2

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Why is intermittent fasting making me feel sick?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created April 15, 2010 at 4:46 PM

Paleo peoples

I have been living pretty cleanly for the last 3 months and decided that I may start trying intermittent fasting. When I had just been running paleo for 1 month a few days of IF seemed to beat up my system so badly that I got sick for a few days. Now today I tried an IFast and after breaking it after 16 hours of fast I feel really poor. I have a headache and feel sick to my stomach, and that never happens on paleo. I suppose this could be related to an increased level of training as I've trained m-weds this week pretty hard.

15480ad0efe9168bc518967b9a2e240d

(608)

on January 26, 2012
at 04:46 PM

I was confused about this as well, thanks for clarifying!

9e7039b63b656582f66d84c5255b436d

(1132)

on February 15, 2011
at 02:40 PM

The 16 hour fast as recommended by Martin Berkhan was basically just to not eat say between 8pm and 12 noon the following day (training midday). Coffee with cream allowed in the morning to keep going.

9e7039b63b656582f66d84c5255b436d

(1132)

on February 15, 2011
at 02:32 PM

surely 9 hours is just a normal night's sleep? if you dine at 9pm and have breakfast at even 6am (that's very early for me), you've fasted for 9 hours.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 16, 2010
at 03:50 PM

yeah, I always count sleeping. At least I hope I'm not eating then...

8347d512bca9b034d53da40dab8cd21c

(2517)

on April 16, 2010
at 03:43 AM

It makes sense to try it that way, given that when you're asleep, you probably shouldn't feel the effects of being hungry (until, of course, you wake up). Give it a go and see what happens.

Fcaeaac15cf6568f2825b230731d5a7d

(529)

on April 15, 2010
at 07:31 PM

I would definitely echo what Phillip said about water intake. If you are fasting AND exercising more, you are going to deplete your glycogen stores significantly. When you eat again and your body begins rebuilding these stores, water needs to be stored with the glycogen as well, at a 3:1 ratio.

Abb08da08e327d776926f2c9e4856582

(225)

on April 15, 2010
at 07:14 PM

When you guys say 16-hour fast, do you include time spent sleeping? For me, 16 hours would be eating nothing after dinner, then skipping breakfast... which doesn't seem terribly long to me.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on April 15, 2010
at 06:37 PM

This is very good advice.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on April 15, 2010
at 06:37 PM

Pulled pork - does that recipe have sugar and wheat products in it? Chili - same question!

F8c63410ad2ade1978775862befb95ff

on April 15, 2010
at 05:57 PM

Check out the fast-5 diet then, as I suggested. It should help fit around your current schedule; your "breakfast" will be at 5pm, train at 7pm and "dinner" straight afterwards, packed with protein.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on April 15, 2010
at 05:53 PM

Thanks, I probably should eat after training. I have been having dinner early and then training at like 7 since that's when crossfit is. I should just work off the main site and make my own schedule.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on April 15, 2010
at 04:58 PM

With what foods have you been breaking your fast?

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8 Answers

4
0fb8b3d6dcfb279b0f7e050d2d22510f

(4645)

on April 16, 2010
at 09:53 PM

I went with the Warrior Diet approach and it has served me well. I only eat late in the day when my metabolism is stoked and I can really enjoy my food (instead of grazing and feeling hungry all the time). Ori had it right.

4
F8c63410ad2ade1978775862befb95ff

on April 15, 2010
at 05:49 PM

Try fasting for the day before your training, breaking your fast an hour before you train for a small meal of eggs or something similar (protein & a small amount of fat, but not too much) then another small meal straight after training. Fasting after training is a bad idea as your body needs to repair.

Keep an eye on your water in-take during the fast. The headache suggests dehydration - you may be taking on too little. Aim for 500ml to 1000ml of cool water per hour (ignore the nonsense that water should be body temperature before you drink it - it's pseudo-science), but don't quaff since a large amount of water suddenly hitting your stomach may induce the sickly feeling.

You might also find it easier to fast from sleeping - take a look at the fast-5 plan. This works best for me since I train at around 5pm, breaking my fast 30mins before training with a paleo protein shake. Fast-5 mean a daily fast of around 17hrs (inc sleep), and as long as you drink enough water and can keep yourself busy (as my job does) then you won't even notice you're fasting.

One other thing - "palaeo" means different things to different people. I personally adhere to the core principle of not eating "Grains, Beans, or Potatoes, or products thereof" as I learned it when I stumbled across the palaeolithic diet a couple of years ago. If I ever slip I feel terrible shortly after eating, and this is compounded if I'm also training. You may find that, if you follow the definition of palaeo being "non-processed foods" that restricting your intake of GBP may help.

F8c63410ad2ade1978775862befb95ff

on April 15, 2010
at 05:57 PM

Check out the fast-5 diet then, as I suggested. It should help fit around your current schedule; your "breakfast" will be at 5pm, train at 7pm and "dinner" straight afterwards, packed with protein.

