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Intermittent Fasting After Weight Loss Surgery Bariatric Edition

Should bariatric clients adopt IF into their life-styles?

As I promised last week in my FB live video, the month of January 2019 is all about the Ketogenic lifestyle for post weight loss surgery clients.  A very popular theme in the ketogenic community is Intermittent Fasting so I do feel that we need to also discuss IF and get into the details of why it’s being promoted and who it’s for.

This is an extremely popular question today and Intermittent Fasting (IF) is getting more and more momentum as we learn more about nutritional science.  Can people who have had weight loss surgery add this important tool to their tool-box or should they go about IF in a different way?

I for one like, and use Intermittent Fasting.  I do believe that we are all biochemical individuals and that what works for one person may not be a great fit for the next person.  This is a very personal journey and if you do not think that Intermittent Fasting is something that could easily fit into your lifestyle, then that’s fine too.  

Let’s just dive a bit deeper into the topic of IF and see if it may be something you would like to try.

First of all, how does Intermittent Fasting work?

IF is a different way of eating where you are going to add some restrictions of time into your daily eating times.  The most popular way to use IF is to use windows that look like 16/8.  This means that we fast for 16 hours a day and eat for 8 hours a day.  This does not mean that we are eating for the whole 8 hours.  What we do is have two meals, or three small meals and possibly a snack during our eating window.  

Other types of Intermittent Fasts look like 20/4 or 18/6 or even OMAD (one meal a day).  You can try any of these fasts but I find the easiest way to go about it is to start out slow and then add one hour per day until you have reached a goal such as 16/8.  Once you get to 16/8, you may want to stay there for a week and then experiment to see if you would like to fast a few hours longer.  This is very personal and what works for one person might not necessarily work for another.

You don’t need to do this each and every day.  You can do a few days at a time and then go back to your normal lifestyle.  It is entirely up to you how you use this tool of IF.  You can skip breakfast one day and then the next decide to skip dinner.  You can have a 24 hour fast one time per week.  There are lots of different options to choose from.  

Bariatric clients who have had surgery a year prior or more can give IF a try. I don’t recommend it to somebody who is in their first year post surgery and still losing weight.  If you have reached a stall in your journey and you have a very nutritious meal plan in place, then IF could be right for you. 

If you do not have a good diet currently, then work to improve your diet before jumping into an intermittent fast. You want to be sure you are not experiencing any nutrient deficiencies prior to adopting this lifestyle and you need to be committed to eating high quality food when in your “eating window”.

Of course, I am pro-ketogenic diets so if you are already on or experimenting with or wanting to work a ketogenic diet, then hats off to you.  It will make your intermittent fasting windows so much easier as you will have more stable blood sugars and you will feel less hungry.

We need to remember that there are people who had bariatric surgery 15 years ago and more. Not everybody is at the beginning of their journey.   After a few years out, we have different needs and we require different tools to help us maintain our weight and not regain.  We are not all in the beginning of our journey and this is why I like to explore “everything nutrition” – to bring you the latest information and to give you more tools to use throughout your life.  This education empowers you.

The 16/8 Method is popular with the weight loss surgery community and this why … 

This is a very popular method with the weight loss surgery community because it helps to break bad habits with people who do some late night snacking and late night meals.  

16/8 Intermittent Fast is also popular because it enables post bariatric patients to still eat two meals a day and a snack and it also encourages a lot of water intake to prevent dehydration.  Remember, IF limits only food and not water so water intake can continue late into the evening and all day long. 

What I would like you to do is to give it a try to see if it is something that you like and something that helps you in your journey to weight loss and improved health.

What are the benefits to adding some IF into our daily lives?  The research is out and it says that practicing some IF may help with the following:

  • IF may increase our metabolism and help us to burn fat while keep keeping our muscles preserved.
  • IF may actually help us to reduce our total cholesterol (there are studies out that show up to 20% improvement)
  • IF can decrease inflammation in the body
  • IF can decrease inflammation in the brain and improve motor coordination
  • IF has the ability to reduce and to prevent diseases associated with aging.
  • IF can reduce insulin resistance and lower blood sugar and fasting insulin levels

The famous weight loss surgery plateau and Intermittent Fasting…

Intermittent Fasting has so many positive points and benefits with regard to our health but what is the first reason why bariatric clients want information about it?  It’s because they want to know if it will help with their weight loss goals.

Very interesting – the research is out and it shows us that during a fasting regimen of 16/8 or anywhere from 16 to 24 hours, on a cellular level, we go from using glucose as the first fuel source to FAT.  What this tells us is that our fat stores or “triglycerides” are getting broken down and then used for energy.

So in the weight loss surgery world, this tells us that if we are having a plateau with our weight loss, Intermittent Fasting may be exactly what our body needs to break that stall.

Worried about your protein stores and Intermittent Fasting? 

Worry not! Science has discovered that when we do an Intermittent Fast, we use our extra fat stores and not our protein stores.  We don’t start using our protein stores for fuel until 3 days of fasting has occurred.  This means that you don’t have to worry about losing muscle when doing your IF.  You are going to burn FAT and not muscle.

In summary, Intermittent fasting can slightly elevate or boost your metabolism while at the same time eating less calories.  It is a very effective way to lose weight and improve health.

If you have questions about IF or about anything bariatric, reach out to me.  If you decide to try some Intermittent Fasting, reach out to tell me how your experience has been.

Here’s to you and your health in 2019!

See you soon – Friday, January 11th at 3pm EST  FACEBOOK LIVE


About the Author: Sheri Burke is a Registered Holistic Nutritionist and Bariatric Surgery Coordinator at International Patient Facilitators in Tijuana and Cancun, Mexico. She has worked with bariatric surgery clients for over 10 years and especially enjoys providing nutritional guidance to pre and post bariatric clients.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two teens and cooking up a nutritional storm in the kitchen.

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