Welcome to Episode 228 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle.
Today's episode of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast is brought to you by:
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15:00 - Listener Feedback: Megan - No More Medicines!
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20:30 - Listener Q&A: Sarah - IUD
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Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 228 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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If you recently saw a documentary on Netflix called Seaspiracy, you might be a little bit nervous about eating seafood. Now, I understand why ButcherBox makes it so, so clear and important about how they work with the seafood industry. Everything is checked for transparency for quality and for sustainable raising practices. You want their seafood. The value is incredible. The average cost is actually less than $6 per meal. And it's so easy, everything ships directly to your door.
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And one more thing before we jump in. Are you fasting clean inside and out? Did you know that one of our largest exposures to toxic compounds, including endocrine disrupters which mess with our hormones, obesogens which literally cause our body to store and gain weight, as well as carcinogens linked to cancer is actually through our skincare? Europe has banned thousands of these compounds for being toxic, and the US has only banned around 10. It's honestly shocking. So, when you're putting on your conventional skincare and makeup, you're likely putting toxic compounds directly into your body. These compounds can make you feel bad, can make it really hard to lose weight, can affect your hormones, your mood, your health. And ladies, if you're thinking of having kids, when you have a child, these compounds actually go directly through the placenta into the newborn. That means your skincare and makeup that you're putting on today actually affects the health of future generations. Did you know that conventional lipstick for example often tests high for lead, and the half-life of lead can be up to 30 years in your bones? That means when you put on your lipstick, 30 years later, half of that lead might still be in your body.
Thankfully, there's an easy, easy solution to this. There's a company called Beautycounter and they were founded on a mission to change this. Every single ingredient and their products is extensively tested to be safe for your skin, you can actually feel good about what you put on. And on top of that, their products actually work. That's because they're not “all natural.” They actually combine the best of both worlds, both synthetic and natural ingredients, to create products that actually support the health of your skin and make your skin look amazing. They have skincare lines for all your skin types, deodorant, shampoo and conditioner that I love, antiaging and brightening peels and vitamin C serums, and incredible makeup. If you see my makeup on Instagram, that's all Beautycounter. You can shop with us at melanieavalon.com/beautycounter.
And if you're thinking of making safe skincare a part of your future, like we have, we definitely suggest becoming a Band of Beauty member. It's sort of like the Amazon Prime for clean beauty. You get 10% back in product credit, free shipping on qualifying orders, and a welcome gift that is worth way more than the price of the yearlong membership, totally completely worth it. Also, definitely join my clean beauty email list at melanieavalon.com/cleanbeauty, I give away a lot of free things on that list and join me on my Facebook group, Clean Beauty and Safe Skincare with Melanie Avalon. I do a weekly giveaway every single week for Beautycounter, people share their experience and product reviews, and so much more. And again, the link to shop with us is melanieavalon.com/beautycounter. All right, now enjoy the show.
Hi everybody and welcome. This is episode number 228 of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here Gin Stephens.
Gin Stephens: Hi everybody.
Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Gin?
Gin Stephens: Well, I have some interesting news to share. We have a diabetic cat, officially diabetic. Our cat is diabetic. Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Gin, we just found out our cat is diabetic.
Gin Stephens: Really? Is it your parents’ cat?
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. Like our family cat from--
Gin Stephens: Yep. Well, we have three cats, and one of them, Ringo was acting weird, and I thought he might have a bladder infection or something. I took him to the vet and they're like, “Well, his bladder has no infection, but his blood glucose is 380 something.” I'm like, “Oh, that seems high for a cat.” [laughs] Is it the same for people? Yeah, I’ll try to find that out. Apparently, it's not exactly the same for people, but 380, that was high. Now, he gets insulin twice a day.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, our cat was, I think my dad said over 500.
Gin Stephens: Oh, that is high. That's really high.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Makes me really sad. I do wonder--
Gin Stephens: Is he getting insulin? Is your cat getting insulin?
Melanie Avalon: I'm not sure. This is like a really new development. I'm not sure yet.
Gin Stephens: Okay, it just happened for us too. We went back to have it rechecked just to make sure and it was still that high. Then, they kept him overnight and tried to figure out the right dose for him. Because with cats, you don't have to test their blood glucose personally. They just told me how much insulin to give them, and so we're giving it to him twice a day, and then I have to go back next week, and they're going to just make sure. We don't want him to have too much insulin, so they're going to check and save it. I just give it to him while he's eating, and he doesn't even notice.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. First thing I said, I was like, “Can we put her on a low carb diet?”
Gin Stephens: They can, actually. They have a special cat food for that.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think if I was taking care of her, that's what I would do.
Gin Stephens: Our problem is that we have three cats, and they have a special diabetic cat food, but I looked at the ingredients, they were not impressive to me, and it seemed to have a lot of things in there still, and it was very pricey. I'm not going to feed all three of my cats this special diabetic food. So, we did up the quality of our food. We got a different kind of food, not theirs, that wanted us to take, and we got a different kind, still higher quality than we had been feeding them.
Melanie Avalon: I would probably like to make the food myself. I was feeding them freeze dried raw food. It was probably--
Melanie Avalon: Well, they get some wet food in the morning. They all get-- it's meat. It's a meaty tinned cat food, the meat with gravy or whatever. Then, they have the dry cat food for the rest of the day when they want to have some.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Gin Stephens: Anyway, interesting that yours also has diabetes. I'd never really heard a lot about it, and everybody's like, “Oh, yeah, me too.” Apparently, it's very common. I was freaking out. I'm like, “I don't want to get this--,” and he's like, “It's no big deal,” the vet.
