I love intermittent fasting, I fast 16:8 from Monday to Friday and, on weekends, I keep 12 hours between my last meal of the day and first one next day. I have been fasting for almost 2 years now and it is part of my life. I don’t even think about it and it’s zero effort for me to live this way, because it makes sense to me.
In general, my caloric requirement is 2 very complete meals a day. Sometimes, when I have been sitting working in front of the computer for many hours without moving, I only need 1. Which is obvious, my energy expenditure has been very low.
Do I think that I should not eat because I was sitting for too long? NOOO!!! I just don't feel hungry.
What about snacking? I am not hungry before my eating window and if I ever am, I eat, because this is not a strict diet to follow. In fact, this is not a diet at all (even though some companies try to sell it to us like the wonderful diet to lose weight and I think is despicable, you'll see why in a minute).
And I don't feel anxiety eating for a very important reason. In addition to eating a lot of protein and fiber, I am constantly very hydrated and I consume a lot of healthy fats such as avocados, pumpkin seeds and nuts in the amounts that I need, in addition to supplementing myself with Omega 3 on a daily basis, which nourishes my brain in a very complete way.
Intermittent fasting helped big time to regulate my hormones and my entire metabolism. As I said in the latest video I recorded, we need to find our unique nutrition, we cannot be treated like mass-produced products, right?.
I cannot fail to mention that, being able to find out the food requirement I need, was thanks to the practice of Mindful Eating. A practice that goes far beyond "eating everything without restriction" (which is false) and chewing a lot and turning off the cell phone while you eat. That would be like reading the title of the first chapter of a very short manual on "mindful eating for dummies".
Who really knows and has studied and practices Mindful Eating, does not go around recommending eating piecemeal and obeying your hunger signals, without explaining how to recognize those real signals.
But what makes sense to me, may not make sense to you. And it can even make you feel uncomfortable or even sick.
So, as wonderful as it can sound, IF can also be very dangerous if you are not well informed and supervised by a qualified professional.
In my case, I consulted with a doctor before starting because I suffered of anxiety eating, anxiety drinking, depression and high stress levels. I also suffered of eating disorders in my 20's. All of which are factors that must be considered before you start fasting. And if you ask me, those are all impediments (until you heal), according to my own experience.
Here are some considerations regarding intermittent fasting and eating disorders:
Individual susceptibility: People with a history of eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, or binge eating disorder, may be more vulnerable to developing disordered eating patterns or triggering unhealthy behaviors when practicing intermittent fasting. Restrictive eating patterns, including fasting, can potentially exacerbate or reignite disordered eating tendencies.
Focus on mental health: Eating disorders are complex mental health conditions that require professional treatment and support. If you have a history of an eating disorder, it is crucial to prioritize your mental health and seek guidance from healthcare professionals, such as therapists or registered dietitians specializing in eating disorders, before considering intermittent fasting.
Potential triggers: Intermittent fasting may trigger or reinforce restrictive behaviors, obsessive thoughts about food, or a sense of control over eating. This can be particularly challenging for individuals with a history of eating disorders, as they may be more susceptible to these triggers and struggle to maintain a healthy relationship with food.
Recovery and balance: eating disorder recovery typically involves establishing a balanced and flexible approach to food and eating. Intermittent fasting, with its specific time restrictions and rules, may disrupt the progress made in recovery and hinder the development of a healthy and sustainable relationship with food.
What is worrisome, is that there are many women who does not suffer of bulimia or anorexia, but do have disorder eating.
Examples of disorder eating are restrictive eating, binge eating, purging behaviors, emotional eating, body image dissatisfaction, obsessive thoughts about food, food guilt and shame, among others. These are not classified as full-fledged eating disorders; however, they may have a huge impact in a person’s health and quality of life.
This is why I always talk about AWARENESS. Paying attention to your thoughts will tell you if you have a healthy relationship with your food and with your body. And if you find yourself having a negative self-talk or you actually suffer of binge eating, please seek for help before even thinking about practicing intermittent fasting.
Believe me when I say that you will achieve your healthy weight. You will heal from anxiety eating, binge eating and more. But you must go one step at a time. Be kind and patient with yourself and trust that you are strong enough to overcome whatever challenge life throws at you.
I’m am always here if you have any questions about how to approach a disorder eating or eating disorder. I am not a therapist but I can empower you to be better with my story. Because I experienced both, and I healed from both. The least I can do is help other women to get out of that hell.
Hope you enjoyed today’s article.
Loads of love!