Episode 191: Weight Regain, Relaxing Protocols, Slowing Metabolism, Fat Burning, Fat Metabolism, And More!

Intermittent Fasting


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Dec 13

Welcome to Episode 191 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle

Today's episode of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast is brought to you by:

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The Melanie Avalon Podcast Episode #70 - Kara Collier (Nutrisense)

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #68 - Glenn Livingston, Ph.D.

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Listener Feedback: Sarah - Update from the girl who lost weight during quarantine

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The Cancer Code: A Revolutionary New Understanding of a Medical Mystery (Dr. Jason Fung)


Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 191 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing when you eat, not what you eat with no calorie counting, then this show is for you.

I'm Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and ginstephens.com. Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this podcast do not constitute medical advice or treatment. So, pour yourself a cup of black coffee, a mug of tea or even a glass of wine, if it's that time, and get ready for The Intermittent Fasting Podcast.

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Hi, everybody, and welcome. This is episode number 191 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon, and I'm here with Gin Stephens.

Gin Stephens: Hi, everybody.

Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Gin?

Gin Stephens: I'm cold.

Melanie Avalon: Yes.

Gin Stephens: [laughs]

Melanie Avalon: And how does that feel?

Gin Stephens: It feels cold. Yeah. Got my mug of warm water, holding it in my hands. Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: I get so happy every time I walk outside.

Gin Stephens: I know. I was standing in the sun trying to find some warmth.

Melanie Avalon: I got sort of schooled by the maintenance man yesterday because my air conditioner was out of freon, so it was freezing over every night, despite it being cold. He was lecturing me-- He was saying that air conditioners are built to maintain normal air conditioning temperatures.

Gin Stephens: Do you have your set to be too cold?

Melanie Avalon: Apparently. I set it at 60 a night.

Gin Stephens: That's pretty cold.

Melanie Avalon: But I was confused. I was like, “If it's cold outside, shouldn't it be easier for the air conditioner?” He was like, “It doesn't matter.” He was like, “I'll fix the freon, but you can't be doing this.”

Gin Stephens: Now see, I did hear when we had in our other house, we got a big lecture on the air conditioner can only cool your house a certain number of degrees below what it is outside. I'm like, “I don't think that's true because I go places and it's really cold there.”

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, well, and the thing is, during the winter, it would be colder outside than 60.

Gin Stephens: Exactly. You should be able to be 60 in the cold temperatures.

Melanie Avalon: It was a distressing conversation because I'm a very rules-oriented society person. So, when I'm being told I'm doing something wrong, I get really upset. Not really upset, but I want to do what's right, but I want it to be cold, so I don't know what to do about this situation.

Gin Stephens: I don't know. Based on the conversation I had where I was told it was impossible to get it that temperature-- and I don't argue with people to their face but I remember thinking, then how come when I go to stores and it's so freezing cold? It's way colder. I mean, that's not even true. That just sounds like an excuse.

Melanie Avalon: That is not correct.

Gin Stephens: That is not true. Anyway, I just had a really interesting conversation this week with the people from the PREDICT study.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, do tell.

Gin Stephens: It was so fantastic. It was just me talking to them on a call. You know that I did the PREDICT 3 with the ZOE app where I wear the continuous blood glucose monitor. Then, I got my results back. Here's a little funny part of that. They sent me an email. I just did the study as a person. I signed up using my regular email, I used my name, I didn't hide who I was, but I didn't say, “Hi, I'm Gin Stephens. I've written a book.” I didn't say, I didn't contact them.

Melanie Avalon: I'm guessing, they figured this out.

Gin Stephens: They did. They sent me an email, they're like, “Your results are ready. We would also like to have a conversation with you and go over your results with our head nutritionist and our head researcher.” I'm like, “That's pretty good customer service.” [laughs] We're on the call. I asked the people that did it at the same time I did, a couple of the moderators. I was like, “Did they offer to sit down with you?” They're like, “No.” I'm like, “Well, that's interesting.” When we got on the call, I was like “Okay, I'm just going to ask. Do y'all do this with everybody?” They're like, “No. We know who you are.” I'm like, “Okay.”

Melanie Avalon: That is so funny.

Gin Stephens: It was amazing, though, talking to them. They work with Tim Spector, and he's a gut expert. He's also the guy, Melanie, I don't know if you're aware of this or not, you may be, the COVID app that's in the UK? The COVID symptoms app, that's gotten a lot of press? That's his app.

Melanie Avalon: What does it do?

Gin Stephens: I don't know. It's a COVID symptoms indicator app where-- he's collecting data. It's a COVID research. But that's him. They were talking about that as well. That's what he's known for right this minute. He's the-- the British Gut Project. He studied twins. He's really interested in the interplay of how important is our genetic profile to our factors of life. Now, he's also exploring the interplay with gut microbiome through these PREDICT studies, but it's fascinating to talk to them. And so, drumroll please, I am going to follow the recommendations they're giving me based on my CGM data and my gut analysis.

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow.

Gin Stephens: I'm going to do it for one month. They want you to do it for four weeks, and I was like, “You know how I am. I don't like to be told what to eat. I just want to eat the foods that I want to eat, the foods that are delicious.” Apparently, you know how I said my blood glucose was fabulous because it didn't go up and down like crazy-crazy? Apparently, my blood glucose control’s not great, and neither is my blood fat clearance. Well, I'm not surprised about the blood fat clearance at all. They're basing it on two different tests with the muffins. The first muffin I think was a really high sugar muffin. I had to wait a few hours, then eat the second set of muffins that are really high fat, muffin. Then, I had to do blood samples a certain amount of time after each muffin. So, they wanted to see how quickly my blood cleared the fat or whatever. Apparently, I did not clear fat quickly.

Melanie Avalon: I have a question.

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: Blood samples. When you did the test, did you do a finger prick to yourself?

Gin Stephens: Yes, it was a finger prick, and you have to squeeze out so much blood, it was a lot harder.

Melanie Avalon: I could not have done that, Gin.

Gin Stephens: It was harder than I thought it would be.

