Sunday, September 5, 2010

Intermittent Fasting: My Foray into Binge Eating

I've long thought that eating as our ancient ancestors did has some keys to health. The latest research in paleontology suggests that they didn't have a constant supply of food, they might have gone for short periods (like a day or so) without eating. Having read the benefits of intermittent fasting, I decided to give it a try. Today, I put off eating until 6 p.m., consuming nothing but water.

The upsides:
My blood sugar was in the 70s during the fast(that's the low end of normal). And I had no nasal congestion.

The downsides:
I was hungry all day! If one of the points of fasting is to avoid thinking about food, it didn't work. I took a nap in the afternoon and dreamed about food. Then I got up, prepared a feast, and ate for two hours. I had two plates of sausage and vegetables, eggplant with cheese, tossed salad and goat cheese. Then a tablespoon of honey, low-carb hot cocoa, low-carb ice cream, and coffee. After taking a break to talk on the phone, I went to the grocery store and got some more food, even though I was full: two nut/coconut bars. My day from 4:30 to 9 p.m. was devoted to cooking and eating--no time saved there. This, even though I've never, ever been a binge eater.

An hour after I finally stopped eating, my blood sugar was 146--the highest reading I've ever had. Since starting low-carb, I've never had a triple-digit reading until now. So if the point is to control blood sugar, it didn't work out. And I ate more today than I do on a typical day. Normally, I stop eating when I'm full; even now, I could put away another bowl of ice cream. So if another point is to eat less, that didn't work out either.

I also had a headache during the late afternoon.

Even though I wasn't trying to lose weight, for me, it was true what they say: you can't starve off weight. I ended up eating more than I would have.

However, I've read several comments on various blogs that people have had good experiences doing this. As for me, I find it easy to stop eating when full if I don't start out ravenously hungry.


Kikilula said...

It's easyer to fast when you are in ketosis for a while and well ketoadapted... Ketosis supresses hunger. And to break your fast you should start with the most fatty part of your meal, preceed with the protein and eat whatever arbs you choose at the end of your meal, so you won't overshoot with eating. Fat and protein satiate much faster...

Lori Miller said...

I'm sure that's true for many people. However, I'd been on a low-carb diet for about seven months when I did this, and broke my fast with sausage and cheese. I'd like to see an end to the generalization that if you're doing low-carb right, you won't have any trouble fasting.

Katherine said...

First time commenter, but I love your blog.

Just wanted to say that I had a similar experience the first time I tried intermittent fasting. I borrowed the IF plan from Mike Eades' blog, It was basically 24 on / 24 off. So, I ate Monday, Wednesday and Friday, and fasted on Tuesday and Thursday. I committed to do two days of fasting during that week.

That Tuesday, I was absolutely obsessive about food. It was ridiculous. I found, however, that Thursday was a much easier fasting day. I wasn't uncomfortably hungry, and I didn't obsess. I didn't gorge either, once I was done with the fast.

My notes on the experience are on my own blog,, they are dated from June 13 - June 17.

The most surprising (and unexpected) result of my IF experiment was the dramatic improvement to my existing psoriasis issue.

In fact, I would continue to do IF, but just found out that I am expecting and it is not recommended during pregnancy.


Lori Miller said...

Katie, I'm very happy that your psoriasis is gone--I understand it's really painful. And congratulations on your pregnancy--such a lucky baby to be fed right from the very beginning.

I see from your blog you had a bad experience eating bread. Last year, I had a cookie after I'd been off wheat for awhile, and it made me miserable.