010: Top 7 Unspoken Effects of Intermittent Fasting
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Today I want to talk about the stuff that most of us don’t talk about. Weird I know but I’ve all ready done an episode on the “what to expect when you’re fasting” where I covered the primary things that your body experiences while you’re doing intermittent fasting. If you are a seasoned intermittent faster then you know of a lot of the benefits, if not listen to episode number 3 titled "What Goes On In Your Body While Intermittent Fasting" where I dive into all of the responses and reactions that your body goes through during this time. Its a really great episode because its a mechanical overview as to why fasting works.
If you’re going to make intermittent fasting a lifestyle, then it is necessary to understand these things... these unspoken effects that we experience. This is not the same as side effects. We're not talking about the drug commercials ... common sideeffects can include: nausea, upset stomach, itching, rash, dry mouth, blood clots and even death! Not those. These effects that you may exerience while intermittent fasting don't make the headlines becauseits not attractive enough. I mean hey!, what's more attractive than advertising weightloss in today's world?
So what do I mean when I say silent effects. Well, there are a few things I experienced while intermittent fasting that no one told me, like flat out!! As an IF community, we should be upfront about the fundamental and experimental processes. I know other people experience them too but they may not think that they are a result from intermittent fasting.
So let’s talk ...
the 7 silent effects that you may experience while intermittent fasting.
1) Sensitivity to Alcohol - So listen, I’m about 2 months into practicing intermittent fasting and I got an invite to go out to a party. I don’t go out often so I was super excited to get dressed up, hang out and dance. Well any one that knows me, knows it takes me a good 5 hours to get ready in order to go out. There is a lot of prep work that I have to do before hand. First I gotta get mentally prepared, then I have to do hair, makeup and find an outfit… and typically I would pre-eat. Yeah, I know I’m silly. I always had to eat something before I left. So that’s about an hour per phase. An hour on hair, an hour on makeup and hour for showering and deciding what to wear and then I have to eat. That’s easily 5 hours. So, I can’t remember the exact time but let’s just say this party started at 9, which means I needed to start getting ready at 4 o’clock, well nothing that evening went according to plan and I didn’t start getting ready until about 7. Talk about speed... at this point I’m in extreme rush mode, and mid-way through trying to do my hair and put on makeup I realized I haven’t had anything to eat. I didn’t want to go to a club and not eat. I mean I anticipated having a few drinks but I didn’t want to do it on an empty stomach. I didn’t have time to get in the kitchen to make anything so I just start eating handfuls of bread. Just stuffing my face with bread. At this point I’m all carbed up! And at the time, it sounded like a novel idea. Y’know? “Eat tons of bread and it’ll help soak up the alcohol” … yeah right? Where do we get these theories from? lol, anyway…
So in a previous life I had a very high tolerance for alcohol. I mean extremely high, so high I’d make other people around me nervous. I’d be fine, sort-a-speak but based on the number of drinks they see me with they think I’m making myself sick… I’m talking like 4 strong drinks minimum, none of that fruity sweet stuff either, seriously it was very strange. I was definitely not a cheap date. … I’m talking high alcohol tolerance, ok!
So I made it to the party and of course drinks are everywhere and I’m having a few drinks, nothing out of the norm for me. I was having so much fun, I’m dancing, laughing, cracking jokes. Everything felt all good until a few people decided to leave and go out to eat afterwards… at this point I realize, I’m drunk. Like drunk in a way really bad way. I wasn’t obnoxious or belligerent but I definitely didn’t feel in control. But food sounded like a REALLY good idea at that point. So I’m just following a friend of mine from the group and hop in the backseat to go and grab some greasy food. The embarrassing part of this story is not the drunk part, no no! The embarrassing part is that I’m in the backseat of someone’s car that I clearly don’t like. They’ve rubbed me the wrong way for YEARS! Not an arch enemy but definitely a “if I see you I don’t speak that means i don’t f*** with you” Cardi B kinda vibe. How in the world did I get into this girls car? We did go to the restaurant and I passed out sleep at the table. And what made matters worse is I had to leave my car right where it was and she took me home, like literally drove me to my doorstep and made sure I in the house. Ok y’all, I’m a Virgo there’s not a lot of things that move us, but looking back on that moment I have to acknowledge someone did something for me that others wouldn’t. I’m grateful for this girls compassion but I couldn’t believe I let myself get into this situation. The morning after, I wake up I’m not drunk at all… I spent the day feeling horrible for how crazy I might have looked, thinking what the hell just happened? There’s no way I should’ve gotten that intoxicated. The more I thought about it… doing logic and deduction, the only thing that I thought of that changed since the last time I drank that much was the fact I had been intermittent fasting. Now I'm a cheaper date... one drink maximum.
2. Deeper sleep — This is not a lasting effect for me. I am a natural night owl. I can’t afford to be but I am. I love being up at midnight but I unfortunately have to get up at 6AM. However, when I got into the habit of fasting, I went through this period where I was knocked out sleep no later than 9:30 until I had to wake up the next day. It was so weird for me but it was as if sleep had a strong hold on me. Something powerful was going on… I was sleeping deeper and dreaming more. I want to get back to that place where I’m sleeping before midnight… But don’t be like me, if you find yourself sleepy or just needing to rest, don’t ignore it.
