Welcome to Episode 193 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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14:15 - Listener Q&A: Ashley - Diet With IF
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29:25 - Listener Q&A: Sarah - Fasting while trying to get pregnant
34:15 - Listener Q&A: Taylor - Back to IF after baby
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53:45 - Listener Q&A: Anna - High Intensity workouts
Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 193 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 193 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 doing great.
Melanie Avalon: Are you enjoying the cold weather?
Gin Stephens: I am not. Got my mug of EM-Tea right here in my hands. I went and grabbed it. I'm enjoying the Christmassy stuff now that it's officially December. It's no longer early. I can be Christmassy as much as I want. I just-- The cold.
Melanie Avalon: It's wonderful. I walk outside, and I feel alive.
Gin Stephens: I just went and got a new pair of uggs because my feet were so cold.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness.
Gin Stephens: That's like all I wear around the house.
Melanie Avalon: Can I tell you about my new obsession?
Gin Stephens: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: I can educate while talking about it, so it's multitasking? Had I finished Dr. Jason Fung’s The Cancer Code last time?
Gin Stephens: I don't think you had finished.
Melanie Avalon: I'm interviewing him in two weeks, which is really exciting. But I think for the first time after reading his book, I understand why or how carcinogens are causing cancer. Did I talk about this?
Gin Stephens: I don't think so. It's so fascinating. It makes so much sense. It's something listeners might be a little bit familiar with because we talk about autophagy, which is breaking down all the proteins and things like that. Sometimes that gets confused, or there's another A word that is similar, and that's apoptosis, which is programmed cell death. As he talks about in The Cancer Code, which everybody should get, is probably the reason that carcinogens cause cancer is because it's the chronic exposure of damaging things to ourselves that leads to this weird gray zone where the cell isn't getting damaged enough because if a cell gets damaged too much, the body does apoptosis and basically kills the cell. So, it's not damaged enough that it is killed by the body, but it's not damaged not enough that it can be repaired to its normal state. The cell survives in this weird state where it's being constantly damaged, it's not getting killed by the body, and it's not getting repaired by the body. So, in order to survive, and this is what I did talk about last time, it basically reverts back to unicellular life, which is very selfish and out for itself and does whatever it can to survive. That's the theory of what cancer is. It basically goes rogue in our body, and it's this chronic exposure to these carcinogens, which create that condition in the cells. I was like, “That makes so much sense,” because you hear the word like carcinogens, but you don't think how is it actually--
Gin Stephens: What's it doing in there.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. The reason I got so excited, I was like, this makes so much sense why I'm so obsessed with cleaning up, well, our diet and then cleaning up our skincare and makeup because that's our chronic exposure to these carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, basically. I mean, that's probably our main source, which is why I'm so obsessed with Beautycounter. I was like, who would have thought that reading The Cancer Code would make me even more obsessed with Beautycounter, which was founded on a mission to make safe skincare and makeup free of carcinogens, free of endocrine disruptors. That was the educational piece. The piece I just want to share is, I started using their Brightening Mist. You know when I get really obsessed with something, I want to tell everybody?
Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Friends, this Mist is changing my life.
Gin Stephens: What does it do?
Melanie Avalon: It's ironic because I love Beautycounter, I love skincare and makeup, but I don't like putting a lot of stuff on my face. I like to go minimal, especially-- even with skincare. I don't do a lot of lotions and things like that, but this is just like a mist and you spray it on your face. So, it doesn't leave a residue or anything like that, but it is making my skin glow and it just makes your pores feel all tightened, and I just feel alive. It's literally the best thing.
Gin Stephens: Well, that sounds fun. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I just wanted to share that.
Gin Stephens: All right. I'm really enjoying, I can't remember the name of it. It's their fancy cream that you rub on your neck in the [unintelligible [00:09:12]. It's the one that's in the big wide jar. I don't know.
Melanie Avalon: The Supreme Cream?
Gin Stephens: Maybe, I don't know, but I can't remember the name of it, but you rub it on your neck, because I've got 51-year-old woman neck.
Melanie Avalon: So, that's helping?
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I think so.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. I just wanted to share, so if people need-- I guess by the time this comes out, holiday gifts will probably be-- I don't know when this comes out, but the link for that for us is melanieavalon.com/beautycounter. If you use that link, something special may or may not happen after you place your first order. Fun things, Cancer Code and Brightening Mist are my updates.
Gin Stephens: Love it. Well, our new podcast came out today officially on the day that we're recording, but by the time this comes out, we'll have several episodes out.
Melanie Avalon: Congratulations.
Gin Stephens: Thank you.
Melanie Avalon: The sleep episode, right?
Gin Stephens: Yeah, it's the sleep episode of the Life Lessons podcast. If you go to any podcast app and search for--
Melanie Avalon: I forgot to subscribe. This is upsetting.
Gin Stephens: Search for Life Lessons. Now, there are other podcasts called Life Lessons. But if you search, Life Lessons Gin Stephens, you can find ours, and hopefully, ours will come up to the top of the search soon. If enough people are listening to it, it will be the main one that comes up. Today, we were number 22 in the education category.
Melanie Avalon: Nice. I am following you on our ex-network Himalaya. I still love the Himalaya app.
Gin Stephens: Yep. We talked about the sleep chronotypes. There's talk about the quiz you can do to take-- what were you again? I'm a lion.
Melanie Avalon: I was a wolf.
Gin Stephens: You're the late wolf. Yeah, I think you're a wolf.
