Intermittent Fasting and Disordered Eating
Ever wish with your whole heart you could just lose those last 20 pounds or find the perfect diet that will let you lose weight and eat everything you want? Of course you have, who hasn't? That's the allure of diets.
Diets are changes you choose to make regarding how, when or what you eat in order to lose weight quickly. Many diets also come with the unfortunate side effects of hunger pains, irritability, headaches, problems sleeping, and create an unhealthy relationship with food.
Intermittent Fasting is a lot like other diets you may have tried. While you get to eat what you want, there are rules about when you are able to eat, if if you feel hungry.
Some common side effects of Intermittent Fasting include hunger pains, nausea, low energy, irritibilty, mood swings, problems sleeping, and ruminating thoughts around calories, food, and weight loss. WHY? Because a core component of this diet is that you can't eat for several hours.
A study by the University of Toronto analyzing data from 3,000 adolescents and young adults found that Intermittent Fasting was linked to disordered eating behaviors in women, including binge-eating, vomiting, and controlling exercise. (Kyle T. Ganson, Ph.D., assistant professor at the University of Toronto's Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work Researchers).
Is Intermittent Fasting Right for You?
Intermittent Fasting is not recommended for children/teens, adults with a history of eating disorders, disordered eating, a preoccupation with food and weight loss, stress or emotional eaters, and women who are pregnant or breastfeeding (Medical News Today).
Why I Don't Recommend Intermittent Fasting
After 20 years of helping people with health and wellness goals, including establishing healthy rituals around food, I have a deep, grounded belief that we need to mindfully listen to our bodies, honor our gut instincts and embrace our feelings.
90% of the "feel good" chemicals in our bodies are created in our gut. Think about the implications of overall happiness if you are starving your gut or at least not listening when it is sending you hunger signals. Furthermore, being hungry stresses our system and releases cortisol, the stress hormone. Too much cortisol, and it continuously gets released in our system even when there is nothing to worry about/be afraid of.
I also think of families experiencing food insecurity. Not knowing where your next meal is coming from is stressful. Feeling weak and experiencing nausea, low energy, and headaches as a result of not eating sounds awful. Why would we subject ourselves to this kind of physical pain and discomfort?
Eating foods our tummy loves, managing stress, having a good support system, moving with gratitude, and only eating when we are full sounds like a much better way to lose weight and be healthy. Plus, it's much easier to do and doesn't stress out our bodies.
Disclaimer: Wonder Woman Rising stands by the information in this article. We also recognize that people with healthy relationships with food and those in good physical health have found Intermittent Fasting to be an effective approach to eating, weight loss and heart health.
If you would like to learn about the many benefits of Intermittent Fasting, I suggest you Google articles by reputable sources such as NIH, or read Healthline's article, 10 Evidence Based Health Benefits of Intermittent Fasting.
Sara Minges, M.S., is the Founder of Wonder Woman Rising and Creator of "The Goddess Plan.", an anti-diet, intuitive eating, gut health approach to loving yourself and achieving personal weight goals. Sara's poems "My Fight With Barbie", "Diet of Denial", and "Addicted to Carbs", have been published in "Naked Toes" (2018, 2019) and "Whiskey Sweet" (Alien Buddha Press, 2022).