Melanie Avalon: My mom, she said this matter of factly, I was laughing, she basically said, all cats die of kidney disease. I was like, “Is that a true statement, mom?”
Gin Stephens: They usually do get kidney disease. A lot of them do. We've had two that I know of that died of kidney disease. Maybe we're just feeding them really the wrong foods.
Melanie Avalon: I'm sure that's what it is. I'm not sure of anything, but--
Gin Stephens: Well, if they're all getting kidney disease or maybe they're not supposed to live as long as they're living in the wild. Maybe cats wouldn't normally live this long.
Melanie Avalon: But it's really interesting that it's kidney disease.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. That's true, which makes me feel like it's something that we're feeding them.
Melanie Avalon: I think so. Yeah, because cats are carnivores. We're not feeding them a carnivore diet. We're feeding them carbs.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, that's what we changed their food a lot.
Melanie Avalon: I feel like it's one of the best examples of what happens when you put a species on a diet that's not suited to.
Gin Stephens: That's not right for them.
Melanie Avalon: Well.
Gin Stephens: Well, poor Ringo. You can tell he feels better though already. He's back to his old happier self.
Melanie Avalon: That's good. Well, I have two exciting updates.
Gin Stephens: Okay. Well, I can't wait to hear them.
Melanie Avalon: One, you already know, but I interviewed Robb Wolf again, this week. Listeners, out of the hundred plus guests I've had on the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast, he is my favorite.
Gin Stephens: That's amazing. Already over a hundred.
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm.
Gin Stephens: It just feels like you just started that.
Melanie Avalon: I know.
Gin Stephens: What? You've already-- I swear, it feels like you just started that podcast, and you do one a week, you've been doing it for over 100 weeks.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, the episode that came out this past Friday was Episode 105.
Gin Stephens: Wow. Well, congratulations. That's exciting. I know when you have somebody that you really admire--
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I try not to fangirl quite as much, but I was overwhelmingly fangirling as per usual. But the episode will not be out by the time this comes out but it will be at melanieavalon.com/electrolytes. I wanted to do a foundational educational episode on electrolytes. So many of our listeners have benefited from LMNT, because that's Robb's company. Oh, it is really fascinating. He's just so smart. I just think he's very nuanced, and not biased in his opinions on things. So, I really, really respect him.
Then, the second update, listeners, you can officially go to melanieavalon.com/serrapeptase, and that's where you can get on the email list for my new serrapeptase supplement, and we're going to do a preorder special. We haven't come up with the exact specifics, but we're probably going to do a tiered thing where like-- because we're only doing 1200 bottles for the first order. So, I think we're going to do something where the first one hundred people get the lowest price, and then the next 400 will be a slightly higher price, and then the remaining. But either way, the preorder price, it's probably never going to be that low again. We're doing a special just for the preorder. So, definitely get on that email list, because I don't know. I think it might sell out for the preorder. So, I'm very excited.
Gin Stephens: Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Anything else new in your world?
Gin Stephens: No. [laughs] Just giving shots to a cat twice a day. So, that's the thing. We're going to have to be around them all the time, and when I go to the beach, I'm going for three weeks. I'm leaving in a week. Chad's going to have to do it. If we go somewhere together, the two of us, I guess we have to board him. He is not going to like that. Oh, my gosh, he hated being at the vet overnight.
Melanie Avalon: Have you boarded them before?
Gin Stephens: Well, we have. The couple of times we rented our house for Masters, you have to get your pets out of the house. I think we only rented our house twice. It was a long time ago. When we did it, and now, I was like, “I hate this.” Part of it was taken all the cats to the vet and boarding them. I didn't like the thought of that. Also, your house, when you go on vacation, just going on vacation is stressful enough. Now, imagine your house has to be perfect, and that it has to be not just perfect, but you're having guests there that are paying you thousands of dollars to stay in your home? [laughs] Yeah, this is when the boys were at home, and I'm like, “No one use that bathroom. Do not go in that bathroom.” Then sure enough, someone would go use that bathroom. I'm like, “What is happening?" I said, "Don't use that.” It was not worth it to me.
Melanie Avalon: That's a lot to deal with.
Gin Stephens: It is a lot. so.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I just like to have my space with me, and--
Gin Stephens: Yeah, you have to put things away and you're like what if they're going through my underwear drawer, I better put my underwear all away. It’s just--
Melanie Avalon: Oh, goodness, I'd be so stressed.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, imagine. It's just for a week and you're having to clear out for total strangers and you also hear horror stories. We had great renters. They’ve worked for a Canadian sports casting company. The two years that we rented, they were fantastic. So, they were the camera crew and on air, whoever. They came to our house and they worked. They were working most of the day at the Masters. They just came back and apparently, they drank a lot of wine and beer while they were at our house, because they left all that. We could see. But they were not in the house a lot. It's when you have a different kind of groups of people that it can get rowdy and that's when the horror stories come in. I think some of the best people to have are the golfers themselves. Like our neighbor rents to the golfers.
Melanie Avalon: No renting for me.
Gin Stephens: No. I hate to put the pets and they don't like it. They don't understand, they're in this little cage. I don't know.
Melanie Avalon: Well, in any case, shall we move on to everything for today?
Gin Stephens: Yep, let's get started.
