We get asked questions about fasting and adrenal fatigue all the time.
Is it safe?
Will it help us recover?
What about my blood sugar issues?
On today’s blog we are sharing our thoughts on time restricted eating or intermittent fasting.
To start things off…
What is intermittent fasting or time restricted eating?
What this means it that you essentially give yourself a certain amount of fasting hours regularly (a certain amount of hours that you do not eat). We tend to do this naturally (when we sleep) but lately science and more and more people are experimenting with different and longer fast times and reaping numerous benefits from it.
How do you do it?
There are many different ways you can do this and people everywhere are experimenting with different eating windows (the hours in a day you allow yourself to eat). Some people are eating 6 hours a day and fasting the other 18 hours and some people are fasting for a full day at a time each week and there are lots of variations in between.
Fasting and Adrenal Fatigue
We know that fasting can be a bit stressful for the adrenals because when a cortisol response will go along with it as cortisol spikes to make stored glucose available to use for energy. For a long time, fasting was not recommended at all for those struggling with adrenal fatigue and instead they were recommended to eat small portions regularly as needed to help keep blood sugar levels steady.
However, the stress-reducing benefits that intermittent fasting can bring about can be more powerful and significant than the adrenal stress, out weighing the cortisol response required for benefits like improved sleep, less inflammation, increased muscle mass, decreased body fat percentage and improved mitochondrial function, metabolism and support in regulating a healthy circadian rhythm.
When it comes to intermittent fasting and adrenal fatigue, we do have some guidelines to follow if you do want to try it.. and those guidelines start with not doing anything too extreme.
TIPS FOR DOING INTERMITTENT FASTING WITH ADRENAL FATIGUE
Start with a long feeding window
Instead of doing 6 hours and fasting the rest of the day, eat within a longer 12 hour window
(ie. from 7am to 7pm) or 8am to 8pm.
Eat nourishing foods
When it comes to adrenal fatigue, many of us are depleted. Instead of going the route of “bulletproof” coffees and tea lattes, we recommend eating nourishing meals with a nice balance of carbs, fats and protein and lots of colourful veggies. You really want to maximize the nutrition you are consuming.
BLOOD SUGAR ISSUES AND INTERMITTENT FASTING
This is a big question we get.
As mentioned above, we don’t want to exacerbate the adrenals by excessive fasting if we are prone to blood sugar issues or subclinical hypoglycemia (if you have diabetes, it’s different and we recommend you work with your health practitioner in that case) The symptoms of hypoglycemia include things like headaches, fatigue, weak, light-headed, nervousness, excessive hunger and irritability. We tend to get caught in a roller coaster of high and lows, especially when we struggle with adrenal fatigue.
For many, it’s easy to get STUCK slaving away to snacking to help keep the scales balanced.
Intermittent fasting along with dietary tweaks can be a very helpful way to help correct the issues behind the blood sugar imbalance in the first place and thus, can help you break-free of the need to be at the mercy of chronic snacking to feel normal.
TIPS FOR DOING INTERMITTENT FASTING WITH HYPOGLYCEMIA
Eliminate sugar and refined carbohydrates from your diet
Focus on plant based carbohydrates (like veggies and moderate starchy ones like sweet potato, carrots, beets, etc)
Work yourself into intermittent fasting SLOWLY
If you jump into it over night, you will likely have symptoms and feel unwell, but if you get rid of the main sugar sources in your diet (processed sugar and refined carbohydrates) and eat cleaner more balanced meals, you’ll be starting on the right track. If you eat 6 times a day, ease it down to 5 meals a day—adding MORE fat to your meals to help you go longer in between. Do this gradually and eventually, you’ll be able to go longer between meals and comfortably adapt an intermittent fasting schedule that feels good to you.
We love the idea of integrating intermittent fasting into your adrenal recovery plan because we know there are tremendous benefits in how the body is able to repair and rejuvenate throughout the night and because it’s really helpful in supporting a healthy sleep/wake cycle both metabolically and hormonally.
We hope the tips above will allow you to experiment with this way of eating, in a way that stays supportive in reducing stress on your body— and not the opposite.
If you are ready to get clarity click here to join the Adrenal Recovery Revolution and get instant access to your Recovery Roadmap (a guide to navigating through this fatigue thing once and for all) plus a whole lot more.
Do you do IF with AF (or have you tried)?
If so, let us know how your experience has been below!