Melanie Avalon: The one that's like--
Gin Stephens: Late at night. Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Doing the watching.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, but people really liked it, and that made me so happy. We've gotten a lot of really good feedback. People like the format of it. It's cheerful. We start with a good news segment, then we have our life lesson of the week, and this one was sleep. Then we have a listener-led lesson where a listener shares some kind of a tip or strategy or something with us. Then, we end with a quote, a positive quote, that a listener shares with us. So, yeah, so it's really almost crowdsourced.
Melanie Avalon: That's fun.
Gin Stephens: Because the different parts are shared by our group. Life Lessons with Gin and Sheri. Please join our Facebook group, Life Lessons with Gin and Sheri. We will not teach you how to do intermittent fasting or answer your intermittent fasting questions.
Melanie Avalon: Doesn’t it say that when you join?
Gin Stephens: Yes, it says that, as the question one. Note, this is not an intermittent fasting group, just because we've got that somewhere else. So, if you need troubleshooting, this is not the place for it, but we're happy to talk about literally everything else in the entire world.
Melanie Avalon: Congratulations.
Gin Stephens: Thank you. Yeah, we're excited. I'm glad that people like it. That's the most important thing.
Melanie Avalon: I knew they would.
Gin Stephens: Well, we hope so. Anyway, it's exciting. It's fun. We're really having fun with it and enjoying it.
Melanie Avalon: So many fun, amazing, creative things on the horizon.
Gin Stephens: It's true. It's just amazing to get to create things. We're content creators, and that’s just so much fun.
Melanie Avalon: I love it.
Gin Stephens: What do you do for a living? I'm a content creator. I just get to pretty much talk. [laughs] I talk to people about stuff. Anyway. Oh, life is good.
Melanie Avalon: Super grateful.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, me too. I'm so grateful.
Melanie Avalon: And super grateful for our audience.
Gin Stephens: I'm glad to everyone who's listening today.
Melanie Avalon: We could be creating content, but we could be doing anything.
Gin Stephens: Well, I've created content my whole life. My elementary teachers didn't like it. I created content with whoever was sitting around me at school. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I love it.
Gin Stephens: I was always in trouble for talking, but you were not, right? You were not.
Melanie Avalon: I was always creating content.
Gin Stephens: But you were not in trouble. I was in trouble.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, no. Melanie was not in trouble.
Gin Stephens: Gin was in trouble.
Melanie Avalon: Did I tell you about the only time I got detention?
Gin Stephens: What was that? I think you did.
Melanie Avalon: Because I’d never been late to school, so I didn't know if you were late that you had to check in at the office before. I didn't know you're supposed to go through this whole protocol, and I didn't, and they gave me detention.
Gin Stephens: Oh.
Melanie Avalon: Because I went to my first period without going to the office first.
Gin Stephens: You didn't even know.
Melanie Avalon: I know.
Gin Stephens: How old were you?
Melanie Avalon: High school.
Gin Stephens: Oh, okay. I was an elementary teacher, so I was just going to be like, “That's not fair.” Okay, high school, all right. If you're late, I can understand getting detention for being late in high school. We didn't have detention at my high school. I don't think, I never got it if we did.
Melanie Avalon: It was actually fun. I had it with basically the funnest teacher was doing it that day. He was really funny, and he was the science teacher. We cleaned lab equipment. I don't know. Good times.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. All right. Shall we get started today?
Melanie Avalon: Yes.
Gin Stephens: All right. We have a question from Ashley. The subject is “Diet with IF.” She says, “What is the best eating plan to pair with intermittent fasting? I've been attempting keto with a six-hour eating window from 3 PM to 9 PM. Love your podcasts.”
Melanie Avalon: All Ashley, thank you so much for this question. This may seem like a really simple question, but I wanted to include it because I think it taps into a pretty profound concept that bears discussing more. That is, is there a best eating plan to pair with intermittent fasting? My answer to this is that the best eating plan is everybody really has to find the dietary approach that works for them personally and it's very likely that there's not one diet. I mean, for your entire life even, like there might be, but a lot of things change, environment changes, our gut microbiome changes, our stress levels. What is even the best diet at any one time? It might be changing for the given individual.
When she says best eating plan, she doesn't have any goals surrounding it, because I think that's something else to consider. When you're picking your foods, and you mean best, what are your goals, for weight loss? Because that's a completely different question. Or, it can be a completely different question than just for health and thriving and feeling good. I personally am always going to advocate real foods, whole foods, not the store, but whole foods, real foods. I do think that the processed foods that we have today are probably not doing us any favors. I think a lot of people think if they're doing intermittent fasting, they should automatically pair it with something like keto, like Ashley is doing. I think that works really well for some people, but for some people, they actually do way better with carbs, and perhaps even like a high-carb, low-fat approach. Then, if the question is about best for weight loss, and that's a whole another topic that we've talked about a lot on this show. Gin?
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I think you answered it very well. Keto was definitely not the best eating plan for me whether I was doing intermittent fasting or not. Now that I've had my PREDICT 3 study results, with everything analyzed, and it showed that my body doesn't clear fat well, well, that makes sense. Fat hangs around in my blood longer than it should. Well, that helps me understand why a high-fat diet was very inflammatory for me. That's actually really the way I felt when I was trying to do keto. I felt inflamed the whole time. Whereas somebody else who does it and thrives on it and feels fabulous, I bet their body clears fat well. If they did the same study that I did, their body probably clears it right out.
Melanie Avalon: When did you do keto?
Gin Stephens: The entire summer of 2014.
Melanie Avalon: What type of keto?
