The Check-in Session: Next Steps for my Protocol: Intermittent Fasting with Autoimmune Disease

A few weeks ago I had a check-in with my nutritionist, Megan Kelly. While I had started out following her recommendations very closely, after a few weeks I had still only lost 1 pound and wasn’t feeling remarkably better, and I had to admit that my compliance had fallen off and I had allowed sugary foods and “convenience carbs” (for example, gluten free English muffins and popcorn) to reappear in my diet on the regular.

Recently, a couple of acquaintances of mine had been posting on Facebook about great success with intermittent fasting (IF) for both weight loss as well as for energy levels. They both had a long history of dieting and weight loss cycling, and both are older than me, but both said they’ve had greater energy levels, feeling more physically and mentally alert than they have in years, and both have easily lost significant amounts of weight. They both said they are finding it relatively easy to do, with no cravings for sugary/carby foods and finding the reduced attention required for meal planning and prep a nice bonus.

Here’s a primer on the basics of intermittent fasting by Dr Oz:

And here we have an account of the experience of 2 people trying IF for a month:

What about IF and Autoimmunity?

I’ve always been a little wary of IF, as I could see it being stressful on already fatigued adrenals and a body that is primed to react to stress. Is it a healthy approach for someone with Autoimmune disease? I asked Megan for her thoughts on this.

Megan agreed that IF can be somewhat stressful, but that if done carefully and gradually, could be a good approach for someone who has not had results with more moderate approaches. She set me up with a plan for a 1-2 week keto-style diet, that would then be followed by a plan for a daily 14-16 hour intermittent fasting approach for probably 4 weeks. After that, we would look at a gradual and careful reintroduction of complex (unprocessed) carbs.

There has been some research showing a positive impact of IF on Autoimmunity, in particular Multiple Sclerosis. This video summarizes the findings:

My Plan

My initial plan was to begin this program after March break since I was planning to go away with the family to Tampa, FL. However, as the Covid-19 pandemic was taking hold at that time, we cancelled our trip and hunkered down at home. I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed and consumed by the pandemic and adjusting to our new, social distanced way of living. Working from home and developing new daily routines is a work in process, and I just haven’t had the mental space or sense of emotional readiness to dig into the plan Megan gave me up until now.

As we move into week 3 of social distancing, and week 2 of working from home, I’m starting to get my bearings. This next week I’ll be doing my research and readying myself to move into my keto-IF eating plan soon. I plan to keep a journal of how I’m feeling each day and my results over time and will share them with you here too.

Meantime, I hope all of you out there are doing well, keeping your spirits up, and taking care of yourselves in the ways that your body, mind and spirit need at this time! As always, I’d love to hear from you about how you’re doing in the comments below!

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