Melanie Avalon: You have to squeeze out onto a piece of paper, or into like a--

Gin Stephens: Onto this little collection strip thing that you have to make it go--

Melanie Avalon: I'd be fainting in my apartment.

Gin Stephens: You know how on a pregnancy test, it goes up that way-- You've probably never done a pregnancy test, but if you do a pregnancy test, it goes up a little wick and then you see it go to the window and it goes along the strip. Well, this was a blood test, where you had to keep dropping the blood until it went a certain amount of the strip.

Melanie Avalon: Okay, like a blood glucose monitor?

Gin Stephens: Well, I mean, this was a lot. It was not just like doing-- no, it was not like that.

Melanie Avalon: I mean, that concept, but a lot of blood.

Gin Stephens: That concept, but so much blood. I was like, “What is happening?” It took a lot of blood, but anyway, my blood did not clear the fat well, and also, apparently the blood glucose-- but I also never eat really sweet sugary things in isolation.

Melanie Avalon: Okay. Oh, my goodness, can we talk about this a little bit? I have thoughts.

Gin Stephens: Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: I have so many thoughts I want to talk about. The first thing is you're saying that just now, you don't normally eat sugar in isolation, but you're eating-- I'm just wondering if this is what they're thinking because lot of people who follow low carb diets and aren't eating carbs at all, that's when they have issues with clearing glucose, but if you eat carbs as a part of your normal diet, then I don't know how much that applies to that. I don't know if you're saying that.

Gin Stephens: I know that the results of them looking at my CGM, they said I did not-- Anyway, I'm trying to do the wording that it says, my clearing of the sugar was not what they expected. It was low. Poor blood sugar control after the challenge.

Melanie Avalon: So, did it stay too high for too long?

Gin Stephens: I don’t know. I don't know what their parameters were.

Melanie Avalon: I interviewed Nutrisense this week, CGM. Listeners, I know we've been talking about CGMs a lot, but they're just so amazing. That said, now I have on my third CGM, and yours was Freestyle Libre as well, right?

Gin Stephens: It was. Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I have on my third CGM right now. I've done three rounds, two weeks each time. This is something I'm wondering, did they for the study, have you test and make sure the CGM was accurate?

Gin Stephens: By doing what?

Melanie Avalon: With a blood glucometer?

Gin Stephens: Oh, no.

Melanie Avalon: See, this is what I'm really, really wondering about. I'm wondering if they take this into consideration. Did they talk at all about checking for accuracy of CGMs?

Gin Stephens: They did not talk about that, no.

Melanie Avalon: Because what I've realized with this experimentation is, the first CGM-- and these are all Freestyle Libres, but using different apps, so Levels versus Nutrisense, but Levels versus Nutrisense doesn't affect the accuracy of the Freestyle Libre. The first one I wore, it was off consistently, and this is what I learned when I interviewed the Nutrisense founder. She said, “They can be off, but the precision is almost 100%.” What that means is that if it's off by 10 or 15 points, it doesn't change the accuracy of the patterns and how it's changing. So, that will be 100% accurate, but if the baseline is off, it might mean that every time you test, it's off by a certain amount.

Gin Stephens: I don't feel like that was a problem because it was in a very expected range. All of my numbers were in a very expected range that were not surprising. I didn't get highs like you would expect someone who's type 2 diabetic to get. I didn't get the giant highs. But after I had their challenge muffin, whatever my blood glucose did after that wasn't fabulous. That's what they're basing that on, plus all the data over the time. I feel really good about the range being from where it went up to and where it went down to. It didn't have unexpected lows or unexpected highs. So, it feels like a good solid range.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, just what I'm wondering is, do you know how many participants they have in the study?

Gin Stephens: Lots and lots, and they've been doing different rounds of it. PREDICT 1, PREDICT 2, PREDICT 3. This is really cutting edge. What they're doing is, I would really say, is the gold standard in nutrition research, is the cutting edge of that.

Melanie Avalon: I would die to talk to them. I wonder if they are more looking at the precision and the changes and taking into account the potential for the inaccuracies and the calibration that would be needed because what I've experienced with the first CGM I wore, it was off by 10 to 15 points, which is okay. I think that's actually within the expected what they say, it can be off by. Second one was spot on, like spot on, it matched my meter exactly. The one I'm wearing right now is off by 20 to 30 consistently, like every time. When I look at the number, and like I said, I'm using both Levels and Nutrisense, this one right now is Levels, and Levels doesn't let you calibrate it. With Nutrisense, you can go in and say, “Hey, it's actually off by 20, and it'll affect it, it'll change what you see.” Levels doesn't do that. So, right now, every time I see that number, I'm like, “Okay, well, I know it's 20 lower than that.” I wonder, I'm really curious, and the reason I'm talking about this is because I really want listeners to get CGMs because you can learn so much about yourself. But I really, really encourage you if you do get one and you suspect that it might be off to test it-- but then once, even if it is off, like I said by a certain amount, it won't change the accuracy of the changes. It's just the baseline is wrong.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, I don't think mine was off. It never went up crazy high, number-wise, or down crazy low. It was within a range that seemed logical to me. Also, it was fascinating talking to them about the gut analysis because I had my gut analyzed in 2017. She talked about the differences and how far they've come since 2017 and their sequencing of the gut microbiome. They know way more now than they knew in 2017, like exponentially more. I have a list of foods, they have an app, and I'm supposed to put things in and try to get a certain number, and it's based on all the factors that they collected about me, all the data. The way that I mix foods together, they don't want me to have too much fat, which so doesn't surprise me, that does not surprise me one bit.

It was also fascinating talking to their lead researcher about-- We talked about intermittent fasting and the latest studies that are out, and she was great. We talked about the early time-restricted feeding and some studies we'd like to see. I would love to work with them in the future, and they seemed interested in collaborating with the intermittent fasting community because they're very interested in time-restricted eating, and how that affects people.

Melanie Avalon: It's really exciting.

