Intermittent Fasting during Addiction Recovery

Written by: Brad Pilon

The buzz in the health and fitness world, is undoubtedly intermittent fasting. Those seeking a lean, powerful physique may feel demotivated after trying time and time again at losing unwanted weight, only to fall short of their goals, or to embark upon a cycle of yoyo weight loss and gain.

Intermittent fasting puts an end to pointless dieting, by kickstarting your body into obtaining energy from its fat reserves during the fasting period. One of the most attractive aspects of the Eat Stop Eat method is that you don’t need to deprive yourselves of the foods you love, or feel hungry while you count calories obsessively.

Intermittent fasting allows you to enjoy a wide variety of foods intermittently. Magazines, television, social media networks are all touting the benefits of intermittent fasting for weight loss, yet little has been said about the many benefits it can confer upon those who are in the process of recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol. This diet can be the ideal choice for those who are facing one of the toughest challenges in their lives, for the following reasons:

Intermittent fasting is easy: Patients in drug or alcohol recovery (inpatients and outpatients alike) often find that all of a sudden, there are too many rules to follow. Most obtain some sort of cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focuses on understanding the relationship between how people think, feel and behave, and finding alternative outlets for emotions such as stress and fear.

In addition to trying out new behavioral strategies, addicts are also encouraged to stick to a busy schedule of activities – yoga, meditation and other alternative therapies are highly recommended because of their proven stress-busting qualities. Within this busy line-up of activities, it is vital that those in recovery follow a diet that is not too restrictive; one that does not place so much stress upon them that it acts as a trigger for relapse or anxiety.

Because intermittent fasting does not involve weighing food, counting calories or forbidding foods, it fits in well with the lifestyle of someone who may sometimes feel like they are ‘trying to fit too much into just one day.

Weight loss: It is not uncommon for those who stop using drugs, to battle with their weight. If in the past, they used drugs to evade uncomfortable feelings like stress, food becomes the logical new means of escape. Intermittent fasting prevents dangerous habits like bingeing, by emphasizing the importance of fasting during specific times during the day/night.

Gherlin levels, also referred to as ‘the hunger hormone’, are increased, resulting in less overeating Recovering addicts can enjoy a big boost in their self-confidence as they begin actually losing weight instead of packing on the pounds. To promote significant weight loss, combine intermittent fasting with high intensity exercise.

Don’t worry about feeling tired; on the contrary, free of sugary cravings and the ups and downs that sugar brings, you will probably feel energized enough to tackle the most challenging workout about.

Insulin sensitivity increases: The use of specific drugs (antipsychotic drugs in particular) can predispose people to weight gain as well as raise one’s risk of developing Type II diabetes. Intermittent fasting, on the other hand, increases insulin sensitivity and boost the efficiency of mitochondrial energy, thereby slowing down the processes of ageing and disease.

Oxidative stress is diminished: Those in recovery have probably placed their body under great stress for many years before obtaining help, exposing their body to free radical damage at alarming rates. Intermittent fasting has been found to decrease oxidative stress, protecting our proteins, lipids and nucleic acids from damage. Additional health benefits include a drop in triglyceride levels and a lower chance of heart disease.

Cravings are ended: Although outpatients in recovery have already faced their most powerful cravings for their drug of choice, if they adopt a high-sugar, high-salt diet, they can find that they are now facing cravings for refined foods which are almost as powerful. Through intermittent fasting, the body’s control centers for appetite (as well as its hormones) begin functioning at an optimal level, so that it becomes much easier to make excellent dietary choices.

Intermittent fasting has many more benefits for those in recovery; the new, expanded edition of Eat Stop Eat can be the welcome start you need to start savouring  a new, healthy lifestyle that will bring you to the very top of your game.

Further reading:

This article is written by our contributor Helen Lane


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