Welcome to Episode 227 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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Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 227 of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing your 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. I'm here with my cohost, Gin Stephens, author of Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Comprehensive Guide to Delay, Don't Deny Intermittent Fasting.
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 227 of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Gin Stephens.
Gin Stephens: Hi everybody.
Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Gin?
Gin Stephens: I am great. I'm really excited because I went for a swim in our new pool today. An actual swim.
Melanie Avalon: The pool?
Gin Stephens: Yeah, it's not fully finished still. They're waiting on-- you know how everything is all backordered? There's apparently some kind of control panel that's going to run everything. But the pump is working. It's clean. The pool is clean and sparkly.
Melanie Avalon: Is it a tropical oasis?
Gin Stephens: It is fantastic. We got the wrong color. We ordered a fiberglass pool because a friend of mine has one--
Melanie Avalon: Wait, what is a fiberglass pool?
Gin Stephens: It's the coating of the pool. Traditional pools are gunite or plastered, and those coatings are really hard to maintain over time, and they have to be redone a lot.
Our old pools from the 80s, it had just gotten-- It was cracked, it was needing to be completely redone. It was a mess. It was harboring algae. Apparently, it gets caught in the crevices of the plaster. But fiberglass is one piece. They build it and they bring it to you. They bring it on a truck. [laughs] It's molded and it's really slick. The coating is guaranteed to last for, I don't know, a long time. So, we actually got the wrong color.
They sent the wrong one. I'm like, “That's not the one we ordered.” But it was such a happy mistake. Because I love the color we got. It's a beautiful color.
Melanie Avalon: What color?
Gin Stephens: Well, it looks like just the perfect tropical blue. It's just perfect. The one I had originally ordered was going to be a darker blue, and I'm glad that didn't come.
Melanie Avalon: I remember when we were putting in our pool growing up, and the color is such a question like, “Do you get the aqua, do you get the--?” Ours was a really, really dark, dark blue.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I don't want it to be dark-dark. Our last one was a dark grey. Dark- dark. So, the water looked almost greenish. It was really dark. The color of the plaster doesn't reflect the color that the pool is going-- It determines how the color of the water is going to be, but it isn't the same if that makes sense. Our pool shell is a light, light
gray, but the water turns out to be this beautiful blue.
Melanie Avalon: Can you send me a picture?
Gin Stephens: Sure, I absolutely can. It's a tiny little pool. We're going to get-- originally, I was like, “I don't want a giant pool,” because that poll was so hard to keep the big one that we took out. It was crazy, and deep, and full of algae, and hard to work with. So, I was like, “I don't want a big pool.” Maybe, we'll just get a hot tub, like a giant hot tub, built-in hot tub. Then, as we started looking into that and I'm like, “Well, a small pool would be a similar kind of idea.” So, we're going to be able to heat it even in the winter because it's little. Oh, what I was going to tell you is the water is so warm, because it's little. [laughs] It's still cooler than my body. It's been like 100 degrees here, and the air is really hot, and the water is still cooler than body temperature. So, it feels good to me. I like a warm pool, like I said.
Melanie Avalon: Have you ever had the recurring nightmare that I have about the pools?
Gin Stephens: I don't know. What is your-- I don't know what it is.
Melanie Avalon: I feel like I might have told you it before.
Gin Stephens: I don't remember.
Melanie Avalon: One of my recurring nightmares, it's because it's from watching Free Willy growing up. I always dream that we have a whale stuck in our pool.
Gin Stephens: I feel like I have not heard that one. [laughs] I don't think--
Melanie Avalon: It's a sad dream.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, that would be sad, to have a whale trapped in your pool.
Melanie Avalon: Because you know Free Willy.
Gin Stephens: He needed to be free.
Melanie Avalon: He's stuck in the pool, and when he's trying to call to his family.
Gin Stephens: [laughs] Well, I don't have that one, no. There's never anything in my pool in my dream. Just me. I don't really dream about it, but it's just exciting to finally be able to get in it. Then, also the problem is, I can't get in it during the week because we still have these workmen all the time in the backyard [laughs] working on the screen porch forever. We're getting there though. I think the screen will be going in soon. I have a feeling. Got to be getting there.
Melanie Avalon: Are you posting pictures on Instagram?
Gin Stephens: No.
Melanie Avalon: Okay.
Gin Stephens: [laughs] I don't know. Maybe, I could. We'll see. I posted some at the very beginning of the demo. It's still just has so far to come. We finally we've ordered some furniture, and that's going to be like eight weeks. Everything is going to be forever. This is going to be another yearlong project just like the bathroom. That's just how long it takes to get things right now to get them in.
Melanie Avalon: Have you heard about the glass shortage?
Gin Stephens: What? No, we have a paint sample shortage though. Did you know that? You can't get a paint sample. We went to Lowe's to get a paint sample. They're like, “Sorry. No, we don't--.” We're like, “What?” No paint samples.
Melanie Avalon: Because I'm developing my supplement right now, and it's really important to me that it's in glass bottles. Apparently, there's a glass shortage. I think at first it was just the supplement industry, but now it's everything.
Gin Stephens: Nothing would surprise me.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, the guy who created it with sent me this link. He's like, “You better stock up on wine and water,” because there's this article about the stores running out of wine because of the class shortage or alcohol. But we secured 5000 glass bottles. So, my supplement will be in glass.
Gin Stephens: Yay.
Melanie Avalon: Which speaking of, can I make an announcement?
Gin Stephens: Absolutely.
