Welcome to Episode 211 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.
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24:40 - Listener Feedback: Leah - Gin’s New Social Network
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Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 211 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 211 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: Well, I'm still at the beach, so that lets you know I'm good. I'm going home tomorrow. I've just enjoyed this week so very much. I was going to go home on Saturday. It is now Sunday, and I'm not going home till Monday. Chad was so sad. I was like, “Oh,” because my sister decided to come down, and then I need just a little more time. I was like, “I'll be home Monday.” He's like, “What? You were coming home on Saturday,” but anyway.
Melanie Avalon: So relaxing.
Gin Stephens: It is. Yeah, I've been doing a lot of work. I had things I needed to do here at the beach property, but, well, I'm recording a podcast. I just recorded an ad for something else. I'm working. To me, this is relaxing. It's my kind of relaxing. [chuckles]
Melanie Avalon: Getting your vitamin D levels?
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I am getting my vitamin D. That is true.
Melanie Avalon: Did I tell you I got my vitamin D tested, and I way overshot everything?
Gin Stephens: Like it's high?
Melanie Avalon: Yes.
Gin Stephens: Well, I don't know that you can have too much vitamin D.
Melanie Avalon: I've been researching it. I don't think so. I don't want to make that blanket statement. Basically, there's only been as far as toxicity studies with vitamin D, there's been, I think, like two, and they were massive, major doses, like things that people would not be doing, but I am going to hold off. I feel like all my vitamin D levels-- because I was 30, which is low and now I'm like 130. Have you had yours tested?
Gin Stephens: Not for a long time. The last time I had mine tested, it was low, but I had not been supplementing, and it was like I'd not been in the sun, because it was wintery.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I guess I'll err on the side of having more rather than less. It's so important, the vitamin D.
Gin Stephens: Well, I think so for immunity, I just watched a video, it was a doctor talking about immunity, and he said seasonal cold and flu season-- not to mention coronavirus obviously, but seasonal cold and flu season is very much seasonal low vitamin D season. So, just keeping our vitamin D up is really one of the best things we can do for immunity of all types.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'll actually put a link in the show notes, and I talked about this before on the show, but I did a guest blog post on Sunlighten’s blog, and I did a section on vitamin D with a lot of the studies on COVID, and things like that. It's a very intense correlation.
Gin Stephens: Now I couldn't find, does Sunlighten sauna increase your vitamin D?
Melanie Avalon: No, sorry. I'm glad you said that to clarify.
Gin Stephens: I looked for that and couldn't find anything that indicated that. If it does, that's really exciting, [laughs] but I thought the answer was no, because I looked it up.
Melanie Avalon: They asked that about Sunlighten infrared, and they asked that about like red light Joovv devices. No, those do not create vitamin D.
Gin Stephens: I got excited for a minute, because I was like, “Well, I could be wrong. Maybe I missed it.”
Melanie Avalon: No, they have a health and wellness blog. We have a link for them for our show. I think so.
Gin Stephens: Well. If not, we need one. I love my Sunlighten sauna.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, so for listeners, you can go to ifpodcast.com/sunlighten, and the coupon code, IFPODCAST, gets you whatever their deal is for us. I think it's like $200 off on sauna and free shipping, which is insane.
Gin Stephens: I'm so glad I invested in that sauna. I love it.
Melanie Avalon: It's so great.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I got the three person that you can get in, and it is-- I wouldn't get in there with two other people. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I actually, because I have the solo unit, the one that you lay down in for the first time, because the place where I'm doing my almost daily cryotherapy, they have an infrared sauna. They actually have a Clearlight, which I like that brand too. I realized I hadn't sat in one of those.
Gin Stephens: Really?
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. It's a different experience, being in the cabin unit.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. It's nice and it has a tablet in there, so I can watch TV while I'm using it. You may not want to do that, but I can. I have it on like Discovery+, because I'm watching Discovery+ right now. I'll go in there, and put on an episode or something, and set the timer, and just watch one episode, and then get on out. That's been my new morning routine, at home, not at the beach, because I don't have one at the beach, but get in the sauna, first thing in the morning, use it, then go get in the shower.
Melanie Avalon: It's so funny how we do it opposite. It's the last thing I do. I brought my phone though, into the Clearlight one, and then I was like, “Oh, I think I'm killing my phone.” [giggles] It got really hot. I felt like I was on the struggle bus when I got out the phone.
Gin Stephens: You really aren't supposed to heat those phones up, that's true. For me, now that I'm no longer on Facebook, I used to feel the stress of being in there because I'm like, “What's happening? I'm 45 minutes in the sauna, and I don't know what people were doing in the groups,” but now I'm just like, “I didn't take my phone in. I just got in.” It was so nice.
Melanie Avalon: For listeners, when you have the solo unit that I have, it's hard to describe, but it's like-- I don't want to say a coffin, but you lay down--
Gin Stephens: Like a big sleeping bag?
Melanie Avalon: Yes, that's a good example. A big one so it's not touching you and your head is actually out of it. I have a whole setup. I got this arm to hold a phone, so I can hold the phone over me, and I can read while I'm in it. It's relaxing and productive, and [sighs] one of my favorite things. Guess who I interviewed yesterday?
Gin Stephens: Well, I don't know.
Melanie Avalon: Marty Kendall.
Gin Stephens: Oh, I love Marty Kendall. Yay. Isn't he awesome?
Melanie Avalon: He's amazing, and he was going on and on. He'll probably listen to this. [laughs] It was really wonderful, because I really respect him, and I have for a long time, and he really respects us, and he has for a long time. It's this really cool, mutual respect thing. We were bonding over the fact that neither he nor I, we're not doctors or nutritionists. He's an engineer. I'm an actor, podcaster author, I don't even know.
