Welcome to Episode 210 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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Listener Q&A: Laura - Stuff You Like
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INSIDETRACKER: Go To insidetracker.com/melanie To Get 30% Off All Tests Sitewide!
Listener Q&A: Michelle - Fasting but GETTING BIGGER????
Listener Q&A: Laurel - Daily Headaches While Fasting
Listener Q&A: Diane - Hair Loss
Listener Q&A: Cindas - Sensitive Stomach
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Listener Q&A: Allie - Autophagy and me
Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 210 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.
Hi friends, are you struggling to lose weight despite fasting clean? Maybe you're even making healthy food choices, fasting more, shortening your eating window, ramping up your exercise, and yet the weight won't budge? Well, we actually just found a major reason for why that may be. As it turns out, there are compounds in our environment called endocrine disruptors. Meaning, they mess with your hormones. Studies show that a lot of these endocrine disruptors are actually obesogens. Meaning, they literally make you gain weight. They also make it hard to lose weight. These toxic obesogens are naturally stored in fat. When they enter your body, your body creates fat to store them in to protect you. Once they're in that fat, they then change the genes in your fat stores, so that you are more likely to store more fat and less likely to burn it. They can also affect your insulin signaling and boost your appetite, so you want to eat more and store more fat.
Most of us are actually exposed to these obesogenic endocrine disruptors daily in our skincare and makeup. That is actually one of the largest sources of these compounds. Yep. As it turns out, when you're washing your face, putting on makeup, using lotion, or even putting on sunscreen, you are likely putting 1 of up to 1300 compounds banned in Europe for their toxicity- and obesity-causing potential but they're completely fine for use in US skincare. When you put them on your skin, you're making it that much harder to burn fat, and that much easier to store fat. So, if you're struggling to lose weight, you definitely, definitely want to clean up your skincare ASAP.
You can do that easily with a company called Beautycounter. They make safe skincare and makeup products that are extensively tested to be free of endocrine disrupters, obesogens, and other toxic compounds. They're truly safe and supportive of your health. You can shop with us at melanieavalon.com/beautycounter. If you use that link, something really special and magical might happen after you place your first order. If you'd also like exclusive discounts, giveaways, and the latest on the science of skincare, definitely get on my clean beauty email list. That's melanieavalon.com/cleanbeauty. So, are you fasting clean inside and out? Well, now you can. All right, now back to the show.
Hi everybody and welcome. This is Episode number 210 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Gin Stephens.
Gin Stephens: Hi everybody.
Melanie Avalon: Gin, 210, it’s 210.
Gin Stephens: Wait, what?
Melanie Avalon: The numbers are in order.
Gin Stephens: Oh.
Melanie Avalon: Counting down.
Gin Stephens: Okay. Yeah. 210, that's right. I was like, “What? What are you talking about?” It's not 210, episode 210, got it. You like when things count down?
Melanie Avalon: I don't know. It just seems like a pattern. It doesn't mean anything. How are you?
Gin Stephens: Well, the other day, yesterday was, 4/3/21 we're recording this, on the fourth, but yesterday was 4/3/21. Did you know that?
Melanie Avalon: No. If we had done this yesterday, it would have been 210 on 4//3/21.
Gin Stephens: That would have been cool.
Melanie Avalon: I know.
Gin Stephens: Today is my dad's birthday. He's got the coolest birthday. He was born on for 4/4/44.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow.
Gin Stephens: Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: That's a cool one.
Gin Stephens: Now, the world knows how old my dad is.
Melanie Avalon: This is true.
Gin Stephens: We're recording on 4/4, and yesterday it was 4/3/21. Hello, numbers.
Melanie Avalon: I think I'm outnumbered now.
Gin Stephens: There you go.
Melanie Avalon: How are you today?
Gin Stephens: I'm great. I'm at the beach. If anybody hears anything weird, that's why, or if it sounds different. [sighs] It's spring break.
Melanie Avalon: Well, are a lot of people there for spring break or is it--?
Gin Stephens: Yes. It is cold. This morning, it was like in the 40s and I look out in the front there and there's people swimming in the pool, I'm like, “What is wrong with you? Are you from Canada?” or something. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness.
Gin Stephens: No offense to people from Canada. People down here that are from the south are not swimming in the ocean or the pool today. Let me just tell you. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I have a very related to that exciting update.
Gin Stephens: What is it?
Melanie Avalon: I am so excited. You might have seen it on my Instagram. There's a place near where I live, and you can get unlimited-- it's insane the deal, for the first month at least. You get unlimited hyperbaric oxygen treatment, which I am actually too scared to do. Are you familiar with that?
Gin Stephens: I've heard of it for people who have like diving accidents or something, right?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it's like you get in a pressurized chamber and they pump in pure oxygen. I don't think I can do it because my phobia is claustrophobia and also pressure on things. It's basically the worst situation I could ever be in, I won't do that. It's unlimited that, unlimited infrared sauna unlimited, they actually have Joovv devices.
Gin Stephens: That's like actual Joovv?
Melanie Avalon: It is the actual Joovv brand. Unlimited stretch sessions, you get one IV. But the main thing that I am doing it for is unlimited cryotherapy.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. Well, very cool.
Melanie Avalon: Have you done that before? Have we talked about this?
Gin Stephens: Well, of course not.
Melanie Avalon: I did it three days in a row.
Gin Stephens: Are you supposed to do it three days in a row?
Melanie Avalon: I'm going to do it every single day that I can do it. I can't even describe how it makes me feel. Oh, my goodness. You feel high, like high, after, not during.
Gin Stephens: After the cryotherapy?
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. Basically, for listeners who are not familiar, cryotherapy, it's this chamber that you get into and they pump in liquid nitrogen. It gets down to-- I think it depends, but I think it can get down to around negative 250 degrees Fahrenheit. I've been doing two and a half minutes. I don't know what it is, probably around negative 200. It's so exciting. You hook up your phone, so I play a Taylor Swift song. Then I get in, and then it fogs up, and you can see the thing counting down. But then, the nitrogen gets so thick, you can't see the clock anymore, and you're like, “How much longer?”