Melanie Avalon: So, friends, I haven't actually signed the contract yet. We're final-final stages. We had a call yesterday. Now, I just have to get my lawyer to look it over one more time, and then, it should be good to go. So, not quite signed, but will be very soon. If you go to melanieavalon.com/ serrapeptase, that's just a landing page to get on an email list, and I'm going to be sending emails about like the pre-order special that I'm going to do, and all of the information about the supplements. For those who are not familiar, serrapeptase is a supplement that-- well, Gin doesn't take it anymore, but I've taken for a long time, and Gin has taken before, and it's created by the Japanese silkworm. You take it in the fasted state, it goes into your bloodstream, it breaks down residual old building up and buildups of proteins, and so, it can address anything that is basically happening from your immune system reacting to protein buildups or just protein
buildups in general. That's things like allergies, inflammation, fibroids, brain fog. There are just so many things that it can address, and I'm obsessed with it and listeners are obsessed, and I'm finally developing my own, which is exciting. I've never created a physical product before besides-- well, like a book, but I'm excited. Very, very exciting.
Gin Stephens: I can't wait to hear how it goes.
Melanie Avalon: Me too. [laughs] It'll probably come out, and-- Oh, I just learned a fun fact. Well, this is not a fun fact. This is a known fact, but I hadn't really thought about it. Do you when fall is?
Gin Stephens: Like December 20th?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Isn't that weird to think about?
Gin Stephens: No.
Melanie Avalon: Most people don't think about fall.
Gin Stephens: [laughs] Sorry. I said no. No, I was an elementary teacher, okay?
Melanie Avalon: I know. But think about it. Like, you don't think of fall being December. You think of that as winter?
Gin Stephens: Well, I guess it's wintery, but November is still fall.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, even November feels like winter. I was thinking about this, because for the landing page, I was debating whether to put fall or winter 2021.
Gin Stephens: When's it going to be again? Melanie Avalon: It'll probably be December. Gin Stephens: Well, that'll be winter.
Melanie Avalon: The borderline. Well, no, no, because December 21st is still fall. Gin Stephens: Well, technically it is. But I think if it's going to be early December. Melanie Avalon: Like culturally, you consider it winter?
Gin Stephens: Yeah. I think so.
Melanie Avalon: In any case, anything else, or shall we jump into everything?
Gin Stephens: Let's jump in.
Melanie Avalon: All right. To start things off, we got a pretty fun question, or an idea
from Samantha, and the subject is "Fun with Feals." Samantha says, “Hello. I'm glad things are going so great with you guys. Things are fantastic in our IF household.
Listening to your latest podcast, I have a thought and a fun idea. The next time Feals sponsors a podcast, you guys should indulge beforehand. I’d be curious to see how it may change your demeanor or interaction. It might be fun. Don't tell us until the end. Ha- ha. Thanks. And cheers to you both, Sam." We got this question quite a while ago. I obviously saved it until Feals was sponsoring one of our episodes, which is today's episode. This was actually a great question because it helps us dismantle some of the myths surrounding CBD. Because basically, it wouldn't have been any different probably if Gin and I had taken Feals before, and I actually take Feals every single day. So, there's not really any difference there for me.
Gin Stephens: Well, I was just going to add. I can't take Feals during my fast because it makes me starving. I've tried but I just can't take it during the fast. So, anytime I would try it, instantly starving. It's something that has to stay in my eating window. So, I wouldn't be able to record a podcast because I'd be having to eat and I'd be lethargic from the eating. Not lethargic, but what I mean. Not as perky. So, I don't like to eat before the podcast.
Melanie Avalon: What is so interesting about that, and this is actually really great to discuss, Feals is-- let me define what it is before we say any more. Basically, it is premium CBD oil, and it is the one brand I was waiting until the brand came along that fit all of my criteria for CBD. So, that is that it is full spectrum, organic, tested. It's made with an MCT carrier only. What's really, really cool, and I hadn't done this, even though I've been using Feals now for a long time, but there's a barcode at the bottom of every single bottle, and you can scan it with your phone, and it will pull up the CoA. It will show that the testing and the certification, which is just really, really cool. Basically, what CBD is a cannabinoid found in a plant and when we take it, it affects our cannabinoid system. Our cannabinoid system is like our master regulator of stress and anxiety, and it affects pain, and sleep, and so many things. By modulating those receptors with CBD, it can actually help your body regulate that system. So, it's not addictive. It doesn't down regulate anything. It actually often creates something called reverse tolerance, which means that you might need more in the beginning, but the longer you take it, the less you might actually need. But people use it for all different things.
I think what's really important and really actually nice is Gin and I have had different experiences with it, and that just goes to show that people are really unique. So, it may or may not work for you. If it does, it can be a game changer like it is for me, but even then, it's really important to find your right dose. I personally take it for anxiety and sleep mostly, and it took me a while to find my right dose because if I took too much, it would just completely zing me out and make me a little bit tired throughout the day. So, I really had to find that dose that worked for me where I take it at night. It's interesting, Gin was saying that, it makes her hungry because for me by the time my eating window rolls around, I'm usually hungry, and then I take some of my Feals because that's when I like
to take it for my sleep cycle, and it actually makes me-- It gets rid of that little hunger that did creep up. So, it has the opposite effect on me for hunger. That was like a long tangent. What were you saying about it? Just that people react differently?
