If I cannot do great things,
I can do small things in a great way.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.
Working in eating disorders and as a certified international eating disorder professional, and certified addiction professional for over twenty-five years, I stay abreast of the trends that come and go.
I intentionally earned my master’s degree in mental health with the emphasis on eating disorders and my doctorate in addiction psychology, intending to help others recover from eating disorders.
My interest began from my own struggles with food addiction. To date, I’m in recovery from binge eating disorder, exercise bulimia for more than twenty five years. In this time, I’ve seen many fads. As of late, intermittent fasting along with intermittent exercising at present are the biggest rage.
All is good with either or both combined if not working through an eating disorder and even for those who are in recovery as I am.
In recent years, both intermittent fasting and intermittent exercising have gained popularity as strategies for weight management and overall health improvement. These two approaches focus on the concept of intermittent restriction, but they target different aspects of our daily routines—one pertains to eating patterns, while the other revolves around exercise habits.
While there are potential benefits to both, it’s crucial to explore how they can impact individuals prone to or struggling with eating disorders. In this blog, I’ll compare and contrast intermittent fasting and intermittent exercising while shedding light on their potential connections to eating disorders.
Intermittent Fasting: A Brief Overview
Intermittent fasting is an eating pattern that cycles between periods of eating and fasting. There are various Intermittent fasting methods, such as the 16/8 method (fasting for 16 hours and eating within an 8-hour window) or the 5:2 method (eating regularly for 5 days and drastically reducing calorie intake on 2 non-consecutive days). Proponents of intermittent fasting claim it aids in weight loss, improves metabolic health, and may even have some longevity benefits.
Intermittent Exercising: Understanding the Concept
Intermittent exercising involves alternating periods of intense physical activity with rest or lower intensity activities. This approach aims to maximize the efficiency of workouts while minimizing time spent exercising. For instance, High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is a popular form of intermittent exercising that involves short bursts of intense exercise, followed by brief recovery periods.
Comparing Intermittent Fasting and Intermittent Exercising
- Nutritional Aspect: Intermittent fasting primarily centers on when one should eat, whereas intermittent exercising focuses on the pattern of exercise and rest. The former has more to do with the timing of caloric intake, while the latter emphasizes the intensity and duration of physical activity.
- Impact on Eating Disorders: Both Intermittent fasting and intermittent exercising can potentially exacerbate eating disorders or trigger disordered eating behaviors. Individuals with a history of or susceptibility to eating disorders may find the strict time-bound nature of Intermittent fasting stressful, leading to an unhealthy preoccupation with food during eating windows. Similarly, intermittent exercising can become compulsive, and over training might occur in those with a predisposition to exercise addiction or body image issues.
- Mindset and Awareness: Intermittent fasting could lead to an unhealthy relationship with food, encouraging individuals to categorize food as “good” or “bad” based on whether it falls within their eating window. On the other hand, intermittent exercising can sometimes foster a mindset where the value of exercise is measured solely by the number of calories burned, disregarding the enjoyment and overall health benefits of physical activity.
- Energy Balance: Both approaches can affect energy balance. Intermittent fasting might result in reduced caloric intake, which, when combined with excessive exercise, can lead to an energy deficit. While this may initially lead to weight loss, it can be unsustainable and detrimental in the long term.
Striking a Balance: The Key to a Healthy Lifestyle
For individuals without a history of eating disorders, intermittent fasting or intermittent exercising may be viable tools for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, it is crucial to emphasize the importance of balance, flexibility, and individuality in adopting these approaches. Listening to your body’s signals, prioritizing nourishment, and seeking professional guidance, especially for those with eating disorders or vulnerabilities, is paramount.
Intermittent fasting and intermittent exercising have become popular methods for managing weight and promoting health. While they can be beneficial for some individuals, it’s essential to recognize their potential ties to eating disorders and disordered eating behaviors. For those susceptible to such conditions, a balanced and flexible approach to nutrition and exercise is crucial.
Consulting with healthcare professionals, registered dietitians, and therapists specializing in eating disorders is highly recommended to ensure a safe and healthy journey towards overall well-being. Remember, every person is unique, and what works for one might not work for another—the key lies in finding what suits your body and mind best.
Have you tried intermittent fasting? What about intermittent exercising? Did you find either a positive or negative experience?
Please share your thoughts—you are in good company. Simply scroll to the comments box below. I’d love to hear from you, what you have to say is important.
Thank you for being a part of the reading blog forum and spending time with me and my thoughts throughout these pages. I hope my words lit your excitement to become your best self for you. I look forward to sharing my newest book with you on how to release your obsession with your Phone. God bless you… and your journey through this life and all that awaits beyond…
To learn more about recovery from food addiction, eating disorders, weight issues, dieting, aging, money, and your phone, please check out my Release Your Obsession Series.
Stay tuned… you never know where my mind will wander…