Intermittent fasting can be a wonderful thing for some of us. There can be some drawbacks in doing it though and one of these is feeling colder than usual.
In this post, I will be talking about this phenomenon that seems to occur in many people who eat on this type of schedule.
Types of intermittent fasting
If you are reading this, you most likely already know about intermittent fasting but you are going to get the information again here because…why not?
So, intermittent fasting is not about what you eat. It is about when you eat. Basically, it is prolonging the amount of time between your last meal and your first meal.
There are different ways to do it and they include the following:
- 16:8- This is when you fast for 16 hours and have an eating window of eight hours. This is the most common way to do it. Some people even go down to an eating window of six hours.
- 5:2- This is when you have five normal days of eating with two days where you only eat 500 calories.
- 12 hour fast- This can be a bit easier than the 16:8 way of fasting. An example is stopping your eating at 6:00 PM and then not eating until 6:00 AM.
- 24 hour fast- This type of intermittent fasting involves 24 hours of total fasting once or twice a week.
- OMAD- This means “one meal a day.” You eat it at the same time each day.
- Alternate day fasting- This is when you eat normally one day and then completely fast the next day.
- Modified alternate day fasting- This is a modified version of the alternate day fasting. It is when you eat normally one day and then eat only 500 calories the next day.
So as you can see, there is not only one way to do this type of eating frequency/schedule.
The good and the bad
There are some scientific and anecdotal evidence that have shown intermittent fasting to provide various benefits. They are as follows:
- Causes one to eat less which leads to weight loss- Intermittent fasting can cause one to eat less because they have to stop at a certain time in the day, they are only going to eat a certain number of calories on certain days or they are completely fasting on certain days.
- Lower insulin levels and blood sugar- The jury is really out on this one. There have been improvements seen but it has mainly been in men. It also may make things worse for people with diabetes.
- Increases metabolic rate- The jury is out on this one.
- Reduces inflammation in the body- Fasting has shown to help stop the immune system from “fighting” which in turn may ease some symptoms/conditions one may have.
- Reduce blood pressure.
- Increase cognition over time- It may not do this when you are first starting as you will probably be really hungry. After your body gets acclimated to whatever eating schedule you choose, you may find that that your thinking skills and/or memory improves.
- Repairs tissue damage of the body (ex. ankle sprain) after injuries occur- The jury is out on this one.
- Increases life longevity- The jury is out but there is some more emerging evidence that is coming out for it.
- Helps with GI issues- People have experienced gut resets, reduction of heart burn, improved digestion and decreased bloating.
A quick note on weight loss: Many people start intermittent fasting with the idea that it might be the best way to lose weight or they will lose weight fast. This is not true because as stated before- it is more about what you are eating than when. So, it is best to get your diet figured out first and then start doing intermittent fasting if you want to try it.
The effects of intermittent fasting are not all good as there are some negative ones, too. These come in the form of side effects that may or may not go away. They include the following:
- Binging- One may get so hungry that they end up binging when it is time for them to eat again.
- Feeling cold
- Difficulty losing belly fat- There has been some scientific evidence that shows intermittent fasting may actually make it hard for a person to lose belly fat.
- Headaches- These can happen to some people if they are hungry and not used to fasting. It can also happen if calories are cut too low along with the fasting schedule.
- Lightheadedness- This can happen if one isn’t used to fasting. It can also happen if calories are cut too low along with the intermittent fasting.
- Bloating and stomach cramps- These two things can occur in some people when they feel hungry and are not used to fasting.
- Irritability- This can happen to people who feel hungry and are not used to fasting. It can also happen if you are trying to lose weight.
- Fatigue- This can happen to people who feel hungry and are not used to fasting. It can also happen if you are trying to lose weight.
- Bad breath- This occurs due to the fasting inducing a dry mouth.
- Insomnia- Intermittent fasting can cause issues with sleeping because of the following reasons: you are not eating enough/going to bed hungry, you took caffeine late in the day when you broke your fast and you are not getting enough nutrients because you are eating unhealthy during your eating window.
There are certain types of people who should not do intermittent fasting. They are as follows:
- People who are underweight- Since intermittent fasting can lead to less food intake, a person who is underweight can’t afford to eat less. It is important for them not to lose weight.
- People who have an eating disorder history- Fasting can bring back some eating disorder behaviors. It is best to keep eating on a regular schedule.
- People who are training for something intense- People who have an intense sports/fitness competition they are training for, should probably eat throughout the day to make sure they are able to get good quality training in.
- People who have sleeping issues- Intermittent fasting can make one’s sleep get messed up which is not good for people who already have problems with sleeping.
- People who need to take medicine with food- Some medicine needs to be taken with food for absorption and to avoid or reduce nausea when taken on an empty stomach.
- People who are sick with anything- If one is ill, intermittent fasting is not healthy to do. It is important to just get in nutrients no matter what time of the day it is so you can get better or at least not worse.