Gin Stephens: Yeah, and she wanted us to indulge ahead. I want to talk real quick about something that you said about, it's important to find your right dose. They have a fabulous customer service that will absolutely walk you through. They'll send you a journal you can use, like a PDF kind of thing, they'll send you. I think it's a PDF. But they have all the tools for you, and I spent time on the phone with the guy for 45 minutes.
Melanie Avalon: I did too.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, and they'll do that for you too, not just us. Not just because we're fancy, they'll do it for you, Samantha, [laughs] or anybody, and they'll have a follow-up call, and it's free. It's part of what they offer, because they know you're more likely to stick with it if it works for you. They know that there is a dose that's right for you.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'm so glad you said that. I think it was Stefan that I talked to on the phone.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, me too.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. He actually convinced me to actually do the whole write down the dose you're taking every single day on a calendar, because I've been nonchalant about it. I was like, “Ah, I'll just experiment,” but I wasn't writing down the dose, and that actually was what proved to help me find what really works for me. The way they work is, it's shipped directly to your door. It's really amazing. So, to clarify, it does not affect your mental capacity in a way that makes it out of touch with reality.
Gin Stephens: We wouldn't sound any different as far as sounding wacky or anything. [laughs] I'm glad that Sam asked that, because, yeah, that is a big misconception.
Melanie Avalon: It is, yeah. And we have an incredible offer. This is actually one of my favorite offers of all of our brands. You can start feeling better with Feals and become a member today by going to feals.com/ifpodcast and you'll get 50% off your first order with free shipping. That's F-E-A-L-S dotcom slash if podcast, I-F-P-O-D-C-A-S-T, to become a member and get 50% automatically taken off your first order with free shipping. feals.com/ifpodcast. And a quick note about that, it is a membership, but you can cancel at any time. So, you don't have to worry about committing for life. If it doesn't work for you, you can just cancel, So, definitely use that link in that offer. It's an incredible deal.
Gin Stephens: It really is.
Melanie Avalon: We'll put all of that information as well in the show notes and the show notes will be at ifpodcast.com/episode227
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Melanie Avalon: All right. Shall we go on to our next question?
Gin Stephens: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: All right. So, this question comes from Dina. The subject is "Physical symptoms of fat loss," and Dina says, “Hello ladies. Thank you so much for your time and effort. I am trying to catch up on all of the episodes. I've just made it to Episode 103. I have heard it mentioned in previous episodes but not in depth. Are there physical sensations in the body when we are losing fat? Aches, pains, smells in the urine, sweat, or breath, or can you feel the fat layer? I believe another listener described it as beads or peas under the skin when pinched. I've experienced aches in my left upper abdomen, cloudy or tinted urine, and ketone taste in the mouth, which I think were physically symptoms of fat loss. I was just curious what other listeners have described as physical manifestations of fat loss. I've been IFing off and on for a year but consistently for six months. I had to take some time off in the fall after my husband's motorcycle accident.
I'm happy to report he is doing great. I even got him to start IF after recovery to help heal scar tissue and improve his inflammation. He was finally able to run up and downstairs which he hasn't done in 10 months. Yay. I'm so proud of him. I myself am down to 137 pounds from 145 pounds in January. I don't have much weight left to lose. Slow and
steady is my approach this time. Thank you so much for your podcast. You ladies are the Scorpio-Cancer power duo.” You’re Cancer, Gin?
Gin Stephens: No, I'm actually Leo. I'm on the first day of Leo. I'm right on the cusp. Melanie Avalon: I didn't think you were Cancer. I was like, "I don't think that's right." Gin Stephens: [laughs] I'm Leo and I am so much a Leo.
Melanie Avalon: I don't even know much about the science but you sound like a Leo.
Gin Stephens: I'm so much a Leo.
Melanie Avalon: When I think of a Leo, [giggles] I think of you.
Gin Stephens: It's true.
Melanie Avalon: I'm ridiculously a Scorpio.
Gin Stephens: My husband is a Scorpio. We've got a Scorpio-Leo marriage. My husband and I, Chad, and I do.
Melanie Avalon: Dina says, “My Scorpio husband is the soulmate to my Cancer heart. The horoscope to clarify. Love, love, love listening to you both. Thanks again for all of your hard work with love, Dina."
Gin Stephens: I don't know if Scorpio-Leo is supposed to be a soulmate match because [laughs] it might not be. I'm a lot for my Scorpio husband. [laughs] That's all I'm going to say about that. [laughs] Maybe I should have been born one day sooner, then I would have been a Cancer.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. That's crazy, that you're right on the cusp.
Gin Stephens: I think that's the official name for it, cusp. All right, so, let's get to Dina's questions. Everybody's going to be different with what they experienced. I don't know about aches. Because I've never heard aches is like really something related to fat loss. I would be concerned about an ache inside your body that you're having all the time. I don't know about that. Left upper, I don't know what that could be. If you continue to have pain, check with your doctor about that. Your gallbladder is on the right, right?
Melanie Avalon: I was just thinking what is on your left upper?
Gin Stephens: Your stomach, your small intestine?
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I just found the coolest picture ever. The left upper is your spleen, colon, left kidney, pancreas.
Gin Stephens: Is that where your spleen is?
Melanie Avalon: According to this picture.
Gin Stephens: Okay.
Melanie Avalon: In the left lower is your descending colon and left kidney. So, yeah, you might want to check with the doctor.
Gin Stephens: Gallbladders is on the right. I didn't know where the spleen was. I couldn't have answered that for a million dollars. I would have thought the spleen was somewhere else.
