3

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Intermittent Fasting for those with Food Addictions

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 18, 2011 at 8:59 PM

I recently added IFing to my paleo experience for a variety of reasons, I suppose the usual ones. For those of you who know me or my blog, I have been struggling with food addiction issues, and have been doing a real dance with eating Paleo for the last year and a half. Lately, Paleo is winning. :)

But my question is whether you think IFing is a good thing, or a bad thing, for those with food issues? I know there are a lot of you out there who have also struggled with your food issues, binging and the like.

Do you think it is more likely to cause someone to binge during their eating window?

Also, do you think it is possible it could turn the overeating food addiction, to an undereating (anorexia) issue?

So far I haven't had any issues, but I have seen that I've been cutting back on the amount that I eat even during my fasting window.

2b4f887f5fd32a37c6038eb0aaaf3bf5

(1648)

on July 20, 2011
at 05:54 AM

Nance, thanks so much for your perspective! I've actually been finding that myself, that my appetite seems SO much more reasonable/normal, and I don't seem as obsessed with food. It's been quite interesting.

2b4f887f5fd32a37c6038eb0aaaf3bf5

(1648)

on July 20, 2011
at 05:44 AM

Happy Now: I've been on & off paleo for a year and half, but have been about 80% (or more) since June 3rd, so it has been about 6 weeks. Good rule of thumb!

96bf58d8c6bd492dc5b8ae46203fe247

(37227)

on July 19, 2011
at 04:29 PM

I've been a food addict for 50+ years. The more I eat, the more I need to eat. In my case, IF is definitely a winning solution so far (approaching 5 months.) My most comfortable scenario is to eat once per day in the morning. I start with protein/fat and within an hour or so my carbs for the day. I don't eat again until the next morning. It has really tamed my appetite although I still have impulses to eat throughout the day--I just find them much easier to ignore.

Bcad307b240275ae3f5820ba6eb4a712

(923)

on July 19, 2011
at 11:01 AM

I know 4 people that IF, and all report lower hunger levels, including myself.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 19, 2011
at 07:15 AM

How long have you been at least 80% paleo in your food choices. I think someone here mentioned that you'd want to go at least 6 weeks before trying IF, just so your blood sugar regulation is rock solid. That way your body will be able to take nutrition from it's stores, rather than forcing you to seek out fast energy from sugary stuff because it thinks it is starving.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 19, 2011
at 07:11 AM

I agree. I don't think of IF as a way to reduce overall caloric intake, just clustering caloric intake in larger meals spaced farther apart. You'll get hungry, and you'll eat to fill yourself up (which is good). However, if you feel like being really hungry would drive you to eat past the point of filling up, and into making up for the experience of emotional deprivation of food, I wouldn't go there.

560821f3e7352455c3ebc2283d424f2e

on July 19, 2011
at 06:25 AM

Good idea, airport food is a pain.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on July 19, 2011
at 05:24 AM

Really good advise.

Ba6d1897de1cddf0bab312da3696bd39

on July 18, 2011
at 11:15 PM

I actually used intermittent fasting (okay, maybe reduction-in-the-amount-I-ate is a more accurate description of what I did) to see if I couldn't use hunger to amplify my cravings and so get a better idea of why I had such a hard time kicking industrial foods. While it led to a lot of insight into my eating problem, I also found that it aggravated these problems to an extent. So I agree with the other posters on this thread; don't do it if it causes you real distress, or if it exacerbates your problems.

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7 Answers

5
6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 18, 2011
at 09:47 PM

I think when it crosses the line from "I forgot to eat because I wasn't truly hungry" or paleo friendly food wasn't available, to using it to control what you're eating regardless of hunger cues, that would be a red flag for me.

4
510bdda8988ed0d4b0ec0b738b4edb73

(20898)

on July 18, 2011
at 09:56 PM

IF isn't a magic cure for anything. As I put in a previous post, the only real reason for IF is to trigger autophagy (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autophagy). Anything else, like weight loss for SOME people, is just a side effect. You really shouldn't be planning any IF unless you're are 100% dialed in on everything else. Like Happy Now said, IF really should be "I forgot to eat beause I wasn't truly hungry".

I'm a firm believer in never scheduling any fasting. The only time IF is if I'm too busy to grab some food or if I'm out and there's no acceptable food to eat. The beauty of eating a LC Paleo diet is that you can spontaneously IF without any consequences.