Gin Stephens: It was really exciting. It was such a great call to have and to talk to someone of that caliber. I know you talked to the people who do research all the time, because with your Biohacking Podcast, but it was great to talk to-- because they're pure scientific researchers, that's what they do. They're in the academic community and being able to have a conversation about research methodologies. It was fascinating.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I love it. It's so fun.

Gin Stephens: I did not sound like a moron having that conversation. I was able to have it. That's why it felt great.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it's nice when you're engaging in a dialogue and you understand everything they're saying, you can understand what they're saying.

Gin Stephens: Right. They're listening respectfully to your ideas as well. That was really nice.

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Well, you have to keep us updated on the--

Gin Stephens: Well, I'm going to, and I'm going to have to do it. So, you can probably hear in my voice. Yeah, I like to eat what I like to eat. To hear that, gosh, maybe that isn't working as well for me as I thought. I just want to see what happens. I don't need to lose weight. I'm not doing it to try to lose weight. I just want to see, “Am I going to notice a difference in how I feel?”

Melanie Avalon: Awesome. And then, a resource for listeners, I'll put a link in the show notes, too. I doubt either of those interviews will have aired about the CGMs. But you can get a Nutrisense CGM at-- I have a discount now at melanieavalon.com/nutrisensecgm, and the code is MelanieAvalon for 15% off.

Gin Stephens: So, is that the one you like the best?

Melanie Avalon: Yes. I'm surprised if I was going to say that. Well, Levels is on a waitlist anyway, so when I have a code for them, it will get you to the front of the waitlist, but Nutrisense is available now. And they're both using Freestyle Libre, so there's no difference there. And I really think that Calibration feature is really, really important. I like both of them. But, yeah, I do like Nutrisense a lot.

Gin Stephens: That sounds great. I'm really interested in as well. I would like to see if eating the foods that they recommend, if that makes a difference now that I have this--

Melanie Avalon: I'm going to have to put another CGM on so you can watch as you.

Gin Stephens: I know, but it's all in the name of science.

Melanie Avalon: Yes.

Gin Stephens: But guess what is a food that's great for me?

Melanie Avalon: Oh, wait, let me guess.

Gin Stephens: Beans! Oh, I said it already. Beans. Beans are great for me. Well, I would have been so upset if they weren't. They said potatoes are not great for me. So, I'm still a little salty about that.

Melanie Avalon: Do they want you on a higher-carb, lower-fat diet?

Gin Stephens: Well, it's not really either. It's certain carbs and certain fats and less fat, but not low fat. But not too much fat. It's not technically low fat or low carb. Like quinoa is a yes for me, but potatoes are no.

Melanie Avalon: Very interesting. It's also like the gut microbiome and everything.

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: Do you think it's because of the resistant starch in potatoes?

Gin Stephens: Well, that would not make it a no, that would make it more of a yes.

Melanie Avalon: Not necessarily, because if it's a--

Gin Stephens: Oh, you're talking about what's in my gut?

Melanie Avalon: Yes.

Gin Stephens: Not liking the resist-- I don't know. I don't know what it's all based on. This is the third round of the PREDICT study. They keep refining it as they find new things. They're not afraid to completely change the recommendation. They're like, “Alright, based on our new data,” because they did that during the PREDICT 2. I know a bunch of people that were going through it. They changed, they're like, “Alright, we got new data. So, here's the new list.” Everybody’s like, “What!?” It's the opposite of what I used to say. It was based on the new analysis. As they learn more, they change the recommendations to reflect what they're learning.

Melanie Avalon: As it should be.

Gin Stephens: Absolutely. That actually makes me have more confidence in them.

Melanie Avalon: Well, you'll have to keep us updated.

Gin Stephens: Well, we'll see. I'm starting it, like right after Thanksgiving, which is probably the craziest time in the world to be changing what you're eating, but I'm like, “Well, okay, I'm just going to do it. I'm going to do it.”

Melanie Avalon: Do it.

Gin Stephens: I'm going to do it.

Melanie Avalon: Can I do one more plug before we get to our questions?

Gin Stephens: Please do.

Melanie Avalon: The episode that airs today, when this comes out, it will be a while ago, I'm airing the Q&A with Glenn Livingston, the Never Binge Again. Friends, it's such a helpful episode because we did all about overeating triggers, emotional eating, like eating socially, the holidays. It's so helpful. He's so wonderful. It's a really powerful episode.

Gin Stephens: Well, I know that's something that listeners will really connect to, because a lot of people struggle with that. And then, they beat themselves up, and then they really shouldn't.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and his mindset, and his theory, and everything is just very freeing. In my opinion, and I've said before, I think it aligns really well with intermittent fasting because it's like fasting, you're fasting or you're eating. There's not all this debate and dialogue in your head about it. It's sort of like that with food.

Gin Stephens: Well, please share that in the Advanced group. And just in case, I'm not the person who approves the post, say, “Gin asked me to share this,” because the moderators might be like, “No. [laughs] Bad, Melanie, bad.” No, the moderators are amazing, and they're just looking out for-- we don't allow people to share random things, but you're not a random person, and this is not a random thing. So, please share it in the groups because I think it could be helpful, especially this time of year when people have so much emotion around what they're eating and when they're eating it. We're going to overeat, it's the holidays.

Melanie Avalon: Yes. There's so many valuable things that he says about all of that, with the emotions. Really quickly, I think we were going to start asking now, because this is Episode 191. Listeners for Episode 200, Gin and I are going to do another Ask Me Anything episode, so feel free to start submitting questions for that. You can ask us anything. To clarify, I mean, you can make it about intermittent fasting, but that's not the point. The point is it can be anything.

Gin Stephens: Anything.

Melanie Avalon: Anything. I'm not guaranteeing though to answer it.

Gin Stephens: But you can ask, and we might.

Melanie Avalon: Yes.

Gin Stephens: Because we did that on Episode 100. For anybody who's like-- if you have been listening since then, you heard it. Episode 100, Ask Us Anything. So, ask us anything, again.

Melanie Avalon: Episode 200. Crazy!

Gin Stephens: I feel people might know everything about me. Oh, did you know my bathroom is finished?

