KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Gabriella Watts is a mom of four. The struggle to balance life and her personal fitness is real. 

“Mainly just getting fit overall. After I had children, things started to go downhill a little, so we wanted to, I want to, get back on track.”

She tried the popular trend, intermittent fasting. An eating plan that switches between fasting and eating on a regular schedule. For example, following a daily 16-hour fast and an 8-hour eating window.

“It definitely helped me kick start my health journey overall, helped me get to the point where my appetite was where it needed to be. And I was eating the way that I wanted to and maybe being more conscious of what I was eating and watching what I was eating,” said Watts.

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University of Tennessee registered dietitian, Lee Murphy, warns though, this plan isn’t for everyone.

“If you have diabetes, it can mess with your blood sugar. If you’re having a history of disordered eating, it’s just so strict and rigid, it’s going to be very difficult. Women a lot of times have problems with hormones. It can mess you up. Your body thinks you’re in starvation mode, too,” said Murphy.

And more importantly for many, it’s not a long-term healthy fix. 

“Biggest thing as a dietitian in my opinion is it’s not teaching healthy habits and healthy eating. In reality, most people’s bodies need to be fed every several hours throughout the day with something so that we keep up our energy and this kind of goes against that after certain periods of the day,” said Murphy. She also recommends consulting with a registered dietitian or primary care doctor before starting intermittent fasting. 

Watts saw success with the plan. She dropped 40 pounds. Now she manages her weight with healthy eating and more exercise.

“After I take the kids to school, my other children, me and her will come here and walk. Usually, I try to do like three miles a day. Sometimes we’ll play, we’ll play a little game. Sometimes I’ll run if I am ambitious,” said Watts. Using the fasting plan as just the start of her journey.