3. You get cold— Ugh! This still gets to me, but it is normal to be cold. It makes for a very interesting winter. I remember at night having to sleep under 2 blankets with a heating pad and socks to stay warm. Ridiculous. Here is the theory why you may find yourself feeling extremely cold. Even though we walk around the day almost completely unaware, digestion takes a lot of work! There is a lot of blood flow and absorption activity that happens to move your food around and when you eat it is all centered around your gut. When you are fasting, your body is simply not producing the heat that it needs to fire up your digestion. Your blood actually flows to your fat storage so that you can burn it as fuel. This is why I believe we see such a significant reduction in belly fat because of this reason. Another theory is that by allowing your blood glucose levels to drop, you are more receptive to feeling cold. This is something that I experience all the time especially when I do OMAD. Be prepared to wear layers, scarves, socks and even a grab a heater or a heating pad.
4. People look at you crazy
So just know that even if people don't look at you crazy, they arer looking... they are watching you, even if they can't put 2 and 2 together. How we move in this world is so different that we draw attention to ourselves and don't even realize it. It just baffles me how many people are willing to discuss “diet” but you mention the word fasting and suddenly they’re a freaking medical expert. They tell me I need to eat, that I’m going to pass out, that this is not a lifestyle, that I’m going to gain the weight back, that I’m starving myself, that I can’t go that long without it… should I continue?? Let me tell you all you intermittent fasters, OMADers, alternate layers, Warriors, Keto, Vegan, Paleo… whatever type of eating you’re doing, nobody knows your body like you do! Don’t let any one tell you anything about your body because they are not living in it. I want to help everybody but some people just kill me, they say stuff without even thinking. They are so critical and I hate to speak of myself but I want to be like, how can you be so critical about what I’m doing, have you seen my before and after pictures?? Sounds like a hater to me! And to really make them mad, I want to say… “what until you see next weeks pictures!…” … let me tell you one day I was leaving the gym the other day, one of the girls who knows of me, asked in passing… “are you still starving yourself?” I tell her, “It’s fasting… and the answer is yes” Enough said. Now I could’ve felt offended and got defense. I think she was trying to be funny… I mean after all, we were leaving kickboxing and most people immediately start thinking about what they are going to eat once they are finished working out. But I politely corrected her and kept it moving, because whether she was being funny or not, starving or fasting… I know that what I’m doing works and I look good. :) And most importantly, I have a podcast of listeners… and whether she realizes it yet or not, she will one day be intermittent fasting and … AND ON THE FLIP SIDE… People think we don’t eat. Today at lunch, I went to this restaurant known for their huge salads! The two ladies sitting across from me are eating a similar salad in the restaurant but they had it boxed to go because they knew they weren’t going to finish the whole thing. So we are sitting across from each other… and I can feel the stares! I’m basically scraping the plate. The salad is amazing and because of intermittent fasting, I eat most of my meals in one sitting, I don’t snack. They are looking at me, probably thinking… looking this greedy chick eating all of her food like she’s homeless! I don’t personally care because… hey! its working for me, but I wish I could say something like, “eating this way is healthier for me, while you’re trying to be cute with your doggy bag” Ok that might be mean… but the point is, don’t stare at people, and don’t allow other people to stare at you.
5. Magnified results with working out - Have you heard of fasted cardio? Most people have? I’m on the fence on whether or not I totally believe in it vs. not-fast cardio. What's that called... full belly cardio? ANYWAY... Why do I say that? Because I do believe in the effects of a fasted work out if you’re fasting beyond 16, 20, 24 hours, however if you ate dinner at 11pm and go workout at 7am, that to me is not fasted cardio. Fasted cardio is when you have depleted your glycogen stores and therefore your workout will be sure to burn fat. The good news is you start decreasing glycogen stores after 6 hours of fasting. My point of view is that I need to be working out after having fasted for longer than 16 hours not just 8 BUT the way my schedule is set up, I don’t have that luxury. So…
6. Increased BDNF, brain derived neurotrophic factor - So, I love… insert sarcasm here… when people say or people are told to “eat more protein”. What does that mean anyway? Should you be eating fish, chicken, beef, eggs, how about BCAAs? whey? soy? casein? Clearly, by know you know I despise generalized health statements. You know those one words that mean everything and nothing all at the same time like, diet, exercise and protein. So many of you all are focused on putting protein in our stomachs do you know how important protein is in your brain?? It’s called BDNF- its a protein produced inside of our nerve cells and it’s active in the brain to activate synapsis where learning and memory occur. I didn’t know I’d care so much about this 4 letter acronym until I started educating myself on fasting. So when you understand that the role of BDNF prevents brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease… then you understand why I say, I’ll never be caught without fasting. Why?… the long term benefits, outweigh any immediate inconvenience. According to the US National Library of Medicine, BDNF protein is found in regions of the brain that control eating, drinking, and body weight; the protein likely contributes to the management of these functions. So you see why I say, let’s not focus so much on working out and what we are eating because if your internal function is mucked up! It doesn’t matter what you are doing externally.
7. Save money, save time - One thing I love about OMAD and IF in general is that I save so much money. I probably don’t need to tell you that eating and eating out about 4 times a day gets expensive. I did the numbers, I lived that life, I was ashamed that I spent that much money on food but I couldn’t break the habit. I didn’t want to meal prep or buy those frozen meals. Feeling Full Faster- I’m not saying that it is either good or bad. I am actually still trying to navigate this myself because it can be frustrating sometimes because I look forward to eating food. After going 20-24 hours without food, I look forward to eating my food, like I’m waiting for an invitation to the royal wedding. The build up is so real and all of that! to eat 7 bites and I’m instantly full. I don’t overeat because I’m literally stuffed.