This is a post about why I stopped Intermittent Fasting. Alternate title: Know better, do better.
For the last 5 or so years, I have practiced intermittent fasting. Why? Simplicity.
Frankly, I’ve never cared what it’s doing for my weight, hormones, or any of the other jazz people talk about.
If it has aided my health at a cellular level in any way, it’s been an added bonus.
I needed the simplicity because- real talk- there are periods of 2015-2018 I honestly don’t remember.
Having triplets was a blow to an otherwise controllable existence.
Here’s why I’m not fasting anymore:
I started experiencing extreme bloating during different points in my cycle (Doctor says it could be pre-menopause, so that’s fun).
I’m talking the “is she pregnant?” kind of bloating.
Like, size up one bloating.
Conversations with Dr. Stacy Sims and Dr. Nick Fuller made cracks in the health rationale and benefits of intermittent fasting and I started wondering if my behavioral habit of waiting until noon to eat was causing all the bloating…
n = 1
So, I tested it.
This is always my first response to personal health. Change one thing only for 30 days and see if you feel different.
After a single month, I noticed a lot less bloating.
Like, whoops- I guess wasn’t running 5 pounds heavier all summer. Most of it was water weight.
I also had reduced symptoms around a now erratic menstrual cycle- cramping, fatigue, general discomfort.
According to a few Dietitians I know personally, the root cause of these symptoms was stressing my digestive system with a day’s worth of work in a window condensed 6 hours.
There will be no podcast episode about this. It’s deeply personal and, quite honestly, I’d probably need a Psychiatrist and a RD!
But seriously- why fasting?
After this experiment, I started thinking about why I was fasting in the first place…
Allow me to wax poetic on you for minute.
Side note: when I do this, it usually means the entire reason you may have connected with me in the first place is about to turn upside down!
Fasting gave me a sense of control that eventually turned into disordered eating.
To the friends who suggested this could be happening who I completely ignored (and sometimes got angry or defensive), I am sorry.
There are a lot of you. You had good intentions. And you were right.
Hindsight is 20/20 and I can now say with confidence the concentration I felt while fasting was not stronger than my obsession with the next time I’d break my fast.
I’d count down the minutes to eat and obsess over what I’d eat, instead of my family or other responsibilities.
As soon as my “feeding window” opened, I would overeat (real talk: you can overeat healthy foods).
I even downloaded an app that tracked my fast, Apple Watch closed circle style, and gave me a “streak” and an assortment of gamified badges as rewards for my obsessiveness.
Turns out, what I wanted was a sense of control at a time in my life when life seemed utterly out of control.
Not a reduced eating window.
So what now?
Did my health suffer?
I have no idea. I didn’t take any labs prior to beginning a fasting regimen 5 years ago so whether my hormones, cholesterol or other biometric markers are up, down, or sideways- I’ll never know.
All I have is my weight. And while that has stayed the same- a good thing, considering the average American gains a pound each year after 30 (mostly holiday weight gain I am very susceptible to!), my weight does not define my health.
Did you hear me? My weight does not define my health. And neither does yours.
But, the science!
Also, most of the folks on the forefront of this conversation are Evolutionists. I am a Christian who believes in Creation, so here’s why that matters:
We disagree on the most basic understanding of why our body was designed.
And friends, that is science.
So, here is my formal apology for promoting toxic behaviors like intermittent fasting.
Once you know better, you do better.
When presented with better information, we are allowed to change our minds.
I love the work Dr. Stacy Sims is doing around female athlete populations, much of it with menopausal females. She came on the Run Lift Mom podcast to discuss training rationale but don’t miss her book, Roar, if you really want to go deep.
Dr. Nick Fuller is also a pioneer for long term weight loss and he came on the Run Lift Mom podcast to discuss strategies for runners, including an inverted eating approach- largest meal at breakfast, next largest at lunch, smallest at dinner.
I hope you’ll follow me along my journey and share yours too. We can keep each other accountable. Connect with me on Instagram: