We Fast Each Day Without Even Realising It…
Overnight our body goes through quite a lot of changes. We ‘fast’ throughout the night, giving our bodies a chance to utilise all the energy filled nutrients we have ingested during the day and push these around the body, repairing cells, rebuilding nerves, producing new, fresh skin cells, rebuilding brain cells, moving blood throughout the body filled with rich nutrients to allow muscles to regenerate, our organs to rest, repair and recuperate from the daily stresses. Our liver works non-stop to detoxify the body and is an essential part of the digestive system.
All of these systems are working non-stop throughout the night allowing us much needed ‘brain rest’ from the world, taking us off to dreamland whilst our entire body prepares for what we are going to throw at it the next day.
Your Digestive System
It is also during this time that our digestive system continues to work, using all the good stuff and moving all the waste from the stomach, to the jejunum into the ileum then the colon in order to be ready for evacuation first thing in the morning. With a nice satisfying easy bowel movement, all things being well in your IBS free life.
This is what our bodies should be doing whilst we sleep. With IBS this may not have always been the case. And this is why I always stipulate that you need 4 – 5 hours after dinner before bed in order to get the majority of your dinner moved out of the stomach and well on its way through the system.
Going to bed on a full stomach can lead to all sorts of health complications. Our body is affected by gravity and digestion should not be attempted whilst lying down. It really messes with the system.
Digesting food is the most energy sapping, taxing, complex operations that our body has to perform each and every single day. The amount of different organs that are involved in this process is phenomenal. That is why it is a called a ‘system’.
Our heart has to do one job essentially. Beat. And by beating it moves blood around the body. Our lungs merely have to filter and breathe. And by breathing they move air around the body.
Our digestive system is made up of:
Really, it is hardly surprising that so many people suffer with IBS symptoms. It only takes a slight glitch in this complicated system to produce IBS symptoms.
- Stomach pain
- Abdominal cramps
- Excessive wind
- Trapped wind
- Acid reflux
When the digestive system is compromised we can also experience secondary IBS symptoms and other ailments, such as:
- Interrupted or poor sleep
- Thyroid Issues
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
The list goes on. If our body cannot digest food effectively or gain enough nutrients from the food we are eating then all the aforementioned repair and protect functions of the body are unable to work effectively. This leaves us open to disease and unprotected.
We Are What We Eat
This is why it is so essential to eat a balanced, healthy, whole food, largely organic diet. To give ourselves a chance. To help our bodies to help us to function.
Without the right nutrients in our body we are heading on a one way course for a very uncomfortable end, allowing in all manner or nasty diseases and viruses and by then it may be too late to do be able to reverse this. Unlike IBS, which is 99% reversible with the right help, advice, support and guidance. As hundreds of my clients can and do regularly testify.
All the pizza’s, cream cakes, scones, takeaways and crisps in the world are just not worth getting cancer for. Or COVID.
Breaking Your Fast
After a good nights sleep and when you have moved your bowels (personally, I never eat until I have moved my bowels in the morning, I have learned that is how my body prefers to operate) we then eat ‘breakfast’ and we are breaking out nightly fast. Hence it is called ‘break’ and ‘fast’. So, each of us are ‘fasting’ every single day.
Providing you have left your 4 – 5 hour gap between eating your dinner and going to bed and then you get 6 – 8 hours sleep, your minimum daily ‘fast’ will be 10 hours already. Or up to 13 hours. Intermittent fasting merely extends this ‘fasting’ period.
This can be really useful if you want to watch your weight, lose weight, give your digestive system a break on a daily basis without having to do extreme 7 or 14 day fasting (which should NEVER be attempted without the guidance of a qualified professional) then intermittent fasting might be of benefit to you.
I have been using intermittent fasting on and off for years and find it really helps me to stay focused, give my body a rest, maintain a healthy weight, chose the right foods to eat and takes the pressure off always having to think about food all the time.
Currently I am fasting for 16 – 18 hours a day only eating roughly between 12 noon and 7 pm (ish) On most days. I have a really sluggish bowel and a sedentary office job and I don’t need a lot of extra calories to keep going. My metabolism is on the slow side and this really helps my digestive system to operate at its best.
I eat my brunch at lunchtime, maybe a salad, some eggs or leftovers from last night. Then I may have a healthy snack like a handful of nuts, a piece of fruit, a couple of oatcakes if I feel hungry and at dinner time I eat a small portion of food. It could be veggie stir fry, salmon, rice with veg, home made soup or chicken salad or even home made spag bol. I usually have a smoothie or a juice shot at least twice a week to boost my nutrient intake.
This is what works for me, but may not be what works for you. All you can do is experiment. Just take on board that you need nutrients in the food you do eat. Grabbing a piece of toast or a sandwich, followed by a junk food takeaway for dinner will not provide your body what it needs.
5:2 Diet Is Also Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting can be done in many other ways. You may have heard of the 5:2 diet? This is where you continue to eat normally for 5 days of the week and then for 2 days of the week you eat just 500 healthy calories.
This provides your digestive system with a break each week to really clear out any unwanted debris and waste. Whilst giving your body a total rest from digesting complex barrage of foods.
I personally struggle with this option, preferring my two meals in intermittent fasting or a complete rest with 24 hour fasting. With the 5:2, I personally find I cant concentrate well with only 500 calories a day. I prefer the all or nothing approach.
24 Hour Fasting Is Also Intermittent Fasting
There are other ways of resting your digestive system. You could chose one day each week or even once a month where you don’t eat at all, only drinking water (I usually have a couple of cups of tea as well to break it up). This is a total rest for the digestion and allows your system to effectively ‘reboot’.
I often use this if I am feeling clogged up, backed up, bloated or uncomfortable. Or if I am ill. Or if I know i have eaten something i shouldn’t have and need to cleanse my digestive system. It is a great way to detox naturally and gently.
This is a fantastic method of really resting the digestive system however, it usually requires a lot of TLC. You may find that attempting to do anything during a 24 hour fast feels lot more taxing.
Working for me isn’t an option if I decide to take a day to rest my digestion. I usually time this with a whole day of total self care. I might take a long hot soak in the bath, do my nails, shape my eyebrows, cut my hair, do some yoga, drink plenty of water and rest up listening to my favourite tunes or watching my favourite movies snuggled up with my cats. Just chilling.
The next day I feel fantastic! All my (boring) female grooming done, digestion rested, bowels emptied, energised and raring to go.
It also helps me realise what foods I actually want in my body the following day. I chose more wisely, my body searching out nutritious foods to fill me with good energy. Not stodgy crap that will put me right back to where I was before.
NOTE: If you are on medications this might not be a safe option as most meds need food in the stomach to prevent you feeling sick and enable them to work more effectively. So again, this option is not for everyone.
Intermittent Fasting Is Not For Everyone
Fasting like this is most likely NOT for you if you have a really fast metabolism. If this is the case your body might go into hypoglycaemic mode and you may end up feeling feint, light-headed, ill, nauseous and weak.
If you have a very physical job, where yo are moving around all the time you will need more energy that these options provide you.
Please seek professional help and guidance on this before attempting any kind of extended fasting if you know you have a fast metabolism. Or better still, book my clarity call using this link and I will be happy to guide you.
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Feed Yourself Better With Glorious Food