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21 Jul, 2021

Using intermittent fasting for energy

We speak to Nutritional Therapist Phoebe Liebling about the impact of stress on the body, and how intermittent fasting can help us get energy from a true place, rather than relying on quick energy and stimulants.


How does stress impact the body?

Surviving modern living is a stressful experience, and whether you feel this on the surface your body will often be existing in what we refer to as sympathetic nervous system dominance (AKA the fight or flight response).

This is associated with numerous long term health concerns but in the short term the big things to highlight are the impacts of this on your blood sugar and consequently insulin levels, as well as your digestive health. Glucose (sugar) is the primary form of energy that fuels our body, but it needs to be kept within a tightly controlled range when present in our blood stream.

This is where the science behind eating more complex carbohydrates (e.g. brown rice, quinoa, root vegetables with their skins) instead of refined white carbs comes from, as without their husk the energy contained within these foods enters circulation too fast, causes a resultant insulin spike to bring it back into range. The level then tends to dip too swiftly, we feel hungry again especially for sweeter things, and thus the unhappy rollercoaster continues.

What we see when stress levels are higher is that our insulin levels naturally rise too, in fact they go up by three times the amount just to have the same blood sugar controlling effects that they would do if we didn’t have stress hormones circulating at the same time. This is why we often crave carbs and sweets when we’re tired or under pressure.

How can intermittent fasting help?

I don’t know about you but I am absolutely terrible at sitting still. I love to be on the move, involved in some kind of activity, mischief or general escapade. It feeds my soul & makes my life a happier place. Saying this though I do have significant points in my day dedicated solely to rest, because eternal motion would be a tad unsustainable unless you were some kind of automotive locomotive.

As a basic introduction, providing an opportunity to rest and reset is what we are doing for our body when we adopt a well-managed intermittent fasting plan, because asking our system to be ever alert is equally as unfair as me suggesting you go for a walk instead of going to bed in the evening.

What we are aiming to do with an extended period of not eating, is to give the body the opportunity to become sensitive once more to that energy uptake mechanism outlined above, akin to the joy of a surprise bunch of flowers that you get once in a while versus the pot plant you see every day in your living room. In doing so we increase metabolic efficiency and balance energy levels.

A well-managed intermittent fasting plan will mean your digestive system is not working away when you go to bed, which is actually the period of time your internal support team are most active, because they don’t need to be concerned with supporting your wakeful needs.

This will then consequently feed into a far more restful sleep cycle, waking up with more vitality, feeling better refreshed and ready to go for the day. Which further enhances metabolic efficiency because your energy is coming from a true place rather than a reliance on quick energy, stimulants and such like.

The 3-Day Reset

Our intermittent fasting plan, the 3-Day Reset, provides that perfect opportunity to reconnect with your body’s needs, to blow away mental fogginess, banish sluggish bowels and bits of bloating, to then build on going forward. Find out more, here.