- Some people with diabetes- Some people with diabetes may have issues controlling their blood sugar and insulin levels when they do intermittent fasting, Since this could be extremely harmful to one’s health, it is best to avoid any fasting.
- People who are pregnant and/or breastfeeding- Intermittent fasting could have negative effects on someone who is pregnant and/or breastfeeding. It is best to focus on just being healthy with food choices and not worrying about when you start or stop eating during the day.
If you are doing intermittent fasting and feel colder than usual-you are not alone. This is a pretty common thing that can occur when fasting and having certain windows of time to eat.
The cold feeling can happen in the beginning of one’s intermittent fasting lifestyle as the body is getting acclimated to it or it can last until one goes back on a regular eating schedule. It really varies from person to person.
There are a few reasons as to why this occurs and they are as follows:
- You dropped a lot of calories- Dropping your calories down can cause you to feel cold whether you are doing intermittent fasting or not. Our bodies heat up from the energy we get from the food we eat. Less intake of food equals less energy.
- Low body fat- If you have acquired a low level of body fat since starting intermittent fasting, you may feel cold because of it.
- The body is not working to digest food- Digesting food takes work and in turn, causes our temperature to rise. If our bodies are not digesting, we may feel cold.
- Worsening of blood sugar control- Fasting can cause one’s blood sugar to get out of whack. If blood sugar dips too low, a feeling of coldness can occur along with a host of other symptoms.
- Worsening of hypothyroidism- If you have hypothyroid, doing intermittent fasting could worsen it. This could lead to an increase in symptoms- one of which is feeling cold.
The coldness one might experience can be very uncomfortable. Fortunately, there are ways to deal with it. Here are some ideas and products to consider if you have this side effect of intermittent fasting:
- Heated blanket- If you are hanging out in your house and watching TV…why not wrap yourself in a warm blanket? It will be comfy and quell the intermittent fasting chilliness you get. The heated blanket by Medical King is a wonderful choice.
- Look at your calorie intake- If you aren’t getting enough calories while you practice intermittent fasting, it may be the cause of your coldness. In this case, tracking your calorie intake may be a good idea. The DietMinder Food & Fitness Journal as well as my Women’s Daily Health Planner & Tracker are good choices to do so with.
- Get some movement in- Sitting around for long periods of time can make the coldness you already feel from intermittent fasting-worse. Getting up once in a while for some blood pumping activity might be helpful in getting warm.
- Comfortable, warm clothes- If you are lounging around the house, some warmer clothes than you usually wear might be a good idea. Some Sherpa lined pants such as the ones from REORIA are a great option.
- Spices and Tea- There are quite a few spices that have a warming effect on the body. Hot drinks also cause warmth. Combining these things together can provide even more of a warming effect. Here are some examples of teas that might be helpful to you when dealing with fasting chilliness: peppermint, ginger, golden milk, green/black/oolong, cinnamon and chai. Two specific teas that are great options are Ginger Fire Chai from the Stash company and Cinnamon Orange Red Tea from the Republic of Tea company.
- Get your health assessed by a medical professional- You may be dealing with an underlying condition that you don’t know about.
- Stop doing it altogether- If you the coldness is really bothering you, maybe it is time to stop doing intermittent fasting. That should take care of the problem!
How I deal with the cold
I am on my third year of intermittent fasting (17:7) and I still feel colder than I did before. While I have gotten used to it for the most part, there are some days where the chilliness bothers me more than usual.
Here are the things I do on my extra chilly days to feel more comfortable:
- Spice up my food- I find that cayenne pepper added to my food warms me up so I add it to whatever I am eating (if it goes good with it of course!).
- Enjoy spicy tea- I love tea with some cream after my last meal of the day. Lately, I have been drinking the Chocolate Chili Chai tea blend from DAVIDsTEA. The spice and heat really warm me up. It is also just downright delicious!
- Getting some steps in- Sometimes when I am feeling particularly cold and am not doing anything, I will see how many steps I can get in around my house. This gets my blood pumping as well as keeps my mind off of the cold feeling. I will usually put a true crime podcast on when I do this. Trace Evidence is my all time favorite one to listen to!
- Super warm socks- My feet tend to get the coldest so I keep around really warm Sherpa socks to put on as needed.
Many people doing intermittent fasting experience an increased feeling of coldness. It is normal. If one is experiencing other side effects and/or the coldness is particularly bothersome- it is best to stop eating on an intermittent fasting schedule.
I hope that this post was helpful if you are dealing with this particular side effect.
Thanks for reading!
Affiliate disclaimer- I am part of an affiliate program. Some of the links on my post may be affiliate links. This means that I may get a commission for any clicks and purchases you make.
Medical disclaimer- I am not a medical professional so what I say should not be a substitute for medical advice. I am simply just relaying information I learned. It is best to talk to your doctor before you start anything health related. Your health is your own and I am not liable for any consequences you get for the choices you make.
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