Melanie Avalon: I do now.

Gin Stephens: Yeah. Now, everybody knows the bathroom is done.

Melanie Avalon: Everybody knows everything about you and your house.

Gin Stephens: Well yeah. You don't know that we're buying a house for Will to live in. We're buying this house.

Melanie Avalon: Now, we do.

Gin Stephens: Now, we do. We wouldn't looked at it on Wednesday. The guy who lives there is a hoarder.

Melanie Avalon: Oh.

Gin Stephens: He's been living there for a long time. He's a renter.

Melanie Avalon: What does he hoard?

Gin Stephens: From what I could tell, maybe garbage, but I'm not making light of that because it made me really sad. I wanted to clean it up and help him. Hopefully, he's going to have to move because Will is going to move in. But hopefully, having to move will help him, I don't know, it's really, really sad to me. But there's more of it. So, we're going to be having to redo this. It's a little tiny cottage. You know how they say buy the worst house on the best street? That's what we're doing. We've been looking for months and haven't been able to find that thing. It's a tiny little one bedroom, one bath cottage that was built in the 60s and it has not been updated. It needs everything. We're going to rent it to our son as long as he wants to rent it from us, then we're going to rent it to other people, but we have a lot of work ahead of us.

Melanie Avalon: It's a big project.

Gin Stephens: We don't even know what it looks like. I'm just telling you. You couldn't see it.

Melanie Avalon: Because of the hoarding?

Gin Stephens: Yeah, you really couldn't see it. Chad’s like, “What's the floor?” I'm like, “I don't know.” It doesn't matter. We're just going to buy it. We're going to--

Melanie Avalon: So, you did go in, though?

Gin Stephens: We did go in, but it makes me really sad for anyone who's suffering with whatever leads to hoarding.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah.

Gin Stephens: I know, it's not an easy fix. My grandmother on my dad's side, that side of the family tends to have lots of piles of things. And, of course, we didn't even know we would go over there for holidays and run around the piles of things. We still had room to gather, but it wasn't like this house.

Melanie Avalon: Well, you have to keep us updated on that too.

Gin Stephens: Hopefully, the move will be a positive for him, and he'll clear some things out of his life. So anyway, yep. So, I'll have some more to share on that, but that should be a fun project for 2021.

Melanie Avalon: So many things.

Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah.

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All right, shall we jump into everything for today?

Gin Stephens: Yes, we have a question from Sara. It's actually Sara update from the girl who lost weight during quarantine. She says, “Hi Gin and Melanie. I wrote to you a few months ago that after two years of a plateau at around 150 pounds, I finally got down to my lowest weight of 142 pounds during quarantine. I wanted to give you an update and ask a question. The good news is, I went on to lose a few more pounds and get to 139 for a total of 10 pounds lost during the first few months of quarantine and the lowest weight I'd seen since high school. The bad news is that now all my clothes are too small, and I weighed in this morning at, drumroll please, 159. I haven't weighed 159 since September of 2017, a couple months after I started fasting, and haven't even weighed above 155 since October of that same year. I am baffled. During my two-year plateau, I often hovered around 145 and never got above 152, even after going on cruises, having weeks of poor eating, etc. What happened? Here are the things I'm considering.”

I'm just going to jump in. This is me saying this, Melanie, but I have something in Fast. Feast. Repeat. for anyone who finds they're at a plateau or having trouble with regain. Ask yourself, honestly, what do you think it is that's going on? And you can probably tell, and I am going to tell you Sara has done that because she's got a list of things. I think Sara knows, but I'm going to read Sara's list of things. I really think people know, don't you?

Melanie Avalon: Quite often.

Gin Stephens: Yeah. If you really are honest with yourself, write down what you think it is, you're probably right. So, here's what Sara wrote down or sent to us. “Number one, once restaurants started opening again, I started ordering takeout and eating out more, outside only. When during those first few months of quarantine, I had been cooking only at home. However, during non-quarantine times, I do eat out a lot. Number two, I've been eating more frozen pizzas, frozen french fries, and processed food the last few months. I know, Melanie, PUFAs. Number three, I'm fasting less consistently than I was during those first two months of quarantine, but still fasting. Not counting, but probably range from 18 to 22 hours, with the very occasional longer eating windows, as well as the occasional longer fast.

Just for your reference, I started out fasting in 2017 at 179 pounds. I'm 31 years old and 5’2”. I don't count macros or calories or anything. I have been a non-strict pescatarian since 2015 and mostly eat veggies, although lately I've been adding in some red meat as well. I'm a little stressed, but not much more stressed than usual, I don't think. My main thought is that maybe I wrecked my metabolism during the first couple months of quarantine. I was fasting about 20 hours every day and eating to satiety. I never felt hungry, but maybe I wasn't eating enough. I never count calories but yesterday I tried calculating some of the meals I was eating during that first two months of quarantine when I lost weight and was coming out probably 1000 calories a day. That seems like very little. It's also possible that I'm just truly eating like garbage lately, and that it's having a hugely damaging effect on my body, although gaining 20 pounds in six months seems extreme, even for what I'm eating.

I feel like I can't restrict or it backfires. So, I'm just sort of writing it out. I'd love to hear your thoughts. I got to Lumen, hoping that maybe that'll help me or at least give me the motivation to pay more attention to what I'm eating while making it feel fun, and not as restrictive. Is it possible my metabolism has been lowered? When I was losing weight in 2017 and 2018, I'd often eat truly one meal a day, like one large breakfast burrito and that was it. I never thought I could be eating too little food because I do have some days where I eat a lot and others where I eat less and just trusted that. But just for your reference, during quarantine, I generally ate some combination of a bowl of rice with steamed veggies, avocado, and an egg, sometimes with some kind of sauce or with beans, chia seeds with yogurt, and fruit, a sandwich with a bunch of veggies, avocado and cream cheese or tzatziki,” is that how you say that, tzatziki?

Melanie Avalon: I do not know.

