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Intermittent fasting, which I began on January 21, is still working out very well for me, but it hasn't been without some weird rough patches.



After two weeks of fairly strict adherence, last Friday night I found myself in an uncomfortable--not to say alarming--state of activation. There was no emotional content, no external trigger, just a racing heart and shaking hands, which came on suddenly and worsened for about an hour.

Thyroid is, apparently, amped up in some individuals by intermittent fasting. There's some evidence that the effect is an evolved response to signs of starvation: female rats become alert, "masculinized" food-seeking light sleepers on the regimen.

I overfed myself that night and for a couple of days. My heart rate quickly returned to 55, my hands stilled, and I soon felt solid again.

But I wasn't ready to abandon intermittent fasting. The alertness, mental clarity, and physical energy are too valuable to me. They're quickly becoming The Whole Point.

So I set out to examine the starvation question. I'm eating enough, but something about the 16-hour gap between feedings was creating problems. Perhaps the macronutrient mix needed adjusting. Research led me to make some meal adjustments (like, don't start the day with carbs. At all.)

Then I discovered buttered coffee.

Yup. Buttered coffee. It's delicious. You bung a chunk of grass-fed butter or coconut oil into a hot cup o' joe, and...surprise! Total satisfaction.

Apparently fat (by itself) in the morning doesn't interrupt the 16-hour fast. So you get a shot of calories to stave off the starvation effect, but you're still getting fasting's benefits.

It's been smooth sailing all week. No more shakes, decent sleep, weight trending downward as planned. Think I'll stick with if for a while.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
karen_jk
Feb. 16th, 2013 12:12 am (UTC)
So glad you are writing about this. I want to learn all about it and will go back and read about when you started.
emeraldsedai
Feb. 16th, 2013 04:54 am (UTC)
I hope it's helpful. The method seems to be doing me some good, but it's a little bit extreme, and has very real effects, so definitely proceed with caution and self-education.
llaras
Jun. 25th, 2013 07:49 am (UTC)
When I first saw you writing about this I became curious and thought it was something I could maybe do as a weight loss tool, and then I realized that most days I kind of already do. Oops? Between my messed up sleep (anywhere from between 0-18 hours) and the chronic pain/anxiety/depression, I'm all over the place with my eating habits. And lately I have to force myself to eat something if my body doesn't remind me that it needs fuel. I didn't eat today until around 7 pm and it was startling, to say the least, when I realized that.

This is a roundabout way of saying: this sounds really amazing and cool and I would like to try it sometime when I get some of the other areas of my life a bit more in order! :-)
emeraldsedai
Jun. 25th, 2013 05:57 pm (UTC)
If you do decide to go that route, proceed with great caution. I found it extremely stressful after a few weeks, so much so that I had to go completely off any sort of weight-loss regimen, re-feed, and try to restore my metabolism. I'd read (and blogged about) some research suggesting that Intermittent Fasting is not appropriate for women, for very specific reasons relating to hormones. and that turned out to be true for me.

As a broad and general rule, I don't like to eat early in the morning, and several days a week I naturally fast for probably 15 hours. But not every day. It was the every day that did the damage, I think.

Now, after six weeks of not-dieting, I'm finally climbing back on the wagon--the basic, moderate, reduce-calories-and-carbs approach that has been best for me all along.
llaras
Jun. 25th, 2013 10:59 pm (UTC)
Ah, thanks for the info. I'm slowly catching up on entries (you may have guessed).

I have a hard time eating after I get up, whenever that is. I usually have some coffee or tea and juice (my new fave is plain grapefruit). Then once I get up and moving around and doing things my body tells me when it wants fuel. If I start thinking about food before I'm hungry I usually get nauseated. Ugh.

emeraldsedai
Jun. 25th, 2013 11:31 pm (UTC)
I'm just the same way. I finally had to acknowledge that if I actually don't feel like eating, I, of all people, should actually not eat!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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