Gin Stephens: Well, the kind that there was in 2014.
Melanie Avalon: Was it like dairy and lots of fat?
Gin Stephens: Well, yes, but it was lots of fat, but people were talking-- I was on Facebook at the time, and I was in a lot of different Facebook groups, I joined a million different low-carb communities. I did every tweak they said to do. Tweak your macros, try this, try that. The whole mindset in the groups, at least in 2014, I haven't been in a low-carb group since then. Once I introduced carbs back, I've never looked back because that's when I finally started losing weight, and I felt better. But the prevailing mindset at the time was, if you're not having results, you're just not ketoing hard enough. You're not doing it right, but I was like I'm doing everything that everyone says to do. I'm doing this tweak and that tweak. I never felt full no matter what I ate. I never felt satisfied. I felt inflamed. I felt terrible the whole time.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think that's really telling.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, it was wrong for my body. Now, the more science I've learned, just this recent analysis about the fat clearance being poor for me, I'm like, “Well, that really explains a lot.” The PREDICT study people said to me, if you eat too much fat, it will be inflammatory for your body based on the study results, the blood work they did for me. I'm like, “Well, that makes sense because it felt like that.” I'm kind of bummed about it, though, because I try to like they said, just for a while.
Melanie Avalon: I'm just having a whole philosophical thought in my head, which is something we've talked about before and I don't know if it's a rabbit hole worth going down at all.
Gin Stephens: What is it?
Melanie Avalon: Something that still haunts me to this day is-- because you're talking about clearing fat from the bloodstream, and the debate about carbs or fat causing whatever issues they may be causing in our body. Plaque buildup, insulin resistance. I just think all the time, I don't even know if it matters because people will say what is the root cause of that. Often, the low-carb people will say that it's the sugar and the carbs causing it. Low-fat people will say it's the fat causing it. In theory, I think it often requires both. It requires the insulin resistance created by the carbs that are making our body perhaps insulin resistant, but in that context, it's the actual fat that ends up causing the damage. Do you get what I'm saying? Oftentimes, the fat will have this inflammatory effect on our bodies in the context of insulin resistance or in the context of carbs, in the context of that.
Gin Stephens: But I was not having carbs at that time.
Melanie Avalon: True.
Gin Stephens: I was doing keto, very low carb. I did not deviate a single time. The whole time I was doing it, I did it. I did it perfectly, the way I tried to tweak the macros, but I never went over 20 grams of carbs. I'm like one of those people, I'm counting them, I didn't fudge it.
Melanie Avalon: That's a good example. In that context, perhaps fat for your body, even in the absence of something that would normally be instigating the environment for it to be a problem, which would be the high carbs, that wasn't there but there might be some genetic predisposition that instigates the environment for the fat to cause a problem. The esoteric thing I'm trying to say is, is it the fat causing the problem or is it the carbs in the context of where fat is causing the problem.
Gin Stephens: I wonder if it's different for different people. The data that they gather for the PREDICT study, let you know if your body cleared sugar quickly, or if it cleared fat quickly. My body didn't clear either of them super quickly, which was a little frustrating and surprising. I feel it's just we're assuming that everybody's clearing everything the same way, perhaps. We're clearly seeing that they're not. The examples that they gave-- when I got my report back, they gave examples of people that work for the company. For example, this lead researcher has trouble clearing the sugar, so these are the things that they should not eat. Whereas this other person is the exact opposite, has trouble clearing the fat, so these are the things that they should not eat. It's just very different. You're more likely to develop problems if you're mismatched with the thing that's right for you. The people who say that X, Y, Z is wrong are correct for some people.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, the thing I'm pondering is, which molecule or compound is literally causing the damage.
Gin Stephens: I think it's different for different people. I really feel for some people, it's the fat, for some people, it's the carbs.
Melanie Avalon: Because carbs, the potential damage that can be caused from a carbohydrate is glycation and I guess maybe oxidative damage when it's used as a fuel. Like lactic acid, I'm not sure. Then fats, I guess, would be inflammatory, reactive oxygen species and inflammation from the actual fats. I'm getting really granular.
Gin Stephens: I also want to say one more thing. For everyone who's listening now and they're all like panicked that they have to figure out what foods are bad for them, keep in mind I have been eating all the foods, lots of fat, lots of carbs, all these things for years and maintaining my 80-pound weight loss, not having seasonal allergies, and feeling fabulous. But I also have in my tool belt, intermittent fasting, so I am 100% carb free, fat free, food free for a huge part of my day. The fasting is protecting me from whatever inflammatory, maybe my body doesn't do well with high fat, maybe fat’s inflammatory, but I only eat it in my eating window. I think that the fasting is very protective.
Now, if I started eating all day again, I'm not going to, but if I did, then the what would be a lot more important, because if I was eating all day long and choosing foods that were inflammatory, it would build up more than if I'm just having it in my eating window. This is why I'm going to see what happens if I follow their recommendations for me and eat according to their algorithm and what they're predicting, what foods they predict will work for you. That's why it's called PREDICT, the name of their study. I just want to see if I feel better-- I mean, I feel great, but maybe there's better than I feel now. You know what I mean?
Melanie Avalon: Oh, 100%.
Gin Stephens: Anyway, it's fascinating.
Melanie Avalon: There's actually a study that Dr. Fung mentioned. I don't know the details of it, but from what I remember. It was that because lower body weights are typically correlated to-- like obesity is a risk factor for cancer, I believe, but there was a study of the females, and females at lower body weights had a higher cancer risk than females at higher body weights who fasted longer.
Gin Stephens: Say that one more time.
Melanie Avalon: He said one recent study found that women who fast for fewer than 13 hours per night despite having a lower BMI than other women in the study who fasted for that duration, had a 36% higher risk of recurrent breast cancer.
Gin Stephens: Wow. Fasting really is our not-so-secret weapon.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, definitely. Quick question just while we're talking about it. If you could ask Dr. Fung one question, what would it be?
Gin Stephens: I don't know. I have to think about it. I don't know.
Melanie Avalon: Because I'm going to be focusing mostly on cancer or the cancer book, but I do want to, obviously, while I have him--
Gin Stephens: Ask him what he does. Ask him about his fasting regimen. That's what I would want to know. “Tell me what you do, and why?”
Melanie Avalon: That's a good question.
Gin Stephens: What does his wife do? Does she--
Melanie Avalon: Oh, he's married?
Gin Stephens: I'm pretty sure. Here's a funny Fung story that someone shared in one of the groups one time. He's married and he has kids. Somebody in the group lives in his town, and his kids know their kids. Anyway, their kids are friends or something. One kid was over there and talking to-- I think he has a son, Fung’s son, and said, “Is your dad Dr. Jason Fung?” He's like, “Yeah, I guess he wrote some books or something.” His own kid was not impressed. Anyway, I didn't tell that story very well, but basically, the son didn't really quite know what his dad did, but he wasn't impressed by it. [laughs] Our kids are never impressed. Let me just tell you.
Melanie Avalon: I'm super impressed actually by my dad.
Gin Stephens: Well, that's awesome.
Melanie Avalon: I've always thought that. The reason I said that just because I've thought that most since I was born, I think.
Gin Stephens: That's good. Well, I think Cal is impressed with what I do because Cal gets it because he's in the app space. Will’s like, “Yeah, whatever.” [laughs] Thanks, Will.
Melanie Avalon: Probably depends a lot on what type of person-- your personality, and--
Gin Stephens: That's true. Yeah.
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Melanie Avalon: Next, we actually have two questions that are on the flip side of a single topic, so I thought we could address both of them. That is before and after pregnancy.
Gin Stephens: Okey-doke.
Melanie Avalon: Our first question comes from Sarah. The subject is “Fasting while trying to get pregnant.” Sarah says, “Hi ladies. I've been listening to you guys for a while now and find you both inspiring and motivating. I am not on Facebook, so I'm missing out on a lot more motivation and information. But I do have a question that I apologize if it has been answered before.
I know that it is not wise to fast while pregnant. I have PCOS and I've been fasting a little over a month and have not experienced any physical changes. I'm assuming that my PCOS is going to make me a slow loser or my body is working on some other type of healing. My primary goal for IF is to lose weight so that I can more likely get pregnant with PCOS. However, I don't know if it is safe for me to fast while trying to get pregnant because of autophagy. I don't want to ruin something that will be hard enough for me to do, but I know that weight loss will make it more likely for me to get pregnant. I feel like I'm stuck in the middle of these things. I fast 18 to 20 hours a day, and I've had a few shorter fast days thrown in there, but the majority has been longer. Any information you guys can provide me would help make me and my future baby very happy. Thank you, guys, keep doing what you do. Sarah.”
Gin Stephens: That's a great question. I'm going to direct Sarah to Intermittent Fasting Stories podcast, Episode 34, way back in June of 2019. I can't believe it's been that long. I talked to an OB-GYN, Dr. Cecily Ganheart. Dr. Ganheart is an expert on, obviously, pregnancy since she's an OB-GYN but women with PCOS, polycystic ovarian syndrome. I think I always say that a little bit wrong. Polycystic ovary syndrome or ovarian syndrome. It's one of those two. She's an expert in that, and guess what she uses with her patients with PCOS who are trying to conceive? Melanie knows.
Melanie Avalon: Intermittent fasting.
Gin Stephens: Yes, because PCOS is very much related to high levels of insulin, so you need to get your insulin down. The best way to do that really is intermittent fasting. You may want to use an approach such as alternate daily fasting, like do a 36-hour fast and have a 12-hour eating window, you have your down days and your up days. If you're not sure how to do that, obviously, Fast. Feast. Repeat. has a whole chapter on that. It'll walk you through some different options that you can choose, but your goal is to get insulin down. Ever since I talked to Dr. Ganheart, I felt confident in saying that “Yes, this is safe, especially if you have PCOS,” because PCOS is linked to infertility. We have had so many women in our Facebook groups that were struggling to get pregnant, and then, bam, intermittent fasting, pregnant. But, of course, you stop fasting as soon as you are pregnant.
Melanie Avalon: When I interviewed Dr. Benjamin Bikman recently for his book, Why We Get Sick, which is all about insulin resistance, I asked about PCOS because from everything I've been seeing, it seems pretty accepted that insulin resistance-- I don't know, going back to the idea of root causes, might be the root cause of PCOS.
Gin Stephens: High levels of insulin. It's just another way that high levels of insulin can show up. It's just so interesting because I never heard of PCOS all through my adult years until recently, and then bam, it's everywhere. But so is insulin resistance. We're just more and more metabolically unhealthy than ever before.
Melanie Avalon: A huge portion of his book talks about insulin resistance, and its relation to a myriad of reproductive function systems, PCOS, fertility, hormones, testosterone. I mean, it's a huge player. That's a great resource that you have that episode with that doctor, what was her name?
Gin Stephens: Dr. Cecily Ganheart and she actually has a website. I think it's fastingdoctor or something. She's on Instagram. She's just great.