Melanie Avalon: All right, so to start things off, we have some feedback from Megan. The subject is, "No more medicines." Megan says, "Hi ladies. I, so enjoy listening to your podcast. I have been learning so much. My husband suggested that I write to tell you about the amazing results I've seen since starting to fast last month. I started by reading Gin's book, Delay, Don't Deny. I started June 18th at 236 pounds and I am already down to 215. I have gone down a pant size. I would like to get down to 135 or so, but this is the first time I really believe it will happen," and she has a smiley face emoji. She says, "And I'm postmenopausal. I have also stopped taking meds for heartburn/reflux, apple cider vinegar capsules, Prilosec and Tums, and allergies." She was taking Zyrtec, Flonase and Breathe Right strips, "No more snoring. My heart rate has gone down to 40 BPM to 50 BPM while I'm sleeping, and I'm waking up only once in the middle of the night. I'm thinking more clearly at work. My rosacea has cleared up quite a bit. I have not had any headaches. It really has changed my life. I thank you so much for helping me get started. My boyfriend is so impressed with what he's seeing that he is going to start soon as well. Thanks again, Meg.
Gin Stephens: That's awesome. Meg, thank you so much for letting us know. That is really quick for all those positive benefits.
Melanie Avalon: I think it's just wonderful. I feel so many people start IF to lose weight, and then they experience all of these other benefits that they didn't even anticipate.
Gin Stephens: That's it. The health plan with the side effect of weight loss, I really believe it.
Melanie Avalon: I've been wanting to share this on the podcast, and this sparked my memory, for histamine intolerance. I have been taking Ancestral Supplements desiccated kidney. I'm shocked by the effects it has on my, what I perceive, is probably histamine intolerance. It's incredible. So, I really recommend people if they at all struggle with histamine, they try-- it contains DAO, which is the enzyme that breaks down histamine that can really help support that if people are struggling with that.
Gin Stephens: Very cool. There's so many things going on in our bodies. That's just something we have to keep in mind all the time. Which is why, there's no one size fits all answer for pretty much anything, because we all have bazillions of things, that's the official term. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Yep. Well, I'm really curious. My mom has been struggling with her kidneys. I really want her to start taking it, because a lot of people report that they've been able to reverse kidney disease with it even though doctors say that kidney disease is not reversible. But my mom, she's coming around. She's like, "My doctor says it's not reversible, but I know it is." I think I shared the story before but she had really high cholesterol and our doctor said that she needed to go on statins. She decided to change her diet, she drastically lowered her cholesterol and her doctor was like, “I guess you can change [laughs] by diet.” Now, she's on that diet train to fix things which is really cool.
Gin Stephens: That really is. So much power in the food.
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Gin Stephens: All right. We have a question from Sarah, and the subject is "IUD." She says, “Hi, Gin and Melanie, huge fan of both of you and all your work. IF changed my life and has become such an important part of my healthy lifestyle. After Melanie's recent interview with Dr. Will Cole, I began listening to his podcast. He interviewed Leanne Vogel, and she had a lot of interesting insights about adjusting your fasting based on menstrual cycles to optimize the benefits. I have an IUD," and she put in parenthesis, Mirena, "implanted and I don't get a period. I've had the Mirena for 10 years now and love the ease and effectiveness of this type of birth control, and have had no complaints or side effects.
I've been fasting for a year and a half and usually do a 20:4 window. I've been at my ideal weight into a primarily for the health benefits specifically to manage GI distress, heartburn/reflux, and blood sugar crashes/hangriness. I'm 41 years old, and I eat pescatarian with very minimal processed food. Most of the time, I feel great, but I do have days where I just feel bleh and low energy. I, sometimes think maybe it's my allergies. I sometimes think it's low electrolytes. So, I started taking the element supplements. But now I have another factor to consider. Is it my body cycles, even though I do not get a period, what are your thoughts? Thank you in advance and keep up the good work.”
Melanie Avalon: All right. So, this is a great question from Sarah, and I was excited to include it because I recently read Alisa Vitti’s, In the FLO book, and I learned a lot in that book about the female cycle. I learned so much, and I also since then also read Stephanie Estima, The Betty Body, and also learned a lot about the female cycle. So, it's been a lot of education for me personally. I don't personally agree with Alisa Vitti’s, her entire perspective on fasting, but I do think there was a lot of valuable information in her book. She thinks when you're on birth control, hormonal or not-- because IUDs can be hormonal or not.
Gin Stephens: And the Merina is hormonal, by the way.
Melanie Avalon: She says the body does still cycle and experience the effects of the cycle. I couldn't find any studies talking about this specifically. Most of the literature on it was saying that because of the hormones involved that you're not cycling, if your period goes away entirely, that you are existing in this different hormonal state. It's really interesting, because on the hormonal IUD, some people do still cycle and some people don't. What it all says to me is that I think it's very possible that this could be happening. It's hard to know, but I think it could be. Do you have thoughts on it, Gin?
Gin Stephens: Really what you said, I think. Also, sometimes, we just feel bleh and have low energy. I'm on the other side of menopause. So, my hormones are not doing the same thing that they had been doing. Sometimes, I feel bleh compared to other days. It just happens sometimes. There's so many causes out there that could lead to you not feeling your best. It's absolutely impossible for us to ever know. Sometimes, you can't even know what it is when it's you personally going through it, you're trying to figure it out, but you definitely can't know for somebody else. Does that make sense?
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. Yeah.
Gin Stephens: If you notice that you felt bleh every 28 days, maybe make a note of it. That would indicate-- You can do some things to try to figure it out, like mark it down and say, “Oh, look. I do feel bleh every 28 days.” That probably is something with a cycle going on in my body.
Melanie Avalon: You could also do temperature tracking. So, Oura. Well, I've had them on the show twice, but I'm interviewing one of the researchers that they work with this week and her focus is ultradian and infradian rhythms. We're going to probably talk all about this like temperature tracking and the different rhythms in the body. So, I'm very excited. There's a lot of rhythms in the body, a lot of clocks. There's a lot of clocks.