Gin Stephens: I've seen it. It's a Greek dressing but I've never read it out loud. And she said, “I've usually eat a combo of the rice bowl and chia seeds or a sandwich and chia seeds. Sometimes I would also bake chocolate chip banana bread and eat that as well. Is that too little food? I always felt full, but on paper, it looks like not very much. Thanks for your help and support. I've been listening to your podcast since 2017 and will never stop. Love you both, Sara.”

Melanie Avalon: All right, so thank you so much Sara for your question. To recap, from her first email, she originally lost weight during quarantine and now is stopping?

Gin Stephens: She lost eight pounds during quarantine. But now, she has rebounded and gone up to 159, so she's actually gained-- her plateau weight was 150, so she's nine pounds above her plateau weight after going down eight. She's gone up not quite 20 pounds. She's 17 pounds higher than her low.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I thought this was a really great question because I think this is something that happens a lot. I'm guessing Gin would agree since she has a section on it in the book. I find it really interesting, Sara, that you're doing fasting, you told us what you're eating, primarily whole foods, retroactively looking at the calories, it was less calories, and you were losing weight. During that time, you weren't hungry, you didn't feel you were starving, you're eating to satiety, it didn't feel to you like your metabolism was slowing down, but you didn't have a lot of signs of that. And then you lightened up on the fasting, and started eating a lot of processed foods.

Gin Stephens: And a lot of takeout.

Melanie Avalon: And a lot of takeout. I just find it really interesting because I think reading it on paper, it's what Gin said that if you are honest with yourself, it can be probably evident. I mean, we never know exactly what's going on, but it can be pretty evident as to what is probably going on. And so me just reading this, it really just sounds like you went from eating being in a calorie-restricted state fasting, to eating processed fattening, high-calorie foods. I think a lot of people do fasting and they clean up their diet, maybe or they're eating whole foods, and they lose weight, and that feels more motivating and they stick with it. Then some people, they lose the weight and it seems a liberty to or a green card to just eat whatever you want, and as long as you fast a certain amount of hours that that will completely mitigate any potential weight gain or damaging effects metabolically from the foods we're eating.

I just think this is so important to bring to awareness, and we've talked about this a lot on this show before, but I do think because fasting is becoming so popular, it is getting painted as this cure-all and in a way, it seems like what you're eating doesn't matter. I've been saying that from day one. I really, really think what you're eating, I think, is just as important as the fasting. I actually, honestly, if I had to choose between eating whole foods that work with your body, and never fast versus fasting, and eating processed foods like we have today, I would choose never fasting.

Gin Stephens: See, and I would choose the opposite. One study that backs that up, you know that rat study where they fed the rats a bunch of junk, but they got healthier, because they were fasting, even with the junk. I really think the fasting. I mean, I agree that both are important.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It's almost a dialogue not worth having, but it is an interesting thing to think about. My reasonings behind that is-- and when I say like never fasting, I'm assuming that you would still have not like you're not eating literally 24 hours. So, you're still sleeping and not eating while you're sleeping. I mean eating what would be considered a normal eating pattern throughout the day. Just because I think there is a lot of potential damage that we can do with the signaling of the foods we eat, and fasting is a powerful signal for repair and cleanup and mitigating that damage, but if it's choosing between wielding a lot of potential damage with the food you're eating, and then “cleaning it up with fasting” compared to not having as much of that inflammatory signaling with the foods you're eating, it's hard to choose, but I would probably err towards that.

Gin Stephens: One reason that I feel so strongly that, start with the fasting, don't change what you're eating until your body tells you to, or until it feels right, is just because I've seen so many people in the groups who have their bodies naturally change with what they're craving. And so that takes care of itself down the line, if that makes sense. So, they fast and then they want to eat better, but it happens naturally. And so, they don't have to force it or try.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Exactly. That's why I’m saying, I think there's different types of people, and a lot of people, that's what ends up happening and they stay on that. And then, there's people like Sara, where you start slipping into old foods and then maybe you see fasting as being protective of that.

Gin Stephens: Right. I see what you're saying. Although they sound like comfort foods, those foods that she's listing, and I get it. Those foods are comforting, aren't they? French fries, pizzas?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think because we often want to keep in what we want to see what we want to see. So, it's easy to think, “Oh, well, I probably just messed up my metabolism with the fasting and that's what this is.” If you hadn't changed your food at all, and you were eating the same food, doing the same fasting and you experience all this weight gain, then there would definitely be something going on with that. But there's a huge change that's happened.

Gin Stephens: Right. And she's fasting less consistently. I actually have a suggestion for that. Somebody posted in the group one time that really-- I remember this. She said, “I thought I was fasting consistently, and I thought my fasting hadn't changed. So, I started using my app again, and realized I was fasting a lot less than I thought I was.” Sometimes, just writing it down, it gives you that accountability, you're like, “Oh, I thought I was less consistent, but I'm way less consistent.”

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. 100%.

Gin Stephens: I also want to add, it sounds like the food changes, like you said, are a huge factor and the fasting less consistently, but I would really go back to what you were eating before those types of foods and see if that doesn't make things change right up for you. I’ve realized the PREDICT study really helped me to see this too, and the foods that are recommended and not recommended. One of the things they don't recommend I eat a ton of, cheese. Cheese is one of my favorite foods. I was looking, Melanie, I haven't weighed myself officially. I have my Shapa scale, but I haven't weighed myself on a scale where I see a number since 2017, but there have been periods of time where I felt like-- my pants got a little tighter, I've talked about this. My honesty pants got a little tighter, and I'm like, “What am I doing differently?” And then, I tighten things up, and then they got back to normal. At no time have I had to buy bigger clothes.

I was looking at my Facebook Memories the other day from a year ago, my face was so puffy. I think I had a little period of rebound weight gain right in that period of time because I was eating so many cheese plates. Did I talk about that on this podcast?

Melanie Avalon: Not about the cheese plates.

