Intermittent Fasting exacerbating anxiety & depression?

I go through phases of doing IF, and I struggle with both depression and anxiety but I haven't noticed either one impacted by IF. That doesn't mean that yours isn't, so if you're sure that's what is causing it, I would consider taking a break for now. Like you said, it's going to be a long winter and the most important thing is for you to make it through with your mental health intact as much as possible. Instead of IF, try adding more outdoor walks into your schedule and if it feels accessible, changing the kind of foods you eat. Even if you put on some of that weight, that's something you can worry about when this is over, or at least when it's warmer and cheerier outside and we get longer days outdoors to spend with friends and family.
isla's profile thumbnail
Can I ask what your diet is like? Speaking from experience IF shouldn't be making those symptoms worse, and if it is then that's absolutely a sign that something is wrong and that you shouldn't ignore what's going on.
I'm mostly ovo lacto vegetarian, with flex into fish a few a few times per month. I attempted vegan for a short while and became ill from it. Even so, I still try to reduce cow milk intake, even if dairy happens in other forms.My labs always check out perfectly. I resolved Vit D and iron deficiencies after relocating and adjusting my supplements.
isla's profile thumbnail
Labs are a good starting point, but they're only part of a larger picture. Genetics, activity level, age, etc. all play a large factor as well. You may be in a similar situation as @Xiomara66 where you need to have more frequent meals simply because that's how your body works. IF isn't one-size-fits all.Another possibility we can look here are your macros; carbs, fats, and protein. Vegetarian (and especially vegan) diets tend to lean more carb-heavy, which can be great for quick energy, but doesn't lend itself well to IF unless you load up on the fats alongside it.
Personally, I haven't tried IF but that has been a choice as I know it wouldn't work well for my body. I need to maintain very stable blood sugar (not a medical condition, just how my body is) or I feel foggy, irritable, and depressed. For me, going for very long periods without eating makes this much worse. I wonder if you are experiencing something similar. Basically, if you don't feel good doing what you're doing with IF, then yes something should change. If you still want to continue with it, try some of the things you suggested - increasing your window for eating or reducing the frequency of your fasting.Definitely listen to your body if it's telling you that something isn't working.
abbyrose's profile thumbnail
I am like this also! Everyone is different. For what it's worth, I found that eliminating added sugar from my diet not only helped with the foggy/irritable/depressed feelings but also gave me way more energy and has helped me not gain (TOO much) weight during the pandemic.
iynna's profile thumbnail
You all are so brave - I could never do that ... I snack all day long :|
isla's profile thumbnail
For me, there's no bravery involved. It's just something I was doing, didn't learn until later that there was a name for it.
abbyrose's profile thumbnail
My partner is like this too! He's been eating one meal a day since he was 10 years old, without even realizing it was a diet or had a name. I've never seen him eat a meal before 4pm. As an "all day snacker", I am baffled.
isla's profile thumbnail
Hahaha, I wonder if it's genetic. My parents were also like this, but I didn't put 2 and 2 together until I was older and found myself doing the same thing they did.
abbyrose's profile thumbnail
It totally could be! My mom and I are definitely the same with needing super consistent blood sugar (don't feed me at your peril :p)
iynna's profile thumbnail
Still. To even want to do that... a whole other level of discipline
TanyaMedukha's profile thumbnail
Intermediate fasting is only suitable for biological females during first two weeks of their cycle, up until ovulation day. After ovulation occurs, progesterone is released which signals the body to retain fat in case a woman is pregnant. The body doesn’t know until a few days before period begins when all the hormones drop, including progesterone, that it is not pregnant and then it starts to burn off fat and continues to do so as long as the woman is bleeding. If you try to starve your body during the second two weeks of your cycle it will rebel and keep the fat, add the bloating and increase anxiety because it’s hungry. Personally, I never fast more than 3 times a week (spaced out throughout the week) during first two weeks of my cycle. I do not fast at all during the second two weeks of my cycle. My BMI is 20.4.
isla's profile thumbnail
When you say "Should not fast" do you mean IF, complete fast, or any type of fasting at all? Also, how would you recommend women eat throughout the monthly cycle (with or without birth control)?I ask because I have a book on Keto that has a whole section on how it needs to be modified based on the time of the month relative to one's personal cycle, as well as how being on BC might affect your personal needs, so I'm curious to learn more about fasting as well.
