Intermittent Fasting Without Even Knowing
As an IBS sufferer of many years and throughout my journey of trying to lose weight, I have tried all kinds of diets. From a high fiber diet to the Low FODMAP diet, I tried to manage my IBS symptoms through food. I’ve even tried the Atkin’s diet for a short period of time, which was more for weight loss purposes than IBS management. I’ve tried so many diets that I decided to incorporate some of what I’ve learned into my own health-awareness diet, which sometimes even that is hard to follow.
Intermittent fasting for IBS
One diet that I found to be effective for my IBS is the intermittent fasting diet, which is an umbrella term because there are quite a few different ways to fast. Intermittent fasting is usually given a bad connotation because some people associate it with an eating disorder (i.e. anorexia), which is far from the case. Nonetheless, it is considered purposely abstaining from food for a specific window of time and then feasting for a shorter window of time. The whole point of fasting is to consume fewer calories, but in my mind, it’s giving my body more time to digest and recover from food.
How I accidentally discovered intermittent fasting
The challenge about intermittent fasting is that you have to be conscious of your time frame. If you screw up, it could possibly ruin whatever improvement you were already making. However, that’s not to say you can’t get back on the ball and stick to your goals. As I have mentioned before, there are quite a few different ways of fasting. For instance, some use the 5:2 method, which is restricting themselves of calories for two non-consecutive days and then eat without restraints on the other five days, while others might restrict themselves on a day-to-day basis.1 Some might skip breakfast and dinner while only eating brunch and lunch for the day, or vice versa. It’s a matter of what they feel works best for them.
There are many other health benefits to intermittent fasting besides losing weight. For instance, it helps regulate your digestive system.1 The way I came across intermittent fasting was actually by accident. I didn’t realize I was fasting for a period when I chose to only eat from 12pm to 8pm, sometimes 8:30pm the latest. I wouldn’t eat until 12pm again the next day, and repeated that cycle for almost 3 weeks. I was performing the intermittent fasting diet without even realizing it, and the reason why I was doing it was because I found it easier to have bowel movements that way. What this taught me was that I have an extremely slow digestive system due to my IBS. When I would eat food before going to bed, I would wake up in the middle of the night rushing to the bathroom, but I would never feel completely finished. As you can imagine, this was a great and constant disturbance to my sleep. So I figured that in order to experience more regular bowel movements, I would need to consume food only within a specific time frame. The great news is this method worked well for me, but since I didn’t know at the time what I was actually doing, I didn’t stick to it for longer than 3 weeks.
Researching fasting and talking to a doctor
If I ever decide to consciously practice intermittent fasting again, I’ll make sure to incorporate a regular exercise regimen as well because it will help boost my metabolism. The point of raising my metabolism is to improve my digestive system so that I can have easier bowel movements, and an overall healthier body. After researching more on the topic, I have learned a lot about fasting and I wanted to share my experience and knowledge with all of you in hopes that it might help a few of you manage your IBS symptoms. If you do decide to start fasting, I would recommend doing more of your own research into it (read a book written by a doctor on the topic), consulting your physician, and coming up with a plan based on your body’s needs. In addition, there might be supplements you would want to consider taking since you are cutting down on your food intake. Have any of you ever tried or thought about fasting? If so, what did it do for you or what are your thoughts about it? Please comment and share below. Thanks.
Do you think there is enough awareness of IBS?