Gin Stephens: There are so many which is why it always, I don't know, it bothers me. I don't know if that's the right word to use. It's amusing to me to consider that the thought that we would all be "exactly the same." When it comes to that there's so many moving parts and I don't literally mean moving parts. I mean there are moving parts, but there’s so many things going on that we're all just going to be different. Not everyone has the exact same length menstrual cycle.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah. Oh yeah, not even remotely.
Gin Stephens: That's just one example of that we know. That some women are clockwork every 26 days or something, and that's their normal cycle, whereas other people are slightly longer. Really, when I was going through perimenopause, it just really showed me how powerful these hormones are because then you have no regularity for a period of time. After being regular, it's like now we have 10 days, now we have 32 days, now we have four days. It was crazy. [laughs] It just lets that our bodies just are doing what they're doing back there, and it really just depends on our hormones, and so many other factors. They're out of your control.
Melanie Avalon: Or, they're influenced by what you're doing.
Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah, they're totally influenced by so many things. But it's not something you're consciously-- the changes that my body has gone through over menopause, they happened. No matter what I do, I have had changes. You're going to have changes, then you have to respond to those changes. I was reading something this past week. Someone was talking about having trouble losing weight, and of course, I asked her age, and she was someone probably 10 years ahead of me as far as deep into menopause, and I was doing some reading. We really need less fuel as we age. We need less fuel.
Melanie Avalon: But more protein.
Gin Stephens: Yes, but more protein. That was in what I was reading. But that's something to keep in mind, for anybody who's getting older, we don't need to eat as much food. So, let's say you're someone that-- of course, neither of us recommends counting calories. But let's say, you're somebody who has been counting your calories for decades exactly how much you're eating, and now all of a sudden, you're eating the exact same number of calories, and you're slowly gaining weight. Is there something wrong with you? No. That's just it's normal for our bodies to need less energy, less fuel as we age. So, if you're postmenopausal and you find your weight is slowly creeping up, even though your eating habits have not changed, my point is that they might need to change. You may need to eat less food. Boy, that's annoying to hear and understand. I don't want to hear that. I don't want to hear that now that I'm 52, maybe I need to eat less food. That's no fun. I want to eat more food. Not less food.
Melanie Avalon: Thankfully though, with intermittent fasting, one of the things I love about it is with the shorter eating window, you get to eat more satisfying. Even if it's less food, it doesn't feel as much less food, because you could eat more of it once.
Gin Stephens: It's easier to eat less food in an eating window than throughout the whole day, absolutely. But I just want to encourage people that may be in the same stage as me or are older than me to understand that, “Oh gosh, well, this is just a fact of life that maybe I'm going to have to eat a little bit less food as I get older than I could eat when I was in my 40s” for example. And it's okay. I'm not going to be mad at my body for changing in the way that bodies change.
Melanie Avalon: Exactly. Shall we go on to our next question?
Gin Stephens: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: All right. So, the next question is from Julie. The subject is "Sleep, sex drive, and sweats."
Gin Stephens: Can I just say one thing before we even read it? Before we even read what Julie has to say? That subject line, sleep, sex drive and sweats is perimenopause in a subject line. That's all I'm going to say. So, let's just hear what Julie has to say, but that really flows nicely with what we were just talking about.
Melanie Avalon: All right. So, Julie says, “Greetings, Gin and Melanie. My name is Julie. I'm a 51-year-old high school special education teacher in Michigan. I'm 5’4". I'm pretty active. I walk four miles, five to six days per week and bike 14 miles at a good pace once a week during our non-snow months. I'll do some light lifting but I'm inconsistent. I'm definitely going through perimenopause and was approaching my one year with no cycle, then bam. I had a weak cycle in May 2021.”
Gin Stephens: Then, you have to start over again. For people who don't know yet because you're not quite at that stage of your life, you've got to start the clock over again. I remember being exactly where you are, Julie, with that and like being mad, because I was so excited that time was progressing and then, bam, cycle. You have to start over and then you have to wait a year before, anyway. I just had to throw that in there.
Melanie Avalon: That's really frustrating.
Gin Stephens: It is what it is.
Melanie Avalon: I keep mentioning Stephanie Estima, but she talks about that a lot in her book. She talks about the vagueness surrounding defining perimenopause and menopause. That is basically just this counting game and that it's very vague. In any case, Julie says, “Cheers to me. The yearlong count starts again. Insert eyeroll, angry face emoji here. My questions are coming. I stumbled across IF and your podcast last summer 2020 when I was trying to drop a few pounds before my son's wedding. I have done the traditional diets in the past such as Weight Watchers, counting calories, low fat, etc. I have learned lessons each time I would “diet” throughout my adult years and I've implemented those lessons changes with my daily lifestyle.
I used to drink three cans of diet caffeine free pot per day, I used to eat way more carbs, I used to put cream and sweetener in my coffee, I used to eat three to four meals per day, I used to be on three kinds of medication, and now I'm only taking vitamins. This has been a huge win for me.” That sounds familiar, sounds like one of our earlier questions. She says, “Prior to IF, I fluctuated between 148 to 158 for 20 years. I feel mentally best when I'm under 150. When I started IF in summer 2020, I was at 156 pounds and my goal was to get to 148. However, I found myself dropping to 142 and I was thrilled with the quick results. Not to mention, I just felt great. My current weight has been ranging between 143 to 145," and she has a goal of 138 to 142. "Since summer of 2020 until summer 2021, I have never ever not done an IF day less than 16:8. It truly is the easiest lifestyle to obtain.