Gin Stephens: You're a biohacker.
Melanie Avalon: A biohacker. [laughs] Is that my identity label? I guess so. Yes, but, oh, my goodness. Listeners, I can't wait till I air this episode, because it's going to be the resource episode that I refer listeners to now for the misconceptions surrounding keto and insulin and ketones and all of that. We talked for two hours, and we just dived in so deep, but I think it's going to be so valuable just to refer listeners to it.
Gin Stephens: He is brilliant.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, he's amazing.
Gin Stephens: What I love about him is that he started off thinking certain things, the conventional keto wisdom that we've all read hundred times, but then he realized over time, wait a minute, no, and then he did the work, and has done the actual trials, and he worked with people who are-- I don't mean trials like clinical trials, but they've tried it out, seen what happened, measured things.
Melanie Avalon: I'm trying to remember. I asked him at the end like, “What was the thing that he most changed his mind about?” I try to remember exactly, because we talked about all of this for two hours, so it's all running together.
Gin Stephens: Was it eating a lot of fat?
Melanie Avalon: It was either eating a lot of fat is the key, or it was like that keeping insulin low is the thing, something involving all of that. The idea of constant low insulin or--
Gin Stephens: Right, because we do want insulin to be low during the fast when we're fasting, but the body is so much more complicated.
Melanie Avalon: One of the things we talked about that I think most people do not realize, and even I'm prepping right now to interview Gary Taubes for the case for keto, and I was asking Marty. I've been asking every single authority figure or researcher in this area. What should I ask Gary? I was asking Marty, what would he ask Gary, and one of the things was the difference between basal and bolus insulin, because so many people think that we just release insulin with food and that it's on or off, but the majority of our insulin, I think 80% or something, well, it depends on what diet you're following, but the majority is the insulin, that's just always there.
Gin Stephens: He said that's interesting that he said 80%, I remember a Butter Bob blog post and video, he said, “50%.” I don’t know.
Melanie Avalon: It ranges--
Gin Stephens: Yeah, Butter Bob said 50% of your insulin that you've got circulating is just your natural--
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, and it ranges majorly, since it's a percent, not a specific number. While the specific number of the insulin while fasting might not change, the amount of insulin released when eating might change, depending on the macronutrients. The percentage would change based on your macros, but even though that percentage changes, that doesn't necessarily mean it's changing the amount of insulin necessarily during the fast, while the percentage would change. That was complicated. Did listeners follow that? [giggles]
Gin Stephens: Well, I get that, because the math, as numbers change, percentages change. The range is different, the range changes.
Melanie Avalon: The number might just change for the food based on your macros, but not so much for the fast. One number would change, it could drastically change the percent, but not drastically changed the amount of insulin that you have outside of eating,
Gin Stephens: Those are all ballpark numbers anyway, 50%, 80%. Those are not going to be set in stone for any anyone person, because we're all so different.
Melanie Avalon: 100%. That's what he was saying about the case for keto was that, and I need to revisit it with this lens, but I think the majority of what he talks about is he really just looks at the insulin in response to food. Well, no, because he talks about the baseline insulin state of given individual and smelling foods, I don't know, there's so much. Listeners, I will put this in the study. I found-- I didn't find it. James Clement, who I've had on the show, sent it to me. This amazing new study came out, it's a review. It came out March 26th, so pretty recently, and it's called 100th Anniversary of the Discovery of Insulin Perspective: Insulin and Adipose Tissue Fatty Acid Metabolism. Oh, my goodness, it's blowing my mind. I'm going to have to read it 20 times. It dives really deep into the role of insulin and fat storage and fat release, and there's some really great quotes in there, basically saying with eating fat, specifically, insulin is not necessarily the primary or only factor involving fat storage, and all of these other things can create fat storage as well, and it lists examples of meal fat content, meal timing.
Gin Stephens: We knew that. We knew that already. Or, you and I knew that because- [laughs] but the misconception out there is I don't know why, why it makes no sense that your body can't store fat from fat you eat. I've seen people say that.
Melanie Avalon: It says for example, “Thus, factors other than insulin play more important roles to stimulate adipose tissue uptake,” so that means our bodies taking up fat and “storage of meal fatty acids, including meal fat content, [laughs] rate of meal fat appearance and circulation, repeated meal intake, lower body fat distribution, sex hormones, and other postprandial hormonal responses.”
Gin Stephens: Yep. Really, I think people get it mixed up. Insulin is antilipolytic, I love that word, meaning that, if you have really high levels of insulin, it's hard to be in a really good fat burning state with really high levels of insulin. But that doesn't mean that with low levels of insulin, you cannot store fat. That's the thing that people get mixed up, “Oh, high levels of insulin can't burn fat, low levels of insulin must mean I can't store fat.” No.
Melanie Avalon: 100%, and also with the storing fat, people think, “Oh, fat doesn't release insulin that much, so that must mean it can't be stored,” but the reason it doesn't release that much insulin is because it is easily stored. It's literally the opposite.
Gin Stephens: I was talking on a podcast for Intermittent Fasting Stories. I was interviewing Joel and Renee, a mother-son team of intermittent fasters, they both do intermittent fasting. It was a great episode. We were talking about, “What I would do if I needed to lose weight?” and I said, “I would eat less fat,” because I know how my body is. This was a long time ago before I even knew I cleared fat slowly, but I just knew based on my response results for keto, that my body didn't do well with a lot of fat. I said in that interview, “I would just put less butter on my bread, I would not use as much butter in my cooking, I would lower my fat.” Somebody actually wrote to me and said, “You're wrong. Fat is not the enemy. You cannot store fat,” and I’m like “What?” It just shows me that people are really confused.
