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Introduction: Today we’re diving into a fascinating world – the world of our body’s nightly transformation. Ever thought about the silent superhero acts that happen while you sleep? Let’s explore the magic that occurs during our overnight ‘fast’ and how it can be a game-changer for managing IBS.

Overnight Marvels

Your Body’s Night Shift: While you’re catching Zs, your body is on a mission. It’s not just about dreams; it’s about repairs, renewal, and resetting for the day ahead. Organs work overtime, blood circulates with rich nutrients, and your digestive system continues its essential role.

Digestive Dance: Picture this: your dinner turning into a well-choreographed dance, moving from the stomach through various digestive checkpoints. The goal? A satisfying, easy bowel movement in your IBS-free life. But here’s the kicker – it all hinges on creating that golden 4-5 hour gap before bedtime.

The Energy Sapper

Digesting Drama: Digesting food is a powerhouse performance, involving a multitude of organs. From your tongue to your colon, it’s a symphony of activity. But let’s be real – it’s also the most energy-sapping operation your body faces daily.

IBS Symptoms Unmasked: A glitch in this intricate digestive symphony can lead to IBS symptoms – bloating, cramps, constipation, and more. The ripple effect? Secondary symptoms like tiredness, anxiety, and even skin issues. It’s a domino effect, folks.

The Food-Health Connection

We Are What We Eat: Our daily choices matter. Processed foods, junk indulgences, and quick fixes may seem harmless, but they weaken our immune system, leaving us vulnerable to diseases. A balanced, whole-food diet is our shield against an uncomfortable journey. I aim to eat 80/20 whole food diet. This helps me stay fit and gut healthy.

Breaking the Fast: After a good night’s sleep and a morning bowel movement (yep, that’s essential), we dive into ‘breakfast’ – breaking our nightly fast. It’s more than a meal; it’s a chance to fuel our bodies for the day.

Enter Intermittent Fasting

Unlocking the Potential: Intermittent fasting, the unsung hero, extends our daily ‘fasting’ period. It’s not about extreme fasting but providing a daily digestive break. And guess what? It can aid in weight management, focus, and overall well-being.

Daily Intermittent Fasting

Personal Experience: I’ve used with intermittent fasting for years, and I am currently fasting 16-18 hours a day. It helps me stay focused, maintain a healthy weight, and keeps my digestive system in top shape. This, for me works as follows:

I wake at around 6 am, do my morning routine of drinking 1 pint of water, 20 minutes of walking, enjoy my cup of tea, have a bowel movement, shower get ready and start work. I don’t eat until around 10 – 11am when I have a brunch type of a meal, it may be oat based or egg based, or I might have a smoothie, or last nights leftovers.

I then continue to hydrate throughout the day, and eat once again at around 4 – 5 pm. I may (but not always) have a light snack at around 6 pm and go to bed at 9.30 pm (yep, I know, it is very early, but I do love my early mornings when the world is quiet).

This leaves a gap of 16 – 18 hours where my body is resting from digesting food. And this works well on my sluggish bowel, ensuring it is not over-taxed and can function effectively. I eat this way most days but don’t stress myself out about it over the odd occasion when I go out to dinner and eat later than usual, or if decide to eat earlier. I listen to my body and feed myself when hungry.

The 5:2 Diet

I have experimented with the 5:2 diet and this is also hugely helpful in resetting the gut and taking a break from digesting foods. For this, I tend to juice fast for 2 days, but you can eat reduced amount of calories for two days straight. I just find juice fasting easier and more effective. Then eat normally for 5 days, then follow this with another two days of reduced calories (800) or a juice fast.

I personally try to incorporate eating like this a few times a year to rest and reset my gut microbiome as and when I feel the need i.e. if I have overdone it or been working too hard and need to rest my body. Stress goes straight to the gut and therefore when something (like life) happens, I know my gut is the first point to suffer, so by taking time away from digesting food, my gut gets a little TLC from me and continues to support me by allowing me to continue to live in almost total IBS freedom. Again, by listening to my body and understanding the language of the gut, I am able to keep my symptoms at bay, and live a perfectly happy and healthy life.

24 Hour Fasting

I often use this process as a quick fix, when I feel ill, run down or just need a break. Around 2 – 3 times a year. It actually should be relabelled as 36 hour fast as I would stop eating after dinner on one day, then not eat anything the next day at all, only drinking water (or sometimes juices) and doing gentle exercise like meditation, yoga or walking. Switching off from the world (and work) and relaxing for the day. This really helps to boost the immune system and also provide the gut with a well earned break.

Experiment, find what works for you, and remember, it’s about quality nutrients, not deprivation.

The Invitation:

Join the IBS Revolution: If you’re ready to break free from the IBS grip, let’s chat. Book your free IBS Consultation with me, Helen Waddington, The IBS Coach.

We’ll dig into your health, symptoms, and create a personalized plan to take back control. Your journey to an IBS-free life starts here. Click this link to schedule your consultation. Let’s unleash the healing power within you!