Why intermittent fasting doesn’t work…

If you caught my recent interview on the Fasting for Freedom series, this subject might come as a surprise to you.

In the series, I shared my personal journey with intermittent fasting and how it didn’t initially work for me, and how common this is for many people who try it.

What works for one person will not necessarily work for you.

This is why you, or someone you know, may have tried eating Paleo, Whole30, gluten free, Keto or (insert diet of your choice) didn’t work, yet other people are getting amazing results from it.

At the core, intermittent fasting is a highly effective tool that has been used to improve health for centuries.  Fasting has been used for ages in eastern philosophies of medicine to help reverse or prevent health conditions such as cancer, diabetes and other chronic diseases.

If we think about fasting from a primal or ancestral standpoint, it has been around basically since the beginning of mankind.  As hunter-gatherers, our primitive ancestors frequently went without food for periods of time in between successful hunting trips and during times of famine when food sources were low or hard to come by.  They didn’t have the luxuries of fast food drive-thrus on almost every corner or food at their fingertips like we do today.

However, intermittent fasting may not work for everyone, at least not right away, and in some cases it could be causing more harm than good.

Fasting may not be working for you if:

  1. You have existing hormone imbalances (thyroid, estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, etc.)
  2. You currently suffer with sleep issues 
  3. You have underlying vitamin and mineral deficiencies
  4. Your liver is already sluggish or overloaded 
  5. You have metals or other toxins built up in your body
  6. You avoid salt or don’t eat enough of it

Countless health- coaching clients have come to me frustrated with the lack of results they are getting with intermittent fasting and other diet approaches. 

It’s not the diet or the intermittent fasting that’s not working.

There’s something going on under the hood rendering the diet ineffective.

In this week’s video and blog, I share more insights about why intermittent fasting may not be working for you and what you should do so it will. 

Think of intermittent fasting like training for a marathon: you need the right shoes, gradual training runs that lead to longer ones over time, proper hydration and food to refuel, and recovery time to make it to the finish line.

We want to think of the body as a well-oiled machine that is ready to adapt to anything we throw at it, but that’s generally not the case, considering all the variables that impact our health in this modern day world.  

With most diet trends, people have a tendency to dive all-in without considering if their body is ready for it, and when it “doesn’t work,” they give up.  

Often it’s not the diet that didn’t work, but something else under the hood that got in the way.  This is why it’s always better to test, not guess, in order to figure out exactly what is right for your body so you don’t go spinning your wheels, wasting money or time on failed attempts or health improvement strategies that aren’t right for you.

Assess if intermittent fasting will work for you and properly prep for it…

Test, don’t guess.
It’s better to know about any underlying hormone or nutrient imbalances before you dive into fasting.  At a minimum, check your thyroid, cortisol, estrogen, testosterone and melatonin levels along with your vitamin and mineral balance before starting a fasting routine.  

But you should know that typical blood tests won’t tell you all you need to know about your hormones.  Get the truth about lab tests in this webinar I did.

If any imbalances exist, lay the foundation to reverse them with a therapeutic diet, adequate sleep, appropriate exercise, stress reduction and nourishing supplements before jumping into fasting.

Start in small chunks.
Don’t go for the gold right from the get-go.  Start by making dinner your last meal, fasting overnight, and gradually extending out the time you eat breakfast in the morning a few days a week.  I typically stop eating by 8pm and don’t have my first meal until 9:30 or 10am the next morning resulting in a 14 hour fasting period. As your body adapts, your energy will improve, letting you know when you can extend the length of your fast..  

(NOTE: Women’s hormones are particularly sensitive to food deprivation so consider intermittent fasting every other day instead of daily, and not during ovulation or a few days before your period starts.)

Salt and supplement.
When you’re avoiding food, you’re also avoiding access to nutrients so it’s essential to supplement what you’re missing.  Taking a high quality multivitamin and mineral complex supplement on a daily basis is a good idea in general because food these days is just less nutrient dense than before (even the organic stuff).  

If you’re avoiding food all together for the purpose of fasting, supplementing with vitamins and minerals will help to keep your hormones happy, your energy balanced and will support the process of fat adaptation.  Our ancestors salted meat to cure them for food storage and ate every part of the animal (organs, cartilage, etc.) so the nutrient values in their bodies were much higher than ours, even when they were forced to fast.

I take LMNT electrolytes at least once a day to ensure I’m getting enough minerals and electrolytes to stay hydrated. 

If your energy tanks or your sleep goes south while trying intermittent fasting, you definitely should stop and investigate what’s going on under your hood.  Those are two key signs something isn’t right and intermittent fasting may not be right for you right now. 

If you want to assess if intermittent fasting will or won’t work for you, then schedule a complimentary Ideal Health & Weight Discovery Session with me here today!

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