Ba6d1897de1cddf0bab312da3696bd39

on July 18, 2011
at 11:15 PM

I actually used intermittent fasting (okay, maybe reduction-in-the-amount-I-ate is a more accurate description of what I did) to see if I couldn't use hunger to amplify my cravings and so get a better idea of why I had such a hard time kicking industrial foods. While it led to a lot of insight into my eating problem, I also found that it aggravated these problems to an extent. So I agree with the other posters on this thread; don't do it if it causes you real distress, or if it exacerbates your problems.

3
50637dfd7dc7a7e811d82283f4f5fd10

(5838)

on July 18, 2011
at 09:16 PM

I think it would depend on you. I think for some, IF may be helpful to understand true hunger cues, rather than conditioned eating times, habits, etc... But for others, it could lead to under-eating. I will say from n=1 that when I was on a feed window type IF plan, I started to think longer was better, more is better, and it led to me losing a lot of gains in the gym, overall energy, mood were compromised. I would say give it a shot, but identify potential pitfalls, and be realistic about it. If it seems too hard, or not for you, it just may be the case. But, if it works, another tool for your kit :)

2
078b14042d995aa2ad3cf31a4dcde988

(613)

on July 19, 2011
at 03:45 AM

I have food addiction / disordered eating history. I'm also t2 diabetic. There have been a few times IF worked really well for me: - on travel days - for ex recently flying home from NOLA with tight connections - walked to cafe du monde at 6 am, had a cafe au lait, no food. Flew all day, ate when I got home at 6 pm - on a couple of days when I did a long hike in the morning, didn't feel in need of food, and just waited until 3 or so to eat. Felt good and really good for my blood glucose and using up whatever is in my liver.

There have been other days I sort of planned to IF because I felt like I "should"' and inevitably those are the days I just feel like I have to have food. I do travel a bit for my job, and I think it's a great tool for me for those airport days and mentally something switches off. It's a relief to know I don't have to pack food or scrounge and I just sort of know I'm not eating. But in any scenario, I definitely don't deny myself food if it feels like a battle.

98bf2ca7f8778c79cd3f6c962011cfdc

(24286)

on July 19, 2011
at 05:24 AM

Really good advise.

560821f3e7352455c3ebc2283d424f2e

on July 19, 2011
at 06:25 AM

Good idea, airport food is a pain.

1
1a98a40ba8ffdc5aa28d1324d01c6c9f

(20378)

on July 19, 2011
at 06:49 AM

Fasting for a meal leads to elevated grehlin levels. Which leads to increased hunger. This is ok for some but for soemone with the tendency to binge it is not ideal.

6120c989fd5b69f42a0834b69b87955b

(24553)

on July 19, 2011
at 07:11 AM

I agree. I don't think of IF as a way to reduce overall caloric intake, just clustering caloric intake in larger meals spaced farther apart. You'll get hungry, and you'll eat to fill yourself up (which is good). However, if you feel like being really hungry would drive you to eat past the point of filling up, and into making up for the experience of emotional deprivation of food, I wouldn't go there.

Bcad307b240275ae3f5820ba6eb4a712

(923)

on July 19, 2011
at 11:01 AM

I know 4 people that IF, and all report lower hunger levels, including myself.

1
Bcad307b240275ae3f5820ba6eb4a712

(923)

on July 19, 2011
at 01:19 AM

My girlfriend has similar issues, but she has decided to just charge in with a daily 10/14 protocol. In fact, the idea of possibly binging within the window seems to have given her the feeling of more control. I don't know if it applies to you, but structure has always helped her, and so a planned IF may be helpful to you, if you have similar feelings about structure.

0
Ba6d1897de1cddf0bab312da3696bd39

on July 18, 2011
at 11:18 PM

I actually used intermittent fasting (okay, maybe reduction-in-the-amount-I-ate is a more accurate description of what I did) to see if I couldn't use hunger to amplify my cravings and so get a better idea of why I had such a hard time kicking industrial foods. While it led to a lot of insight into my eating problem, I also found that it aggravated these problems to an extent. So I agree with the other posters on this thread; don't do it if it causes you real distress, or if it exacerbates your problems. Here's the blog I wrote about the experience of using "fasting" to get a better idea of my eating issues: http://www.paleoterran.com/journal/2011/6/25/becoming-paleo-part-3-breaking-the-anxiety-barrier.html

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