Is intermittent fasting an eating disorder rebranded?

For as long as I can remember, dancing has been a part of my life. Growing up I spent hours at the dance studio, honing my skills and preparing for performances. I revisited the stage in 2013 as a contestant in Giordano Dance Chicago’s Dancing with the Stars and am now a Board Member of this beloved organization. Needless to say, dancing is in my bones! There isn’t a cell in my body that can resist movement when the right music comes on.

While dance provides tremendous joy, I have wondered if 20 hours a week spent in front of a mirror is a good thing for anyone – least of all a developing child or teen.

In my pursuit of the ballerina body back then, I’d regularly skip breakfast. I’d eat a light lunch (carrots anyone?) and a heavier dinner, no longer able to suppress hunger. If I’d been sitting on a therapist’s couch, they would have quickly identified habitual disordered eating. They would have pointed to “binge-fast” behaviors and would have been diligent in guiding me to a healthier relationship with food and my body.

And now nearly two decades later, for the past years I’ve watched intermittent fasting gain a following. Last weekend my husband Chris and I dined outside. Even with six feet from the next table of 20-somethings I couldn’t help but overhear their conversation. Two young men, three young women.

This conversation highlighted what I’ve been pondering for years now: Is intermittent fasting the newly rebranded term for disordered eating? I mean, “intermittent fasting” is sooo chic. And it’s backed by science. So what could ever be wrong with it?

Despite what I’ve just proposed, I’m actually not here to make a case that intermittent fasting is or is not categorically disordered eating. Like much else in life, the truth is an individual one.

 ➡ Does intermittent fasting – the idea or the practice – feel like self-punishment?

 ➡ Does intermittent fasting feel like an act of aggression?

 ➡ If you’ve tried intermittent fasting, do you invariably end up with your head in the freezer, uncontrollably devouring a pint of ice cream during the permitted feeding window?

 ➡ If the answer to any of these questions is “yes”, I invite you to consider that – yes, for you, intermittent fasting is disordered eating.

 ➡ If the answer is “no”, great. For you, intermittent fasting may be a sustainable approach that allows you to produce your “must-have” health outcomes.

Whether it’s digestive distress, sustained weight optimization, skin problems or heart health, a data-driven nutritional approach is essential to your root-cause resolution.

Just what is the “right” approach for you? 

One that produces your outcomes. One that you’re able to sustain. One that comes from a place of empowered self-love.

I am committed to you being victorious in producing – and sustaining – the health outcomes that matter most to you.

When your health is handled, you bring your gift fully to the world. And that is not to be missed!

If you have loved ones who would benefit from meaningful and measurable health victories, please share this with them and encourage them to schedule a complimentary 30-minute consultation to explore working together.

It’s all about the context . . .

When I consider any nutritional approach with a client or patient. There are three questions I seek to answer:

  1. Will this approach produce the outcome my client/patient came to get? Given that I’m the nutritional scientist, this question is on me to answer.

  2. Can this client/patient sustain this approach? The person sitting (virtually) in front of me is the only one who can speculate on the answer to this question.

  3. Are there any unintended consequences of this approach?

Let’s take this three-pronged approach and apply it to intermittent fasting.

I never sat on said therapist’s couch, but I’m grateful to say that in 2002 I drew a line in the sand. I was no longer willing to live in a paradigm of fragile self-control, one marked by a false choice between deprivation and over-indulgence. I was sick of wasting my time, energy and precious life on an unhealthy state of mind and took a stand. It did not happen over night, but it did happen out of an unwavering commitment. I created an empowered relationship with food, my body and weight.