Melanie Avalon: It's also in the center top. It's like the center top to the left.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, so, I wouldn't think that aches would be something to just let go or assume that it's normal. I would not assume that's normal. As far as what you're talking about that beans or peas under the skin, yes, I actually felt that. What is that? What's happening? I don't know. But that's something that you'll feel right under the skin. I'll feel it on my abdomen. It feels like you're rubbing a little something. I don't know what's happening, like I said, but yeah, people have reported it. Smells, yeah, you talked, Dina, about ketosis breath, you'll certainly have different odors in your breath based on that.
As far as things coming out in your sweat, your urine, that could also be related to if you're detoxing something. Yeah, because we know that toxins are stored in our fat cells. As you're releasing fat, whatever was in there stashed away, whenever you stored that fat, it's going to come out. If you were exposed to something weird during that time, your body packed it away, you might be smelling it as it's coming back out. I did notice when I was in deep ketosis that, my urine would have a certain kind of smell to it. That sounds lovely to say, right? [laughs] Let's talk about the way our urine smells. But anyway, it's just something-- I would do Atkins for example, back in the day. I would always try to do Atkins. There was a certain smell that always went along with that after a few days. So, TMI.
Melanie Avalon: It's funny. You say all this, I don't even think about it being TMI at all. But I'm just thinking about this stuff all the time. [laughs] But yes.
Gin Stephens: You'll learn what's normal for you. You'll say, “All right, I always feel this when I'm losing fat.” I actually also had itching. We've talked about this I think before. Of course, I lost a lot of weight. First 75 pounds, then to be about 80 over time, but in the areas where I felt like I was deflating the most quickly, that skin would be itchy in that area. I can remember my abdomen being so itchy. Think about a balloon that's been deflated, and now, it's kind of floppy looking. Your skin is deflating. I think that kind of change in your skin can cause itching just from the way your skin is kind of contracting.
Melanie Avalon: Interesting.
Gin Stephens: I certainly felt it.
Melanie Avalon: I have so many thoughts. I want to say really quickly. Dina, I don't want to scare you, but the kidney thing, something that could be-- or for just listeners in general, especially from weight loss, maybe it would be something like kidney stones? I actually just released last week that we're talking right now, a fascinating episode, fascinating on oxalates with Sally Norton, blew my mind. Oxalates. Do you know much about oxalates, Gin?
Gin Stephens: No.
Melanie Avalon: They're a compound found in plants. They're really high in things like spinach. There's a whole list of them. They're also in my app, Food Sense Guide. If you get that, it has levels of them in different foods, and that's at melanieavalon.com/foodsinceguide. But basically, they're these compound and plants that they form-- They're a defense mechanism, and they form basically, they're sort of like crystal shards. Some plants are poisonous because their oxalate content is so high. But the plants that we eat, it's not high enough to outright kill us or anything like that but they mechanically damage us. They scrape up our insides, they can accumulate in the kidneys and form kidney stones, and they can accumulate over time, especially, if you're eating a lot of plants. After talking with Sally Norton, she makes a very convincing argument that they're connected to so, so many health conditions. They also chelate calcium, which can be an issue. If you're on a high oxalate diet, it's definitely something to consider. A lot of people actually experience oxalate dumping when they go on low carb or carnivore and cut out plants, and can experience symptoms from that. So, I just thought about that, because that episode came up, and it could be something going on with kidney stones in your kidneys.
But going back to the skin thing, I was thinking about this, and I have a theory about fat loss and the way it feels. It relates a little bit to what Gin was saying about the skin.
When I interviewed-- Oh, and by the way, I'll put a link in the show notes to the interview with Sally Norton, and I'll also put a link in the show notes to the interview with Joel Greene. He wrote The Immunity Code, and he's the one who talks about the ECM, the extracellular matrix of our fat cells. He's the one that makes the case that a fat cell has its ECM, which is the outer barrier, the membrane. When we lose weight, the fat cell needs to shrink, because it doesn't have as much fat inside anymore. That membrane, that ECM, it can't just shrink. The cell has to actually reform the ECM and make it smaller. It's like if you weigh a certain weight and you have clothes and then you lose weight, your clothes won't just shrink, you have to take them in or get new clothes. So, the fat cell often prefers to-- it's really energetically expensive to do that process. So, the body often prefers to just like fill up the fat cell instead. So, instead of readjusting the
ECM to a smaller size, just gaining the weight back.
The more and more you lose weight and regain weight, and lose weight and regain weight, every time you do that, it actually makes the ECM stiffer and stiffer, it makes the ECM harder and harder to modulate. So, that can be a major reason that with yo-yo dieting, it gets harder and harder to lose weight. So, my theory about all of this and how I think this might tie into physical symptoms of fat loss, which is the title of her question is that I know for me, when I first lost my weight with fasting and low carb, it was a very steady progressive weight loss and I hadn't done a lot of yo-yo dieting before that. I think my fat cells were-- the ECM wasn't as stiff and it was easier to lose the weight, and I also wasn't subjectively experiencing inflammation. I just lost the weight, and I didn't notice the pinchy stuff in my skin. I didn't feel my fat cells were filling up with water, which I know is one of the theories. I didn't experience any of that. I just consistently lost weight. I didn't feel anything weird on the way down.
