I Tried Intermittent Fasting and Here’s What Happened

I’ve worked out most of my life. Now that I’m over 50 years old, I have noticed my metabolism has slowed down as well as my exercise. Even though I still love to eat, I can’t eat the same amount as I had in the past. Slowly over the last few years, a few pounds have crept up on me and I found myself at the heaviest weight I’ve ever been (pregnancies aside).

An additional 10 pounds, depending on your height, isn’t too big of a deal, but when my sugar and cholesterol levels went up as well, I decided it was time to do something about it. 

First, I tried the keto diet. I love meat, especially bacon and steaks and hamburgers, so hey! What the hell! I’m all in!

The first week, I lost 4 pounds. The next week – nothing. The next – nothing. The month – nothing more. Ugh! Frustrating! I’m watching my husband have rice, pasta, cookies….and I politely declined all in the name of cholesterol and sugar levels (I was pre-diabetic – which was incredibly surprising!).

When my brother-in-law and his girlfriend came over around the holidays, they shared they had been intermittent fasting. He’d lost 35 pounds in a couple weeks, she’d lost something like 20. They would eat between the hours of 2 and 8 pm. Amazing!

Okay – I’m in! The following day, I waited until 11 am to eat, then cut off my eating time at 5 pm. I had carbs – finally! – and felt relief over having the ability to at least eat a more balanced meal plan.

That week I lost a pound. Confused that I should’ve lost even more, I doubled down and added a 4-hour window of eating (the rest of the time was “no food time”) once a week, with the rest of the days alternating between 6 and 8 hour weeks.

A week or two later, I met a naturopathic doctor friend while walking at our town track. I told her what I was doing.

“You should be careful about these kinds of diets,” she warned me. 

It can’t be that bad, I thought to myself. As cavepeople, our ancestors didn’t always have access to a steady food supply so they would have to fast. It’s probably built into our genetics.

After a month of trying this, and after my husband caught a nasty cold and I proclaimed “I never get sick. I won’t get this bug,” well, I got sick. And it didn’t go away.

When it was almost through my system, 2 weeks later, I began noticing the following symptoms:

  • brain fog
  • stomach pain
  • nausea
  • horrible gas and bloating
  • reflux
  • a cough
  • and other symptoms related to digestion – or really, poor digestion

I felt awful! I made an appointment with my primary care doctor concerned I had something going on with my pancreas, liver, or gallbladder.

Several tests later…nothing. Nothing!

I was so confused and frustrated. I knew something was going on, but what?

Then I went to a dentist appointment. My hygienist told me about her mother who had the same symptoms. She had tests which were inconclusive. Then she had an endoscopy. The endoscopy nicked her pancreas and she had separate medical issues stemming from that procedure.


Eventually, they found tiny crystals in her gallbladder that wouldn’t show up on tests on their own. By then, she’d been on several medications, had medical complications, and was just so frustrated with the whole process.

When I heard  that, I decided that I would not follow the traditional medical path. I contacted my naturopathic friend and told her my symptoms. And, drumroll please, it never ever would occur to me (or likely my MD) that it was…


Ever heard of it?

I have, but I never ever thought I’d be struggling with that.

SIBO is short for Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth. I created a wonderful environment, through fasting, for an overgrowth of bacteria to occur in my gut. It’s painful, uncomfortable, and while it may lead to weight loss (because your stomach isn’t absorbing enough food or nutrients), it’s not the way to go. 

No frickin’ wonder I had brain fog! No wonder I didn’t feel good!

I don’t normally write about my diet or exercise regimes here, but I was so relieved that my friend, the naturopathic doctor, knew exactly what it was, why it occurred, and gave me some natural supplements to help – well, I feel extremely grateful I know what it is and how to deal with it naturally. I felt heard. I felt helped. And I felt incredibly relieved.

So, if you’re doing intermittent fasting or any type of diet where your system is out of balance because of it, know that these kinds of complications can occur. I’m sure the keto diet I was on prior also contributed.

You can look up more about SIBO here.

The following products were recommended for getting my gut health in better shape and getting rid of SIBO:

In addition to these products, I am also taking my naturopathic doctor friend’s Enzyme Support.

I want to finish up by stating that I feel incredibly grateful that I could bypass the traditional medical headaches of testing, suggesting pharmaceutical medications that may lead to other medical symptoms, and other frustrations associated with that path. I know there is a place for MDs and their type of care (for example, when my husband almost died from Lyme Disease), but I can’t help but think in this situation, as horrible as I felt, I would’ve been prescribed more tests and medications for something they had no idea of what it was. My ND friend knew immediately.

And one last thing…I am not a doctor. Any advice given is my opinion, not a professional opinion. If you are experiencing any medical symptoms, please see your doctor.

natural health and SIBO

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