Gin Stephens: Yeah, that doesn't sound fun at all.
Melanie Avalon: It's incredible.
Gin Stephens: I'd rather go swim in the ocean today.
Melanie Avalon: I'm not kidding. I actually mean this in the most authentic, serious way.
Gin Stephens: It's better than getting in cold water?
Melanie Avalon: I think it is more doable and less unpleasant than a cold shower. I actually mean that, like--
Gin Stephens: I believe you.
Melanie Avalon: When I do a cold shower blast at the end of my shower, I used to do 40 seconds, and now I give up after 10 seconds. But this is just so cold that it almost doesn't even register as cold if that makes sense.
Gin Stephens: Well, okay, yeah, that makes sense.
Melanie Avalon: It just shocks you so much.
Gin Stephens: Seriously, though, is there an upper limit that you're supposed to do? Is it good to do it every day or is that too much?
Melanie Avalon: I don't know. I posted about it on my Instagram and my Facebook group. Some people have been saying they do it every day. Some people say they do it as much as they can. I seem fine. You're supposed to work your way up to higher and higher levels. It seems like the more you do it, probably the easier it will get. The first time I did it-- I've only done it three times. The first session, I did the beginner, which was negative 160 something degrees and I'm at intermediate.
Gin Stephens: You beginner you. [laughs] Negative 160, yeah, okay.
Melanie Avalon: It's so exciting.
Gin Stephens: Well, have fun.
Melanie Avalon: Listeners, if you want pictures, go to my Instagram, I posted a picture. I'll post a picture of the actual tank. I just posted a picture of me in front of it, but--
Gin Stephens: Well, I'm going to go look at it right this minute.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. I really like the end. I already said this, but at the end when the nitrogen gets so thick that you can't see the clock anymore, it's just this surreal, thrilling experience. Oh, last thing, I should probably say why I'm doing this. The health benefits of cold are pretty, pretty fantastic. A reason that we do intermittent fasting, tying it into our show, one of the reasons is that fasting activates a lot of survival-type genes in our body that basically go around and clean up shop and boost our immune system and just make us more resilient, and cold activates a lot of those same and other genetic pathways as well. It has a lot of health benefits. I've done an episode with Wim Hof, who's basically like the cold guy, you can check out that episode at melanieavalon.com/cold. It's really good. They did one study actually and they were testing specifically cryotherapy in patients with depression. In half of the patients, it reduced their depression by 50% compared to the control group, which was either none or 3% of people. There was basically no effect in the control group, which I can see why. You just get out and you're just like smiling. That's my pitch.
Gin Stephens: Oh, well, that's good. Have I talked to you since I left Facebook?
Melanie Avalon: I asked you how it went.
Gin Stephens: On Messenger?
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I didn't think I talked to you live, because I think we recorded last Sunday, the day before. Can I just tell you that people are fantastic? They're amazing. I got 99.9% positive feedback from people.
Melanie Avalon: That's amazing.
Gin Stephens: It was amazing. I was so scared when I woke up Monday morning, and I was going to archive the Advanced group and the One Meal a Day group. The big group is still open. The moderators are answering questions on Ask the Moderator and running the daily threads. My moderators are amazing. They are just amazing. I also sent out my blog post that explained why. It's at ginstephens.com, and it's called Change is in the Air. I have sent out blog posts before, and maybe one person replies to it. I got so many replies to the blog post from people who were understanding, and it said it made them think about it. Just amazing.
Melanie Avalon: That makes me so happy.
Gin Stephens: Also, no one ever comments on my blog posts, but 80 people commented. You know you can comment on a blog post?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Wow.
Gin Stephens: I mean, it made me cry.
Melanie Avalon: That's amazing.
Gin Stephens: I was so scared that people were going to be like, “No, I hate you, Gin. How could you leave Facebook? You're awful. You've ruined my life.” Instead, people were like, “Take care of yourself.” They were so supportive. Anyway, it was amazing.
Melanie Avalon: That's wonderful.
Gin Stephens: Also, there's a kid running up and down in the hall, in case you hear it. Everybody, the teacher in me is going crazy. I'm at the beach condo, and someone is running up and down right outside the room while I'm recording it. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I heard that. I was like, “Are there children?” [laughs]
Gin Stephens: There are children at the beach condo. If you hear running, that's what it is. Anyway, I'm just so grateful. I am so, so, so grateful. First of all, I'm grateful to the moderators that have allowed me to keep the large Facebook group open for people who want intermittent fasting support for free still on Facebook, but I'm also grateful to people who understood why I left Facebook. I feel like I have my life back in some ways. I really just can't explain how-- because we had pending posts, and I would go check them every 10 minutes, I swear I was on there, and it gave me so much stress and anxiety.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. No, I can imagine.
Gin Stephens: I guess no one was going to drop dead if their Facebook post wasn't approved but I felt personally responsible, like I needed to be in there doing it. Anyway, and I'm loving that there's an Ask Gin Group on the new platform. I'm also really grateful for people that have joined me on the DDD Social Network. There's an Ask Gin Group, so anybody can go in there and ask me a question, and because of the way that the platform works with the notifications, I get an email. I see an email that I need to go answer someone's question. It's just so much more of a relaxed way of responding to people.
Melanie Avalon: Well, that's very exciting.
Gin Stephens: It is exciting.
Melanie Avalon: I feel like it's going to add a really nice-- you already had a foundation, but like a stable, healthy foundation to all the work that you're doing.
Gin Stephens: Exactly.
Melanie Avalon: Well, that is all good things.