Since, then, I gained back some weight, not a major amount, but I did gain back some weight, and then lost some weight. So, basically, just weight fluctuations, and what's really interesting is that second time around, I have experienced all of these things that listeners have talked about, like the beads and the peas and the water. I think a lot of it is-- I know, there's not like much research on this, but I really do think that the body, when it's making compensating actions to weight loss, it does like-- I really feel the cells fill up with water, or I feel something's going on that you can perceive.
The other thing I was going to say was fat loss, we actually lose it through our breath primarily. It's actually mostly lost through carbon dioxide. So, things that are coming out in your urine, that's probably going to be more what Gin said like toxins, and it's not really anything from your actual fat, because the fat actually just becomes energy and the byproducts get excreted as carbon dioxide. I agree with everything Gin said about the breath, and ketones, and all of that. That was a very long answer. Do you have thoughts, Gin?
Gin Stephens: Nope. I think we covered it.
Melanie Avalon: We're very happy, Dina, for your husband for recovering from his motorcycle accident. I remember when my sister-- I think I've said this before, but my sister got a motorcycle license, and then she bought a motorcycle and my parents just freaked out, and she sold it. So, they're dangerous. Have you ever driven on a motorcycle?
Gin Stephens: I've ridden on one. I've never driven it myself. But yeah, I didn't like the feeling at all.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I'd be very nervous.
Gin Stephens: I remember one time in college, I was somewhere trapped, and I was
like, “I've got to get a ride back to campus.” This guy's like, “I'll take you.” I’m like, “Oh, great. Thank you.” And I had to ride his motorcycle. [laughs] I thought I was going to die.
Melanie Avalon: I think I have. But the memory I have was when I was really young in Germany and my uncle rode a motorcycle, and I can't actually remember if I actually rode on it or if I just said no and thought about what it would have been like to be on it. Either way, I don't have-- It makes me scared. So, I remember my sister.
Gin Stephens: It doesn't feel safe.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, that's so funny. My sister, who was even way younger than me at the time, she was like all for it, and right, that makes sense. She was riding with him everywhere. So, shall we go on to our next question?
Gin Stephens: Yes, this is from Juliana and the subject is "Not losing weight." She says, “Hi, ladies. Thank you so much for this podcast. I have been doing IF for five weeks. I do something between 19:5 to 21:3 depending on the day. Most of the time, it's a snack and a meal in the evening. I also run/walk for about 30 minutes in the morning, interval running, five days a week and do strength training 30 minutes three days a week. My fastest clean, just black coffee and water. I do not count calories and try to eat as clean as possible, but I am not denying myself of anything. I may eat a sugary treat, ice cream or cookies, etc., about two times a week. I do not count macros and rarely eat junk. This past five weeks, I've been losing and gaining the same four pounds, but I have lost three inches between my waist, my hip, and my abdomen after the second week. My clothes are not fitting differently. I need/want to lose at least 50 pounds, current weight 201. I am 5’5" tall and 44 years old. I have a condition named tortuous colon.” Have you ever heard of that, Melanie?
Melanie Avalon: I haven't.
Gin Stephens: Me, neither. Which she explained as, “Longer than normal intestines that causes a lot of constipation even when taking a lot of fiber supplements at the end of my eating window. Any help, suggestions, and advice on what I can do to lose weight? I am so frustrated and feeling very defeated. Thank you.”
Melanie Avalon: All right, Juliana. Thank you so much for your question. Oh, my goodness. I have so many thoughts about this question. First of all, I can't believe it's called tortuous colon. What an awful name. I hear you and I empathize with you incredibly with bowel movement struggles. Trust me, I know how awful that is. I want to say first of all, when I first started experiencing constipation which was in 2014 or so, the first thing I started doing was like all the fiber and all of that stuff that works for some people. I would highly suggest trying something different which is a lower fiber approach. If you're in a situation where you're really constipated, and the fiber is not working for you, it really for a lot of people just adds-- It basically just adds to the stuff that has to be
moving through and can make things much, much worse.
The carnivore people like to cite this one study as evidence that removing fiber gets rid of constipation. It's a very convincing study. The reason I'm hesitant about it is, it's basically the only study on the topic, and it's very, very small. That said, it's very, very convincing, and it's basically, they took people with constipation, and put them on a
zero-fiber diet. Every single person's constipation resolved, which is very telling. Again, it was a very small study and there haven't been more studies on it, especially, just like looking in the carnivore Facebook groups and things like that, most people seem to experience resolution of constipation, if it's something they've been struggling with. So, I'm not saying, you have to go carnivore or cut out all plants, but I'm saying, I would highly suggest trying a low fiber approach. Especially, low FODMAP fiber options can often work really, really well for people. We'll put a link in the show notes to that study.
As far as the weight loss, I have exciting, wonderful news for you. I know you're really frustrated, because she said, "I'm feeling very frustrated and defeated." It would be very frustrating and defeating if you hadn't actually tried a lot of the things that can really, really work for weight loss, but you haven't. So, that means there's so, so much potential to lose weight, and that is basically focusing on the food options. I know that you eat as clean as possible, which is amazing. I love that, but you haven't ever tried playing around with your macros. If you've never played around with your macros, there is massive potential here for losing weight. If you've never done it before, potentially pretty fast to see it change once you find the macros that work for you so. The more I talk about this, Gin, I really feel like I need to write this book about-- There's still not a book that talks about how you can do either low carb-high fat or high fat-low carb. All the books are like either a low carb book or they're like a plant-based vegan book. There's no one where it's like, “Hey, you can do either, just not the same time.”
Gin Stephens: You can do them at the same time.