Melanie Avalon: Yesterday on Instagram, I'm really trying to get-- I don't know how to say his last name Max Lugavere, the Genius Foods guy. [laughs] He wrote a book called Genius Foods, which is amazing, and then a new book called The Genius Life. I really want to bring him on the show, and people have been asking, and I've been emailing his assistant, but he's not responding. I've been trying to comment on his Instagram stuff to get his attention, but he posted something the other day that was all of these misconceptions about diet, I'm just looking at it right now. It's like eggs are unhealthy, meat is unhealthy, avoid salt, sugar is fine. And then, the next one is fat makes you fat, and then use refined cooking oils and all these different things. I commented and I said, the only one that I think about a lot is the fat makes you fat, because when you're storing fat, probably the majority of it was from fat, not carbs or protein. It's like did the carbs make you fat, or did carbs create an environment that allowed the fat to make you fat?
Gin Stephens: That's a good way of putting it. Had you eaten nothing but fat? For me, yes, you can still store fat. Even Dr. Fung has a blog post about this, where a lot of people didn't want to read it. You know how you put your hands in your ears, you go la, la, [laughs] when you don't want to hear something? He wrote a blog post a long time ago that said, “Who should have bulletproof coffee and fat bombs,” and he was like, “If you're trying to lose fat, not you.” People didn't really read that one or want to hear it.
Melanie Avalon: So many people do say that fat doesn't make you fat, but I feel in most of the cases, it is the fat that's becoming fat. The hormonal environment is determining whether or not it is, so or to what extent it is.
Gin Stephens: I'll never know what happens if you eat nothing but 100% fats, I don't want to do that. It makes me feel yucky. [laughs] It might be hard to overeat fat to that degree, because you're just like, “Gross, I'm done,” but I don't know.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. If you just ate-- Now, I'm thinking of tangents. If you just ate the C8 MCT oil, I don't think you would get fat. I don't think they would get stored.
Gin Stephens: I think it would make me really sick.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, yes, it would make [laughs] if that’s all you ate.
Gin Stephens: [laughs] Fine. Honestly, I don't know that I'd be able to eat enough of it to get it down, if I could choke it down enough to know if it would make me gain fat, because I wouldn't be able to consume it in that level. That's the thing. It wouldn't be enjoyable. Eww, ugh. [laughs] Anyway, it's interesting question.
Melanie Avalon: Also, oh, wait, one really last thing. I interviewed Dr. Gundry, recently, for his book. It's The Energy Paradox, because he's always got to use the word ‘paradox.’ [laughs] What he talks about a lot is mono diets in his book.
Gin Stephens: Does he like mono diets?
Melanie Avalon: I got so excited. For the longest time, I have thought if you do a mono diet, if something, so just protein or just carbs or just fat, which not so much the fat one, but it makes it very hard to gain weight in such a situation. He talks about the benefits of temporary mono diets basically because they allow the system to clear out, because there's not all these competing fuels. Though his book is about healing your mitochondria, it's a really good book. I learned so much about the mitochondria. It made me so happy, because I was like, “This is what I think about a lot.” He actually advocates intermittent fasting, opening your window with a monotype diet, and then having your second meal later be not a mono diet. I'll put a link in the show notes to his book, and any of the interviews I have done when this comes out, I don't think any of them will have aired though.
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Melanie Avalon: Shall we jump into everything for today?
Gin Stephens: Yes, let's get started.
Melanie Avalon: All right, so to start things off, we just have some very brief listener feedback supportive listener feedback from Leah. The subject is “Gin's New Social Network.” Leah says, “Gin,” and then she says in parentheses “and Melanie”. “I just wanted to tell you thank you so much for starting your own social platform. I got off Facebook this year, and I am so excited to reconnect on your platform. Also, I want to tell you both that I am so inspired by what you have created. I have plans to start a podcast, and create content in the future, and you're both such an inspiration to me. Thanks, Leah.”
Gin Stephens: Well, thank you, Leah. It's dddsocialnetwork.com, for Delay, Don't Deny, that's what the Ds are. dddsocialnetwork.com, and I'm really enjoying it. Like I mentioned before, my life is so much calmer now, because not having to manage half a million Facebook members, [laughs] and the posting. I'm going on in the morning to the DDD Social Network, and I'm going in the evening, a couple times a day, and also, I'm checking my emails, because I get instant emails, if someone posts in the 28-Day FAST Start group or the Ask Gin group. I'm responding to those throughout the day, but it's so much less stressful, so much less pressure. For new intermittent fasters, Melanie, I'm having so much fun coaching them in the 28-Day FAST Start group. People are like, “I'm on day 10,” and they're talking about it. It's exciting to see so many brand-new people joining. It's not just for brand-new people, we have lots of experienced fasters too, but I like to see we're starting fresh with new fasters. Also, just like Leah said, a lot of people who had left Facebook, but missed the support. The long-term fasters who were not on Facebook, but missed the community, so now they can have the community again. It really is exciting.
