I’ve been experimenting with intermittent fasting (fasting for sixteen hours then eating within an eight hour window) over the last couple of weeks. I thought it was going great. I felt good, I rarely felt hungry outside of the eight hour window, I had plenty of energy and I was sleeping well … until I started listening to podcasts and reading articles about how intermittent fasting isn’t good for women. Hearing all of the horror stories about persistent acne, disordered eating, smashed up hormones and adrenals and other ‘side effects’ freaked me out.
(Image via ninapaley.com)
All of a sudden, little things started to turn into bigger, more sinister things. The pimple that appeared out of the blue became an omen that my hormones are out of whack and I am going to get acne that would never go away. The bad night’s sleep due to nightmares when I usually sleep well and rarely have nightmares equals stressed out adrenals. Not losing any weight from fasting – not that I really care about weight loss – equals a screwed up metabolism. A rare headache … something fishy is going on here.
When you start paying attention to what you eat and how it affects you, you notice the tiniest changes within yourself. The problem is that sometimes the cause of the change isn’t always clear.
Is it the fasting, or did I accidentally ingest some gluten when I went out for dinner? Am I just tired from work? Pushing it too hard at CrossFit? Am I being slowly poisoned because I drank tap water when I ran out of spring water? Is it because I can’t afford to eat 100% organic and I have been eating more vegetables, thus more pesticides, herbicides and who knows what else?
It’s very easy to over-complicate these kinds of things. Instead of listening to other people’s stories, I’m getting back to basics, listening to my body and doing what it tells me to do. Thankfully, there have been no more pimples, nightmares or headaches. I’m staying away from the scales because I don’t want this to turn into an exercise in weight loss. I eat when I’m hungry, and it just so happens I am usually only hungry in the eight hour window. If I am hungry in the sixteen hour fasting period, I eat. I stop when I’m not hungry anymore.
Trial and error. What works for me might not work for you. Experiment, document, research and explore, then do it all over again until you find what works, what is true for you.
What experiments have you undertaken to improve your health? What is your truth? I’d love to hear about it!