Fasting Facts Uncovered: The Pros and Cons of Intermittent Fasting | Ep.60

Is Intermittent fasting right for you? Join Chanci in this thought-provoking episode as she delves into the world of intermittent fasting. With all the buzz it’s generating in the health and weight loss realm, many are eager to know if this is their long waited solution. Tune in as Chanci explores both the pros and cons of intermittent fasting, shedding light on its potential impact on your health. This episode will empower you with valuable insights, equipping you to make an informed decision about whether intermittent fasting is the right path for you.

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About the Host:

Meet Chanci Dawn – a visionary non-diet certified nutritionist, mindset, and embodiment coach who is passionate about empowering women to break free from the restrictive chains of diet culture and establish a truly nourishing relationship with food and their bodies. Having spent over three decades struggling with her own disordered eating habits, Chanci is driven by a deep desire and passion to share her knowledge and experience to help other women achieve the same freedom and joy in their lives. Chanci firmly believes that by cultivating a deep sense of self-love, women can tap into their true power and become agents of positive change in their own lives and in the world around them. So, if you’re ready to unlock the secrets of embodied eating and take your first step towards a happier, healthier you, this podcast is for you!

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Chanci Dawn:

This show is about freedom. Freedom from your constant struggle with food and letting the size of your thighs determine your worth. Join me weekly for no hope back unfiltered girlfriend kind of conversations that will inspire, teach and empower you. As we tune into our own body's wisdom and tune out of the diet industry blinds, we can live our most radiant, pleasurable and fulfilled lives. My name is Chanci Dawn. I'm a non diet nutritionist embodiment and mindset coach. But most importantly, I'm a woman on a mission to grow a deeply connected and conscious relationship with food and my body. And I'm here inviting you to do the same. Let's go.

Chanci Dawn:

Hello, and welcome to today's episode. Today, we're going to be talking all about intermittent fasting. And the reason I chose this, I actually can't believe that I haven't talked about this yet on this podcast, because it's such an important thing. It's like such a buzz lately, right. It's such a part of the latest fad diets that people are using in effort to lose weight. So I'm really looking forward to digging into the facts around intermittent fasting, the pros and the cons because there are both. And in order to make powerful decisions for our bodies for ourselves, it's really important to have very, a very clear idea of what the evidence what the facts are. And a couple of days ago, I saw an ad usually if I see diet ads, I just like I actually usually report them as offensive if they're on social media. But this this particular day, I was really like what the hell, you know, there was this ad for different age groups talking about intermittent fasting for weight loss. I went in there and I said something along the lines of why don't we just learn how to listen to our bodies eat when we're hungry, dark when we're full, and find the freedom in that. And then I went on to say that quite often intermittent fasting can unfortunately lead to binge eating and regaining your weight, and then some total fact there. Okay, but Oh, my goodness, the backlash was like, Whoa, not what I was expecting. And I make it a habit not to get in arguments on the internet, I just don't go there. So the people were, you know, writing all these things. And I just one person said, Read the facts, read the studies and blah, blah, blah. And I just wrote back I have, thank you. And this is true, okay. And I also said, Maybe this isn't what happens to everyone, but for many people it does. So I just left it at that. And I haven't responded and it just kind of faded away. But I'm like, Oh my gosh, obviously, this is something so important that we need to talk about this on the podcast. So grab a cup of tea, a cup of coffee, some ice, cold, lemon water, whatever suits your fancy, get cozy. Let's talk about fasting.

Chanci Dawn:

Fasting, intermittent fasting became very kind of more popular in the whole diet world in the early 2000s. So it hasn't been around that long before that it was really only done for religious purposes. So the benefits and the negative, the drawbacks of it are still being studied, because there aren't a lot or really any super long term studies. And most of the studies that have been done, up until now, they're actually done with rats. So everything that we're going to talk about here, most of it has been done with rat studies. And so we're humans, wait, we're very unique to rats, we have a lot more going on. And so take all of this sort of with a grain of salt, knowing yes, there's science behind this, there is studies, but we really need to like first of all a logic and then tune into your own body. Again, your body knows what is best for her. So we're going to talk about the good and the bad and the ugly. And then I want you to apply it and I want you to ask your body what is right for me. How do I feel? How do I want to move forward in my relationship with food in my body and how does fasting play a part or not play a part in this? Okay, so let's chat about the benefits again, rat benefits, but obviously a lot of these can happen for humans too. So one of the things to realize is that our bodies are actually meant to take breaks from food. Okay? During that time our bodies rest and they repair, because it's not having to focus on digestion on digesting everything. So it can just go hmm, and start to focus on other things that are really important. And our history like our ancestors definitely didn't have breakfast, lunch and dinner readily available in the pantry in the fridge at all times. So our bodies as a human really are equipped to take times without food, and it's actually quite beneficial for it. One of the benefits for sure, is gut health. So many studies show that when we give our our bodies a break from digesting food, the good bacteria flourish, okay, it's like this fermentation cleanse that happens. And then the good bacteria are like, Hello. So for people who have GI issues, definitely taking that break from food will be extremely beneficial. But again, not all of this comes without consequences. Okay, so we don't want to just jump on the bandwagon because we're like, oh, yeah, gi health, but no, that that absolutely is a benefit. Another part of the benefits is the growth hormone really increases when you are actually fasting. And this growth hormone helps to heal, and it builds tissues, and it actually slows the aging process. Okay. So again, we're not in this like digestion phase. So our body is like, Okay, well, what else do we need help here? Where else do we need support what needs to be mended, fixed grown, okay. And this is a really cool thing that we can support our bodies in by giving it breaks from eating lowers inflammation, this is another benefit that I'm particularly interested in. Because I do know that I often will feel inflamed in my body. And so much of that has to do with food. So this is right now where I'm at in my embodied eating journey is going okay, what in flames. And what actually do I feel helps with that, and I've been doing a lot more juicing, this is one thing that is really benefiting me. And I do know that taking a break from the digestion, right? Absolutely helps to lower inflammation. Now for those who have diabetes, or insulin resistance for from like PCOS or something like that, intermittent fasting can really be beneficial in that it increases insulin sensitivity. So you actually need less insulin to get glucose into your cells for energy. And that is a very beneficial, for sure aspect of intermittent fasting. Now, Leptin is a hormone that we talk about on here often, and this is our fullness hormone. This lets us know when you've had enough, and when you have been chronically over eating, and not tuning into your body signals for fullness. Leptin can actually become deregulated, it just kind of shuts down. This is part of what we need to do as embodied eaters and wait reawakening these cues, right learning how to listen to them, feeding ourselves routinely and stopping when we're like, okay, body, this is enough, because our all of these hormones will start to regulate again, will start to feel hungry will start to feel full. Okay, this takes time. And studies do show that intermittent fasting can help re regulate leptin. So this is a really good thing. If your body is out of whack, and you're not feeling your fullness, definitely can help with that. So those are the main benefits that I know of, that I've heard of that I've studied that I've read about and that I've actually experienced some of these in intermittent fasting. But here's the problem, okay. Humans, our society has taken this and has taken in intermittent fasting and really brought it in into the diet culture. So the main focus for most people when they when they do this, and I'm not speaking for everyone, like if you intermittent fast, and you're like, it's all about the growth hormone or it's all about lowering inflammation. Good on you. Again, you are an individual and you need to do what is right for you. But what I want to do is give you all of the education, all of the knowledge, you know, you need to know in order to make that right decision for you. So, as we talk about often on this podcast, what we want to focus on is health, healthy habits, listening to our bodies taking exceptional care of these beautiful vessels. We're hitching a ride on Earth and okay. And when we start focusing on shrinking her on trying to control and willpower and deprive or fast her away into a smaller size that actually is not health promoting. Okay, so yes, there's tons of health benefits. Now let's look at the ones, let's look at the negative drawbacks that can happen. So first of all, when we're looking at intermittent fasting for weight loss, there's really different ways that people go about it. So some of that would be like, eat for five days, and then you take two total days off, and you eat like maybe 600 calories at most, okay. And then there's the 24 hours, once or twice a week plan where you just do it for once week, if it was twice, it'd be pretty much on the five to day schedule. And then another really popular one is the 16 Eight plan, where you fast for 16 hours, and then you eat within an eight hour window. And I find that this is one that a lot of people, a lot of people do, this is a very popular one. When I used to fast, I usually did the five to plan. And I'll talk about that a little bit. But it was atrocious was like the worst thing ever for me and my mental and emotional health and my relationship with my body. But yeah, again, lots of different approaches, there's more than just these three, but these are the most common ones. So the research is mixed. When we're looking at using intermittent fasting to lose weight. Some people absolutely do lose weight. But the problem here is that, again, it is a diet. With fasting, essentially what you are doing is you are restricting calories. So studies show that there's actually no difference between an intermittent fasting versus a calorie restriction diet. And if you've been listening to this podcast, you know that calorie restriction diets lead to weight gain, and then some because your body will adjust it metabolism it will adjust its its digestion, it will create more hunger, and it'll do all of these things to drive you to eat because she wants to protect you. It's no different with intermittent fasting. So some people find intermittent fasting easier than overall restricting their calories because it's like in a condensed amount of time. But with this, yes, you might lose weight in the beginning. But most of all, just like with any diet, you will gain it back and then some. The other concern, big concern here is that when you intermittent fast, it really can lead to nutritional and caloric deficiency. And what's really interesting, and this might be hard to get your head around if you are like a dieter, but studies do show that 45% of women don't actually eat enough already, right? Because we're taught to not, we're taught to disconnect and disregard, and little is better, right, and then effort to gain weight, or sorry, and never to lose weight. So then pile on intermittent fasting, and that amount goes down even more. And this can really lead to a lot of things, including that slower, slow down on metabolism over time, as well as binge eating right, if you're feeling like so restricted, so deprived and your body is so nutritionally depleted, extreme hunger can be a result of this. And this is just your body's way of being like, Hey, hello, you're not giving what me what I need, please feed me, please take care of me. So intermittent fasting can really lead into this. And it's very difficult, especially if you're like, you do it for three weeks, and you're like on a roll and you're feeling successful and you're losing weight, and then all of a sudden, boom, all of this starts to happen. But inevitably, it most likely will. Because this is how our bodies are structured. This is how our bodies are made. So we want to work with them, not against them.