Gin Stephens: It is good. I just feel so relieved, because I was like, what's going to happen if everybody's so mad, and then no one ever listens to any of my podcasts again, because the whole key was that I was on Facebook. That was the key to my life. I'm just so glad that it isn't. I've been stuck in fear for a long time. Knowing I needed to do something different and knowing I wasn't present in my life but knowing I really couldn't do anything. When I wrote Fast. Feast. Repeat., okay, I wrote it in 2019. I purposely didn't say the word ‘Facebook’ in it one time. My editor was, like, “Don't you want to put in your bio about your Facebook groups?” I'm like, “No, do not put the word ‘Facebook,” because I just knew it was unsustainable. That was we only had 100,000 members at that point. I already knew I was like, “I don't know how I'm going to manage this.” Ah, such a relief.
Melanie Avalon: Well, for listeners, we'll put links in the show notes to Gin's new group that you can join the DDD Network.
Gin Stephens: DDD Social Network. That's right.
Melanie Avalon: DDD Social Network. Then I always do just want to clarify, I do still have my Facebook groups.
Gin Stephens: I do too. I have the big one. The Delay, Don’t Deny Intermittent Fasting Support, but you won't get me, you'll get a moderator, and the moderators are fabulous at answering the questions. They've all been trained by me. They love what they're doing. It really helps them become stronger in their intermittent fasting practice too, they enjoy supporting new members, they like to do it. I told all of them, “If this is not bringing you joy, walk away. You just tell me.” It is bringing them joy.
Melanie Avalon: A lot of communities, for listeners, DDD Social Network, the existing Facebook groups Gin has. Then I still have, if you want to talk about cryotherapy, and all the things, I have IF Biohackers: Intermittent Fasting + Real Foods + Life, also Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare group, and then a group for Lumen, Biosense, CGMs, and all that stuff. I've actually contemplated, the other day, I was like, “Should I start an Oura ring group?” No, at least not right now, but contemplating it. On that note, shall we jump into everything for today?
Gin Stephens: Yes, let's get started. The first is a question from Laura. The subject is “Stuff You Like.” She says, “First of all, I love your podcast. Thank you for all the information and inspiration. If you could choose only one or two items from the stuff you like list, what would you choose? And why?”
Melanie Avalon: All right, so that's a great question from Laura. I'm glad she sent this because I realized I think I've dropped the ball on updating that recently. I thought about this, I didn't even pull up the page. Basically, that page is supposed to have everything that we've ever talked about liking. I actually, my number one answer is the books because I think the most important thing to me, or one of the most important things to me in my daily life is knowledge and finding knowledge and researching. All of the books, if I can list that as one thing and then second would probably-- but it's so hard. If I had to pick an actual device or something like that, I don't know, it's probably red-light therapy, Joovv, or BLUblox, blue light blocking glasses. Those are both just so invaluable to my daily life. I can't imagine my life without them. Or Beautycounter. Okay, that was a lot of stuff. How about you, Gin?
Gin Stephens: Well, I love Beautycounter as well. I've started using my blue blocking glasses again, from BLUblox. I'm lazy about using them. I don't like putting glasses on my face. [laughs] I'm doing some research for my new book and got to that section. I'm like, “Darn it, you really should be using these. You really, really should. Darn it.” The science is so clear.
Melanie Avalon: Which ones do you have again? Are they red colored?
Gin Stephens: Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. You're wearing them at night before bed?
Gin Stephens: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, is it helping?
Gin Stephens: I don't know. It's hard to know. I think so. Yeah, blue blocking glasses. I need something else, like something that just attaches to my face and they're not glasses. I don't know how to fix it. I don't know what I need. Maybe like a face shield, I'm not wearing glasses but they're important. I don't know, maybe I need like a bubble, like astronauts’ wear, or I just need to go to bed when the sun is down. I don't know. Anyway, the science is so very clear, it makes sense why we're not supposed to see those wavelengths at night because the blue light is the wavelength from the middle of the day.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. When I interviewed Andy Mant for the second time recently on my show, he said that even a brief exposure to blue light at night sets back your melatonin production by 30 minutes, which is upsetting.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. It's hard to do. I'm taking off my makeup with my eyes closed, so I don't accidentally see light. It's [laughs] really a challenge.
Melanie Avalon: Just thinking about what I do, because I put on the yellow, the SummerGLO ones earlier in the day. Well, when the sun's going down, I put on the SummerGLO one. Then if I'm taking off my makeup, then I guess I just take them off. Actually, I probably sometimes take off my makeup in the dark, and then switch over to the red. If listeners would like their own pair, they can go to BLUblox.com, that's spelled B-L-U-B-L-O-X dotcom. The coupon code, IFPODCAST, gets you 15% off. Something cool that BLUblox does is for every pair of glasses you buy, they actually donate a pair of glasses to someone in need.
Andy created the company because he realized the importance of how much blue light affects everything like our sleep, our stress, our anxiety. Then, he went actually tested a lot of the blue light blocking glasses on the market and realize they weren't actually blocking what they said they're blocking, so he decided to start his own company. I love BLUblox. They have so many options. They have all different styles and you can get them in prescription, if you have a prescription which is really cool. They also have clear computer glasses that don't block all of the blue light but those are good if you're staring at screens all day. Huge, huge fan. Again, the link for them is blublox.com, coupon code IFPODCAST gets you 15% off. Yes, they donate a pair of reading glasses to someone in need with every purchase that you'd buy. That worked well.
Gin Stephens: That did work. Well, I have a couple of other things that I really like. First of all, is my LifePro vibration plate. Yeah, ginstephens.com/lifepro, you can see about those. I also love my Shapa scale. I'm still using it, ginstephens.com/shapa. I really love it. It's helping me a lot. To have that, that color, it keeps me from feeling crazy about a number.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that makes sense. I also want to add Oura ring to my list. I got my new diamond one.
Gin Stephens: Oh, how's that?
Melanie Avalon: It's really pretty. Although I feel like it probably does look like a engagement ring or wedding ring.