Fcaeaac15cf6568f2825b230731d5a7d

(529)

on April 15, 2010
at 07:31 PM

I would definitely echo what Phillip said about water intake. If you are fasting AND exercising more, you are going to deplete your glycogen stores significantly. When you eat again and your body begins rebuilding these stores, water needs to be stored with the glycogen as well, at a 3:1 ratio.

1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on April 15, 2010
at 05:53 PM

Thanks, I probably should eat after training. I have been having dinner early and then training at like 7 since that's when crossfit is. I should just work off the main site and make my own schedule.

3
8347d512bca9b034d53da40dab8cd21c

on April 15, 2010
at 04:50 PM

Perhaps it's a matter of "too much, too soon" and your body isn't ready to go without for that long of a time?

I would suggest - and mind you, I am not an expert on IF - doing an IFast for a smaller amount of time (9 hours?) and then slowly increasing the amount of time for each successive fast. Your body would then get used to going without for longer periods of time, and you wouldn't feel so crummy.

9e7039b63b656582f66d84c5255b436d

(1132)

on February 15, 2011
at 02:32 PM

surely 9 hours is just a normal night's sleep? if you dine at 9pm and have breakfast at even 6am (that's very early for me), you've fasted for 9 hours.

1
Dbc43080bf9381864f5c6910e1264677

(176)

on August 18, 2012
at 06:53 AM

I do Fast 5 and love it. I break my fast at 3:30 pm which is during our tea break at work. I eat 2 hard boiled eggs and a slice of Emmanthaler cheese, then I drink a cup of tea. When I get home at 6pm I eat a regular meal with my husband. My window closes at 8:30 pm. I tend to follow the Perfect Health diet (which is based on Paleo but allows "safe starches" such as sweet potato, white rice noodles.)

Technically the Fast 5 plan allows you to eat whatever you want in your 5 hour window (and a lot of people eat crap!) but I keep it healthy with an occasional sweet or popcorn at the movies - but then I feel like hell afterwards,.. I'm going to stop that actually. The splurge isn't worth it.

1
8ea784171b2d15cffb537349b341b806

(260)

on April 16, 2010
at 07:02 PM

It might also be that you are not eating enough during your feeding window. Keep track of how many calories you eat on a non-IF day and then try to hit around the same number when you fast. IF doesn't work for everyone, but some of the people who say that it doesn't work for them are just not making up the caloric difference in their feeding window.

1
14f1c8c3e983297be7bd8357d003d3b3

(10)

on April 16, 2010
at 12:48 PM

I would say that you haven't been doing paleo long enough. I've been doing paleo for about a year and have been intermittent fasting for about a month. i've really just cut out breakfast and have without wanting to lost 10lbs. I work out in the morning and have not seen a decrease in strength or endurance. If I do a heavy workout I make an 8oz carb shake to help recover.

1
9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 15, 2010
at 06:27 PM

16 hours is kind of long. That's a pro-level fast. Simply skipping a meal or two is the best way to start out.

I agree with Phillip about fasting from sleep. Did you see the new study that shows what you eat for breakfast primes your metabolism for the day?

My advice would be to start by skipping breakfast, then when you are able to do that, skip lunch. Then maybe go on to dinner.

9d43f6873107e17ca4d1a5055aa7a2ad

on April 16, 2010
at 03:50 PM

yeah, I always count sleeping. At least I hope I'm not eating then...

Abb08da08e327d776926f2c9e4856582

(225)

on April 15, 2010
at 07:14 PM

When you guys say 16-hour fast, do you include time spent sleeping? For me, 16 hours would be eating nothing after dinner, then skipping breakfast... which doesn't seem terribly long to me.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on April 15, 2010
at 06:37 PM

This is very good advice.

9e7039b63b656582f66d84c5255b436d

(1132)

on February 15, 2011
at 02:40 PM

The 16 hour fast as recommended by Martin Berkhan was basically just to not eat say between 8pm and 12 noon the following day (training midday). Coffee with cream allowed in the morning to keep going.

15480ad0efe9168bc518967b9a2e240d

(608)

on January 26, 2012
at 04:46 PM

I was confused about this as well, thanks for clarifying!

0
1ec4e7ca085b7f8d5821529653e1e35a

(5506)

on April 15, 2010
at 05:49 PM

@gilliebean today I broke the fast with some pulled pork but then I still felt hungry so I also had some homemade chili.

@tattooedchef I generally eat dinner no later than 5pm and eat breakfast around 7am so I guess that's really like a 12-14? hr fast daily. I wonder if just that is enough to get the benefits of ifasting? I definitely attributed the first time I got sick to too much too soon. I guess I'll try to be more methodical later. Maybe start with a 14-hr fast to see.

8347d512bca9b034d53da40dab8cd21c

(2517)

on April 16, 2010
at 03:43 AM

It makes sense to try it that way, given that when you're asleep, you probably shouldn't feel the effects of being hungry (until, of course, you wake up). Give it a go and see what happens.

A89f9751a97c3082802dc0bcbe4e9208

(13978)

on April 15, 2010
at 06:37 PM

Pulled pork - does that recipe have sugar and wheat products in it? Chili - same question!

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