TanyaMedukha's profile thumbnail
A woman should not engage in any type of fasting during the luteral and menstrual phase of the cycle. I use the following table as a guidance when I shop for food: https://www.theglowingfridge.com/balancing-hormones-part-two-foods-cycle-phase/When taking birth control, the body is tricked into thinking it is pregnant and is permanently in the luteral phase, hence the weight gain, tiredness, and lack of libido. I only know this from reading and speaking with friends. I have never used any forms of hormonal birth control. That's wonderful. I run my body on fat as well, but I'm not aggressively keto as it limits key nutrients. This winter I started eating very small amounts of carbs on really dark and cold days to help with energy levels and I'm expanding the variety of roots I consume.
cathyh's profile thumbnail
I understand that women who fast should not do so for anymore than 5 days because it starts affecting the hormones. I am wondering if for you the intermittent fasting is affecting your hormones and promoting the increase in anxiety and depression. It makes sense what Tanya says below. If it were me, I would try stopping the IF and try keto for a couple of weeks to see how you feel. It might help you lose the extra 3-5 pounds you want to lose, if you are able to stick to keto for a couple of weeks you will lose sugar cravings, and it may help reset the body. I would also focus on finding a way of relaxing whether it be exercise, meditation, or a creative endeavor. Learn to read your body and make choices accordingly. Everyone's body is different and no one diet is good for everyone all the time. Even if you find what works for you now, if you are listening to your body, you will likely need to continue to make adjustments depending on your body cycles, stress levels, the weather, etc. During your journey, it is important to just choose whole foods and avoid processed foods. During my journey, I became a certified health coach to better understand how to help myself and my family. Feel free to DM me if you would like to talk through what you are experiencing or have other questions.
isla's profile thumbnail
What are some of the most important things you've learned from becoming a health coach? I'd imagine they would be different for someone with a family than a single person, but I'm curious to learn more.
cathyh's profile thumbnail
I like that question because it really helped me to reflect. I think the most important thing about health that I learned is that to be truly healthy you need a balance in life. As you lose that balance, the stress level increases and so does the inflammation in the body. As the inflammation increases, so does your likelihood of illness. Here are things I learned to decrease stress, reduce inflammation and have a healthier life. 1. Seek out positive relationships. Find people who support you and you enjoy being with. Also, that you can support and they enjoy being with you. 2. Find activities that bring you joy, relaxation, and/or purpose. Do something creative, take a walk in the woods, or volunteer someplace. 3. Eat healthy foods. My definition of healthy foods is a balanced variety of nutrient dense, colorful, non-processed natural foods. Almost every processed food has added sugar. Too much sugar WILL affect hormones and increase the biochemical stress in your body. Each color in the food is a different antioxidant and all of them together help you to fight inflammation and give you the nutrients needed to promote wellness in the body. Also, food is for energy production only and is not there to fulfill an emotional need. 4. Avoid toxins in your life. This includes everything from medications to environmental toxins. Some medications will interfere with nutrient absorption and may fix one problem but create other problems. I was trained to look at the balance in a person's life. Sometimes this includes exploring the way a person thinks about food and life events. Always seeking the optimal balance in life is probably the best thing someone can do to reduce stress, inflammation, and maintain their health. Anyone of us can read and work on diet and health on our own. However, to seek optimal wellness can be a winding pathway that sometimes requires the guidance of a caring, knowledgable, support system, and accountability partner. That is what I do as a health coach.
LeahCampbell's profile thumbnail
I did IF for about 6 months and noticed a huge difference mostly in bloat - my stomach was always flat. I did about 15:9, which worked well for me. However, like you, I was really jittery and also fatigued. I think this came from drinking black coffee and not eating anything. I recently stopped IF for now and my weight hasn't changed too much. I do get a little more bloated in the evenings but I will say, I built a great habit of not eating late into the night. I mostly stopped IF because I was suffering mentally from not having delicious creamer in my coffee in the morning, haha. I wish there was a way to do IF with coffee creamer ...
isla's profile thumbnail
I wonder if you could try something like bulletproof coffee, or try keto creamers.
LeahCampbell's profile thumbnail
That is super interesting - I will have to research that. From what I knew of with IF to start, you can't have anything with sugar, carbs, or calories over 5 units because that is what breaks your fast. I will research more though!