Gin Stephens: Are you wearing it on the wedding finger?
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.
Gin Stephens: All right, well, you're married to Oura.
Melanie Avalon: I am. [laughs] I do. It's measuring my heart, literally. I did a lot of research on which finger to use, but my ring finger is just the most comfortable.
Gin Stephens: It's 2021, you can do whatever you want.
Melanie Avalon: This is true.
Gin Stephens: The worst thing that's going to happen is who's going to think you're married. Oh, no.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, no. [laughs] Oh, my goodness.
Hi, friends. I wanted to tell you about one of the most incredible resources for taking charge of your blood tests and lab work, ever. I am a huge fan of a company called InsideTracker. They are actually a David Sinclair partnered company. What they do is they provide access to the blood tests that you need to be testing, as well as interpretations, so that you can figure out what that all means.
Basically, we often go to our doctor, we get blood tests, we test things, but is it what we need to be testing? What does it even mean? That's what InsideTracker is here for. They've done extensive testing to figure out which blood markers can tell you the most about your actual health. These aren't necessarily all the tests that you might expect. They provide personalized interpretations of those results along with dietary and lifestyle recommendations, so that you can truly take charge of your health. Their InnerAge, for example, analyzes your blood work to determine your true “inner age” and how to lower it. I did it recently. Thankfully, my inner age was lower than my actual chronological age, but there were still some things that I could work on. InsideTracker has really helped me meet my goals in that way.
They've also got DNA testing, as well as one of my favorite things, which is their online portal. Guys, this online portal is a game-changer that includes your results from InsideTracker, but then you can upload all of your own data from any other blood results that you've had through your doctor, so helpful. You just go into the portal, you drop in your lab results, and then you have all their lab results all in one place. It's so easy to see how things have changed over time, and they interpret these lab results from other companies by their standards. It is so helpful. I cannot even describe how much I use this platform.
If you'd like to learn more about them, as well as all about bloodwork testing, definitely check out my interview I did with the founder, Gil Blander. That's at melanieavalon.com/iInsidetracker. And InsideTracker also has an amazing offer just for my audience. It was 20%, I asked if it could be 30, and they said yes. They are so amazing. So, if you go to melanieavalon.com/getinsidetracker, you can use the coupon code Melanie30, to get 30% off sitewide. Yes, 30% off sitewide, melanieavalon.com/getinsidetracker, you can use the coupon code Melanie30. That’s M-E-L-A-N-I-E 30, I'll put all of this information in the show notes. All right, now back to the show.
Shall we jump into our next question?
Gin Stephens: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: This comes from Michelle. The subject is, “FASTING BUT GETTING BIGGER????” She has that in all caps with lots of question marks, so she seems a little bit distressed about this. She says, “Hello Gin and Melanie, I thoroughly enjoy your podcast, your knowledge, your willingness to do all the research and your expertise on IF. I am 51 years old, I started fasting June 1st, 2018 but didn't know about the clean fast until December 2018, and I've been a faithful clean faster ever since. I had no weight to lose when I started but just thought my body was starting to look older. My dad had Parkinson's disease, which I would like to avoid if at all possible. I started IF for the health benefits and I have seen felt many. Greatly reduced inflammation, no more eczema skin tags gone.” I want to circle back to the skin tags, by the way, Gin.
Gin Stephens: Oh yeah, I know what that is, by the way.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. “So much energy. No more bloating or gas, increased muscle mass, to name a few. This last one brings me to my question. I work out every day for at least one hour and then walk my dog three to six miles most days. I do HIIT workouts, cycling, weight training, running, stairs, elliptical, kayaks, swim all the things. My body is getting bigger, not in a bad way but I don't really want to be bigger. My legs/butt are rock hard. My arms are quite muscular. I have abs, but a tiny bit of flab, I have three kids, just under my belly button. I fast clean for 19 to 21 hours every day, eat all the things and one meal and a snack, but mostly healthy and hardly any processed foods and rarely any added sugar. I do eat fruit. I'm not much for alcohol, but I have an occasional drink. My jeans have gotten tight through the legs, and it makes me sad.
I've been the same size my whole life until now. I don't really weigh, but I would say I've always been 115 pounds, I'm 5’6.5” tall. When I last saw a doctor, they weighed me in at 126 pounds. I'm not at all concerned about the extra numbers on the scale but I do want my clothes to fit and I will never go back to all those daily meals and snacks. Yuck. I do not want to let up on my exercise. I have good energy and like to expend it. Any suggestions or ideas on how to fix this? I understand it's not a bad problem to have, but it's still a problem for me. Thank you again for all you have done and continue to do to help so many people. You two are a blessing. Michelle.”
Gin Stephens: Okay, Michelle, I've got some news for you that might be bad news, or maybe it's good news. All right, until we get to the part where we know that you're 5’6.5” tall, and you were 115, now you're 126, and you work out a lot, and your legs and butt are rock hard. You my dear are putting on muscle. We talked about how fasting increases human growth hormone and you're able to build muscle more easily. That's what's happening. You are going to have to stop doing so much working out or accept that you are now building muscle and you are going to be bigger. You're not gaining fat. If you're rock hard, it looks like you've gained 11 pounds of lean muscle honestly. Wouldn't you think so, Melanie? I don't know that she's gained 11 pounds of lean muscle, but she was 115. She's now 126. 126 is on the low end of a healthy weight for 5’6”. It's definitely not overweight, it sounds like you are just-- I bet you are gorgeous. I don't know that there's a problem to solve, except that your body is different now and more muscular.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, my thoughts were that most of the weight gain is likely muscle, most likely. It's harder for women to quit on size when it comes to muscle. If we do put on size, it's usually in our legs, that's like our thighs.
Gin Stephens: That's where she's having the trouble.
Melanie Avalon: That's where it feels tight. I think that's probably what's going on is that you are gaining muscle in your legs.
