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When to give IF a break due to stress & illness

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created October 27, 2012 at 1:41 AM

I've been following a moderately strict paleo diet coupled with an intermittent fasting routine for nearly half a year. I generally eat in a window from 5 to 8pm daily. This has been working well for my weight loss goals and I have been feeling very good generally.

I teach at a local college and we are just about through midterms. Prior to midterms several unanticipated projects and meetings cropped up and filled in most of my previously unstructured time. I was in a situation where I simply could not stop in order to make deadlines. Sleep quality took a hit, and with half of the students hacking and coughing I quickly developed a cold which hit about a week ago.

I slept in last Sunday which helped somewhat, and I continued the IF routine out of habit if nothing else. Through the rest of the week I simply felt wiped out and could not shake the illness. Finally my schedule broke on Tuesday and I slept for 14 hours straight, but I still did not feel better - weak and lethargic as could be.

While getting mixed advice on the web about fasting during illness, and while not technically feeling hungry, I went ahead and forced a few good meals spaced roughly late morning / lunchtime / dinner, probably more calories than I had been typically eating.

My energy returned that evening, and now I am wondering if I wasn't inadvertently hindering my recovery by continuing IF through this. When healthy, IF'ing has made me feel better than I have in years, but something went off the rails this week.

I'm still learning to listen to my body, but I missed something. IF is something of a stressor, and when external stress and illness strikes, something needs to give. What sorts of "signals" should I pay attention to to gauge whether I need to temporarily pick up my intake and when to resume my routine? Continued weight loss at a rate consistent with health and happiness is my immediate goal.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 27, 2012
at 04:27 AM

"Part of this might be not remembering what "normal" feels like anymore." Well then you are on the right path with thiS WOE. Nutrient density and the ability to convey normal satiety signals are some of our specialities :)

5bc61961126827414874d0af0b4e33cd

on October 27, 2012
at 04:04 AM

Fasting blood glucose was slightly elevated the last time that it was checked (108 vs <100 for normal). This seems to be correlated to my weight - in the past when my weight was up, so was my glucose. My weight is well down since the last test and I am scheduled to get complete blood work done again in a few weeks for follow-up. My signaling may be compromised in some way, but I haven't determined how or to what degree. Part of this might be not remembering what "normal" feels like anymore.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 27, 2012
at 02:43 AM

Not to mention fasting has shown to raise immunological response in trials. So all in all its the safest bet unless you ARE hungry.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 27, 2012
at 02:41 AM

It does quite complicate matters if your hormonal signaling has been compromised somehow....have you been or are you obese or do you have an autoimmune disorder? Metabolic status also plays a role...It is tough to say from so little data, but when in doubt (and sick) I lean towards fasting for at least the short term (less than three days). While IF is considered stressful in some senses the gastrointestinal and hormonal response to ingesting food takes considerable stress and energy. Usually better spent just fighting off whatever ails you with the reserves you have (given a good diet prior

5bc61961126827414874d0af0b4e33cd

on October 27, 2012
at 02:27 AM

Well, I'm not sure how much I trust my hunger signaling - in the past it has told me that eating a whole pizza at a sitting was a good idea. It seems that instead of feeling hungry (when healthy) I often just feel "low". Not even low energy even, sometimes it just strikes as a low mood - kinda angry sometimes. I very rarely get the gnawing-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach hunger signal. I've often fasted for over 48 hours without really feeling anything. When I get sick that doesn't seem to change.

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2 Answers

1
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 27, 2012
at 02:12 AM

If your sick but hungry then eat (very nutrient dense foods)....If you sick and not hungry then fast.

It really is this easy. Fluids are important, but your body usually needs rest and has reserves to heal (actually consuming and processing of food is a stressor of its own sort also). So fasting is fine. But, if your hungry trust that response as well and eat some of what grandma gave you....homemade chicken (minus noodle) soup. Easily assimilated nutrients do well when you are hungry so stick to slow cooked veggie/meat soups.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 27, 2012
at 02:43 AM

Not to mention fasting has shown to raise immunological response in trials. So all in all its the safest bet unless you ARE hungry.

5bc61961126827414874d0af0b4e33cd

on October 27, 2012
at 02:27 AM

Well, I'm not sure how much I trust my hunger signaling - in the past it has told me that eating a whole pizza at a sitting was a good idea. It seems that instead of feeling hungry (when healthy) I often just feel "low". Not even low energy even, sometimes it just strikes as a low mood - kinda angry sometimes. I very rarely get the gnawing-in-the-pit-of-my-stomach hunger signal. I've often fasted for over 48 hours without really feeling anything. When I get sick that doesn't seem to change.

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 27, 2012
at 02:41 AM

It does quite complicate matters if your hormonal signaling has been compromised somehow....have you been or are you obese or do you have an autoimmune disorder? Metabolic status also plays a role...It is tough to say from so little data, but when in doubt (and sick) I lean towards fasting for at least the short term (less than three days). While IF is considered stressful in some senses the gastrointestinal and hormonal response to ingesting food takes considerable stress and energy. Usually better spent just fighting off whatever ails you with the reserves you have (given a good diet prior

3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on October 27, 2012
at 04:27 AM

"Part of this might be not remembering what "normal" feels like anymore." Well then you are on the right path with thiS WOE. Nutrient density and the ability to convey normal satiety signals are some of our specialities :)

5bc61961126827414874d0af0b4e33cd

on October 27, 2012
at 04:04 AM

Fasting blood glucose was slightly elevated the last time that it was checked (108 vs <100 for normal). This seems to be correlated to my weight - in the past when my weight was up, so was my glucose. My weight is well down since the last test and I am scheduled to get complete blood work done again in a few weeks for follow-up. My signaling may be compromised in some way, but I haven't determined how or to what degree. Part of this might be not remembering what "normal" feels like anymore.

0
0425dfe4b5f5a87181043a542f4d29f6

on November 11, 2012
at 02:23 AM

I would actually SUGGEST fasting during minor ailments such as colds and coughs.

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