However, things have changed since I started. In fact, within weeks of starting I do not sleep as well. I used to sleep solidly for eight hours. I taught centered all night and every night. Is this my IF lifestyle or my perimenopause? I find myself overheating and having night sweats. After I open my window about two hours later, and they continue throughout my sleeping hours. Thoughts? What can I change? Change my eating window, what I'm eating, or, is this all part of my change? Not to mention, my sex drive has gone down. Ugh. I've been married for 30 years, and this has never been an issue for me, and started soon after I started the IF lifestyle. Please help.” All right, do you have help, Gin?
Gin Stephens: I do, and here's something interesting to know. When I started intermittent fasting, the time that stuck in 2014 and never quit again, I've been doing it now since 2014, I was at that point-- In the year before I started intermittent fasting, I had trouble with uterine fibroids, which I think I've talked about before. I had surgery for that. I wasn't like this perfect healthy, hormonal, everything was perfect, and then it wasn't kind of person. I had issues before intermittent fasting with fibroids. But after I started intermittent fasting, that all got better. The whole fibroid thing after the surgery and I was taking serrapeptase, and I no longer had that struggle with the heavy flow and the bleeding. Sorry, guys, but you're just going to have to hear this. But it was really, really hard before I had the surgery. But then everything was better.
Then, I had a few years that I would call perimenopause, where my cycles became irregular, but that was it. It was just irregularity. They would be short, they'd be long, it was all over the place, it was wacky. But then, as it continued, all of a sudden, Julie, those things and it was right around when it started to get really, really longer, like how you said you almost made it a year, and then bam. That was when everything got to the point where you just described. I stopped sleeping well, I started overheating, I started feeling sweaty after opening my window even more throughout my sleeping hours, the loss of libido, check, check, check. For me, I had enough years where I wasn't doing that, so I am pretty sure the cause effect was not intermittent fasting and then these symptoms. I actually sailed through perimenopause and felt great. It was right when I got to that point-- I think of it like this.
When I interviewed Dr. Jones for the Intermittent Fasting Stories Podcast, he works with women over the transition, and he really opened my eyes and helped me understand what was happening. As our bodies start to decrease estrogen, progesterone, that's when we start having these symptoms. I was like, “Okay," So, it's really textbook. Take the intermittent fasting out of the picture completely, this is the way women feel during this transition. So, I didn't feel like that. Then, I had like you're saying the long period of time where I didn't have a cycle and then I had another one, and then had to start the clock again but it was during that second part of it before when I was going through my last full year when all those symptoms that you just described happened.
I would really encourage you to listen, if you want to really understand it, Sheri and I enough for The Life Lessons Podcast, we did two episodes with Dr. Anna Cabeca. She's an OB-GYN, and she's known as the girlfriend doctor, because she really is like talking to a girlfriend. She's fabulous. It's episode 25 and episode 26. For episode 25, we talked about demystifying menopause. We talked about what your body's going through pre, during the transition, and then post. Then we had episode 26, which was sexual health and libido. Again, just like you, when you said that you've been married for 30 years, this has never been an issue for you, I could write this entire everything exactly like you. I could have written that. Never was an issue, boom, it was an issue. It is shocking and surprising when it suddenly is. But the best part about talking to Dr. Cabeca is that once we understand this is normal, this is what women go through as our hormones decrease and change, and there are also some things you can do to help with some of these symptoms, and Dr. Cabeca has got some solutions for you. So, definitely look for The Life Lessons Podcast, if you go to any podcast app and search Gin Stephens, you can find it. Sheri is the cohost, and look for episode 25, and then episode 26.
We got a lot of feedback on those two episodes. People really enjoyed listening to Dr. Cabeca. She's just fantastic. She's actually going to come on the Intermittent Fasting Stories Podcast because she's also an intermittent faster. But I can confidently say that we go through this as women, whether we're intermittent fasters or not, and I really still to this day think that intermittent fasting helped me go through it easier than what I've heard from other people, what they've gone through. Does that mean it was painless? No. [laughs] It's weird. It's so weird when you're like, “wow, what is happening?”
Melanie Avalon: Yes, well, I knew Gin that you would have the answer for that. That was perfect.
Gin Stephens: Her subject line is really the menopausal transition in three words. Well, it's well, one, two, three words, five words, but sleep, sex drive, and sweats. There it is. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Something Julie might want to look into that might help, I'm not a doctor. I'm not prescribing. I'm currently reading a book by Michael Platt, and it's called Adrenaline Dominance. He actually has another book as well that I'm going to read called The Miracle of Bio-identical Hormones. His theory is that a lot of the issues that we experienced, not even things we perceive as hormonal, but a lot of health issues in general, are related to adrenaline dominance, and he believes that progesterone is often the hormone that can really mitigate that and balance hormones, and a lot of people seem to benefit from progesterone.
Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah. Dr. Jones that I talked to explain how when he gets women on the right dose of progesterone, that it just changes their lives. They're sleeping better, and Dr. Cabeca talked about the same thing. That's definitely want to work with a professional that's going to help you find the right dose for your body. That's important. You don't want to just be guessing.
Melanie Avalon: 100%. He had a list of things to keep in mind when using progesterone cream, specifically. The first thing was what you just said, Gin. He says, “There's no one size fits all dosage. The patient begins with a generally recommended dosage and then adapts to the amount and frequency of application and even application site as needed.” He says-- I love this, he says, “When it comes to dosing progesterone, it's better to treat the patient rather than the lab test.” That is adjust the dosage according to the patient's response rather than the blood test results.
Gin Stephens: I think that's huge, too. I've heard that about thyroid medication as well. That's how they used to do it before labs.