Gin Stephens: She said her arms are quite muscular, she said.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, also that too. Yeah. Just as far as like, be getting bigger from an actual, size perception, changing how your clothes fit, that will probably happen in your thighs and your legs, which is what you're experiencing. It's possible that you just gained muscle, but also didn't really lose fat. So, your legs would just be-- I mean, they would just be getting bigger, that would just be understood. My suggestion would actually be because I am all for muscle, 100%. I think it's-- honestly, the more I researched the more experts I interview-- People don't really talk about this that much, but it's thought that insulin resistance actually starts at the muscle. It's the muscle that first-- I don't know if it's that the muscle becomes insulin resistant, or we lose muscle so we don't have a glucose sync, and so that becomes an issue but muscle is just so, so important for overall health.
What I would suggest actually is if you don't want this volume, so this bigger-ness and the jeans and everything like that, I would change the type of the exercise that you're doing. She said she's doing workouts, cycling, weight training, running, stairs, elliptical, kayak, swim. I don't know what type of weight training she's doing and stuff, but if she's doing the type of weight training that specifically, its purpose is to grow like your legs bigger with muscle, maybe don't focus on that as much, maybe focus on full body strength, maybe try yoga or something, something that will be more toning and supporting your current muscle, rather than necessarily building it per se. I think if you change the type of workouts you're doing--
Gin Stephens: Like a Pilates kind a thing maybe. Get long lean muscles.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, especially it sounds like she really likes working out. Just changing that-- Oh, and she's doing cycling.
Gin Stephens: This is the magic of human growth hormone. I'm serious. She's 51, putting on lean muscle. The more lean muscle that we can have as we age, the better.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. This is a good problem to have, I understand for your own personal preference that you don't aesthetically want it to be that way. Just change the type of exercise you're doing. But I would still support all of the strength exercise, just a different type. If she is doing the cycling, the hard type of cycling, that's going to build your thighs a lot. Speaking from experience, growing up, but yeah, awesome.
Gin Stephens: All right, we have a question from Laurel, and the subject is “Daily headaches while fasting.” She says, “Hi, Gin and Melanie. Thanks for creating such a fabulous resource for intermittent fasting. I began IF in 2018 after having my daughter to lose the baby weight and never looked back. On average, I typically do 18:6 or one meal a day, with an evening eating window. I found recently that in the afternoons, I started getting headaches. They're not horribly painful, but more just uncomfortable and distracting. I know that I'm fat adapted because I've been eating a mostly ketogenic diet for years and have been doing IF for almost three years. I also drink tons of water during the day, usually around 70 to 80 ounces at least. I also noticed that these headaches disappear when I eat a snack. So, it's something food related, but I don't know why I'm getting headaches if I'm used to fasting. Do you have any ideas what might be causing these? As a side note, I worked out for approximately 30 to 40 minutes five to six times per week, early in the morning, doing cardio or strength training. Thanks for your help.”
Melanie Avalon: All right, Laurel. Thank you for your question. I have two ideas of what this might be. The first one is what I think it more likely might be. I would place a bet on electrolytes being a thing, especially the more that I research electrolytes. I've been listening to a lot of Robb Wolf's interviews for his company, LMNT, which we have partnered with before. I just think electrolytes can be a huge issue for a lot of people, especially on keto diets, especially while fasting. The fact that it goes away when you eat would probably speak even more to that. What I would suggest doing, Laurel, if you go to drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast, you can get a free sampler pack of LMNT. It includes four different flavors, they have way more than four flavors, but their sample pack includes four flavors. The raw unflavored version, which is included in that sample pack is clean fast friendly. I would get that, try that, and see if that resolves the headaches. I feel like it will. I'm feeling like it will. If it doesn't, then it's likely something else.
The other thing I was thinking it might be some sort of detox thing. It could be a recent exposure to something that you had, or it could be that you're going into the detox phase and something that you're detoxing is creating the headaches, and the reason that it goes away when you eat is that you're stopping your detox process. Those are my two thoughts. What do you think, Gin?
Gin Stephens: Well, the thing is that she's been doing this since 2018. I would say, okay, what is different now? I would find it to be very unusual that you've been fine since 2018, and now all of a sudden, your electrolytes are out of balance.
Melanie Avalon: I actually do, if I could just jump in really quickly, because that's one of the reasons they formulated it, is that they saw this a lot with people.
Gin Stephens: Like people were fine, and then all of a sudden, their electrolytes got out of balance?
Melanie Avalon: Well, for a lot of people, it's an issue right at the beginning, but for other people, it will become an issue later.
Gin Stephens: Why is that? Why does it become an issue? 2018 is a long time. She's not a baby faster. What would make someone who's been fat adapted since 2018 all of a sudden have trouble with electrolytes? I understand if she started a new workout regimen, and she's sweating more, or if it's like summertime. I can understand that, but that's where I'm puzzled.
Melanie Avalon: I'm not an expert on it. I can research this more but I imagine there are just so many lifestyle factors. Electrolytes are involved in so many things in our body.
Gin Stephens: Or, if she upped her water lately, that would do it.
Melanie Avalon: That was another reason I thought it might be that is that if she's upping her water.
Gin Stephens: Or even if she changed, maybe she used to be drinking San Pellegrino or a mineral water and now she switched to plain water. Maybe she's missing some minerals that she was getting or maybe she changed her salt that she uses. I don't know, I guess it could be something like that. Something may have changed, or something has changed. If you know suddenly she's having an issue, that's what I think with that. Also, Laurel, please do not assume that it's because of fasting. Even if every time you eat your headache stops, headaches that start out of nowwhere when nothing else has changed should not be ignored. I want you to go to your doctor and say, “Hey, I've all of a sudden started having headaches, and I didn't change anything else. Nothing is different.” There's likely-- there is a reason that you're having the headaches, and so it's time to get to the bottom of that.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, 100%. I would definitely give you electrolytes a try as well. Oh, I forgot. I want to touch on the skin tags thing.
Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah. Go ahead. I forgot to talk about that.
Melanie Avalon: I did too. Listeners might think that I'm going to say Beautycounter or something, but no. Skin tags, I think it's pretty well accepted that they are from insulin resistance.
Gin Stephens: Yes, they are. That's very commonly discussed.
Melanie Avalon: Aren't they benign tumors on the skin technically, isn’t that what they are?
Gin Stephens: I haven't thought about that. I don't know. I haven't read about what they are. I know that they are associated with insulin resistance. We hear it all the time that people lost their skin tags after they become more insulin sensitive after doing intermittent fasting. It usually corresponds like A1c going down and things like that. We have confirmation that their bodies are healing metabolically.
Melanie Avalon: It's awesome that they-- she said they were cleared up or gone.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, they just fall right off. I've heard this hundreds, thousands of times, we've heard this.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow. I didn't realize they did that.
Gin Stephens: They do. This is one of those things. You know how we talked last week about gallbladder? We don't hear that all the time, but we hear skin tags all the time. We know that is a thing. The next question we're getting ready to talk about also we hear, so we know it's a thing.
Melanie Avalon: Well, we can go right into that.
Gin Stephens: Alrighty.
Melanie Avalon: We have a question from Diane, the subject is “Hair Loss.” Diane says, “First, let me say I'm new to this, and I've learned so much from you, ladies, you're amazing. Please keep up the good work. My question is, if you're not doing keto, does one meal a day contribute to hair loss or thinning? I have hypothyroidism, so thin hair is an issue for me to start with. I do take super collagen with C and biotin, magnesium with a good multivitamin. To be honest, that's why I stopped doing keto was because my hair got so thin. I tried to eat a medium carb way of eating to avoid this. However, we keep trying to lose the weight to be healthy and look better but losing our hair definitely doesn't help that. I don't have this issue currently but I keep seeing posts in the One Meal a Day Facebook page, and this freaks me out to go through this again.”
Gin Stephens: The thing to keep in mind is that anything that your body perceives as a stressor can cause your body to begin the hair fall process. The name of that is telogen effluvium, if that is why hair falls out. If you are going through telogen effluvium, you may have hair fall issues from stress. It happened to me when I was doing the keto diet in the summer of 2014. My hair started falling out. Obviously, my body felt the keto diet was a stressor. Then I stopped doing keto, and my hair grew back in. Here's the thing though, I've done a good deal of reading about this, once the hair fall process starts, it's too late. It's already had the stress and it has to run its course. There's nothing you can do at that point to make it stop falling out, it just has to keep doing it. It just keeps pushing out those hairs and the new ones are going to come in, if that is the reason you're losing your hair. You said you're not losing your hair, Diane, but could intermittent fasting cause as well if your body perceives it to be a stress, it could, it could happen.
It's a two- to three-month process from the time the stressor. Really, if you see that your hair is starting to fall out, this for anybody, if your hair all of a sudden, starts to fall like crazy, count back two to three months and say what happened two to three months ago. It could be really anything. It could have been death of a family member, it could have been a serious illness that you went through. It could have been really radically changing your diet, like going keto. It could be starting intermittent fasting. By the time you notice it, it's already too late to stop it. That's what I have to say about that. It does grow back. I didn't mean to say that, sorry. It comes back. You just have to let it happen. What's funny, Melanie, I guess it's not funny, but even with me when I did it, I didn't really know what was happening. I was like, “Oh my God, keto’s make my hair fall out, I'm quitting.” You start taking things, like biotin, and all these things, and then you're like, “Look, it fixed my hair.” Well, actually, if you do nothing, your hair is going to start growing back.
Melanie Avalon: If you do nothing, and you have adequate nutrition.
Gin Stephens: Well, that's true. Yeah, what I'm saying is we were like, “Well, I started taking these hair and nail vitamins, that must have been the trick. Really, it's a process and you come out the other side.
Melanie Avalon: I'm going to be interviewing an author named Ann Louise. I don't know how you say her last name. I think it's Ann Louise Gittleman. She's a New York Times bestselling author, but she has a new book coming out called Radical Longevity. She actually has a chapter just on hair. She talks about, Gin, what you just mentioned that the telogen, how do you say, effluvium?
Gin Stephens: Effluvium, is how I would say it. It could be totally different. When I look at, it look like telogen effluvium.
Melanie Avalon: Normal hair has two different phases. It has the antigen phase, and then that telogen phase. A normal hair when we're not experiencing this intense stress, she said, it lasts four to six years, and the antigen phase, and then for two to four months, it's in the telogen phase. The telogen phase after that is when it's shed, and when people get telogen effluvium, 70% of your hair around that switches over really fast to the telogen phase and it often happens after an intense stressor. That's why you automatically can lose all of this hair, which is very-- that can sound really scary, but it's reassuring in a way because it doesn't necessarily mean that you're destined to lose all your hair for life. It just means that those hairs switched over to that face, which is a phase, they're all going to hit at some point.
Gin Stephens: They do it sooner and at the same time, but it really is terrifying. I can remember how scary it was. I was like, “What is happening?” It comes out a lot when it's happening. Then for about a year, my hair looked thinner I have the photos of me going through that period of time, and then you get a lot of little baby hairs that start growing back in. That'd be a good time to get some bangs because you're going to have them anyway. [laughs] You get these little tiny baby hairs growing back. Now, my hair is thicker than ever. Did intermittent fasting make me have thin hair for life? No, actually, it was keto that was the stressor for me, but it can be anything like that, like I said.