Gin Stephens: Well, I went to New York last October and had a couple of cheese plates at these really nice restaurants. I'm like, “I'm going to go home and make a cheese board every afternoon.” And I was just eating cheese like crazy. I think that made me a little puffy, and my honesty pants got tight. I'm like, “Oop, time to cut out the cheese boards.” And then, oop, right back to normal. Well, I went to the beach with my college friends, I talked about that. We ate a ton of cheese, and I brought a ton of cheese back home with me. And then I was eating a lot of cheese at home because I had all this leftover cheese and we really had a lot of cheese at the beach. All of a sudden, I saw gray on my Shapa. Gray is the color for your weight trend is up. I'm like, “Oop, there goes the cheese again.” Can I eat cheese? Yes. Should I have a huge cheese plate every day? No, my body is telling me no.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, if you had to construct the perfect food for weight gain, I think it would be something like cheese.

Gin Stephens: Maybe so, and it's so easy to eat a lot.

Melanie Avalon: We talked about this before, but starting off with dairy, dairy is a hormonal food, which its intention is to grow a being. Cheese is that, but it's the high-fat form of that. So, it's not even just the hormonal signal of milk, it's all of those signals with highly, highly concentrated fat and calories.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, so that's just me being honest with myself and I could have said at either time, with the Shapa go into gray, I could say, “Uh-oh, intermittent fasting has stopped working,” or, “Oops, my metabolism must be slow.” But no, I was like, “Okay, what behavior has changed?” I'm like, “Oh, there's the cheese again.” Also, I ate out a ton at the beach. We ate out things, lobster rolls, delicious, lots of things I don't normally eat at the house. Now, my Shapa is back. Got the good color again. It just helps me to see it. Actually, I wasn't sad, Melanie, about the gray. Seeing a weight number fluctuate, upset me. Seeing the color big gray did not upset me. I wondered if it would. If I ever see gray, I thought to myself, “I hope I never see gray, but if I do, will I be upset?” And I wasn't, and I was not tempted to over restrict either. If my weight had fluctuated up and I'm like, “Oh, I got to get that number down.” I was like, “Well, my trend is up, it'll go back down.” I felt confident, it was really, really refreshing.

Melanie Avalon: I still need to get mine calibrated. I was so close and then that threw me for a loop. I forgot to weigh last night, so I hope it didn't start me over.

Gin Stephens: Oh gosh. [laughs] My Shapa age is back down though. This is what I have found. I have discovered that if you look at your Shapa age, it actually does give you an indication of your weight fluctuations, because my Shapa age fluctuated all the way up to 32, and now it's fluctuated back down to 28. So, I don't have a goal weight, I have a goal Shapa age. My goal Shapa age is 28, I want to keep it there.

Melanie Avalon: Looking at mine right now. I'm going to get it there so I can start doing it too.

Gin Stephens: Well, Sara, thank you for your question. I hope our answers have helped point you towards what I think you already knew, because of the way you wrote your question. Please give us another follow-up. I know that we and the listeners would love to hear what changes you make and what happens and results from those changes.

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Using this light at night is way healthier than bright blue light from all of our screens, and much more in line with your circadian rhythm. I was using my current Joovv devices at night anyway to light my whole apartment, so this new ambient mode is really going to be a game-changer for me. Of course, you still get the world-class customer service from your helpful, friendly Joovv team. So, if you're looking for a new Joovv device for your home, we have some very exciting news. You can go to joovv.com/ifpodcast and use the coupon code IFPODCAST. You'll get an exclusive discount on Joovv’s newest devices. Yes, discount, I said it. That's J-O-O-V-V dotcom, forward slash, I-F-P-O-D-C-A-S-T. Exclusions apply, and this is for a limited time only. And we'll put all this information in the show notes. All right, now back to the show.

Gin Stephens: We have another question, and this one is from Robin. I love this one. Subject is, “Where does the fat go when we lose weight?” She says, “I know this is a very basic question, but I've heard lots of different answers on where exactly the fat/weight goes when we lose weight. So, where are the collective thousands of pounds of weight all of us intermittent fasters have lost? Also, I'd love to know if you and Gin have ever met in person? And if not, do you have plans to do so in the future? I think you're a great team and work really well together. Love your podcast. I binge listened up to Episode 30 so far, and look forward to hearing the rest. Thanks, Robin.”

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, so this is a great question. Gin, do you know where it goes?

Gin Stephens: Well, I do. I do know where it goes. I've watched a great video about this. It's like a TED talk or something. To answer her question, no, we have still not met in person. Still no. We will. We don't need to. We know we will. I'm sure we will.

Melanie Avalon: I think we should once quarantine madness--

Gin Stephens: You can be great friends though and still not have met in person. That's what I've learned.

Melanie Avalon: This is true. This is very true. Once the quarantine madness is maybe done.

Gin Stephens: Exactly.

Melanie Avalon: Health risks or social implications or everything with all of that, be nice, nice celebration. So, as to where it goes. Fat is basically made of hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, all of these things. And it's stored as triglycerides, so a storage form of fat in our body. When we turn it into energy, which we do partly, assuming it's-- what is the word? Aerobic oxidation. So, using oxygen to turn into energy, we breathe in oxygen and we use that to generate energy ATP in the mitochondria of our cells from the fat. And then all of those excess carbons and hydrogen, they form two things. Air, or carbon dioxide. Some of the carbon dioxide we just breathe out, and then some of the rest forms-- the hydrogen and oxygen form water. We urinated out or sweat it out or--

Gin Stephens: Breathe it out.

Melanie Avalon: Well, we breathe out the carbon dioxide. The breathing out is about-- it's around 80% or so that we breathe out, and it's around 20% that we lose as water. So, you're actually breathing out your fat. And, oh, I meant to talk about the Lumen. So, this is perfect, I would have completely forgot. Sara was saying that she has a Lumen device. Lumen device, it's a breath analyzer, and it uses a science called indirect calorimetry because the ratio of carbon dioxide and oxygen in your breath can indicate the source of the fuel that you're burning because carbs versus fat produce a different ratio of carbon dioxide or oxygen as their byproducts.