Melanie Avalon: Kind of goes into what we were saying that at the beginning of this show, you were talking about how it's hard to test these things anyway. It's hard to even know and I think when it comes to supplementing with hormones, bioidentical hormones, progesterone cream, going off how you feel is really-- That sounds really vague, but working with a practitioner and basing it on your symptoms and how you feel rather than necessarily what the lab tests might show.
Gin Stephens: The levels. Yeah, 100%.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. He says it's best applied to areas with a good blood supply where the skin is thin. That's the inner forearm, the upper chest, the back of the neck, at a face. He says it appears to be extremely safe with few potential side effects. This is interesting. He says progesterone has a short half-life in the bloodstream about five to six minutes because of its propensity to attach readily to receptor sites. He says saliva tests do not give an accurate picture of progesterone levels, except maybe if you're using just a cream. Then, he thinks you should avoid oral progesterone. But in any case, that might be something to look into, finding a practitioner who works with hormones.
Gin Stephens: That's what I would recommend 100% and trying to get what's right for you until your symptoms are better. But again, it does get better to the degree that now that I'm on the other side, I am sleeping better now. I was having more trouble sleeping than I am now, but my sleep has gotten better. It's still not the sleep that I had before, I'm going to just say. It's like I don't need as much sleep. My mother was just here. I hadn't seen her in a while. She lives in Virginia. But of course, couldn't travel during the pandemic, but I just spent some time with her, and she was talking about what she does. She wakes up so early, like crazy early, like 4:30. That's when she wakes up. So, I was like, “Okay, we've got the same rhythm.” I bet. I'm not waking up at 4:30 but she goes to bed really early wakes up really early. Really early.
Melanie Avalon: I was telling you, Gin. I literally went to bed at 5 AM last night. I'm dying. My Oura Ring, I got the worst score I've ever received on my Oura Ring ever. It was a 51. I was like, "It knows, it knows." When it's that bad, it suggests a recovery day. I didn't do it. But I think basically, if you put it in that mode, it won't penalize you for not-- I think what it does is, it doesn't penalize you for doing activity. It'll change your activity goals and stuff, because it knows that you're resting. I think that's what it does. But in any case, did we answer Julie's stuff? I think so.
Gin Stephens: I think so, yeah. I'm sending positive thoughts your way, Julie, because I get it. Again, you're just like, “What's happening to me?” Because you can hear all about it, but I was like, “Yeah, but that's not going to happen to me." Okay. No, it will. It's going to all the young people including you, Melanie. Just wait.
Melanie Avalon: I honestly feel, especially, when I had the mercury toxicity, I think it did a number on my hormones. I feel I experienced a lot of the hormonal type effects that I'll probably experience.
Gin Stephens: Oh, yes. You've already been down that road.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Because I do hear stories, especially, in books I read of people who don't have symptoms in perimenopause and menopause. That's what I'm hoping for but we'll see.
Gin Stephens: I think I went through it pretty well. In general, it wasn't debilitating. But everyone's heard me talk about struggling with my sleep, and that was when wine started to be more of a problem for me. If I wanted to get a good night's sleep, I had to not do a lot of drinking.
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Gin Stephens: All right. We have a question from Sarah, and her subject is "So discouraged." Sarah said, “Hey, gals. Longtime lover of y'all, and the podcast, and all your things. Hope you can talk me off this ledge and troubleshoot. I'll try to be brief. I've been doing it for maybe four years off and on, not while pregnant, etc. But most recently, I've been 19:5 most days since about March. I eat what I like, but thanks to appetite correction, it's whole real foods about 98% of the time. I fast on weekends too. I open my window early if my body tells me to. I do drink a glass or two of wine because it's literally the thing I look forward to at the end of the day when the kids go to bed. I'm home by myself with three kids. Husband is an ICU travel nurse who works out of town. Thanks, COVID. Other stats: 45 years old, 5’5", current weight 187, goal 145. Medications taken for anxiety, depression, allergies, and high blood pressure. I do kettlebells for 30 minutes three to four times a week and cardio, which is dancing two to three times a week. I have seven-year-old twins and a two-year-old.
Here's the ledge. I weighed myself this morning because I've joined a work weight loss program and that's part of the program, to weigh yourself. You work with a health coach, etc. I still weigh over what I want to weigh. I hate looking at my body in the mirror. I have that post C-section apron, and I'm 45, cellulite comes with the territory, right? I don't take progress pics because I can't bear looking at myself and my clothes aren't fitting any differently. I've had my hormones and other levels checked and everything except my vitamin D was fine, I'm supplementing. I'm crying while I'm typing this. I'm so discouraged. I was hoping to drop some weight and nothing is moving. I'm so disgusted with my body. I'm ready to go by all devices, and try all the quack junk, or just give up and be fat. Thanks for all you do,” Sarah. And Sarah, I hear your discouragement through this whole thing. I want to give you a big hug. First of all, I'm giving you a big hug. Imagine the hug right this minute. A hug, big hug.
Melanie Avalon: I'm so I'm so, so sorry to hear this. It's a very emotional email, and I feel we don't get quite as many emails that are this intense but I know it's something that I think a lot of people experience. So, I applaud Sarah for writing us about it, because she talks about wanting to go get devices and try all the things. Sarah, I feel like you're looking for the solution, this is going to sound cheesy, but outside of yourself, and what if maybe the solution isn't outside of yourself? I think there's a lot that you could benefit from the mental work here and your perspective of everything that you're experiencing. I had a really good episode with Amy Johnson, who wrote The Little Book of Big Change. That episode was really amazing for reframing everything that you're experiencing, and then I just recorded with her again, and I think it might be out by the time this comes out. So, that episode is going to be coming out October 1st. So, it'll be coming out a little bit after this airs, but we'll go ahead and put a link in the show notes to it, and it's for her new book called Just a Thought. I think listening to those, you might find very, very helpful. I have a lot of thoughts. Gin, do you want to start, though?