Melanie Avalon: I mean literally the same time. But you can't have like--
Gin Stephens: I did. I had high fat and high carb. I'm telling you, when I lost my weight, I didn't restrict carbs or fat. I'm telling you, you can lose weight, all the weight you want. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: But that's not the thesis of my book. The thesis of my book is picking high fat-low carb or low carb-high fat, just not in same day.
Gin Stephens: Well, but what I'm saying is, I thought you just said that you can't combine them and find it to work. Because I did.
Melanie Avalon: Well, my thesis would be you can combine them on different days. You could do high fat-low carb one day and the next day low carb-high fat.
Gin Stephens: But my point being that not everyone needs to do either of those.
Melanie Avalon: This is not the book that I'm trying to. Okay.
Gin Stephens: [laughs] You're trying to encourage people to try one of these two things, but you're not saying the only way you're going to lose weight is if you pick this or that.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, no, no, no. Oh, yeah. I'm so glad you clarified.
Gin Stephens: I thought you were saying that you can either choose low fat-high carb or when I say a high fat-low carb, either of those are the only two ways you could lose weight, pick one of those.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, no, no, no. Excellent clarification. No. What I'm saying is usually the books are either low carb books or they're plant based low fat books, and so I want to do one that says you can pick either one.
Gin Stephens: Okay, yeah, that makes sense. I do think either would be very healthy. I do think there's science supporting both of them. Both sides, depending on your body. My body doesn't do well with the higher fat.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, exactly. It's really a matter of finding-- If one of those approaches works, finding the one that works for you, and the reason I think that they're both so magical is that they set up the body to be in a state where it's easy to lose fat or pretty difficult to gain fat. So, if you're doing low carb-high fat and the high doesn't have to be high, it could really just be low carb. If you have weight to lose, it could just be low carb. You don't have to go crazy on the fats. That's going to lower insulin, it's going to really put you in a fat burning mode, and make it most likely easier to lose weight. Then, on the flip side, if you try high carb-low fat, if you're not taking in many fats, there's not really much of the potential to gain weight from that, especially, if you're combining it with IF. And then, on top of that with the fasting, then while fasting, you are likely tapping into the fat. So, it's the situation where you tap into fat during the fast and then while eating, it's unlikely that you're actually going to store fat from your meal. So, they're different situations, but they both work by really some metabolic magic that it's a tweak that I think goes beyond calories and stuff like that.
The importance on it though in my opinion is the low. Actually, low fat or actually low carb, not just sort of low fat or sort of low carb, like actually. So, normally, that's like 10% of calories from whatever thing it may be. And if you really want to hack the low carb one, this is my little hack. You can make any added fat sources be MCT oil, the C8 version only, and that actually will ramp up metabolism, can encourage more fat burning in your eating window, to clarify. So, it can be a great hack as well and focusing on protein, so, always having adequate protein. Because excess protein doesn't really become fat. It actually preferentially becomes muscle or the amino acids tend to just be
burned. So, thoughts, Gin?
Gin Stephens: I've got some things to add to Juliana that I think are super-duper important. First of all, she's only been doing intermittent fasting for five weeks. For anybody who's read Fast. Feast. Repeat or heard me talk about it, I've got the 28-day Fast Start in there, and that's four weeks. I tell you not to expect any weight loss at all in your first four weeks, because that's the time for your body to be adjusting to intermittent fasting. After your first four weeks, on day 29, that's when you can start figuring out what your weight is doing. But that is your baseline. Whatever your weight is on day 29 is your baseline. It is all explained in the 28-day FAST Start chapter by the way.
If we had that information from Juliana that would be better. What was her weight on day 29, and then she's only one week past that. She only has one week of trend to see what's happening. I always talk about weighing daily and calculating your weekly average. I did it paper pencil. I calculate my average, because I can see it. But there are apps that actually show you your trend. Happy Scale is my favorite. It's iOS only. If you are using Happy Scale, it'll show you what your trend is doing. If it's slightly trending downward, or if you're staying the same, or if it's trending upward. That's so much better than just weighing every day and just looking at the fluctuations. Because Juliana said, she's losing and gaining the same 4 pounds, but really, we fluctuate within a range. It's very, very possible that-- Again, ignore those first 28 days. Maybe your weight in this past week of your fifth week has actually trended down and it's hiding in the fluctuations.
I also think it's so important that she's lost three inches between her waist, her hip, and her abdomen after the second week. You are losing something. If your measurements are going down, forget about your clothes, because I talk about in Fast. Feast. Repeat and Delay, Don't Deny about something called honesty pants. We all probably have at least one pair of pants like that, or maybe it's shorts. For me, it's a skort that fits really snug and it doesn't have any stretch in it. But when I was gaining weight back in the day, when I was 210 pounds, all of my clothes were dishonesty clothes. I could gain or lose probably 20 pounds, and they would still stretch on fitting me. So, you can't necessarily say, “Well, my pants all still fit the same" because they might be super stretchy, like mine always were when I was at my higher weights. It was a long time before I noticed a difference in my clothes. So, you can't go by that unless they are really snug fitting with no stretch. Honesty pants, get some. That's really important. Photos are so important.
Put on an outfit, maybe those black biker shorts or something, the tight ones and a sports bra, and take pictures from different angles, frontward, facing sideways. Take those pictures, and then repeat them every week or two, and compare them wearing the same exact outfit.
Also, with the amount of exercise Juliana is doing, the scale is likely to be the least useful tool. If you're doing interval running five days a week for 30 minutes, strength training three days a week, expect to see changes in your body before the scale.