So, the Lumen Device measures that its breath analyzer and it can tell you for burning carbs or fat and then it makes like dietary recommendations and things like that. If listeners are interested in that product, I've done two episodes on it in the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast, I'll put a link to it. You can join my Facebook group, which is called Lumen Lovers. And you can go to melanieavalon.com/lumen, and the coupon code MelanieAvalon gets you a discount, I think it gives you $50 off. Yeah, it does. It gets you $50 off, which is awesome. So, in any case, yes, you're breathing it out, sweating it out, urinating it out, that's where it's going. The only other potential byproducts that can be had from things that we eat, because that's what happens with alcohol, that’s what happens with carbs, that’s what happens with fat, protein. It also has some byproducts of, I think, nitrogen, so we have to get rid of that through urination as well.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, so your body takes it apart at the little chemical level and just, bloop, does different things with the other pieces of it. Sends them on out.

Melanie Avalon: You get the ATP, and then out it goes.

Gin Stephens: Chemistry!

Melanie Avalon: But yes, we should plan to meet after all of this.

Gin Stephens: Yeah, we definitely should. But I think I haven't been to Atlanta in ages. I don't know if I've been to Atlanta since you've been--

Melanie Avalon: I'm not a big traveler. So, if you want to come to Atlanta--

Gin Stephens: But you could come and stay in my guest room and use my new bathroom.

Melanie Avalon: Traveling is so stressful.


Gin Stephens: Because we're really two and a half hours apart. It is not that far.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It's really not that far. And it needs to happen before I go back to LA.

Gin Stephens: Well, you're not going back to LA, I forbid it.

Melanie Avalon: I am.

Gin Stephens: I forbid it.

Melanie Avalon: It is calling

Gin Stephens: Do you really think you are?

Melanie Avalon: I am. Yes. I'm really excited.

Gin Stephens: Do you really have plans? You've got them in motion? Or is it just a goal?

Melanie Avalon: No. I mean, because I've lived more of my life-- Have I lived more in my life there than anywhere else? I think so. I don't know. Now having left it twice, I know that's where I want to be. I want to go back and not leave again. I'm thinking maybe in the spring.

Gin Stephens: How long have you been back in Atlanta?

Melanie Avalon: This time around?

Gin Stephens: Yeah.

Melanie Avalon: A year and a half.

Gin Stephens: Because it feels like you just moved back, but I had a feeling it would probably be longer than--

Melanie Avalon: It does feel like I just moved back. It's really weird. Time is going by--

Gin Stephens: Time Is flying and going slow, all at the same time.

Melanie Avalon: Really random thought experiment question. I'm interviewing this guy named Sergey Young. He's an investor in longevity technology. His thing is artificial intelligence and avatars and space travel, but he's also all about diet and lifestyle. I think it's going to be a really great episode. What I want to ask him is, you know how time goes by faster and faster with every-- the older we get, it seems to, if we were immortal, would there reach a point where our perception of time would be so fast? Do you get what I'm saying?

Gin Stephens: That's very hypothetical to me. So, I don't know.

Melanie Avalon: If time is relative, would there come a point where you're not even experiencing time? These are the things I think about.

Gin Stephens: Well, if you talk to some people, they say actually time is just an illusion anyway. And so, we're all experiencing all the time-- I don't know. Quantum physics, any of that, that's way beyond me. They're measuring particles and just the act of measuring the particles change them, they stopped acting like waves, and they started acting like particles. This was light, when they were measuring light, and they changed-- anyway. I'm like, I don't need to know, any of that.

Melanie Avalon: One more thought that's actually relevant to this and to our show. I'm reading right now Dr. Fung’s new book.

Gin Stephens: The Cancer Code, how is it?

Melanie Avalon: It's really good. I'm really appreciative because I haven't really learned much about cancer, it's not something I've--

Gin Stephens: You haven't been called to study it.

Melanie Avalon: Right. So, I'm really grateful to be reading it and actually getting schooled on it. I'm learning so much, but that's one of the things he talked about was the difference and paradigm shifts in medicine, compared to quantum physics and how-- in physics, when you realize that that the paradigm that we have to explain reality is incorrect. It just gets completely replaced all at once, and you switch over. Like what you just talked about with particle, why don't if it gets completely--

Gin Stephens: The light waves, they can be waves, they can be particles. Yeah,

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. In physics is like, “Oh, our current explanation does not work.” Even if you don't know the correct interpretation, the hypothesis of the correct interpretation is accepted as more true than the current explanation that's not working. Sorry, this does come back to diet and fitness. Compared to diet and fitness and medicine where, if the paradigm that we have to explain, disease or health conditions, doesn't quite explain it, we instead of rejecting that and positing a new theory that makes more sense, it's more likely that we try to fit the current paradigm to fit that paradigm. It's why it's so hard for there to be change in what's accepted as-- like in food, high fat, low fat, fasting.

Gin Stephens: You're stuck to that theory, you don't want to let it go.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It's easier to manipulate it and explain away all the contradictions than be like, “Oh, maybe this is incorrect.”

Gin Stephens: Well, I will go back to the example I gave just flippantly, but when the people were like, “Oh, guess what? The earth is not flat. Or, “Oh, guess what? The sun does not go around the Earth.” They didn't take that pretty easily. Science wasn’t like, “Oh, you're right,” remember? Even hard science hasn't always been responsive to new information.

Melanie Avalon: That is true. I guess the slight difference is, saying the world is flat, the world looks flat.

Gin Stephens: Really, it wasn't even so much the world is flat.

Melanie Avalon: That was the big church.

Gin Stephens: It was the church, it was the going around part, the sun being in the middle of the solar system was such a revolutionary idea. That was really the big one. And people were like, “No, that is against the religion.” Yeah, that was a big shift. They did not want that to be true.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, this is true. It's a really, really incredible book, though. I'm really enjoying it.

Gin Stephens: Well, good. I'm glad.