Melanie Avalon: For listeners, we'll put a link in the show notes to both of those episodes.
Gin Stephens: Episode 34.
Melanie Avalon: If you go to ifpodcast.com/episode193, we'll put links there. Oh, they're writing me. I forgot to ask at the beginning. Listeners, send us Ask Me Anything questions for Episode 200.
Gin Stephens: Coming soon.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, I'm waiting for the questions roll in, because I don't think any of the episodes where we've talked about it have aired yet.
Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah. We do need them. We need them soon. So, go ahead and ask.
Melanie Avalon: Ask us anything. If you make it related to intermittent fasting, we probably won't answer it unless it has a really exciting twist to it. Yes, but okay.
Gin Stephens: All right. Now part two, the second one.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. The flip side, we have a question from Taylor. The subject is “Back to IF after baby.” Oh, before we answer this question, should we just give our stance about actually fasting while pregnant and pregnancy?
Gin Stephens: Yes. I got this from Cecily Ganheart, and she's knowledgeable. She actually gave me a quote for Fast. Feast. Repeat. So, I actually have her quoted as I'd sent her an email and I said, “Hey, would you give me a brief quote?” She actually is using Dr. Cecily Clark-Ganheart, but hyphenating her last name, Clark-Ganheart. In my book, she said, this is a quote she actually sent me and gave me permission to use in the book. She said, “We do not know enough regarding the end directions of fasting on fetal health, particularly as it applies to weight. Therefore, pregnancy is not the time to experiment. Prioritize a real foods approach coupled with responsible weight gain and focus on nutrition as the building blocks of life. Pregnancy only requires an additional 300 calories a day, the equivalent of one avocado per day.”
Melanie Avalon: That is really fascinating, the avocado.
Gin Stephens: No fasting. Oh, yeah. Eat an avocado and don't fast.
Melanie Avalon: Addressing the in between, back to the flipside, Taylor. Subject, “Back to IF after baby.” Taylor says, “Hi, ladies, I love you both so much and missed you/IF terribly when I took a break while pregnant and breastfeeding. My son, Sawyer, was my little IF miracle born right at the start of the pandemic.” Aww, so wonderful. She says, “I've been back to fasting since early July, and it feels great. It has been one of the only things that has helped me stay sane, between figuring out motherhood, figuring out life during a pandemic, switching careers due to the pandemic taking my previous job, being in a near-deadly car accident and so on. 2020 has been quite the year.
I have noticed that I lost some of my baby weight quickly at the beginning, and now I feel everything has stalled. I'm trying to be better about what I eat in my window, because apparently my postpartum body just can't lose weight with fasting alone like it could before getting pregnant. I consistently fast clean 20 to 22 hours a day and try to keep my window to 3 to 5 hours. Exercise is inconsistent because by the time I get the little guy down for bed, I am exhausted. He isn't sleeping through the night yet, so early morning workouts are just not possible after being awake at 2 AM and then up with him for the day at 6. Other than cleaning up my diet, is there anything else I'm missing here? Am I doomed because I am not getting quality sleep? I know my body has a lot of internal healing to do for my C-section, car accident injuries, and so on. Should I just be patient with the weight loss side of things?”
Gin Stephens: Yes. [laughs] Sorry.
Melanie Avalon: “By the way, I just want to note that I am not breastfeeding. We were not successful with it, unfortunately. I know that comes up a lot in the Facebook groups. Thank you, ladies, so much for your time. On a separate note, I ordered a Joovv and cannot wait for it to arrive. Much love from Kentucky, Taylor.”
Gin Stephens: Well, Taylor, first of all, I want to give you a hug about the breastfeeding, I get it. I was not successful with breastfeeding either. When Cal was a baby, he was five weeks early, and so he had trouble latching on. I felt so guilty. I knew I would breastfeed for a long time. I read all the books, I was committed, I was going to do it. He couldn't latch on though, because he was so early. After the first week and I was crying, and he was crying, and it was terrible, and I was talking to the pediatrician’s nurse, and she's like, “Just give him a bottle.” I felt like such a failure. I'm like, “What?” She's like, “Just give him a bottle.” So, don't feel bad, mamas, that's what I'm just telling you. We're so programmed to think that we have to do it, and if it's not successful, that we're failing, and so don't hold on to that guilt, because I felt like that myself and then I was like, “Alright, I'm not going to feel that guilt.” And then, I moved on.
Melanie Avalon: I'm glad you said-- yeah, that's wonderful.
Gin Stephens: Had to put that out there because she sounded sad when she said that she was not successful with it, unfortunately. We almost feel like we should apologize for not doing it. But you know what? We shouldn't. If we can't, we can't, and it just is what it is. My son had a 4-0 at Georgia Tech, it did not ruin him to not be breastfed. Will, on the other hand, I breastfed him longer. [laughs] He dropped out of college. Anyway, so that's that. I just wanted to put that in there. Gosh, we mamas bring ourselves a lot of guilt, no matter what, and we're doing the best we can. Anyway. So, yes, Taylor, I really think you nailed it when you said that your body had a lot of internal healing to do from your C-section and your almost fatal car accident injuries, and also just the pandemic. Any one of those things could cause you to have trouble with weight loss, instead of thinking, “Gosh, why isn't it working this time?” Your body is really different right now. You just had a baby, the stress of the pandemic, you're not sleeping well, you had an accident, all those things. Just relax into it. It sounds like what you're doing is fine. I wouldn't try to tweak anything right now. Just eat food that nourishes your body and let your body heal because our bodies really do prioritize healing. Gosh, the stress of not sleeping, I mean any one of these things. I've identified four or five things right there that any one of them could cause your body to hold on to the excess weight right now. Just be patient, give it some time. This is my prediction. I predict that within the next year when you start to get better sleep and your healing is going on, you'll just suddenly start just dropping the weight. That's what I predict.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I love everything you said about the stress and everything. She says, other than cleaning up my diet, is there anything else I'm missing here? I agree with Gin as far as with the intermittent fasting side of things, giving that time, but I actually would encourage you to clean up. Oh, I don't know what you're eating. So, it's hard to say, if people are open to cleaning up their diet, I'm always a fan. I think even more so especially if you are trying to heal and recuperating from all of these things, I think one of the most healing things that we can do for ourselves is feeding ourselves, like Gin said, foods that nourish us.