Melanie Avalon: I'll set up an email that I use just with that group, and then I can set it up to have alerts just for my little group in it, because I went in there the other day, and I was like, “Oh, there's all this stuff.” Like, if there's a group for me in there, I didn't even realize-- Oh, I did realize.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, but you hadn't really poked around.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Gin Stephens: It's so different than Facebook. This is the thing that confuses some people, because they think it's going to be Facebook 2.0 or something, and it's not, because we're used to Facebook serving up the content to us-- I've been on Facebook, or I was on Facebook since 2008 or something, and Facebook decided what you would see, and it showed it to you, and served it up, and you became a consumer of the information Facebook wanted you to see. Versus here on the DDD Social Network--
Melanie Avalon: You're creating the content.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, and you decide where you want to go, and what you want to engage with. You want to see the Melanie Avalon Biohacker Podcast group, you go to it. Some people are like, “Wait, I just wanted to show it to my eyeballs.” We're like, “No, that's not how it works. You’ve got to go there.’”
Melanie Avalon: If I did that, if I create an email, could I get alerts just for--
Gin Stephens: Yeah, you change it to instant on the settings for each group. I don't have every group I'm in set to instant. Just the ones I never want to miss something in. I never want to miss anything in Ask Gin, and I never want to miss anything in the 28-Day FAST Start. But I don't really care what they're doing in the Melanie Avalon Biohacking group, so I do not get instant notifications there. [laughs] Then, they go to your email, and then it's very easy. You just go to your email and go click, and then it takes you right to it. From that click, it takes you right to that post, and then you can respond to it. It's so easy.
The notifications are different than Facebook notifications, but they're way-- and there's more of them, because it doesn't group them together. You know how in Facebook it groups them together? If 20 people commented, it would group them together as one notification, here you get 20 notifications, but it just takes you to the post when you click on it, but they're less buggy.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. Perfect. For listeners, we'll put a link to that in the show notes, and then I always just want to clarify, I still have my Facebook groups. Those are still the place for all of my content. Those are IF Biohackers, Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare, and then I have a Lumen group, but you can just search Melanie Avalon in Facebook.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, and I also still have the big Delay, Don't Deny: Intermittent Fasting support group. I'm just not there. The moderators are running it, and you can ask questions on Ask a Moderator. Today, we got, “Does alcohol break a fast?” [laughs] The answer is yes. But the moderators are handling those questions. It's just the basic questions. If you need more support and you want me to walk you through the 28 Day Fast Start, you need to be at the DDD Social Network.
Melanie Avalon: Perfect.
Gin Stephens: All right, well, we have something from Alicia in Phoenix, and the subject is “IF and Dreams.” She says, “Hello, and happy day to you both. Intermittent fasting is fairly new to my lifestyle. Clean fasting for only six weeks after reading Gin's book, Fast. Feast. Repeat. Since finding your podcast, I've been learning tons. So, thank you so much for your continued efforts in bringing all the new and emerging research on the subject. My question is about dreams returning after little to no dreaming for years. Have you heard about this or think it's connected? If so, how? It was a rare occurrence for me to have a dream, now they're nightly. Since starting IF, I've been experiencing better sleep. I'm feeling more rested, and notice I wake less often at night. I'm super happy about this delightful side effect and would appreciate any thoughts you might have as to the mechanism of how this is happening. Maybe hormone balancing, deeper REM sleep?
Side note, here's a little info about myself and my eating window/pattern. I'm 5’5” and weigh 126 pounds. I started eating intuitively in 2019 after starting a daily yoga routine. Whole foods, lots of plants, cutting out what made my body unhappy, i.e., processed and sugar foods. I was inadvertently doing IF, but not clean, waiting to eat until after my noon yoga session. I lost the 30 pounds I needed to within a nine-month period, but a couple creeped back on when I started loosening my strict no-sweets policy.
Oh, a little tangent here. It made me laugh when I heard, Gin talk about her love for black bean brownies on a recent episode. They are my favs.” Yep, me too, Alicia. They're so good. People think they sound weird if they haven't ever had them. That's just a little side note there. [chuckles]
Melanie Avalon: What's funny is, it doesn't even remotely strike me as weird. I'm like, “Oh yeah.”
Gin Stephens: It's so good. [laughs] All right, Alicia says, “Black bean variety are the best, and I've tried many, many types of alternative whole food brownies. Anyhoo, those couple pounds fell off after adopting the IF lifestyle. It was fairly easy at first, except the black coffee since my DNA report shows, I'm more likely to detect bitter taste like Gin, but I've grown to like it. Clean fasting ever since. My fasts last from 19 to 23 hours, although my average is 21, i.e., until I feel good, always some veggies, and usually something sweet to close my window. When I'm being good, it's dates, yum. When I'm splurging, it could be ice cream or a cannoli. Not often do I get those, probably for the best. Never feeling guilty. Thanks in advance. Lots of love to you ladies, Alicia. Oh, and I also have an Oura ring and love it.”
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I missed that. I didn't see that part.
Gin Stephens: Oh, by the way, I had ice cream yesterday, and it was amazing. [laughs] I'm at the beach with my sister, ice cream was on the menu. We did a lot of walking, we were shopping, and then we went and walked around a place called Brookgreen Gardens, which is just beautiful. It's spring and they have all these gardens, it's a place to see. Oh, I saw an owl. A baby owl.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, you saw baby owl?
Gin Stephens: There's a baby owl, and they had something called Live Oak Alley. The baby owl was up in the tree, and all these people were taking pictures of it, like professional photos, and it was just so fluffy and cute, and it was big, anyway.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, how big is a baby owl?
Gin Stephens: It's whatever, a big kind of owl is. It's a big species of owl. I can't remember the species that it is. Whatever they have down here in South Carolina that are really big, it's that. The baby is as big as the adult of some species of owls. It was so cute up in that tree. Anyway, tangent, sorry.
Melanie Avalon: It's appropriate, because owls and dreams at night.