Chanci Dawn:

So when we're talking about long term weight gain, this really goes back also to the fact that intermittent fasting is not sustainable. It's not something that we want to do for a long time, you know, emotionally and mentally right because it is depriving and it is hard and life happens. We have families, we might have children, we might have partners who are eating in front of us. There's parties there celebrations, there's nights out, right like intermittent fasting is something that you definitely have to structure your life around in order to be able to do, and it's like the all or none and all of a sudden, if you're not, then you're off the wagon. And quite often that can lead to a start again on Monday mentality, which just leads into that nasty diet cycle we're all really familiar with on this show. So when we're looking at this, if you want long term sustainable health, intermittent fasting for weight loss purposes, is not the way to do it. Just like any diet isn't, we really want to get that in there. Okay. And a lot of times what will happen is if like, you're intermittent fasting, and you're not eating, and you're thinking about food, and maybe you're reading cookbooks, or you're baking and stuffing your fridge full of food, like these are all things I know people do. And I have done when I've been fasting, because you're feeling deprived, and your brain is like, I want to still be dealing with food, I want this. So so many people say that's when their meal planning and when they are, like I said baking and sitting there and reading through all of these cookbooks, just so that they can still feel like they're having food. And this is a total red flag because that shows that your brain is feeling very deprived. And what often happens is that people will then eat much more in their eating window than they would have if they had just eaten sustainably right, three meals, couple snacks throughout the day, following their body's signals.

Chanci Dawn:

And along with this, what often happens is that people will feel really tired, super irritable. And like I said, really hungry. And studies do show that this stuff can go away with the time. But I don't think this is actually a good thing. Because what's happening there is your body is just shutting down her cues. She's like, well, you're not listening to me anyway. You're not feeding me anyway. So I'm just gonna shut down. And that is a disconnect. What we want to do is actually come closer to our bodies closer to her needs, okay? Not be in celebration because she's no longer speaking to us. So when people are celebrating the fact that they're no longer feeling hungry and irritable, this isn't actually something to celebrate. So please keep this in mind and compassionately. Love yourself through this going out. Okay? No, this is not something I desire. I want connection, not disconnection. That is what we need for long term sustainable health, I promise you. Another thing that's really important to understand, and it's actually quite scary, is that when you are restricting your caloric intake with intermittent fasting, to a point that it's starting to break down your muscle for energy, this is what it does, okay? Along with fat, it's also breaking down muscle. And your body does not differentiate between like muscle and heart muscle. So again, there's not a lot of long term studies, but this is definitely something to be aware of, and very cautious about, we do not want to mess with this. This is why it's so important to give our bodies regular nutrition, regular food energy. Now, I really want to make this extremely, extremely clear. For people who have a history with of eating disorders, or disordered eating, you need to run away from intermittent fasting as fast as you can do not even consider it as something that you want to implement. Because time and time again, I have seen it with my own eyes, people will use intermittent fasting as a justification to starve themselves. Or they will use it as a way to kind of punish themselves for what they ate the day before. And this is a very, very, very scary thing. Because the problem is, is that in our society right now, because this is such a fad, it's celebrated. If people are like, Yeah, I'm on my two day fast and blah, blah, blah, everyone's like, Wow, you're so strong way to go. You have such great willpower. No, absolutely no, this is a part of the disorder going on. This is a full out eating disorder, Red Flag Warning, and it is so scary that is actually encouraged in our society. Because I am I see so many poor souls fall into this trap, and then absolutely get lost within the intermittent fasting scene. And it's so so hard to get out of when everyone's cheering you on. The last thing I want to talk about is how it actually can mess with hormones in women. So what's really interesting is that Studies have actually shown that when women, intermittent fast, it increases our sympathetic drive. Okay, so that's like our fight and flight response. And this is quite often why women feel jittery where they feel hangry, right. Like, they're just feeling horrible when they're on their fast days versus men. And what's shown in studies is it actually stimulates their parasympathetic system that their rest and digest, okay, so for women, so many studies are pointing in the direction of this is not meant for us, for whatever reason, we are made different than men, and we need to pay attention to that and honor our own bodies. So pay attention to you if you are fasting, how do you feel if you are in this kind of like irritable fight or flight you want to bite everyone's head off? That is not for you, my dear. Okay, choose a different way to approach your health goals. In rat studies, again, this is rat studies, this hasn't been shown in women. And but when women, female rats have fasted for 24 hours or longer, it's actually shown to shrink their ovaries. So we're not rats. But I think this is something important to pay attention to. Because who knows the long term implications of fasting on women with our Hormonal Health, when it comes to that, and postmenopausal women, listen to this, intermittent fasting is actually shown to increase fat gain around your midsection. Hello, like, what the actual heck, this is something that is being promoted so loudly, from diet culture, and this is actually what it shows up shown to do. Please, please pay attention to this. I'm so happy that you're listening and that we are getting educated. And I want you to know, most of the information I got here, it's from PubMed. Okay, so I've looked at the research, when I was going to nutrition school fasting wasn't a big part of it back then. So I didn't learn about it a lot, then. So I'm really starting to educate myself more. And the more I dig in, the more like holy crap, I actually am, like, we need to know this information, and more studies need to be done. So very, very interesting in all of this. And I do want to point out that the postmenopausal women in showing to increase fat gain around their midsection, that's actually not a rat study. Okay, that is one of the rare ones actually done on women themselves. So the biggest takeaway here, definitely, if you are wanting to check out intermittent fasting for all the health benefits, do so. But listen to your body, follow her what is right for her, she will show you, if you're starting to notice any of these symptoms, it's not right for you. And when you're doing this, for weight loss, it's encouraged to intermittent fast often, but for the health benefits that we talked about in the beginning, you don't have to do it very often. Hear in there is just great. And it's like, okay, tonight, I'm just going to eat dinner at six, and I'm going to stop eating, you know, after six, I'm not going to munch all night. And I'm going to listen to my body for that anyway. Because really, if you eat a good dinner, our bodies do not need to be munching all night. And that would be emotional eating. Okay? Love yourself through that. But the focus of this is okay, if I want some health benefits, I'm going to finish eating at six, I'm going to manage my emotions, I'm going to love myself through it. And then I'm going to give myself like a 16 hour time where I'm not eating, I'm allowing my body to rest and repair and have all these beautiful benefits from taking a break. And then after the 16 hours I'm going to eat Okay, and it doesn't have to be a big huge willpower thing. It's a gentle, it's just like this really loving thing you can do for yourself in the name of health once in a while. But if you have any issue with disordered eating or eating disorders, I want to really stress once again, I do not do this. I totally believe that the negative impacts can absolutely absolutely like completely wipe out any of the positive ones for you. So you know you you know your body and you need to take care of you in the best way possible. Intermittent fasting for weight loss, ah, it's a diet. We are staying away from that crap, intermittent fasting here and there in a gentle way for all If it's beautiful health benefits, absolutely, that can definitely fit in into a really nurturing, nourishing lifestyle. Now, I want to finish off with a story of my own experience with intermittent fasting. I used to be a part of a company where we would encourage people to what we would call cleanse, it was intermittent fasting. But this is like, early 2000s, we didn't really have that word, it wasn't really the buzzword. So we would call it a cleanse, and it was the five to schedule you eat for five days, you fast for two days. And the first time I did this, I lost weight. And I remember looking at the scale and going, Oh, my gosh, this went down a couple of pounds. And that really excited me. But in a couple of days, I had gained all the weight back. And that moment sent me into years of a diet, crazy diet cycle with intermittent fasting. And even if I went for dinner and say I had dessert the whole time, I would be thinking, Oh, I have to make up for this tomorrow by cleansing Meaning I'm not going to eat all day. It is such a slippery slope. And it's so easy to start doing something that you think is healthy. And then for your brain to go oh, oh, keep going keep going. Maybe this isn't maybe it'll shrink yourself. Maybe Finally, you'll fit into your high school jeans again. Oh my gosh. So please pay close attention to this. I know this firsthand how bad this cycle can be. Please listen to me. I love you. If you want to share any of your own personal experiences. If you have any more questions, please reach out. You can either leave a voice message in the link in the show notes or email me all the information is there. Connect with me. Let's keep this conversation going. And please share this episode with anyone you need, you know needs to hear it. I love you. Bless you have a beautiful day.