Like I said, I don't know what you're eating, so maybe it is already foods that are nourishing you, but if it's not, if it is foods that are potentially inflammatory or not doing you any favors, I think they're massive strides and benefits even if weight loss wasn't your goal. If it was just recovering and bringing back your vitality from all these things you've gone to, I can't encourage enough-- I don't like the word cleaning up the diet, because it's so like-- I feel it has a lot of stigmas. It sounds pretentious. Like, what does that even mean? Choosing nourishing, I said it already, at the beginning, but choosing nourishing foods in their real whole form can have, I think, massive benefits for lots of people. I would encourage you to go that route.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. I want to say for anybody who thinks, if you think that what you're eating might be a problem, it probably is because we already know. Whenever I’m like, “I wonder if I'm drinking too much wine, and that's the problem.” If you are wondering if something is the problem, it probably is part of the problem.
Melanie Avalon: I feel like we get this-- Not this specific question, but we get this format of a question a lot, which is, “I've been through these things, I'm wanting to lose weight, I'm not. I'm doing fasting.” And then, it's often this idea of, “Other than cleaning up my diet, what else could it be?” It's a very, very common thing. I think it makes sense because food has such a powerful effect on us, and a lot of people are eating the foods they want to be eating because of the way that it makes them feel in that moment. It can seem a lot easier to address other things like, “Oh, maybe if I tweak the fasting, or maybe if I tweak this or tweak that, rather than tweaking the actual food, but I think as far as the potential for change that can happen with addressing the food, I think it has huge effects. I mean that with all kindness. I'm not trying to say, “You're having an awful diet and you need to change the diet.” Not at all, just that-- I think people are often hesitant to address the diet because it can seem such an obstacle and such a hurdle. But I think it can have profound effects, and you can do it. You don't have to go all crazy, change it overnight. It can be slow steps and making small changes. What is that quote about like-- something about the thing that you do consistently is the thing that has the biggest effect?
Gin Stephens: I don't know. I know what you mean.
Melanie Avalon: It's the idea that it's not necessarily like doing something really amazing one day or something really awful one day, it's going to have this lingering effect. It's the thing we're doing day in and day out that is having the most profound changes on us in the long run. That's what our diet is, it's what we're eating day in and day out. Addressing it I think can be really huge.
Gin Stephens: I think so too. The what does matter. I didn't address that for a long time with myself. I didn't change what I was eating, but I feel better when I have.
Melanie Avalon: Maybe it's because the first thing that actually worked for you was intermittent fasting. Whereas for me, the first thing that worked wasn't fasting, it was going low carb, so it was addressing the what. I have this-- even though it wasn't paleo-- because my timeline was low carb, then intermittent fasting, then “cleaning it up” on paleo, but I guess the foundation of my understanding was, oh, changing the types of foods you're eating has a huge, huge effect and that's lingered with me.
Gin Stephens: There was never a single time in my existence prior to intermittent fasting where I changed what I ate.
Melanie Avalon: And it had?
Gin Stephens: And I was able to lose the weight and keep it off. Well, but then, I also always went back. I never once lost weight with low carb ever. I would lose the initial flow, the whoosh of the water weight that-- you have less glycogen, so our bodies hold on to a lot of water. For me, it was like four pounds. The amount of water weight that I would lose immediately when I started low carb was four pounds, then I would lose nothing, nothing, nothing. Then as soon as I reintroduce carbs, bam, there those four pounds are again. It just the water weight. I never lost more than four pounds on a low-carb plan ever. I did lose really, really well on low fat in the early 90s. But it wasn't sustainable forever. I gained it all back. There was never a time that I lost weight by changing what I was eating, that I was successful because you have to do that forever. It also all came back, every time. The only thing that has kept me permanently at my goal is intermittent fasting eating all of the things. I’ve changed a lot of what I eat over time but there's not a single thing I don't eat, even now.
If someone walked in with a little bag of Doritos, I eat some Doritos. I just love them. I don't buy them or have them frequently. I mainly eat really high-quality foods, and I could tell over Thanksgiving and the few days after that, I was eating a lot heavier, richer food, less vegetables, more things like dressing and gravy, a lot of fatty things, dessert. We had a great apple crumble that I just ate the heck out of, and I could tell I was puffy, and I didn't feel my best. I'm like, “Man, I'm craving some veggies.”
Melanie Avalon: Because I'm thinking about that I'm like, “Huh, that must be nice to be able to--” at least if you so wanted to eat these foods and not feel like you're dying.
Gin Stephens: I don't feel like I'm dying. It took days. It was like ate these foods till they were gone in the house. I didn't cook new foods. I just ate Thanksgiving leftovers. By about the third day, fourth day of eating these foods-- I normally eat a lot of veggies, a lot of beans, a lot of things like that, I was feeling a little sluggish and not my best. I was like, “Ugh, I'm ready for something else.”