Gin Stephens: Well, that's true. My point was I ate the ice cream, then I walked a lot. I didn't have restless legs, I didn't have any ill effects. I slept great. That was the good news.
Melanie Avalon: Well, I really, really love this question. I'm so happy for you. It sounds like she's really found the diet and lifestyle that works for her, which is awesome. She has her Oura ring, which is awesome. For your question, I actually asked Dr. Kirk Parsley, who is a sleep expert who I've had on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast multiple times. I sent him your question. Here is his answer.
“Her sleep is almost certainly improved by improving insulin sensitivity and tighter glucose control, increased dreaming and more memories of dreams as a second order consequence of better sleep, and epiphenomenon.” I asked do people dream even when they don't remember it, he said, “Yes, remembering dreams depends a lot on waking and temporal proximity to the dream. Basically, it's most likely that your sleep is getting better, because of all of the health changes with your insulin regulation that you've experienced with intermittent fasting, and then it sounds like we do always dream, but whether or not remember it has to do with the timing of when we wake up.” That's a short answer, but do you have thoughts, Gin?
Gin Stephens: No, that's what I was going to say as well. We do always dream, whether you remember it or not, and that people don't know that because if you don't remember it, you're not aware you dreamed, but you did.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. You can still have increased dreaming and more memories of them, because you're getting better sleep. Shall we go on to our next question?
Gin Stephens: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: All right, this question comes from Britt and the subject is “ADF, or one meal a day, or both.” Britt says, “Hi, ladies. Love your podcasts and books. I'm a postmenopausal 53-year-old, and currently weigh around 190 pounds. I lost weight in 2010. I was 256 pounds, and she went to 132 pounds after a gastric sleeve, and I kept it off mostly until about two years ago by focusing on protein and veggies and incorporating fasting after discovering Dr. Fung. Between COVID and a foot injury, I regained a considerable amount of weight last year, so I'm starting this back on track with fasting. I have no trouble fasting on a daily basis 16 to 24 hours. It didn't seem like I was losing consistently, but I don't have the data to look back at. Now, I've got 60 plus pounds to re-lose.
After hearing Megan Ramos mention that 36 to 42 hours often works better for women, I decided to give it a try. I find it a lot harder to go the full 36 to 42 hours. Not physically, I don't have much hunger until the very end, but it's been fairly difficult mentally. I've struggled with feelings of deprivation and find myself thinking about eating at the end of the first day probably, two out of every three fasting cycles. I'm wondering what advice you might have. Is it really worth pushing myself to do the three longer cycles per week? Is there that much of a difference in weight loss? Do I kick off the year with ADF, and go for maximum weight loss? Start every fast with something like a 20-hour goal, and keep going if my head is in the right place that day? Just do a longer fast one day a week, and work my way back up to three, or kick back to one meal a day and save ADF for a future stall?” Those are a lot of options. She thought this through. She says, “Insight appreciated.”
Gin Stephens: All right, so there's a lot to unpack in there. First of all, I want to say, this is my experience, me. I lost 75 of my 80-ish pounds-- since I don't know what I weigh exactly, we'll say 80-ish. I lost the first 75 with a daily eating window, not doing any ADF or longer fasts during that period of time. I didn't do really ADF. I'd done it way before in earlier tries with fasting back in that 2009 to 2014 struggle period. When I wasn't consistent with anything, I would dabble in eating window, and I would dabble in alternate day fasting and nothing really stuck, so I wasn't consistent, but when I did finally get consistent and lose the weight in 2014 to 2015, it was with the daily eating window approach.
When you say, “works better,” well, that worked fine for me. It was after The Obesity Code came out when I was already in maintenance, but struggling with a little bit of weight regain, which I blame on the fact that I was not fasting clean, because I didn't understand all of that until after I read The Obesity Code, and then I switched to the clean fast, lost the weight I had regained, but right after I read The Obesity Code, I did start doing a 4:3 approach, because he doesn't really have a plan in the book, in The Obesity Code except the appendix at the back, he does have like a 4:3 kind of, where you're doing like three-- Like, you said that Megan Ramos mentioned three 36- to 42-hour fast per week, so that's what I did. I'm like, “Well, that's what he says, so I'm going to do it.”
I did it. I did re-lose, it was about eight pounds that I had regained, I did re-lose those doing that approach, and I also had switched to the clean fast. Did I re-lose those eight pounds, because I was doing ADF or, the 4:3 approach or did I lose them because I was finally fast and clean? We'll never know, because I can't go back in time and replicate that study with a different approach. I did struggle with feelings of deprivation like, you're saying, Britt, that you went through.
Do you need to do it to lose weight? Well, clearly not every woman needs to do it to lose weight, because I didn't. Do some women find that it's an approach that really helps their bodies? Yes, 100%. Especially, if you're insulin resistant, you've been overweight and obese for a long time. Now, you're talking about how you lost a great deal of weight in 2010 after a gastric sleeve. You do have a history of obesity and the weight loss surgery. That was a while ago, but you kept it off, and then you regained it, I guess with the stress of COVID and your injury, so you're getting back on track there.
You may need to throw in a longer fast here and there, but it's really not all or nothing. If you've got Fast. Feast. Repeat., I want you to reread the Intermittent Fasting Toolbox section and pay attention to the part in the book where I talk about a hybrid approach. It's really not all or nothing, where you have to either do daily eating window, or do longer fasts. You could throw in one 36-hour fast. Here on the DDD Social Network, our moderator, Roxy leads us through Meal-less Monday. I don't do it. I don't do Meal-less Monday, but a lot of people do. They start off every Monday with one longer fast to 36 to 42 hours, followed by an up day, and then the whole rest of the week, you could do daily eating window approach if you want to. That's just one way you could do it.
