Navigating the Fads: A Candid Chat About Intermittent Fasting and Social Media Influence

three gray metal forks casting shadow on green surface

As I was lounging and mindlessly scrolling through Instagram the other day (an ADHD trait that I can’t seem to curb), something caught my eye. Amongst the endless posts of cute animals and friends’ updates, I stumbled across a popular influencer sharing their journey with intermittent fasting. Boy was I gobsmacked when they nonchalantly declared they fast for a whopping 20 hours a day! Just let that sink in for a mo’.

Now, no shade to them for finding something that works for them and their lifestyle, but it got me thinking about the powerful sway influencers hold and how quickly people might jump on the bandwagon without considering if it’s right for them.

So, let’s have a chat about intermittent fasting—the good, the iffy, and the what’s-up-with-that—especially for us women who have a complicated relationship with food.

The Buzz Around Intermittent Fasting

To begin with, intermittent fasting (IF for short) isn’t a new kid on the block. It’s been around the block a few times, and you’ve probably read lots about it already. Some people swear by it, and report weight loss and improved health, among other benefits. But as with most things, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows.

The Pros:

Research does point to some potential benefits of IF. It could support weight loss, by giving your metabolism a nudge, and even improving insulin sensitivity. Some studies also suggest that IF may be linked to a reduced risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes and heart issues.

The Cons:

On the flip side, there are a few things about IF that can raise eyebrows. First off, fasting— especially these super-long stints— can be a rocky road, especially for us ladies. Our bodies are a bit more complex (tell us something we don’t know!), and long fasting periods can mess with our hormones. We’re talking about our reproductive health, bone health, and even throwing our mood out of whack.

Let’s Imagine…

Picture this: you’re flipping through socials, and you see someone raving about IF and their flawless results. You think, “Why not give it a go?” But here’s the rub—what works for one person’s bod might not be a ticket to Happyville for another. Diving into a rigid eating pattern without listening to your body can be like opening a can of worms, especially if binge or emotional eating has been a monkey on your back.

Impact on Women

For us women, research shows that the impact of fasting can hit differently. Studies have suggested that IF could disrupt menstrual cycles, affect fertility (not exactly a walk in the park), and potentially put you at higher risk of developing an eating disorder.

Intermittent Fasting and Disordered Eating: Why It’s Not a Match Made in Heaven

Bluntly put, if you’ve ever wrestled with disordered eating, IF could be a bit of a minefield. Given its restrictive nature, it might trigger old habits or cause stress and anxiety around food and eating schedules. Plus, it’s not just about the body—it’s a mental game, too. And in my book, anything that could upset your mental wellbeing deserves a serious ponder before taking the plunge.

Listen to Your Gut (Literally and Figuratively)

So, where does that leave us? Well, I reckon IF can have its place, but it’s not a one-size-fits-all kind of deal. And if you’ve got a history with emotional or binge eating, it might be worth giving it a wide berth to avoid stirring up old troubles.

Your body’s your best friend—listen to it, and remember that taking care of your mental health is just as crucial as looking after your physical wellbeing. Eating habits should be about feeling fab inside and out, not keeping up with the Joneses.

If you struggle in your relationship with food, don’t be afraid to reach out. I have resourcesself-directed courses and 1:1 services that can help you break free from food and weight obsession

References

– [The Science of Intermittent Fasting] (https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/10-health-benefits-of-intermittent-fasting)

– [IF: A Mixed Bag for Women’s Health] (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5959807/)

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