Melanie Avalon: Interestingly, that's the way I felt-- Before I ever changed my diet, standard American diet, like on holidays and stuff, I would feel sluggish and not so well after, but I didn't feel--
Gin Stephens: Like ill, you weren't sick.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Or, literally just this is a state that I just don't want to be in.
Gin Stephens: That's like it isn't me. I don't feel like I'm sick or ill or in pain. I'm just like, “Ooh, I feel a little puffy.”
Melanie Avalon: I say this actually to be encouraging because for people who do react pretty intensely to foods, like myself, you can be grateful for it because I think it encourages me even more to eat hopefully nourishing whole foods. It's like the canary in the coal mine thing.
Gin Stephens: My body always does direct me back to it. Here's a funny story. After I went to the beach with my friends-- and I had been to the beach by myself and then a couple weeks later, I went with my friends. We ate a lot of cheese. We went out to restaurants for dinner every night. I guess, I order from these food companies, like Greenchef who sponsors our podcast. I guess I was feeling a little sluggish. I ordered like all these tightly vegetarian meals for like seven meals in a row. My husband's like, “Why are we only having chickpea bowls with vegetables?”
Melanie Avalon: Oh, you order them from the meal service?
Gin Stephens: Yes. I ordered all the same kinds of meals because I guess I was like, “I don't want any meat. I'm tired of meat. I'm tired of all these heavy foods.” Seven nights in a row, we didn't have meat and it was all very high veggie, chickpeas kind of meals. He's like, “Why are they all the same?” I'm like, “I don't know, I just must have been in that mood when I ordered them.” And then, I thought back and I was like, yep, it was my body craving this other food. So, I unfortunately ordered seven in a row of the same thing. And he was like, “I got to have some meat or something,” I'm like, “Okay, we can,” but unfortunately, there was that lag in between feeling that way, and then food arriving. [laughs] It was funny, but I realized why I had done it.
Then, interestingly, that lag showed me I had the gray on the Shapa. My color was gray. The weight went up a little bit after being at the beach and eating all that food. Then, after that week of having all the bowls and the vegetables, I got blue on the Shapa scale. My body really loves eating that way, and it craves it when I don't. But I feel okay to mix it in.
Melanie Avalon: I was going to bring up the Shapa because I did more research on-- because it was haunting me about the Shapa age. I was thinking it was somehow taking into account your muscle mass and all that. But you're right, it's really vague, on the internet, there's not much information, but I think it is-- had you googled it?
Gin Stephens: Well, I've read what they said. I read their explanation of it on their website. Yeah, I've read it a couple times. They have it in their app, too. They explain it. They're like a blog post.
Melanie Avalon: It seems to be that it's not like anything about your health, which is why that I was like,” What does this mean?” Because I'm used to the inner age.
Gin Stephens: Well, yeah, because they don't have like your blood data. They only know your actual age and what you got standing on the scale.
Melanie Avalon: It seems to be like a surrogate, so that you don't have to see a number, you can see, “Oh, I'm the age I want to be inside with my weight,” which is like, I think that's the vibe I am getting. So, like you said, “When I weighed this, I felt the best.”
Gin Stephens: Yes, they do say in the blog post that they have on their website about Shapa age that they do base it somewhat on some of the answers that you gave.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Now, I'm trying to remember, I'm like, “Well, what did I tell it I felt my best at?” Now, I want to revisit. I wonder if there's a way to figure that out because I think that's what I'm like-- I guess that's what it's supposed to be moving towards then, whatever age I gave it, but I don't remember what age I gave it.
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Shall we do one more question?
Gin Stephens: All right. We have a question from Anna and the subject is, “High-intensity workouts.” Anna says, “I work out several days a week with no if issues, but one day a week, I have a high-intensity long workout. Two hours of cycling, one hour of swimming, and another two to two and a half hours cycling or a five-hour cycling or a long swim and a two-hour run.” That made me tired just reading it.
Melanie Avalon: That sounds really exhausting.
Gin Stephens: “Two hours of cycling, one hour of swimming, and another two to two and a half hours of cycling or five hours of cycling or a long swim and a two-hour run.” Yeah, that's a lot. That is a lot. “During the workouts. I need to eat dates or gel or something, otherwise I cannot do the workouts.” This is so interesting though, I interviewed someone on my podcast, Intermittent Fasting Stories not that long ago who-- she does high-intensity stuff without eating gel and stuff. She does it all in the fasted state because she said she actually performs better. I'm not going to argue whether Anna needs to eat or not. But I just want to put that perspective out there that maybe you really don't need to eat if your body is fat adapted to the fasting.
Melanie Avalon: There's a lot of debate in the low carb world where people say that, and studies have shown that maybe high-intensity intervals and workout exercises can be maintained on a low-carb diet, it seems to require a long adaption for a lot of people to get there. So, that's why a lot people on low-carb world will say that they do carb-ups to support the high intensity. In that case, a lot of people in the low-carb world do carb-ups, but that doesn't mean you have to be eating the dates or the gel right before the exercise--
Gin Stephens: Or during.
Melanie Avalon: Or during. Yeah. Depending on you, some people are able to have the night before a carb-up and they have adequate glycogen stores. And then, they're able to do it in the fasted state still. That said, on top of that, I do know the keto games people, they actually do prescribe low carb, but with high intensity workouts, I think they take-- it's like they do things a tiny bit, it's like 10 grams of dextrose before or something or Smarties. If you want to get really intense and granular, some people do low carb and they do it more in this approach where they have literally basically pure sugar right before the workout. I agree with what Gin said, though, to possibly consider that there might be another way to do this.
