I’ve become slightly obsessed with intermittent fasting.
Ok before you start to freak out and get all crazy and tell me I have an eating disorder, let me explain.
For those of you who have been following the site for some time, you know I’ve got some stomach problems. For those of you who haven’t, Hi! My name is Emily and I have gastroparesis.
Ok so what the hell is that?! (Sorry to those of you who know what’s going on and here I go sounding like a broken record…but I promise there’s a point to this.)
Three years ago, after being so sick that I literally couldn’t leave my house for a week, I went through weeks and weeks of testing to see why I felt nauseous all the time and was throwing up regularly. I know, it’s gross. Turns out, my stomach muscles gave up on me and just straight up stopped working. It’s neurological, and has nothing to do with the muscles themselves, which basically means that there’s nothing you can do about it except for “a change in diet and lifestyle.” The funny part about that is I can’t really digest fiber, so my entire diet is now based around easily digestible foods, so basically I eat a ton of carbs, not really any fruit and vegetables and if my heart rate goes up I feel like I’m going to die. I’m pretty much the most un-healthy person on the planet. And unfortunately, probably the most constipated. (No fiber people, you know what that means.)
So for the last 3 years I’ve been experimenting with all kinds of different wellness techniques to help me feel better. I tried food combining (this made Josh miserable), I stopped eating gluten and dairy (which means I had nothing left to eat…I gave up after 1 week), saw a healer (still very into this) and I’ve tried every kind of supplement and vitamin combo under the sun. Nothing really worked, until recently when I decided to give intermittent fasting a try. There’s a lot of info out there about different ways to intermittently fast, but my version of it goes something like this: When I wake up in the morning, I take my vitamins with water, have a cup of black coffee, and then I don’t actually eat anything until around noon or so. Then, I try to stop eating around 8pm. In theory I’d like this to happen more regularly than it does and I’m often having dinner at 9:30 (not by choice, just life). At first I used an app called Zero to track when I started and stopped eating, but it just became pretty natural after the first few days. Having been a regular breakfast eater for a long time, I felt hungry for the first few days by 10am, but soon after I just started to feel normal.
And the biggest win, I started being able to go to the bathroom every. single. day. This is something I haven’t experienced in my life probably ever. I’ve always been envious of those who could go on a regular basis but felt like it was just going to be impossible for me. And not only am I able to poop regularly, but I’m craving much healthier foods when I eat. This is a challenge because I can’t digest the really good stuff, but it’s helped me cut down on the cooking fats and grease and sugary sweets.
When I told Josh I was fasting he started to get crazy. He was worried I was getting weight-loss obsessed for our wedding. And then I explained to him that I was basically just skipping breakfast and didn’t want to eat right before bed. His response: “Oh, that’s just normal for me.”
I’ve been intermittently fasting in this way (there are definitely more extreme ways of doing it, but they just didn’t feel healthy for me to even try) for about 3 months and I’m feeling so much better. I’ve been doing all of this with the support of my doctor and I know it’s not the right fit for everyone, but it’s been life changing for me.
I’d love to know what those of you with digestive problems out there have tried (I know there’s a lot of us! Seems like digestive issues are the new normal?) and what’s worked for you. Let’s talk about it in the comments!