Intermittent Fasting and My Endometriosis-Eating Journey

We left off with me living on smoothies and protein. Still do for the most part. Not yesterday on Thanksgiving. I definitely ate turkey and stuffing. But we will get to that.

Let’s back up. Start here.

I would have continued that way forever but the weight loss slowed down and sometimes seemed to plateau. Losing one pound only every week or two was disheartening considering how strict I was being with my diet.

I lost fifteen pounds by August of this year, I haven’t weighed myself since then, but I know I’ve lost a little more since- so maybe a total of twenty so far, and am still roughly twenty pounds away from my desired weight. So back to my books I went.

I didn’t want to cut calories any further. If anything I wanted to be able to add some in knowing the holidays were coming up. In my research I kept coming across intermittent fasting. At first I dismissed it. I could never do that I thought. I need breakfast. I also do hot yoga three times a week and need calories when I practice.

But it kept niggling at my brain. I looked in the library I have access to through the University I work for. There was actual scientific evidence that intermittent fasting lowered insulin levels and blood pressure. I read a lot. Everywhere. I read people’s blog posts. I read scientific literature. I read articles in Women’s Health and on every other platform I could find. Then I decided to take the plunge.

The idea of intermittent fasting is to eat for a certain time period every day, and not eat at another time period. I chose to do 8 hours on, 16 hours off, 11 AM-7 PM being the time period when I could eat.

Day 1: not eating until 11 AM made me slightly grumpy, but I was still cheerful because I was excited to be trying something new. I made it until 11 no problem. Then I had my first smoothie and a protein bar. I think I probably had some fruit, then home for dinner. I realized the timing of me being home for dinner would be an issue.

I generally work until 6 or 7 and making it home by 6:30 PM at the earliest. There have been more than a few nights of me hastily eating a meal and gulping down a glass of wine between 6:30 pm- 7:00 PM.

Day 2: I was grouchy as hell. I wanted to eat damnit. When I made my smoothie I didn’t put peanut butter in it because I was scared if I opened the peanut butter and spooned some out I would reflexively lick the spoon. It also just smells sooo good.

Since that first “day 2” I’ve had other day 2’s and I have sat breathing in the scent of peanut butter.

Day 3: Still starving before 11 AM. But oddly less grumpy. Feeling lighter. Well rested. Less bloated in general.

I’ve never done more than three days in a row. I do four days a week like this. The three days I practice hot yoga I don’t fast.

In the weeks since that first week of hell I’ve learned how to curb myself. Today was bad. I realized I was being very short with the boys because I was starving. I’ve learned that on a day after I’ve had carbs (aka Thanksgiving and a lot of carbs) the wait until 11 AM is worse. I try extra hard not to have carb overload on non-fasting days to avoid the carb-under-load grouchiness on the fasting days. But alas. Not yesterday.

I have to remind myself that this is my choice, and that I can’t be irritable with my kids because I am choosing to not eat in that moment. It’s hard.

Why do I keep doing this? Well the benefits I’ve found far outweigh the negatives. For instance my endometriosis is far less triggered. All the time. I still tend to avoid gluten/wheat/dairy, but I’ve found that if I have some form of gluten on a non-fasting day, I’m not in debilitating pain the next fasting day.

I have no idea why. I thought it was a fluke at first. But it’s not. I’ve tested it a lot.

For some reason the fasting, even though it’s not every day, and not all day, seems to calm down my endometriosis.

I can’t have a ton of carbs the three days a week I’m not fasting. I still maintain low carb, no gluten/wheat/dairy for the most part most weeks. But when there is a holiday and I want stuffing, I can have some and not fear that I will be in pain for the next week.

It’s kinda nice.

I’ve also lost more weight. My skin at first broke out like I was fourteen. But now seems to be clearing up.

Overall it’s been a nice addition to my endometriosis friendly life. It’s also enabled me to truly feel my hunger cues. When I’ve been trying to eat a lot between 6:30 and 7 PM on my fasting days, I find that I can’t. Because I am much more in tune with my “full” signal.

Today I had hot yoga. I ate a bun this morning that I made yesterday. For lunch I had turkey. Later I had a smoothie.

Tomorrow I will fast. Sunday yoga. It’s taken me some time to get my groove down. It’s hard when I don’t pack enough for work and end up staying late, and not getting home until 7:30 or 8 PM on a fasting day. I don’t want to mess it up, but I don’t want to starve either. I mean I do starve a little during the fasting time, but I don’t want to actually starve myself. There is a difference.

What’s been helpful was that I had been eating healthy before I started fasting, so my meals are still the same as before just condensed into eight hours a day. This sometimes leads to me only eating two meals a day if I run out of time.

I drink coffee in the mornings before 11 AM. I checked on many sources and they all ok’d coffee, tea, and water. Nothing with sugar. Nothing that would trigger your body to start metabolizing anything.

Intermittent fasting has led to mindful eating. When I am sipping my coffee in the morning I truly savor each sip because it’s the only item with flavor on the menu until 11 AM. I also enjoy that first bite or sip of whatever’s first on the menu when I can break my fast.

I can’t tell you why or how intermittent fasting has helped decrease my endometriosis pain. But I can tell you that it has and I am grateful.

The negatives to fasting: the urge to binge when you can eat. But like I said, being more in tune with my “full” cues means this hasn’t been a problem for me. Being grumpy in the morning. I try to be cognizant of this. That’s about it for me.

 

****I got the wolf/fox cuddled together tattoo in September on my left calf. I have a different Celtic knot on my right calf, now they match. The wolf and fox signals transitions to me and the wolf is wisdom and moon based, while the fox is sly and cunning. Both powerful creatures in their own right. In the Celtic tradition fox is associated with seeking alternative healing such as herbalism and diet. When I’m fasting I remember the 3.5 hours that it took for this tattoo and the two hours it took for the one on my other calf. Then I think waiting another hour to eat really isn’t that bad.

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