Once a week, after a weekend, some people find that just starts the week off right, and it feels good after a weekend where they might have had a little more indulgence than usual. It also keeps you from having that adaptation that you might have, because even though intermittent fasting does protect us metabolically in many ways, you still can adapt if you do exactly the same thing day in day out. Fortunately, for me, I never do, because I'll have a day where I'm just hungry and I eat more, I've never really fallen into that rut of 23:1 day after day after day or something. I just naturally switch things up. If you find yourself naturally not switching things up, then you might need to purposefully do some switching up.
Oh, one other thing that I highlighted that was so important. This sentence right here, “It didn't seem like I was losing consistently, but I don't have the data to look back at.” Okay, I really, really, really do not want you to go by feel or what it seems. I don't want anybody to do that. When I was trying to be an intuitive eater, and they're like, “Just eat intuitively and you'll be fine.” I was not good at knowing what my body was doing. I could gain a whole lot of weight without feeling it. You got to have some data. I want you to reread the Scale-Schmale chapter of Fast. Feast. Repeat., and if you don't want to use the scale, don't use the scale. That is only one way to do it. Use measurements, use progress photos, use honesty pants, but use something. If you are going to use the scale, weigh daily, and you need to calculate your weekly average, or use an app like Happy Scale that does that for you and shows you your trend. I don't want anybody to go by what it feels like. That is the number one worst way to know whether you're losing or gaining. I'm puffy right this minute, because I ate two meals yesterday with ice cream in between. “Feel like I might be gaining weight.” Am I? No. I'm just puffy. You really can't go by how you feel. I don't want you to do. That is not a good tool.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. I have three thoughts. The first thought was, it's ironic. I don't know if it's ironic. Okay, if I read her question a little bit out of order, and if I just read the end, and she's asking about what to do to lose this stubborn weight, I would suggest without reading the first paragraph of her message exactly what she did the first time around, which would be a high-protein veggie diet with a normal one meal a day type fasting window. It sounds like that's what worked for her the first time. I'm wondering why she doesn't want to do that again. It seems that instead she wants to do these really long fasts, but she doesn't like fasting longer.
Gin Stephens: Well, she doesn't say she did one meal a day at the beginning. She doesn't say that that's what she did. She discovered Dr. Fung, focused on protein and veggies. Maybe she was doing longer fasts, because a lot of people--
Melanie Avalon: And incorporating fasting.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, because we don't know what she did at the beginning. Well, although she does say after hearing Megan Ramos mentioned, “I decided to give it a try.”
Melanie Avalon: I feel this is a new idea to her.
Gin Stephens: Maybe.
Melanie Avalon: She finds it difficult mentally, so it's something that she is struggling with the concept and actually implementing it. For me, when it comes to weight loss, yes, the longer fasts are an avenue to that potentially. I believe the amount of change you can make if you haven't addressed the food choices within just a “normal fasting” one meal a day type window are extraordinary. I would suggest exactly what she already did, which was the protein and veggies. That's what I would suggest, is doing that unless for some reason that you don't want to do that again.
The second question was-- oh, this is a question for you, Gin. Just the concept in general, how do you feel about the concept of starting every fast with a 20-hour goal, and keep going if your head is in the right place that day? Is that something that you ever recommend to people to do?
Gin Stephens: When you start off with a goal that everyday must be 20, then I feel like, you're going to set yourself up for feeling disappointed and you've failed if you don't make that. You could say, “I want my week to have an average of 20,” or something like that, because then you'll have some days where it might have been 22, and another it was 18, but you still had an average of 20. Whereas, if you said every day, I'm going to make it to 20, that day that you did 18, you might feel like you failed, but really your average was 20.
Melanie Avalon: What's ironic is that was what worked best for me.
Gin Stephens: Was what? Every day it had to be 20?
Melanie Avalon: Well, not 20 specifically, but focusing on the minimum fasting hours, that was the most freeing approach for me.
Gin Stephens: Well, that's the thing. You have to find what's the most freeing approach to you, but a lot of people beat themselves up when they set a goal of, “Every day I'm going to do 20, and then I have permission to eat.” That's a rule, that's a diet rule that it might help you, maybe that's the thing that makes you successful, and there are people like that. But there are also a lot of people that feel like, “You've failed if you don't then make it to 20.”
For me, I am more of the average person, like I said. As long as I'm doing the average, this day was 18, but that day was 22, “Hey, it worked out.” That gives me flexibility, but also having a goal, but it's still a flexible goal, but it still averages out to be 20.
Melanie Avalon: How is it different from having an end to your eating window?
Gin Stephens: What do you mean?
Melanie Avalon: The way I like to do fasting is the marker that I have, and we've talked about this a lot before on the show, but the thing I'm counting and the marker that I have is the fast, and then when I eat, there's no rule or boundary on that. Compared to when you flip it, some people put the rule and boundary.
Gin Stephens: See, that was me. I was the eating window person. If I wanted to get a little more structured ever, if I needed to lose weight or something, I would work on focusing the length of my eating window and shutting it down. For me, tracking the eating window is a better approach, because if I have too long of an eating window, I can overeat. For me, the eating window was a better thing to try. As long as I kept it to five hours or less, that was better. My fast might have been 18, but my eating window still was 5, and then maybe the next day my fast was 22, but then my eating window was still kept it to less than 5.