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I have some thoughts as well, and I'm going to pinpoint two things that might be getting in the way of your weight loss, and one of them is your allergy medication. Antihistamines can cause weight gain. If you're taking an antihistamine every single day, that could be just something to look at and think about. I'm going to say the one thing that Sarah does not want me to say, do what I'm going to say, Melanie?
Melanie Avalon: I think you're going to say the wine.
Gin Stephens: I'm going to say the wine because I'm going to talk about my own body. For me, that's a huge, huge, huge difference. It sounds like you're drinking a glass or two of wine every day when the kids go to bed, and if you say that is the only thing you're looking forward to, I would find something else to look forward to. Something else some other self-care ritual because I get how hard it is when your kids are a little, boy, do I get it. Seven-year-old twins and a two-year-old, it is intense. But for me, when I was losing weight 2014 to 2015, I stopped drinking and you've already got the right diet with real whole foods 98% of the time. Your eating window is in check. But I stopped the wine and no drinking, I did it for about 10 weeks. Boom, accelerated my weight loss like crazy. Like crazy. Just from all the data that I had for all the time that I was losing weight and still weighing myself, there was a huge correlation with alcohol and what my weight did. So, I would experiment with that.
You may want to read the book, This Naked Mind, by Annie Grace. It's a powerful book. It really helped me think about my own relationship with alcohol, and I'm not saying you have a problem with alcohol at all, but I was drinking a glass or two of wine every single day as well. Stopping that has made such a positive difference in how I feel. Annie Grace does a better job explaining it than me. She's the expert when it comes to this topic, but give that book a try and read it with an open mind. She doesn't tell you how to stop drinking, but she wants you to examine your own statements and thoughts around it. The way it came through here is that, you wrote literally in capital letters showing me you have really strong emotions. You do not want to give up this wine. So, think about why you don't, and you may find that is the secret sauce that makes a huge difference, the giving it up. Give it a try and see. That would be my advice.
Melanie Avalon: It's so interesting, and just goes back to how individual we all are, because for me, wine has no effect on weight gain for me. If anything, I feel I probably maintain a lower weight when I'm drinking wine, which is really interesting. If I had to focus on one thing-- Well, first of all, I love everything that Gin drew attention to with the emotional aspects surrounding the wine, because I think wine is such a wonderful thing for a lot of people.
Gin Stephens: I love wine.
Melanie Avalon: [laughs] Yeah, I think people can look forward to it, and it can have a very healthy place in people's lives emotionally. But when it becomes the thing that you're looking forward to for relief, I just get a little bit nervous about its role in your emotional health surrounding it. I would want it to be an additive and something that enhances your life without feeling like you have to have it.
If I were to focus on one thing to jumps-- what I will say. I know this is ironic, because Gin just suggested not drinking wine but I do want to say, if you do drink wine and you are going to continue drinking wine every night, I would definitely, definitely, definitely drink Dry Farm Wines. I feel so strongly about this. It's going to be lower alcohol, lower sugar, organic, free of toxins, and compared to conventional wines, I think you might experience a massive difference if you're experiencing any negative effects from the wine, and you can get a bottle for a penny at dryfarmwines.com/ifpodcast.
That said, if I were to focus on something to jumpstart the weight loss, I would focus on the eating what you like, and maybe try eating what you like within a macro paradigm if you haven't done that already. I know you're eating whole foods, but I don't know what those are, your body might respond really well to either low carb, high fat. It doesn't have to be high fat, but either a low carb or a high carb-low fat approach. I think there's really a magic that can be experienced in following one of those macros strictly. People experience weight loss doing that without fasting. So, when coupled with fasting, it can often really, really help. Focusing on protein as the foundation of your meal, I think, is really great for providing satiety, providing calories that are not going to turn into fat, they're going to be used to build and support your body. They're going to encourage, support your metabolism, and then also let you more likely be in a calorie deficit while being thoroughly nourished. So, having protein as your main thing and then trying either the low carb or the low-fat approach.
I think if you haven't done that, I think you might see a massive change. If you haven't tried that yet at all, there's actually a lot of potential. Like a lot of potential. So, I'm actually very, very excited for you. And the great thing is, if you haven't tried it, that's two options you can try. I would give-- if one doesn't work, you can try the other. If you do try one though, I would give it a substantial amount of time to see if it's working for you.
Gin Stephens: Really, as far as the wine goes, you can have something else in a class that feels festive. I love to have coconut water in a wine glass. I have that very frequently during my window. I found I just wanted to drink something that wasn't water, black coffee, plain tea out of a pretty wineglass.
Melanie Avalon: See, that's so interesting, because it's just goes to show how different we are. If I were to replace wine with coconut water, I would probably gain weight for sure.
Gin Stephens: Really? Coconut water doesn't-- Yeah, I love coconut water.
Melanie Avalon: It's pretty sugary, right?
Gin Stephens: It's not. I don't think so. No, it's not.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I thought it was. For me, wine has a really nice effect, especially, wearing a CGM, has a really nice effect on my blood sugar. But in any case, the biggest thing here, Sarah, is I just want to encourage you that you're not destined to be stuck in the state. The state isn't even something-- This is going to sound silly, but it's not even a problem. What I mean by that is, everything that you're experiencing is just your experience at this moment, and things change, they always change. It's literally impossible for things not to change. So, there's nothing to be scared about as far as thinking that you're going to be here forever. Things do change. They will change. You can try things, you can make choices and things can move in a different direction, and everything that you're experiencing, it's okay. It's okay. I really think that you can see some changes if you look at the food. Anything else for her?
