I have good news and bad news.
Since I wrote about my digestive issues in my column, I’ve received quite a reaction from people. Apparently I’m not the only one with issues. One woman said she’s been going to a gastroenterologist, taking medication and making dietary changes. It isn’t really helping. She’s highly interested in any-thing I discover. While that’s bad news, it’s nice to know I’m not alone.
However, everyone seems to be as clueless as I am as to what’s going on.
I initially thought it was related to healthy eating and switched to foods that were listed as “easily digestible.” It didn’t help. I then tried gluten free. It didn’t help. When last I reported on this, I said I would be keeping a diary in an attempt to determine which foods were creating the problem. I did dis-cover that chocolate and oatmeal – two items I eat regularly – were contributors. I couldn’t seem to isolate anything else. My issues continued though.
Here’s the good news: I think I’ve discovered something that really helps, but the solution might surprise you: intermediate fasting.
About a week and a half ago, I’m lying awake at night doing some research online and stumble across “fasting to improve digestion.” It stated that your digestive system takes between four and five hours to digest food. When you eat the process starts over again. For people who eat several times a day, it means you digestive system really never really gets a break.
When I started eating healthier and losing weight, I was eating up to six times a day. Hunger is the enemy. If you feel hungry, you will be tempted to eat unhealthy and overeat. Never, if you can prevent it, let hunger set in. To accomplish that, I spread my food and ate throughout the day. I’d set my cell phone alarm and eat every two to three hours – starting with breakfast which I ate within 30-45 minutes of getting up in the morning.
As I’m reading this article, I’m thinking that there is no way I can go 24 hours without food. Not happening. Then I found intermediate fasting. It stated that intermediate fasting is as simple as skipping breakfast or pushing breakfast back. If you don’t eat between dinner one day and lunchtime the next, that gives your digestive system a break of up to 16 hours. The best part is you can sleep through half of that time.
I had my doubts, but I decided to try it. The first day was the hardest. I waited to eat until I was hungry and that was about 11 a.m. When I ate, I ate slowly. It’s been about a week and a half. I’m still waiting until I am hungry before I eat, usually between 10:30 and 11:30 a.m.
Giving my digestive system a break has helped me more than anything else. Fasting, from dinner to lunch, is probably something I’ll continue doing long term.
Standard reporter Lisa Hobbs can be reached at 473-2191.