Melanie Avalon: You really have to find what works for you. The only reason I wanted to elaborate on it was I didn't want to discourage, because like I said, for me, that's what works best-- is that I don't do it really anymore, but in the beginning, that's what really, really worked for me with minimum fasting hours, and then no rules, no regulations around the eating. That was just ridiculously freeing for me. Some people do better with the opposite, which is not having really any rules or regulations around the fast, and then having more rules and regulations around the eating window just as far as determining times of things.
Gin Stephens: It's what do you struggle with. For me, it was, “All right, I've had enough now, it's time to stop, my window has been open for five hours.” [laughs] That was like, “Okay, that's enough.”
Melanie Avalon: The question I was trying to get to-- because I think we're focused on the 20 hours, the question I was trying to get to though was, how do you feel about if somebody wants to do one of these longer fasts, the ones that Britt was referring to. The idea of I'll just do my normal time restricted eating intermittent fasting window, and then if I feel like it, go longer, how do you feel about that concept?
Gin Stephens: Well, that plays into the idea of intuitive eating. I like the idea of listening to your body, obviously. If you get to hour 20 and you say, “Am I hungry?” I'm really not. You give yourself permission to eat if you want to, instead of telling yourself you can't, or you're going to fail, and you can also do the down day approach where you have the 500-calorie meal on the down day. You could get to hour 20 and say, “All right, do I want to continue to fast to 36 hours?” Or, “Do I want to just play it by ear?” Or, “Do I want to have a down day meal?” Have a 500-calorie meal, and then close your window, and then the next day is an up day. That's also a perfectly good approach. Anybody who's like, “What is she talking about?” If you haven't read Fast. Feast. Repeat., the chapter on Alternate Daily Fasting Approaches. You can have a full 36- to 42-hour fast, or you can have a 500 calorie down day, where you fast clean, then you have one small 500 calorie meal, and then you start a second fast, and then the next day is your up day.
Melanie Avalon: Perfect. You're always such a wealth of knowledge.
Gin Stephens: That's because I got all this part down pat. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Don't ask me about ADF and all of this.
Gin Stephens: There's so many ways you can adjust it. What I really was interested in is feedback after people read Fast. Feast. Repeat., I talk about the hybrid approach, which is really I made that wording up. I didn't make up the word ‘hybrid,’ of course, but I applied it to fasting, I'd never seen it applied there, but people were like, “I had no idea you could mix and match.” I'm like, “Yes, yes, you can.” We're so used to following plans where people tell us exactly what to do, and instead, “No, this is your Intermittent Fasting Toolbox, and you can do whatever you want,” and there's the freedom.
Melanie Avalon: Taylor Swift says, “take my hand, wreck my plans,” or something like that from Willow.
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Shall we do one more question?
Gin Stephens: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, wait, I think it's “take my hand, wreck my plans, that's my man.” Okay. I wanted to actually throw out one. It's not really a resource, but I actually did just post a blog post all on fat cells. The reason I'm bringing it up, as I mentioned, because she had gastric surgery, right? Yes. I do talk about that a little bit. I dive deep into fat cells and burning and how they expand and how they shrink, and I address the myth of do fat cells die, because people think that they don't ever die naturally, but they do. They do about 10% per year. And then, I actually talk about different fat removal methods, things like CoolSculpting, liposuction and things like that, and I ponder the implications of that and what that leads to weight regain afterwards. It's interesting to hear for example, well, she a gastric sleeve so that creates weight loss by not actually removing fat cells, but by shrinking your stomach. If listeners are interested, it's at melanieavalon.com/fatcells.
Gin Stephens: All right. We have a question from Carolina, or Carol-eena, either, it's a beautiful name, as I'm sitting here in South Carolina recording. Her topic is “Toilet urgency when breaking fast,” and she says, “Good day to you. I've been doing IF for a year or so with some 24 hour and 36-hour fasts now and then. A very common occurrence for me is to have toilet urgency with number two very soon after breaking fast. Any thoughts, please? Thanks, Carolina,” or Carol-eena.
Melanie Avalon: All right, Carolina. I would say Caro-lina, but who knows. We've had questions about this before, and it can obviously be a lot of things. One of the things that I have read that I feel makes a lot of sense to me that it could be is just when we eat, even though we're putting in food at the top of our system, and it's in the stomach and the small intestine, that tends to stimulate peristalsis, so digestive movement throughout our entire digestive tract. When we eat, it can stimulate our lower colon, our large intestine, and depending on the state of our large intestine in general, which depends a lot on your gut microbiome state, it can basically start that process, and depending on what the environment situation is down there, that might manifest as diarrhea. That's an option. Another option, I don't know what you're eating, but people can experience this effect when they have fat with a meal and it creates stimulation of the gallbladder, and that can lead to an effect down there.
As far as my suggestion about the solution, and we just really don't have enough information to know, but it would be something where you would want to work with your food choices to try to address your gut microbiome state down there. Finding the diet that works for you for that, and I know that's really vague. As far as supplements might help, probiotics can potentially help. I really like P3-OM with BiOptimizers. They're actually the sponsor on today's episode, so you can listen to the ad for that to get a coupon. I actually just emailed them last night and I said, I was like, “Can you send me some more P3-OM?” because I'm running out.
I really think that looking at your food choices would be the thing to do here. The reason I think it starts happening a lot for a lot of people with fasting is you've changed from eating throughout the day and having this peristalsis and slow movement throughout the day, compared to a fasting situation where it's more of a-- sort of like a shock. You haven't been eating and then you do eat, and so it just turns on all of this movement. That's my thoughts, Gin. What are your thoughts?