Gin Stephens: No, I think that's it. We're rooting for you, Sarah. Get back with us if you try some things and see what your sweet spot is.
Melanie Avalon: I feel like a broken record, because I suggest all of this stuff so often, but it's just because I really think it can be effective. If you really want to supercharge, if you want to try the low carb route, I would not embrace the idea of all the fat. You don't have to eat a lot of fat to enter ketosis. You just have to go low carb. So, if you have the weight to lose and you want to try low carb, I would go low carb. I would not focus on adding lots of fat. If you do add fat, I would add something like MCT oil, specifically C8 only. I can put a link in the show notes to the one that I like. That is a fat that you could add that is very stimulating of metabolism in your eating window, not in your fast, is very unlikely to actually be stored as fat and it can actually help you lose fat, if you try the low carb approach. I'm really curious what she's saying about the quack junk when she's talking about trying.
Gin Stephens: Well, I don't think he's talking about anything we talked about but the stuff that you see all over the place like the weight loss fads. Not anything we're promoting. You don't need any of those quack things that are out there. You definitely don't. I really don't think there's anything you can buy. Even the things we like that can have positive benefits on your health are not necessary for weight loss.
Melanie Avalon: Actually, I know this is controversial. I do think there are certain-- things that are marketed as weight loss pills, I think there are certain compounds out there that if you took them in a fasted state would catalyze fat burning, but I just think they're so misconstrued and how weight loss pills work, most of them have lots of crappy ingredients, and additives, and safety issues. There's not really a practical, realistic way of implementing this. I do think scientifically, certain compounds can help support fat burning. But there's nothing I can actually like straight up suggest. In any case, anything else?
Gin Stephens: No, I think that's all.
Melanie Avalon: One other thing. If Sarah doesn't feel comfortable taking pictures of herself, I think that's totally fine. I just wouldn't stress about that.
Gin Stephens: You definitely want to do what feels right to you. I'm not going to say everyone must take photos.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I was wondering if you've got questions about that before.
Gin Stephens: Well, the reason I would encourage you to take photos even though you don't want to look at them right now is because one day, you're going to be glad you have them. That's the only thing. Right now, maybe you don't like taking them and you don't like looking at them, but one day, you'll be like, “Oh, my gosh, I'm so glad I have these photos.” You can save them in the hidden roll in your camera, you can google how to do that, so you don't have to look at them when you're scrolling along. You can hide in that hidden folder, and then just go to them, “I have some photos of me in that hidden folder,” and it's not photos I share with people or what I share with people, but you can really see how your body is changing. Especially with the kettlebells that she's doing and the cardio-- I think I talked about this last week. She says her clothes aren't fitting any differently, but with the way clothes are right now, you can change a lot, and your clothes, you can't tell it in your clothes by the way they're fitting, but you wouldn't be able to tell it in a photo. I'm not going to say you absolutely must take photos, but I would encourage you to get past that and think of it as, "I'm going to really be able to tell a difference when I look again in a month and wear the same clothes," and you will probably be pleasantly surprised.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. I like that. Sorry, I just realized one thing I totally missed. Huge. This is huge. The medications for the anxiety and the depression. Those could be playing a major, major, major role.
Gin Stephens: I only mentioned the allergy medication but you're right. Huge.
Melanie Avalon: I don't know what you're taking specifically. If it's an SSRI or something, there's a lot of clinical literature on weight gain on those medications. And also, what's really interesting is a lot of the studies find a long-term effect. People will go on these medications, gain weight, go off the medications and the effects seem to last. They don't know why that is, but it seems to for a lot of people change something. Like in the hypothalamus, your metabolism something. That could be playing a factor. I don't say that to discourage you, I say it to know that if you feel your efforts aren't working, to keep in mind-- it's kind of like what we're talking about the beginning. It's not necessarily all you. The hormones, and the things in your body are very intense driving factors. But it's encouraging because you can set up an environment knowing that will work in your favor.
Gin Stephens: Just feeling like you're not having to take the blame, that's the thing. I can remember all those years when I was struggling with obesity, and feeling like I must be weak, there's something wrong with me, why can't I do this, this must be my fault. Because we're conditioned to feel that way. Well, if you just do x, y, z, why can't you just do x, y, z? So, you feel like there's something wrong with you, like morally wrong with you. When really, it might be something that's going on physically behind the scenes and it's not your conscious fault, and that can give you relief, instead of feeling it's a failing on your part. You just understand, “Okay, this is what my body's doing right now.” Of course, we would not encourage you to just go off medication for anxiety or depression. No, definitely not. That's not what we're saying at all, or even allergy medication, but to understand the link, and when you understand the link, you're like, “Well, now, that makes sense. Now, it makes sense that I can't lose the weight.”
Melanie Avalon: Yes. So, we feel for you, Sarah. Let us know how it goes. The show notes for today's episode will be at ifpodcast.com/episode228, and we will put links in the show notes to everything that we talked about there. There's a link I wanted to mention, because we talked about LMNT a few times throughout this episode, and you can get a free sampler pack completely free at drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast. So, that's a really great offer. You can get all of the stuff that we like at ifpodcast.com/stuff. If you would like to submit your own questions for the show, you can directly email email@example.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com, and you can submit questions there. Lastly, you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast. I am @melanieavalon, Gin is @ginstephens, and I think that is everything. 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, talk to you then. 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 podcast, Intermittent Fasting Stories, and the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. The 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!
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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