Today I’ve had a huge epiphany. HUGE. For the last 2 mos. I’ve been feeling like total crap. I have been very tired. I’m an energetic person so to want to lay down in the afternoon is driving me nuts. My stomach issues have become more frustrating then usual. My PMS is literally off the charts. I’m not sleeping well. I’m breaking out. I’m struggling with brain fog on a much higher level then usual. So yeah, a lot has been going on! I was having a hard time putting my finger on the source of all these issues until today. I want to share this because I bet some of you are experiencing these symptoms and this might be an eye opening post as well as a possible solution.
First, let me give you a quick definition of what intermittent fasting is. It’s basically a schedule of refraining from eating. Some people do it 2x a week for 24 hours at a time, some do it daily and typically eat all their food for a 24 hour period in a span of 8 hours, then refrain from food for the other 16 hours. The benefits include weight loss by encouraging your body to burn fat for fuel, lower blood sugar, improved cardiovascular health and a reduced cancer risk.
Months ago I blogged about collagen HERE. I started adding it to my smoothie which gave me a whopping 18 grams of protein! What this was doing was keeping me full for a large amount of time. My typical eating schedule was my protein packed green smoothie in the a.m. around 9ish. At lunch (noonish) time I would strive to stay somewhat raw and healthy with an avocado and tomatoes, eggs, veggies, dip and cheese or a salad. My snack was around 3 and it was usually cashew butter and raw honey. Dinner consisted of chicken, ground beef or beans and another veggie. Once the girls were in bed, I would occasionally drink a couple of glasses of wine and ideally not eat but sometimes I would eat spicy cashews or a couple squares of dark chocolate. Let me be clear-this is what my goal was. Life gets in the way and I didn’t always eat as clean and weekends were somewhat indulgent.
Somewhere along the way my eating schedule changed. I started forgetting to have my smoothie until 11-12 in the morning which was throwing everything off. I wouldn’t even get hungry for dinner but hunger would hit around 7-8 when I would end up gorging on “healthy” snacks, wine or even decaf coffee with cream. I kept getting annoyed with myself as to why I was so insatiable in the evening even though I wasn’t physically that hungry.
As you can see, slowly my natural eating rhythm became different and I was eating less during the day and more during the evening. I would stop eating around 9 each night and then not eat again until 11 or noon the next day. That’s about a 15 hour fast. Hence-accidental intermittent fasting.
My x-husband benefited from intermittent fasting while we were married so I tried it years ago. I had read that intermittent fasting isn’t for most women due to hormone issues so once my PMS got worse, I stopped and never did it again. Fast forward to now and all my symptoms are adding up to the side effects of intermittent fasting for many women.
I found THIS thorough article on women and intermittent fasting and how it effect hormone levels. It is long but if you are considering IF or like me, are having all sorts of symptoms most likely caused by skipping meals or practicing IF, read it-it will clear a lot up.
Negative Side Effects of Intermittent Fasting:
- Adrenal stress
- High cortisol levels
- Thyroid issues
- Sleep disorders
- Missed periods/early menopause
- Binge eating
The thing about intermittent fasting is that it goes against our bodies natural clock. For some of us, this can be disruptive and a plethora of other issues can arise due to your body getting out of sync. Not everyone has an issue. In fact, I believe the majority of people, especially men, can benefit greatly from the IF lifestyle. Dr. Mercola has several articles on the benefits of intermittent fasting, especially exercising while fasting. Go HERE for an info. filled article on the benefits of intermittent fasting as well as who should avoid it.
Moving forward I am sitting my phone alarm to alert me at 9 every morning so that I make sure to drink my smoothie. For me, this is the key. When my smoothie schedule went later it was like a domino effect of changes in my normal eating schedule and from there, other health issues eventually began to arise.
The moral of the story is to listen to your body. My hope in sharing this is that my experience will ring a bell for some of you. My symptoms could arise not just with fasting or skipping meals but also in someone who has disrupted their normal sleep schedule for a prolonged amount of time. This would upset our bodies inner rhythm as well.
We’re all different and our bodies are unique. It is imperative that we pay close attention to our symptoms because they are the clues to what is happening inside our body. If you are considering IF, proceed cautiously.
Jenni, this will be so helpful to so many women. Most important takeaway…and this is what I tell everyone too…listen to your body. No matter how great something sounds, it may not be great for you. Yes, there are some basic guidelines that are true for everyone…eat whole food, stay hydrated, etc. But I don’t believe there is one set of “rules” that works for everyone. Also love how you set your phone alarm. I use mine for so many little things throughout the day to keep me on track.
Elizabeth! It’s true-everyone is so different and when trends catch on it’s so easy to jump on the bandwagon! This little accidental fasting really messed me up but I’m so glad to have figured it out! And I tell you, I’m in such a bad habit that I truly need that alarm!