Is fasting really benefiting you?Sep 03, 2022
Something I've been reflecting on the past week is the creation of fear, whether that's stemming from outside sources or from within.
We live in a world where fear is a component of marketing. Fear sells.
Creating fear creates the perception of need. You *need* something to avoid the fear. Whether that’s a supplement, to eat a certain way, to believe something.
One of the biggest mistakes I made in my health journey is making decisions based out of fear. This created a helplessness and thus a dependency on external things to make me feel better and healthy again. Or, a dependence on things I thought were making me feel better and healthy again.
I just sort of started doing things because I thought I should. The health gurus said I should do “X” or else “Y” will happen.
Like fasting, and then limiting carbs, and then avoiding carbs all together.
Today I want to touch on fasting a little more, because I originally thought fasting sounded ridiculous,… but somehow I went from thinking something sounded ridiculous to religiously implementing fasting to the extent I was only eating 1 time a day, in order to follow the rule of keeping all of my food in a specific window because of “autophagy” and “insulin sensitivity” and “metabolic flexibility” and “effortless weight loss” and “this is good for my autoimmune disease” ….
But really? What is this based on? Is this a good way to accomplish those selling points? What are the consequences? Do I actually understand what I’m doing, at the physiological level? Do I really need to avoid carbs?
Or am I acting out of fear?
These are important questions to start asking yourself when you’re being fear mongered into extreme ideas.
Reality is, I didn’t feel good fasting. I kept telling myself I did, because it’s what I thought I needed to do, but I didn’t.
- I would get hungry, but I couldn't eat for a few hours... which created a constant day dreaming about food.
- I would feel extremely wired and energized, but at the same time, I felt a stress in my abdomen and chest I couldn't really shake.
- I started to lose more and more weight, and I became obsessed with the idea that I was losing all the inflammation and that it was a good thing... until I was a skeleton and lost a significant amount of my muscle mass.
And damn, even though I denied it at the time, I really craved sugar.
Luckily, our fasting days are way behind us, but I still see so many people investing in the idea of intermittent fasting, or OMAD, or extreme diets that try to mimic the idea of fasting in some way or another (like keto and carnivore).
Why do some of these people find relief with these extremes?
The most logical explanation is that by avoiding food for a certain amount of time, those who eat foods that are tough to digest/not the best for us are giving their bodies time away from all the polyunsaturated fats, fortified grains, preservatives & gums that are causing issues in their bodies.
Other people may just feel better, and if that’s you, that’s great. But what I do know is that almost all of the studies done on fasting are on males,
What should be relieving to know is that there are far less stressful ways to accomplish similar “benefits” of fasting (including autophagy!) such as exercise [PMID = 22258505], having good thyroid function [PMID = 26562261, 34786524, & 30849993], and getting good nights of sleep [PMID = 34685469 & 34085929].
We don’t need to fear food.
We don’t need to fear eating food regularly (in fact, we should look forward to breakfast!)
And we shouldn’t engage in a way of eating that creates a fearful mindset around food and our eating habits. We are literally designed to eat food.
We need to start nourishing ourselves and providing the right fuel and nutrients to establish a sense of safety, and to allow our bodies to replenish and repair themselves regularly, instead of trying to accomplish this via a modified form of starvation.
I was feared into thinking that eating carbs results in insulin resistance, by avoiding carbs and fasting I could create this idea of metabolic flexibility, and eating carbs would result in weight gain, and that all of the above would worsen my autoimmune disease.
Ironically, the avoidance of carbs made me tolerate carbs less. It caused blood sugar issues. It made me less metabolically flexible. It made me rely on stress hormones. And it made my metabolism slow so much that eating even infant calories wasn’t enough to drop stubborn fat. And no, it didn’t help my autoimmunity long term, it just slowed my system so much that I masked deficiencies. And yes, I lost inflammation because I cut out foods that my gut couldn’t tolerate, but this is only a bandage approach…
The real killer was that I was afraid. I started to fear things that I didn’t have to, like fruits, dairy (because it had sugars), sugar in general, even seemingly “innocent” things like squash and cucumbers… All of my favorite things.
The fear did the most damage. And it’s taken a long time to come back from this metabolic purgatory I experienced from extreme diets and fasting, and I still have a long way to go, but I really just encourage you to start thinking about some of your dietary beliefs and behaviors, and question whether they’re stemming from a place of fear, and whether they’re actually serving you anymore.
Do you understand the why behind a certain nutrition ideology? Or do you do something based out of fear?
I’m really glad to have gone through these extremes because now I get to share with others that there’s a better way to improving your health & losing fat. All whilst eating a wide variety of food, with no cutting out macronutrients or starvation. This is what we teach you in our course, Rooted in Resilience, to help you break out of the dieting hamster wheel and gain a true understanding of what your body needs to thrive.
"Nothing in life is to be feared, it's only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less."