Using Fasting to Help With My AxSpa
Last updated: April 2023
Editor's note: Fasting should not be used by certain people, such as those who have diabetes, a history of disordered eating, or who need to take medications with food.1 Be sure to speak with a trusted health professional before changing your diet.
About six years ago I heard someone say they found fasting to be a great strategy for getting out of an AxSpa flare.
My own inflammation was pretty bad at the time so it caught my attention. It sounded hopeful but I couldn’t imagine making life any worse by adding in unbridled hunger. I decided it probably wasn’t for me.
But nothing I did seemed to make a difference to that flare
When the pain became unmanageable I decided to revisit the idea of fasting. I wanted to find out how it worked and see if it was something I might be able to try.
My first attempt at fasting felt pretty brutal but I made it to 24 hours without food and did notice a reduction in pain. After that I slept ok for the first time in weeks and it seemed to break the cycle of inflammation. Thankfully it was the beginning of the end for that particular flare.
That first experience was enough to get me curious. In time I learned a whole lot more about fasting, how my body responded and how to safely and effectively add this tool into the mix for managing my AxSpa.
Currently I use a mixture of fasting strategies
I believe they play a key role in keeping my inflammation under control. I share this personal experience with the important proviso that fasting isn’t for everyone and it’s something to talk with your doctor about before trying for yourself. Most days I delay breakfast and keep to a shorter eating window, between around 11am-7pm.
Every couple of weeks I will do a 24 hour fast with no food, only water. This probably sounds tougher than it is but it literally means I eat an early evening meal then don’t eat again until the following evening.
Once or twice a year I also do a three day water fast which I incorporated after checking in with my doctor that it was safe for me to do so.
This longer period of fasting is definitely something I’ve worked up to over time. I make sure my diet is as fat-adapted as possible going into the fast and am diligent about hydration and resting a lot during those three days. Once again, I feel it’s a really helpful practice for me that impacts my disease activity and leaves me feeling like I’ve had a system re-boot.
I’ve learned quite a lot about what does and doesn’t work for my body when fasting. I now know it’s not good for me to fast when I’m feeling stressed or depleted, as the physiological stress of not eating makes me feel worse.
I also know if I’ve been indulging in too much sugar, coffee, or processed foods prior to a fast that the withdrawals from these are going to make me feel pretty sick for the duration.
I’m really glad I found fasting and plan to keep using it as part of my overall self-management.
Have you ever tried fasting to help with your AxSpa?
Do you notice worsening flares in colder weather?