Melanie Avalon: It's really reassuring because, again, it doesn't mean you're destined for that. The nutrition though, and the stress is key. In the priority list of processes in our body, our hair is not high on the priority list for our body to maintain. When we're in a really intense stress event, or if the fasting that we're doing is being perceived as too much of a stress, the hair is something that can be expendable. That's a reason that can happen. Important nutrition for your hair, you want to make sure that you have enough protein, adequate iron levels, zinc, B vitamins, essential fatty acids. I do think concentrated nutrition to support hair can be key, and likely, when you are growing it back, you want the nutrition to support it. Again, everything I just mentioned with the protein, a lot of people actually benefit a lot from bone broth, MSM, silica, of course, addressing your stress levels.
This also might be something where you could work with a practitioner and do nutrient testing to see if you're lacking in certain minerals or nutrients. We do know that she has hypothyroidism, so that is linked to hair issues. I mean, hair loss is one of the main symptoms I feel of hypothyroidism. It can also be hormonal, so that would be where you'd want to work with a practitioner familiar with hormones and addressing that.
Gin Stephens: Don't be afraid that it's going to happen. I don't want anybody listening, like Diane said, “It's not happening to me, but I thought that it could, and now I'm really worried about it.” Ironically, stressing about the stress could cause the stress that leads to the stress. So, nobody worry about this. Don't worry about it.
Melanie Avalon: One of my really good friends right now who's my age is experiencing this and I feel so bad for her. It's been wrecking her, the amount of stress that she has about it on top of it, but she actually ordered-- this is something that the clinical trials have shown. If you have a Joovv device or if you have red light therapy, you can use that. They also make actual caps that concentrate the red light on your head, and she actually just ordered one of those. I'm really excited to see if it helps her. You can also do microneedling with stem cells and that has been shown to help. Can be pretty expensive, but it's definitely something to look into.
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Gin Stephens: We have a question from Cindus. That's a beautiful name. Is that how you would say it, Melanie?
Melanie Avalon: I always think Cinda because of Cinderella.
Gin Stephens: She says, “I have a sensitive stomach. I've been trying to follow the low FODMAP, which is gluten free and no dairy products. Any recommendations? There is a lot of food that irritates me, I need to lose at least 50 pounds. Thank you, Cindus.”
Melanie Avalon: All right, Cindus, thank you so much for your question. I'm actually pulling up my app right now because it's interesting because you said low FODMAP, which is gluten free and no dairy products. Dairy products are actually usually not that high in FODMAPs. That's a blanket statement, some are. I don't know if she's doing low FODMAP and no dairy, or if she's doing--
Gin Stephens: It sounds like she is. I think maybe I've read it with the wrong emphasis. She's doing low FODMAP, which is gluten free and no dairy products, I think I might have read the emphasis incorrectly.
Melanie Avalon: That makes sense. Recommendations, and she wants to lose at least 50 pounds. I will say that when you have a sensitive stomach and foods are being inflammatory for you. Actual fat loss aside, finding the foods that are not inflammatory for your body can actually have a huge effect on weight loss. That's exciting for two main reasons. One is that losing the actual water weight from the inflammation can be huge. Then also, an inflammatory state is counterproductive for weight loss just because of the signaling that's going on. So, I'm very excited for you, Cindus, to find the diet that works for you. My recommendations are to get my app. You can get that at melanieavalon.com/foodsenseguide because it has gluten, it has FODMAPs, it has 11 compounds total of foods that have compounds that can be potentially inflammatory for people, and then also has AIP, if you ever want to try an autoimmune paleo approach.
As far as how to approach this, when you're trying to figure out what foods are working for you, I think it can be very beneficial in the beginning to commit to the things that you want to test. If you're trying low FODMAP, do low FODMAP and know that it's going to be-- it might be temporary, it might not be for life, but it's just so that you can find those foods that are working for you, because when we're taking in a lot of factors when it comes to food, like a lot of different types of foods, it can be hard to ascertain what's working and what's not. If low FODMAP, gluten free, no dairy is what you want to try, then embracing it with excitement, get my app, find the foods that you love that fall within that category. Then research recipes for that. If you get my book What When Wine, I have 50 recipes in that book and a lot of them, they're all gluten free. Then they're noted if they're low FODMAP, and they are noted if they're dairy free, so there's ideas in there. You can join my Facebook group, IF Biohackers, and ask in there for recipe ideas, but I always think of it is really exciting because it's like, “Oh, I find the foods that you love, I love these foods, and there's so many fun things that you can try.” You also might benefit from supporting digestion with HCl, depending on how your actual digestion is going down. That can help break down proteins and fats pretty well. Also, digestive enzymes can help a lot of people. We work with BiOptimizers a lot and they make a really good HCl supplement. They also make MassZymes supplement that might help. Yeah, there's a lot of potential. For a code for BiOptimizers, they are also a supporter on this episode. In the show notes, find the timestamp for the BiOptimizers ad and there'll be a code in there for a discount. Gin, what are your thoughts?
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I got nothing else to add to that.
Melanie Avalon: Quick reframe for people with sensitive stomachs. You can get excited because you're like the canary in the coalmine, or your stomach is like the canary in the coal mine and your stomach is telling you right away that food is not likely benefiting your health. So, it can be a nice thing.
Gin Stephens: You're listening to your body.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. Right. Shall we do one more question?
Gin Stephens: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: All right. This question comes from Allie. The subject is “Autophagy and Me.” Allie says, “Hi, Gin and Melanie, I only recently stumbled upon your podcast and it is wonderfully informative. Thank you for all the information you provide during every show. I've been intermittent fasting since August 2020. I started IF not for the weight loss, but for the healing aspects. I am 36 years old and I have a rare autoimmune disease called granulomatosis with polyangiitis that I take medication for on a weekly basis. My end goal is to heal myself through IF so well that I won't need medication anymore. My question is, it seems in general, autophagy is not achieved unless a longer fast is done. That it is the next level unlocked after ketosis. I know I reach ketosis during my fast and I really want to help my body heal but I just don't want to fast for longer than 24 hours. It does not appeal to me.
