I was joking around with a friend the other day that I’ve been doing intermittent fasting for as long as I can remember when it was called “skipping meals”.
In fact intermittent fasting is part of My Story. You know the story others tell about you when they knew you “way back when”. Not only was my childhood nickname Chester given to me by my older cousins (I was the youngest first cousin in my family brood until the 2nd cousins started being born) but also I had “eating and non eating days”. That’s how I explained it to others as did my parents when I just didn’t eat. It was typically an every other day sort of thing.
Even during early sleepovers at my BFF’s house, her mom would become acutely concerned either my parents were starving me, I had an eating disorder or we just didn’t make enough money at home to feed our small family. I think it took my mom some heavy convincing that Social Services didn’t need to be called. I infact just plainly had “eating and non eating days”.
Honestly reflecting now on this, I’m quite glad I had 1970’s hippy era, slightly clueless parents. Because not only was I practicing intermittent fasting but more importantly I was being allowed to practice Intuitive Eating. Another common practice these days to help others turn away from dietiting to really listening to what your body needs.
Of course when you’re 7 and your parents are relishing in couples bowling leagues none of this really made sense. However, I do wonder if it wasn’t this early way of eating that has lead me to be able to still wear clothes I had in highschool. Ok not highschool pants; thank you 3 children for expanding those hips just a little bit but I do have a $4 thrift store sweater that I bought in the 11th grade I still quite fancy.
By all means, I am NOT telling you to starve your children or introduce them to intermittent fasting. This was completely MY choice in choosing not to eat and my parents allowing it. I just wasn’t hungry. And I never went a full day without eating but from what I can recall, at least one meal was just tiny nibbles. In high school, without a doubt it was lunch. Even back then, I was too cheap to buy, thought the cafeteria food was weird, had a thing about eating in front of others and was quite full from the protein, fat packed, sugar laden whole chocolate milk I drank daily that I think only cost $.35.
And although I’m a huge proponent into not skipping meals for most people, I also realized reflecting on how I eat now that at least one day a week I technically am fasting mid day from 7am until 6pm.
There are many different intermittent fasting patterns out there from forgoing all food (consuming less than 400 calories per day) for a few days in a row (!) to having only an 8 hour window to consume your nutrition; sometimes referred to as 16:8. And lots of variations in between.
What is intermittent fasting good for?
Ultimately an overall calorie reduction or deficit. This regular/semi regular reduction can aid in weight loss, can facilitate in reduced insulin requirements, tumor growth and a whole slew of other intertwined factors involving human health. Just recently (like this month!) a reported connection to lowering triglycerides.
I won’t get into the biology of it; that’s where Google comes in.
But is it good for you?
I actually incorporate intermittent fasting in my Misfit Method a few days a week for most (not all) of my clients. By the time they start it though, eating more nutritionally dense foods is happening as well as learning to not starve themselves. Seems weird to say “lets essentially starve yourself” after I’ve essentially called out half my clients on under-nourishing themselves. But when you’re a dietitian for 20 years, you see the difference.
I also “count” calories for them so they don’t have to. I help get them in a rhythm so calories don’t matter.
And we break rules when need be for things like flavored coffee creamer. Typically nothing of substance is allowed during IF hours (especially carbs) but I don’t take anyones morning cup of coffee away or their sweet creamer as long as it’s less than 15 grams of carbs. But again, if that 15 grams triggers a carb craving an hour later, bye-bye you go.
What I’m essentially rambling about is that intermittent fasting should be very personalized, fit into your lifestyle and not cut out areas where nutrition is abundant.
For example, if you rock the salmon packed, quinoa and roasted vegetable loaded salad at lunch and you decide you want to try IF and skip lunch….STOP!!! That’s too much good nutrition to try and pack in somewhere else. Same with that daily breakfast of overnight oats laden with blueberries, almonds, chia and flaxseeds….oh don’t you go giving that up either!!
However, if your office is filled with someone always bringing in donuts or bagels and you left your house starving; try and go until 11am before you start eating your lunch. Then wrap up your day at 7. Yes, fine, glub down that last bit of wine from dinner. No ones looking.
Now if you have DM, Type 1 or 2, get faint or dizzy without eating something, take medications in the am that make you nauseous without eating or are a heavy early morning exerciser get someone on board familiar with IF.
Especially when it comes to DM, many dietitians and doctors, endocrinologists included are unfamiliar with IF, thus scared to recommend or condone it. But there’s plenty that can help. Just know you may need to check your blood sugars more regularly and have an “oh snap” plan written out (yes WRITTEN) in case your blood sugar drops too low. That also will require notifying people in your circle that you are trying this.
Ultimately no matter who you are, and no matter what diet plan you are following intermittent fasting included, if it makes you feel like crap, stop doing it.
Want to try intermittent fasting while someone virtually holds your hand? My 1:1 consult always includes 7 days of virtual support and monitoring. That way you can get this new plan personalized right off the bat and when someone looks at you strange when you announce you are having a “non eating” day, you can say it’s Misfit approved.
Find my 1:1 “Sprinkle Plan” here. Yes, it’s named after my favorite dessert condiment. Believe me, I’m not your average dietitian.
Misfit Hugs, Kim