Gin Stephens: She continues to say, “How detrimental is doing IF six days a week and not doing it on the seventh day due to workouts? I typically eat from 12 PM to 8 PM, but on long workout days, I eat much earlier, 6 AM. I'm a post-menopause 52-year-old woman. Look forward to hearing the podcast that will address this. Thank you, Anna.”
Melanie Avalon: All right. For the second part, I do not think it's detrimental to do IF six days a week, and not on the seventh day due to the workouts. It sounds like what she's doing, if she's happy with it, I'm fine with it because she's working-- I mean, she's doing a huge workout. She's obviously fueling it. She's fasting-- She hasn't said that she has any problems with fasting the rest of the time, she hasn't mentioned anything about being unhappy with her weight or her performance. It sounds like it's working.
Gin Stephens: There's absolutely nothing detrimental about it unless your goal is weight loss and you're not losing weight. In which case, then you can tweak things. If you feel good and your ideal body, there's nothing wrong with it.
Melanie Avalon: I feel Anna might be the type that would actually benefit really well from the Oura ring that I've now been wearing for quite-- like a month now or so, no, few weeks. Do you know what it shows you, Gin, every morning when you wake up?
Gin Stephens: It gives you a daily readiness score? Sheri, my cohost, on the Life Lessons podcast has one.
Melanie Avalon: I'm interviewing the CEO next week, I think. It measures your resting heart rate and your heart rate variability during the night, as well as your sleep, your sleep cycles.
Gin Stephens: Your body temperature.
Melanie Avalon: Your body temperature, your respiratory rate. It measures all that while you're sleeping. During the day, it measures all of your activity. When you wake up in the morning, it computes based on how well you slept, what your heart rate was, and your activity levels the day before, to tell you on this day, what type of day should it be. Should it be a day that you're working out? Building an active or should it be a rest and recovery day? Or a blend of both? Should you be active but not overexert yourself. All based on how your heart is basically responding to everything and your sleep. It's very cool. Sounds like Anna has her regimen down, but if she's curious about what days might be the best day for her to have her workout, an Oura ring might be something to play around with.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I think that's a great idea.
Melanie Avalon: I'm still trying to convince them to help me out with a listener discount, so I'm putting that out to the universe. Apparently, they don't like to give listener discounts.
Gin Stephens: Well, that's a bummer.
Melanie Avalon: I know. I was like, “But there's so many people in my audience that would like--” I think that might be a deciding factor for a lot of people. I'm putting it out to the universe. Maybe it'll happen.
Yeah, so this has been absolutely wonderful. A few things for listeners before we go. If you'd like to submit your own questions to the podcast, you can directly email email@example.com, or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. The show notes for today's episode will be at ifpodcast.com/episode193. You can follow us on Instagram. I'm so excited now about Instagram.
Gin Stephens: I'm so glad. I'm doing better, too.
Melanie Avalon: I know.
Gin Stephens: Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: So, follow us. I'm MelanieAvalon. Gin is GinStephens. We're trying. Every post I put up somebody makes a comment about this. So, trying. I actually just posted a video of my Rife machine. I know I get a lot of questions about what does that look like? Like the plasma tube that you attach things in your body with, so I put up a video of that. What was the last thing that you put up?
Gin Stephens: Oh, I put up two things today.
Melanie Avalon: Oh. What did you put up today?
Gin Stephens: I put up a photo of-- I’ve organized my freezer. My Daily Harvest looks so pretty. I took a picture of it. They don't sponsor my podcast, but I tagged him and I was like, “If you want to sponsor my podcast, hint, hint.” [laughs] I just really like Daily Harvest and I want them to sponsor my podcast.
Melanie Avalon: That’s so funny. Actually, yeah, I put up a picture of me and my Sweaty Betty, because I really love this Sweaty Betty.
Gin Stephens: I saw that. I saw it. I also put up because our Life Lessons was number 22 in the education category earlier today, so I put a picture of that because, yeah, the thing is, people need to find it early. And then, they will listen if they like it.
Melanie Avalon: Friends, we are trying.
Gin Stephens: We are trying.
Melanie Avalon: We are trying. Follow us. Yes, well, this has been absolutely wonderful. I will talk to you next week. Well, wait-- no, I didn't say anything from you, Gin, before we go?
Gin Stephens: [laughs] No.
Melanie Avalon: I think if I didn’t say that, that would have been the first time in 193 episodes.
Gin Stephens: Oh, what if there was something?
Melanie Avalon: Oh, wait, what if there was something you need to say before we--?
Gin Stephens: I always say no. Maybe you should stop.
Melanie Avalon: Stop asking you that?
Gin Stephens: I always say, “Nope, that's it.” Right? Don't I always say that?
Melanie Avalon: Anything from you, Gin, before we go?
Gin Stephens: No. Not a thing.
Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, I will talk to you next week.
Gin Stephens: All right. 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.
STUFF WE LIKE
Check out the Stuff We Like page for links to any of the books/supplements/products etc. mentioned on the podcast that we like!
BUY Melanie's What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine, Gin's Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle, Feast Without Fear: Food and the Delay, Don't Deny Lifestyle and/or Gin's Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Clean Fast Protocol for Health, Longevity, and Weight Loss--Including the 21-Day FAST Start Guide
More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com
More on Gin: GinStephens.com
Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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