The Hot and Cold of Intermittent Fasting
I’m on week four of this intermittent fasting experiment. Most of the forums I’ve read on IF are crammed with testimonials from people who claim that their hunger during the fasting periods completely disappeared or at least lessened significantly after the second week. This seems to be the case with my husband, but not with me. I still experience very loud gurgling noises at 9AM and between noon and 1PM. Again, in my case they are not signs of true hunger, they’re just remnants of a life spent training my body to be hungry at those times. Ignoring them means enjoying blissful silence for the next few hours, but still. They’re THERE. We’ll see if that changes.
4PM continues to be a tough time for me. The eating window opens at 5PM, so I am trying to decide whether the hunger pangs at that point are psychological (knowing I get to eat in just an hour gets the juices flowing) or true hunger. I am considering switching my window from 4PM to 9PM and seeing if this means I suddenly get hungry at 3PM when I never was before.
In an effort to really listen to my body, I’ve also been charting my fertility. (If you are a woman looking to get pregnant or looking to prevent a pregnancy without using traditional forms of contraception, BUY THIS BOOK. It will teach you more about your body and your cycle than you thought possible. It’s incredibly empowering. (I was not given a sample or a review copy.))
I was worried that reducing my food intake to once a day might signal my body that I am in a state of famine and therefore encourage it not to ovulate. So I’ve been taking my waking temperature every morning and checking my cervical fluid a couple of times a day and inputting that information into a chart. It turns out I am–so far–ovulating just fine. BUT.
My body temperature, since starting this experiment, has dropped by a whole degree.
That means, that pre-ovulation my waking temperature is in the mid 96s. And post, it’s in the mid 97s. Throughout the day I remain in the mid 97s, whereas before fasting I was always registering solidly in the 98s.
Doubt as to the benefits of fasting began to creep in. My metabolism must have slowed, how else could I explain this drop in temperature? Does this mean I’m burning even fewer calories than before? Could it be that I’m not eating enough in that one meal? What if this causes an inhospitable environment for sperm and egg?
(By the way, my husband’s temperature, already on the low side to begin with, has also dropped a whole degree. He, however, rarely resorts to bouts of dramatic arm-flapping and despair.)
Last week I emailed a few of the IF supporters, all of them doctors, and they replied that a drop in body temp was a common result of IF. One suggested I lengthen my eating window to include two meals a day. Another suggested I continue as is and stop fasting when I decide to try getting pregnant. Another suggested I eat more fat and protein at my daily meal to make sure I’m getting enough calories.
They all assured me that the slowed metabolism slows the aging process and is what eventually leads to an extended lifespan.
Those answers, plus my healthy cycle, helped alleviate most of my worries. The last of them were abolished when I realized that when I did eat, my body heated up quickly and significantly. It would skyrocket from 97.5 to 98.9 after just a few bites of food. I could feel microscopic pricks of sweat forming across my nose, upper lip, and brow.
Am I to conclude that the rise in temperature means my metabolism has increased during that period? If that is the case, isn’t that the best time for my metabolism to be up? I am not a doctor nor a scientist, but I’m going to go with a yes to both those questions at the present time. I never took my temperature while eating before, so I have nothing to compare it to. I certainly never broke out in a slight mist of sweat either, unless eating spicy food, so something is definitely going on. Will continue to monitor this.
As for the efficacy of intermittent fasting, all I know is that so far it is working for me. The seemingly endless years I’ve spent trying one diet/lifestyle change or another have led me to understand that what works for one person won’t for another. It’s just that simple. One friend turned vegan and struts around in a bikini. Another went vegan and experienced no change at all. I did WW, lost a bunch of weight and regained it all. Another did WW, lost a bunch of weight and has kept it off for five years. One friend snacks all day long on chips, crackers, seeds, and nuts AND eats three meals a day and has never had a weight problem. Another does just that and is obese.
So I get that IF may not be for you. And maybe, in the long run, it may not be for me. But so far, so good.