Gin Stephens: We hear it a lot in the communities that people have this issue. Not a lot of people have it, but we hear it frequently. That's the way of putting it. It's a common thing that we hear that happens to some people. I'm so glad that it didn't happen to me, though. [laughs] This is a problem I'm glad I didn't have. I feel your pain, those of you that have had this issue, because I'm sorry, I know that it's not fun, and you're like, “What's happening?” What Melanie said, trying to get your gut health back in balance is a great idea. Just know that, yeah, it's your body getting things moving again, really.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Gin Stephens: Just the food.
Melanie Avalon: The food choices. That actually made me think of something, Gin.
Gin Stephens: Okay, what?
Melanie Avalon: I have a question for you.
Gin Stephens: All right.
Melanie Avalon: I've been dying to know, are you still implementing anything that you learned from your Zoe trial?
Gin Stephens: That's a great question. I've got it in the back of my mind. I will never not know that information about myself. It helps me just feel confident in my food choices, but I already was. Knowledge is power. Like I said, it confirmed what I knew about what foods really worked well for me and taught me a few things about that, and so, do I follow it like, this is how I eat exactly according to these recommendations? No.
Melanie Avalon: What dd they recommend for you?
Gin Stephens: It's not as easy as just saying that. There's an app and you can plug things in and see what things work well for your gut, what things work well for you based on your blood clearance, basically you know how quickly you clear blood glucose, how quickly you clear fat. What really was interesting to me, was how the timing of what I eat makes a difference as far as if I eat too much fat in a concentrated period of time.
For example, it would be better for my body to eat over-- maybe eat a little something to open my window, and then wait a while longer-- If I eat something high fat, wait longer before I eat again. The same amount of food in a six-hour window if I'm eating a lot of fat, would allow my body to clear the fat before I put more in.
Melanie Avalon: What's really interesting is, I don't know enough about the details, but it's like that study we mentioned at the beginning where I was saying that fat--
Gin Stephens: Fat clearance. 100%.
Melanie Avalon: Or something about the timing of fat into the bloodstream was a factor. What did it say?
Gin Stephens: I think you use the word ‘fat clearance.’
Melanie Avalon: Uptake and storage of meal fatty acids including meal fat content, rate of meal fat appearance in circulation. All of these factors are so, so important.
Gin Stephens: We've all been trained by the diet industry that the only thing that matters is calories in, calories out. If you're eating the exact same thing, or the macros, the exact same macros, the exact same calories, why does it matter if you eat them over one hour or six hours? But the way your body handles it, it really can matter.
Melanie Avalon: Sorry, I'm just remembering something that I-- I don't know if we have time. Okay, I'll tell it really quick. Dr. Gundry’s book that we talked about, there was a study. Are you familiar with the NIH study? There was one study in monkeys. I don't know the details, but there were two different institutions that did a study in monkeys, and they were looking at calorie restriction. One of the groups testing the monkeys, the monkeys were on a high fat, sugary, processed diet. The other monkeys, they were on a more whole foods type diet. Both of the monkeys had health benefits, but only the monkeys on the processed diet had increased longevity.
Gin Stephens: Processed food diet had better longevity?
Melanie Avalon: Yes. They were trying to theorize why that was, and Dr. Gundry was saying that he had theorized with other people that it was the low protein content of the processed diet that was the reason. Then, they did a follow-up study. I got so happy, because I read this. Then I was like, “I think I know why what it was.” Dr. Gundry doesn't really come out and say this, and I talked with him. When I interviewed him, and I asked him about it, and I was like, “Is it this,” and he said, “Yes, it's that.” He said the publishers made him word it really weird, because he couldn't come out and say this. [laughs]
They did a follow-up study with mice to try to figure out what was going on, and they did all different setups. They did mice that were eating their normal food all throughout the day, and then mice that were eating the food in a calorie restricted and a fasted window, like a time-restricted window, and then mice that could have all of their normal food, but in a time restricted window, and they were trying to figure out what was going on. Long story short, they found that the longer fasting was creating the most health benefits. The theory with the monkeys is that the high fat diet, because they ate for a shorter amount of time, because in order to control the calorie situation, they would give it just at one time, they didn't have access to it all day.
Gin Stephens: They had longer fasting. That was a variable. It wasn't the food, it was the longer fasting.
Melanie Avalon: Right. The monkeys eating the whole foods, it took them longer to eat it, compared to the monkeys that ate the processed foods, they ate it really fast, and then they had a longer fast, and they actually had more health benefits, and this is all theorizing. With calories, if they are eaten and cleared a lot faster, it matters. The timing matters, because I read the section in his book. I kept reading it over and over and over again, because I was thinking what I just said. I was like it just sounds, because the processed food was digested way faster, but they had a longer fast, and that was where the benefits came. He doesn't outright say that, because the publishers didn't want him to make it look like he was saying eat processed food.
Gin Stephens: There's never been a study that had ultra-processed food lead to better health outcomes, with all other variables being equal.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. With all other variables constant, yeah.
Gin Stephens: See, that's the thing. You can't draw conclusions when the variables are so unequal.
Melanie Avalon: What you'd have to do for that study is you'd have to have ultra-processed food, same amount of calories in whole foods, and then you'd have to dose out the processed food, so that the time window is the same time window as the whole foods.
In any case, 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. We have all the stuff that we like at ifpodcast.com/stuffwelike. The show notes for today's episode are at ifpodcast.com/episode211. And then lastly, you can follow us on Instagram. I'm MelanieAvalon, Gin is GinStephens, and you can join our various groups that we talked about in the show notes. Anything from you, Gin, before we go?
Gin Stephens: No, that's it.
Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, this was absolutely wonderful, and 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
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Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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