Intermittent Fasting and Autoimmune Disorders

Intermittent fasting is one of my favorite parts of the lifestyle I choose to live. It gives me the flexibility to eat within a certain time frame that works for my schedule, allow my body to heal and thrive, and I am able to focus upon hydration first and foremost during the day. However, starting out with a 16/8 intermittent fasting protocol  may not be for everyone - especially if you have an autoimmune disease.

An autoimmune disease is where the body attacks healthy cells. This might look like Celiac Disease, Hashimoto’s, or Type I Diabetes in some, or arthritis and anemia in others. When it comes to intermittent fasting, it is not necessarily a question of if you should do it, but how.

When living with a disorder such as the ones described above, it is important to first and foremost always check with your doctor before beginning ANY change in your lifestyle in regards to your overall health and wellness. Your doctor will know your case the best, and he or she will be able to give you advice of how to best implement intermittent fasting and determine if it is right for you.

Once you have approval from your doctor, it is important to start out slow. Before going full force into intermittent fasting, start with a 12/12 protocol. On a day to day basis, this might look like eating your first meal at 8am to break your fast, and closing your eating window at 8pm. Starting out in this way will allow you to listen in and watch for changes in your body to see how it is reacting. For example, if you are Type I diabetic, check your sugar levels to avoid any adverse symptoms and to ensure that your body is reacting positively and not affecting the rest of your day negatively. If you are feeling great, then you can begin to work up (again, slowly) to the 16/8 protocol!

Be sure to fuel your body appropriately during your eating window. This holds true for anyone who is practicing intermittent fasting. It is not a deprivation diet; your daily allotment of food and calories is still met. The eating window is just smaller to allow your body to do other things! It is important to ensure you are meeting these goals with whole foods - especially if you are striving to manage symptoms with this method. Before you begin eating or as you are planning your meals, think: Did this food come from a mother? Did it come from the ground? How will it serve my body?

Understand that if you cannot make it the full twelve hours at the beginning, that is okay.  Remember friends, this is a lifestyle and not a quick fix. The best changes take time!

If you are living with an autoimmune disorder, know that intermittent fasting may not be out of the question, but something that needs to be discussed with your doctor and implemented strategically into your life. If you’re ready to get started and are in need of support, feel free to reach out to me! I would love to hear from you.