Melanie Avalon: Literally, there was a moment where-- and I can't do it justice, you have to read the book, but there's this epiphany. He goes through the characteristics of cancer cells in great detail. And then, he goes through the difference between the single cellular organisms and multicellular organisms. There's this huge epiphany moment where all of the characteristics of cancer literally match up to the characteristics of singular cellular organisms. I haven't finished the book, but basically, I think his theory is that cancer is, it's not just random genetic mutations like--

Gin Stephens: It's like an attack of replicating single-cell organisms?

Melanie Avalon: It's evolving, basically. It's four characteristics, I think, are-- Yeah, I'd have to look it up. It has mutations, it's immortal, and there's two more, but they're basically exactly what a singular cellular organism is.

Gin Stephens: Well, now I'm really interested in reading it. I had not thought about reading it, but maybe I need to.

Melanie Avalon: Literally the moment that happened, it was like, “Da, da, da!” Yeah, I can't wait to interview him about it. It was perfect timing because I didn't know exactly-- I was going to interview him about fasting, and I was like, “There's so much. What are we going to talk about?” How was I going to focus the interview? but this is great, because this book just came out.

Gin Stephens: Love it. Well, I'm so curious what made him be interested in cancer? Because he's a nephrologist. He's a kidney doctor, and of course, now he works with a lot of people who are type 2 diabetics. Of course, he always did, being a kidney doctor, but his intensive dietary management clinic, and of course, now he's known for the fasting. So, I wonder how he made the transition to writing about cancer. Ask him that, or did he say it in the book?

Melanie Avalon: He did not. No.

Gin Stephens: Why cancer?

Melanie Avalon: I didn't realize he was a kidney, that was his special--

Gin Stephens: Yeah, he's a nephrologist.

Melanie Avalon: I have so many questions about the kidneys. This is--


Melanie Avalon: --going to turn to a kidney episode instead. [laughs]

Gin Stephens: “I know you want to talk about cancer, but let's talk about the kidneys.”

Melanie Avalon: “Can we talk about the kidneys?”

Gin Stephens: I got no questions about the kidneys. I don't.

Melanie Avalon: I do. Sorry, for all the tangents.

Gin Stephens: Well, I'm interested to read it. So, you're not all the way through, so you can't give the spoiler alert.

Melanie Avalon: Yes, so I just looked it up. The four characteristics of cancer are that it grows, that it's immortal, that it moves around, and that it uses glycolysis to form its energy. And that's the four characteristics of single cellular organisms. I got so excited because, Gin, sometimes you're reading a book and you're like, “Oh, my goodness, it's this,” and then they say that, and you're like, “[gasps]” so I was like, “Oh, it sounds like cancer--” My thought was that it sounds like cancer is devolving. That it's reverting back from a multicellular organism to a single cellular organism and then that's what he said. And I was like, “Oh, my goodness, this is so exciting.”

Gin Stephens: I love that, that you get the tingles.

Melanie Avalon: I know. Yeah, I'm excited to finish the book, like I said, about halfway through, I'll put links to it in the show notes. It's called The Cancer Code. I hope he does The Kidney Code.

Gin Stephens: I don't know, that doesn't sound like a big seller.

Melanie Avalon: I would buy it.


Gin Stephens: No, you would. The Kidney Code sold one copy in Atlanta. [laughs] No, I'm sure whatever Fung writes, people will buy. Yeah, I'm not running out to buy The Kidney Code.

Melanie Avalon: People would buy The Liver Code, I bet.

Gin Stephens: Probably.

Melanie Avalon: I would buy The Kidney Code.

Gin Stephens: And you would buy The Liver Code.

Melanie Avalon: I would. I’ll buy all of this stuff. I love reading it. In any case, this has been absolutely wonderful. A few things for listeners before we go. The show notes for today's episode will be at ifpodcast.com/episode191. The show notes will have a full transcript, so definitely check that out. I also have links to everything we discuss. Brief reminder for Episode 200, submit Ask Us Anything questions and put in the headline, what is it? AMA, ask me anything? Put something in the headline, like Episode 200 or Ask Me Anything or something so we know that's what it's for. You can submit your own questions by directly emailing questions@ifpodcast.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. You can follow us on Instagram. Gin, oh my goodness. Guess what? Have you done stories on Instagram?

Gin Stephens: No, I don't know. What they are? Or how to do them?

Melanie Avalon: Me, neither. They are so complicated. I don't know how to do them, but my sister and I actually had a night out, and she taught me how to do stories. They're so complicated, but I'm learning.

Gin Stephens: You'll have to teach me.

Melanie Avalon: They're confusing, but they're so--

Gin Stephens: They're fun?

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I sound such a technologically behind the times person right now. So, you know how you have your pictures?

Gin Stephens: Yes.

Melanie Avalon: And you know how when you're in the app, random things pop up, and is like, “This person doing this,” and flashes, and you have to exit it?

Gin Stephens: Right.

Melanie Avalon: Those are stories. So, they only last for 24 hours, but you can do lots of stuff to them. And then you can see everybody who even looked at them, which is cool.

Gin Stephens: That's interesting.

Melanie Avalon: People can comment and they're really fun. I did one.

Gin Stephens: You did a story.

Melanie Avalon: I did a story. I said, “It was my first story,” that's what this was.

Gin Stephens: Okay. I don't--

Melanie Avalon: Follow us on Instagram.

Gin Stephens: Yeah. I'm trying to post a little more on there, but I'm still not very interesting.

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. It's just a lot, but follow us, because we're trying.

Gin Stephens: We're trying.

Melanie Avalon: I'm @MelanieAvalon, Gin is @GinStephens, and I think that's everything.

Gin Stephens: Yep.

Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. Anything from you, Gin, before we go?

Gin Stephens: No, I think that's it.

Melanie Avalon: I will talk to you next week.

Gin Stephens: All right. Bye-bye.

Melanie Avalon: Bye.

Thank you so much for listening to The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember that everything discussed on the show is not medical advice, we're not doctors. You can also check out our other podcasts, Intermittent Fasting Stories, and the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. Theme music was composed by Leland Cox. See you next week.


Check out the Stuff We Like page for links to any of the books/supplements/products etc. mentioned on the podcast that we like!

More on Gin: GinStephens.com

Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com

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