I’m not a health professional, but I have written a lot about Intermittent Fasting. Although I feel it can be healthy for some individuals, it isn’t for everyone. Since I started IF almost three years ago, I have learned there are some people who probably shouldn’t do it. They include:
- Those With Eating Disorders – In a recent article in Psychology Today, Dr. Emily Dean recommends that those with eating disorders seek out a health professional’s guidance before engaging in Intermittent Fasting.
- Those With Serious Blood Sugar Issues
- Those With Other Medical Issues – What I know about Intermittent Fasting assumes the person is a normal healthy individual. If you are sick, get well first. Even when I had that cold, I learned that fasting was not helping my body.
- Kids and Pregnant Women – I don’t know for sure, but it may be best not to fast if you are in these two groups.
- Those With High Cortisol Levels – This comes up time and time again on the health podcasts. If you are super stressed, then your cortisol can spike your blood sugar. So the standard advice is to avoid IF. This make sense if you already have blood sugar issues (see #2), but what if you don’t? What if your blood sugar levels are OK and you are already eating a healthy diet? Some suggest you still get your stress under control first. I’m not 100% sold on this reason. I’ll explain my views below, but to err on the side of caution, if you are in this group avoid IF for the time being.
When I began Intermittent Fasting, I would have guessed my cortisol levels were high. I never had it tested, but I was going through a stressful period and I was consuming a massive amount of espresso at the time. I suppose I shouldn’t embarked on an Intermittent Fasting program. Yet I did.
Not only did IF lean me out, it calmed me. Going without food for the first time in my life was therapeutic. It was empowering. It lowered my stress levels. In a world where I felt I had no control, I found I could control my hunger. Fasting is a common practice with some religions. I understand why now.
Nothing more calming than fasting while doing a 16 mile urban hike in a snowstorm!
My “non-medical” advice would be to listen to your own body. Monitor your stress levels. Are things improving or getting worse? If they are getting worse, stop doing IF and deal with the stress. If things are improving, keep it up and enjoy the journey.
* Nothing in this post should be taken as medical advice. I am just a health and Intermittent Fasting hobbyist.