katebranna's profile thumbnail
This is such a good question! I have tried IF on and off again for years, but committed to it fully for most of 2020. I had been pretty much vegan but in the past couple of months I've been eating vegetarian, similar to you. 16:8 has worked really well for me, but I will say I prioritize 8-9 hours of sleep every night and drink at least 100oz water per day which helps. Depending on when I have time to workout that day, sometimes I end my fast earlier. If there is anything I have learned over the years, it's that our body knows best! If I feel exhausted or hungry, I drink some water and eat something even if its outside that 8 hour window. If you are feeling exhausted, your body is trying to tell you something! But it could be related to caffeine intake, external factors (work stress/environment), water intake, quality of sleep, types of food you're eating, etc. I'll also mention since you are also vegetarian, I noticed hugeee improvements in my mood when I reduced my carb intake and focused more on eating healthy fats/proteins. The vegan/vegetarian diet can be super carb heavy and that can impact people in lots of different ways.Maybe you could spend a few days tracking what and when you eat and then also track how you feel throughout the day to see if there is any correlation. I love talking about this stuff so I am happy to chat more if you'd like (:
ChristianeCollinge's profile thumbnail
As a healthy coffee & food shop co-owner, I have been looking into healthy eating habits for years.After 3 babies and too much work, I was looking to increase my energy levels. IF (16:8) is my solution. 5 years now!I have been reading many many books about it as well.I don't think weight loss should be the goal with IF. It is counterproductive. Weight loss comes naturally, if you do IF.It is important to know.. IF works differently with men and women. We women should only use other women's advice, the men's approach does not work 100%.I am trying to keep it short:Only fast every second day. Why? The cells need to produce trash, then with fasting, we clean the trash out. Then they need to produce the trash again. I do it 3 times a week. Monday, Wednesday, Friday. Break the fast with light veggies. No sugar. Not too many carbs. I fast from 8pm until 12, as in Spain we have late dinners. Fasting longer, does not make it better.12 hours into the fast you can get very hungry, especially if you had a carb-heavy dinner. Don't give in. Drink a green tea or a specialty coffee (even decaf) with some MCT Oil. This oil doesn't break the fast, but it does wonders. The result: I am happier, I have soo much more energy, I can concentrate better.What does not work for me:Heavy Sport during fasting. I heard it and it looks like it works for men. I did it for 3! years. I had a coffee with oil and went up the mountain. I struggled to get fitter, better. I had anxiety downhill (I am a mountainbiker). Now, for 3 months, I have a banana, some nuts, and I put sugary sports powder into my water. I have improved so much. No anxiety anymore downhill. Listen to your body. It will tell you what it needs. My fasting schedule changes with my cycle. It is important to understand the female cycle, sometimes it is just not the right day to fast.
isla's profile thumbnail
୧☉□☉୨ You co-own a healthy cafe? I'd love to hear more!Also, I totally agree about listening to other women's advice. You get some.... strange things when doing otherwise.
JocelynD's profile thumbnail
You may want to join a Keto/ IF group lead by a seasoned doctor. You should not be experiencing greater anxiety through this lifestyle. I highly recommend Dr Mindy Peltz: https://drmindypelz.com/ -- she is based in the SF Bay Area with thousands of followers world-wide. She has a free facebook group-- she also has group resets and classes (about $30/mo). I lost almost 20 lbs in a year with Keto/IF, when everything else I had done to lose weight wasn't working. Good luck!
Like many others have mentioned here, you should listen to your body. In my unprofessional opinion it seems like you may be having symptoms of hunger (at least that's how I feel when my body (not my mind) is hungry. You can reduce the number of days you're doing IF or you can change the way you structure it. I do 15:9 5 days a week with weekends off. I don't really restrict my eating during that time so there's no additional challenge. I'm literally just eating less but eating the same. My goal on IF was to regulate my insulin levels, not weight loss, and to give my sensitive stomach some rest. Everyone's goals are different but I strongly recommend listening to your body. There are days, when I haven't had a full dinner, when I wake up out of energy. On those days I either add 1 spoon of sugar to my coffee or I eat my first meal earlier. There's no one way to fast. Do what works for you.
elenad23's profile thumbnail
I stopped doing IF because it completely consumed my life! I could pull it off, and did lose some weight, but it wasn't worth the huge impact it had on my productivity. That said, I know it's different for everyone. Something that's been helpful for me is to journal when I'm feeling anxious etc- that helps me identify if there's any underlying patterns to the days where it seemingly pops up for no reason.
LisaSulenes's profile thumbnail
I find that if I don't eat breakfast I get jittery/anxious especially when I drink coffee. I've replaced coffee with MUD/WTR and that sits much better for me. They also sell an MCT creamer that I think is Keto friendly (I don't use it so I'm not sure). When I do IF, I keep breakfast and have an early dinner. It makes more sense to me that I would fuel my body in the morning when I'm active and working than in the evening when I'm winding down for bed (I also have reflux and try to stop eating at least 2 hours before I go to bed anyway). After my window, I will drink herbal tea.I think for you, you could totally expand your window a bit and instead of doing every other day, take the weekends off. Two days off a week will still give you most of the benefits of IF and it's a nice mental break to be able to have dinner and a glass of wine later in the day a couple of days in a row. I would also be suspicious of aiming for the average range for your height, all bodies carry weight differently, and maybe your body needs more, it may not mean you are unhealthy or overweight. Averages are not always ideal for individuals. This is true for blood panels also.