Eventually, the scale is going to go down if you're losing fat, but it's not going to be
dramatic with all that muscle building stuff going on. It's not the time for panic. Five weeks in, I would not be freaking out at all. Because you're only one week past your adjustment period. I also want to say that is just a rough rule of thumb, the 28 days. Maybe, five weeks is your body's adjustment period. Your body might need eight weeks. It just depends on your metabolic and hormonal health. The longer you've been overweight, the more likely it could take you longer to adjust.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that was excellent.
Gin Stephens: Well, thank you.
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Melanie Avalon: All right. Shall we go on to our next question?
Gin Stephens: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: All right. This question comes from Sarah. The subject is, "When you have a cold" and Sarah says, “Hello. I've been doing IF for three months and feeling like it will definitely be a permanent lifestyle. Losing weight and feeling great. I just discovered the podcast and I've started back at the beginning episode. I'm up to number
25. I have two questions. So, number one, how do you handle things like colds, flu, etc.? I often drink tea with honey and lemon when I have a cold. Should/could people go off IF when they have a situation like this?” So, we can go ahead and answer that one. We've actually answered this one quite a few times on the show.
Gin Stephens: Well, when you're sick, I really want you to listen to your body. Because really, sometimes, your body will guide you to fast more and that will be what feels right, and sometimes, your body will guide you to eat, and do what you feel like will make you feel better. As far as honey and lemon, obviously that's not going to be part of a clean fast, that wouldn't be fasting but sometimes we set fasting aside. If I had a terrible sore throat, and I didn't feel good, and I felt like drinking some orange juice would make me feel better, I would drink it, I would just open my window, I would have that. I wouldn't sweat it or stress about it, because the time to be worrying about losing weight is not while you're sick. Your body's working on healing, getting rid of whatever that is. So, listen to your body. Set fasting aside if you need to. You'll come right back to it when you're feeling better. Fast if it feels good.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, I do think our bodies are pretty intuitive when it comes to our hunger when we have a cold. Especially, in regard to if it's a virus or bacteria, it actually affects-- There's really interesting studies that affects our hunger because of how the immune system deals with it.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I talked about that in Fast. Feast. Repeat. It's in the Frequently Asked Questions. I talked about a study about that. Anyway, so, yes. Listen to your body, again.
Melanie Avalon: All right, ready for question two?
Gin Stephens: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: Question 2. “How do you handle events that occurred during your window that aren't going to have foods you want to eat? Maybe you arrive and discover the food isn't window worthy or other surprising situations out of your control. Do you just keep fasting? Please talk about navigating these types of situations. Thank you.”
Gin Stephens: Well, there's no one answer that's going to cover all of those situations, but I just think about what time is it, what's going to happen later? Let's say, it's early in the day. Let's say it's a lunch event. I go and I discovered the food is not window worthy. I'm not going to eat. I'm going to keep fasting. I don't normally eat lunch. Of course, we know that. But let's say, it's a lunch event, and I get there, and the food is window worthy, I would go ahead and eat. But now, let's say, it's time for my eating window.
Maybe, I decided to wait to till I got there to open my window, now it's 6 PM, and I show up at this event, and the food is disappointing, and it's 6 PM. Well, how long am I going to be there? If it's only a short period of time, and I can go home and eat something that I love, I will keep fasting till I can get home and eat. But if I'm not going to be home till 9 PM, I'm not going to fast till 9 PM. I'll make the best of what's there, and I can always make the best of it.
If I really thought the food wasn't going to be good, I would eat before I went if it was during my window. I would just make a plan for that. There's really no one way to handle it. if I showed up somewhere and it was 6 PM and I was going to be there till 10 PM, and the food was something I don't eat, okay, I would need it. If it was fried fish or something, [laughs] I don't like fish at all. Certainly, I wouldn't be eating fried fish, because that would-- No. I would just be like, “Okay, I'll just wait and I would eat--" I'd make the best of eating later. But that's going to be very unusual. I can usually find something that I can eat anywhere. What do you say about that, Melanie?
Melanie Avalon: I guess it really depends on what your normal eating window is, because this would be more of something a challenge for you, Gin, because your eating window is earlier. So, it does naturally fall-- For you, it would be really inconvenient to eat late, but for me, I'm always eating late. So, it actually doesn't really ever affect me because I always am eating right before I go to bed anyways.
Gin Stephens: Sometimes, the food is disappointing, but there's always going to be tomorrow. If you go somewhere, and the food is not like, “Oh my gosh. This is the best food I've ever had--” When I was with my family at the beach, we went to a buffet. Yeah, it's not my favorite going to a buffet, but they had crab legs on the buffet. I do like crab legs, and I ate a little bit of anything that looked good. It was probably my least favorite meal the whole time I was there, and I knew it. I'm never excited about a buffet. But I was eating with my family, we were all there. and tomorrow's a new day to eat something that's more delicious. You know what I'm saying? I didn't stress over it. I would have preferred a different meal, but this is what my family wanted to eat, and I just rolled with it. I didn't sit there and not eat. I just ate it, and I enjoyed it. But the food I had the next day was better and that's okay.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I am glad you said that. To clarify, when I go out to eat dinner, for example, and it's earlier, so it's not what I would have been eating. If it's a situation where I'm getting dinner at a restaurant with people that I 100% get dinner, I usually end up eating more as well after because it's not usually enough food and one meal at dinner
for me. One thing though I would encourage you, it also depends like how foods affect you. Some people can handle lots of foods and they won't experience too many negative side effects. I'm very jealous of Gin and her digestion and everything. But for me, I respond pretty intensely if I don't eat within certain types of foods that really work well with my body. So, I don't feel any pressure if I go to something, and it's food that I know won't make me feel well. It does not faze me. I don't feel any pressure to eat it. It doesn't like stress me out. If it's that situation, I usually will just keep fasting and eat afterwards.
Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah, I wouldn't eat food that would make me feel really bad.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I think it's easier-- because I feel the two main types of situations with food is like an event where the food is the event, a restaurant or something. I'm just thinking about this because in that case, I usually can always make something work at a restaurant.
Gin Stephens: Me too.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Gin Stephens: I usually can.
Melanie Avalon: I can't think of any situation where I wouldn't be able to, honestly. I'm thinking of-- even it was IHOP or something I could probably still. I have to have crazy tweaks to the menu and asked for things. But in general restaurants can be, you can usually find something that works. The other situation would be where it's an event and there's food out and those types of situations, it's usually a situation where the food is not the main event and you don't necessarily have to be eating. So, those types of situations, I like to just keep fasting, but I realize some people that might fall right in their window when they're supposed to be eating. So, Gin, if you were at an event that was when you would typically be eating, but it wasn't a dinner, there was-- what is it, hors d'oeuvres?
Gin Stephens: Hors d'oeuvres.
Melanie Avalon: And appetizers, and you knew you're going to be getting home late, but there wasn't really food that you wanted. So, would you just munch, what would you do?
Gin Stephens: Well, usually when there's hors d'oeuvre, there's going to be something that I want. There's usually cheese and crackers, I like that, or maybe, shrimp over there or something. [laughs] Even though I don't like fish, I do like shrimp with cocktail sauce or something like that. Again, I can usually find something. Now, if it was just light hors d'oeuvres, something like that, I would probably go home and eat something else.
Maybe have an egg sandwich or something. I'd love an egg sandwich. Yeah, I can eat that later at night and be fine.
Melanie Avalon: Wait, so, an egg sandwich, that's what, bread and eggs? Scrambled eggs?
Gin Stephens: Yeah. Oh, so good with a little mayonnaise. Delicious.
Melanie Avalon: It is so interesting. I don't think I've had that before.
Gin Stephens: Oh, we all love egg sandwiches around here. Yep. Scrambled, I make great scrambled eggs. Scrambled eggs on bread with a little mayonnaise, so good.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I have one little thought that maybe you were talking about the fish. I'm almost done with Tim Spector’s book. What's the one I'm reading?
Gin Stephens: You're reading Spoon-Fed?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Do you remember the chapter--? I already knew about this, but every time I read more about it, I'm just perpetually shocked by it, about the fraud in the seafood industry.
Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Friends, it is shocking. There's a lot of stuff that goes on in the food industry and I'm often saying it's shocking. I feel like this is up there. Out of all the stuff that goes down in the food industry, top three for shocking stuff. Basically, there's just lies. They've done so many tests, and I've been taking a lot of notes, and I'm really excited to interview him. But they do tests and I think he said, 50% of the raw seafood in LA is not what it says it is. They did a test in DC and it was food in restaurants and stores, and 25% was not what it said it was. This is on the shelves and in restaurants, and they said it's usually worse in the restaurants. So, the fish you might be eating might not be what it says on the menu. The restaurant doesn't always know.
Gin Stephens: Because they bought it thinking it-- They were told what it was, and it's not that. Yeah, this is one time I'm not sad that I don't like fish.
Melanie Avalon: The species that are often subbed out, they'll use tilapia. They'll use apparently some sort of catfish from China. There's a few other ones. Yeah, it just makes me really scared. I eat so much fish, but I only eat brands that I trust, and I shop at Whole Foods. Until now, I mean right now I still trust their system.
Gin Stephens: Would you eat fish at a restaurant now?
Melanie Avalon: Well, the thing is, I only eat a very limited species because of the mercury content, and I'll put a link in the show notes. I have a blog post on the mercury content and a little bit more about all of this, and I have a blog post on the fish fraud. It's in my ButcherBox post. So, I'll put links to both of those. I really only eat tilapia, but I wouldn't want to get that at a restaurant because I really, really want to know the source
of it. So, I eat salmon. I might eat salmon at a restaurant, and then I eat shrimp and scallops. So, I could eat that. But it's crazy.
Gin Stephens: It really, really is. It really is the amount of fraud out there is crazy.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it makes me really, really nervous which is another reason I wanted to develop my own supplement. We talked about this before but there's a lot of sketchy stuff in that industry as well.
In any case, this has been absolutely wonderful. A few things for listeners before we go. If you would 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 for today's episode will be at ifpodcast.com/episode227. You can follow us on Instagram, we are @ifpodcast. I am @melanieavalon, Gin is @ginstephens. I think that is all of the things. Anything from you, Gin before we go?
Gin Stephens: No, I think that's it.
Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, this has been 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. The music was composed by Leland Cox. See you next week.
Check out the Stuff We Like page for links to any of the books/supplements/products etc. mentioned on the podcast that we like!
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
Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Clean Fast Protocol for Health, Longevity, and Weight Loss--Including the 21-Day FAST Start Guide
Clean(ish): Eat (Mostly) Clean, Live (Mainly) Clean, and Unlock Your Body's Natural Ability to Self-Clean
More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com
More on Gin: GinStephens.com
Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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