Longer fasting seems to be the best route to obtaining autophagy. I usually fast for 20:4 every day and I feel it is a good balance for me. I know everyone's journey is different. I am wondering if my journey of self-healing can only be accomplished if I do a longer fasts such as 24 hours plus, healing occurs during ketosis. Autophagy on a whole different level of healing, my concern is that I'm not optimizing my best options to get to my end goal of no medications, just looking for the best route. Can I still reach autophagy level healing if I only reach ketosis level over an extended period of time, if that makes sense? For example, if I continue just doing 20:4 fasts every day, will eventually have the same amount of healing as if I were to incorporate a 24 plus hour fast into my routine once or twice a week? I know the longer I continue my IF journey, the more healing can happen. Will slow and steady win this race for me too? Thanks.”
Gin Stephens: This question, Allie, shows the level of confusion that's out in the world about autophagy. There's one graphic that is just so terrible that people have been sharing for years. It used to be a typed piece of paper and there’s was a photocopy everyone was sharing, or a screenshot of it or something. Then people made it pretty, it was the same exact information from that typed piece of paper, but someone made it into like graphics, and it said, “Autophagy begins at 24 hours.” That is not true. [laughs] Autophagy is not like that.
First of all, let's think about autophagy and what it is. It is the way our bodies scrounge around for old stuff hanging around when we've got no new things coming in. It's natural, it's what our bodies are supposed to do. Do you think that our bodies have processes in place that require us to fast for 24, 36, 48 hours? No. Our body is supposed to be able to do what it needs to do when it needs to do, just in and out. For some reason, the misconception here in your question is that there's a timeline like, “Oop, now I'm in ketosis. Oop, autophagy comes later.” That's not how it works. Autophagy and ketosis happen in the same state of nothing coming in.
Instead of a light switch, imagine you've got two dimmer switches, maybe and instead of just on off, it's like you're going up and down. Ketosis and autophagy are happening in the same state, they're not the same thing. Autophagy is one thing, ketosis is another thing. But when one is ramping up, the other is ramping up at the same time. Everybody experiences autophagy, even people who are not fasting. The misconception of unless you're fasting 24, 36, 48 hours, you have zero autophagy is so incorrect. But we have increased autophagy that goes along with the state of ketosis because they both happen when you get to that same state in the body, that fasted state when your body has to start rummaging around. Your cells start rummaging around for those junky proteins, that's autophagy. Your body starts to dig into your fat stores to fuel your brain, that's ketosis. But they're all happening at the same time. There was something else I was going to say, and I forgot what it was, but maybe I'll remember.
Melanie Avalon: It makes sense why she thinks this because it is the way it's put out there like you were saying. She thinks that it's ketosis, and then autophagy. When actually, if anything, it's the reverse because ketosis is not happening 24/7. Autophagy is happening 24/7.
Gin Stephens: That's true. Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: There is some level of autophagy always happening.
Gin Stephens: But if you're eating all the time, it slows it down. Oh, I know what I was going to say, I thought of it. A lot of things increase autophagy, fasting is one of them. Coffee is linked to increase autophagy. Exercise is linked to increase autophagy. So, if you want to have increased autophagy, drink some coffee while walking on a treadmill during the fast, I'm making a joke there, but you get my point.
Melanie Avalon: I have written down. I had written down, exercise, coffee.
Gin Stephens: [laughs] Yeah, I knew that I had something else in my brain. I'm glad I found that again.
Melanie Avalon: For listeners who are not familiar, we just jumped right into it. Autophagy is basically when your body finds old broken proteins in your body and basically breaks them down, recycles them, to create new things. It's a really great cleanup process for your body. Like we said, it's going on 24/7, to some extent. It just ramps up significantly with fasting, ramps up in exercise, coffee supports it. Everything Gin said is spot on and exactly what I was going to say. Only two things I would add would be, if you want to get heightened autophagy while still maintaining a 24-hour fast, you could do a day. She doesn't mention what she's eating. That was actually the second of the two things, so I'll just say them both.
She's talking about wanting to recover or put her autoimmune disease into remission, which I completely support, and I think that's wonderful, your goals about getting off of the medication. I don't know at all what you're eating, but I would make that a primary focus and the healing aspect. If it's just fasting, I don't know that everybody-- if they're eating foods in their eating window that are in favor of-- I don't know if encouraging is the right word, but encouraging the autoimmune disease. I don't know fasting alone would be enough to reverse it. So, I would definitely, definitely take a look at your food choices if you haven't already. Again, I already mentioned that app, Food Sense Guide, but it does have autoimmune paleo approach, which a lot of people find shocking success in reversing autoimmune conditions. So, that might be something to try. Again, the link for that is melanieavalon.com/foodsenseguide. That was the one thing.
The second thing was, if you did want to get heightened autophagy, you could do a day where your eating window is very, very low protein. I'm not encouraging this please, listeners, friends. I'm not saying do low-protein diet in general. I'm not saying do this every day. I think a higher protein diet is super, super important for so many things, health, body composition, weight loss, just so many things, but the occasional day of very low protein will ramp up autophagy, especially if you're combining it with fasting. If you want to do a little hack and try to get an autophagy day without fasting longer, that's what I would suggest doing, especially since autophagy seems to be something she wants to play with. Any other thoughts, Gin?
Gin Stephens: No, I think that all sounds good.
Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. A few things for listeners before we go. If you'd like to submit your own questions for the show, you can directly email firstname.lastname@example.org or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. The show notes which I feel like are very important for today's show, those will be at ifpodcast.com/episode210. You can follow us on Instagram, see my pictures of the cryotherapy. Oh, my goodness. You can see Gin's cats and Gin's food [laughs] and Gin's house. Yeah, anything else, Gin, before we go?
Gin Stephens: No, I think that's it.
Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, this was absolutely wonderful, and I will talk to you next week.
Gin Stephens: All right, talk to you then. 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.
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