Episode 247: Eating The Correct Amount, Restrictive Diet, Planning Ahead, Serial Dieting, Macronutrient Focus, Scar Tissue & Autophagy, And More!

Intermittent Fasting


Help Make The Intermittent Fasting Podcast Possible!

Hi Friends! We put a ton of time and energy into researching and producing The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. You can help support us on Patreon! Every dollar helps!

Jan 11

Welcome to Episode 247 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:

LEVELS: Learn how your fasting, food, and exercise are affecting your blood sugar levels 24/7, by wearing a continuous glucose monitor (CGM)! The Levels app lets you log meals and activities, and interprets the data for how they affect your metabolic health. Skip the 150,000 people waitlist at levels.link/ifpodcast!

FEALS: Feals makes CBD oil which satisfies ALL of Melanie's stringent criteria: it's premium, full spectrum, organic, tested, pure CBD in MCT oil! It's delivered directly to your doorstep. CBD supports the body's natural cannabinoid system, and can address an array of issues, from sleep to stress to chronic pain, and more! Go To feals.com/ifpodcast To Become A Member And Get 50% Off Your First Order, With Free Shipping!

GREEN CHEF: Get easy, affordable meals made with organic ingredients for a variety of lifestyles - including Paleo, Keto, Vegan, and Vegetarian - shipped straight to your home! Go To greenchef.com/ifpodcast130 And Use Code IFPODCAST130 To Get $130 Off Including Free Shipping!

To submit your own questions, email questions@IFpodcast.com, or submit your questions here!! 


LEVELS:  See how your fasting, food, and exercise are affecting your blood sugar levels 24/7, by wearing a Levels continuous glucose monitor (CGM). Skip The 150,000 People Waitlist At levels.link/ifpodcast!

BEAUTYCOUNTER: Keep Your Fast Clean Inside And Out With Safe Skincare! Shop With Us At MelanieAvalon.com/beautycounter, And Something Magical Might Happen After Your First Order! Find Your Perfect Beautycounter Products With Melanie's Quiz: melanieavalon.com/beautycounterquiz
Join Melanie's Facebook Group Clean Beauty And Safe Skincare With Melanie Avalon To Discuss And Learn About All The Things Clean Beauty, Beautycounter And Safe Skincare!

FEALS: Go To feals.com/ifpodcast To Become A Member And Get 50% Off Your First Order, With Free Shipping!

Listener Q&A: Bethany - Too Much, Not Enough?

Clean(ish): Eat (Mostly) Clean, Live (Mainly) Clean, and Unlock Your Body's Natural Ability to Self-Clean

Get Well. Stay Well. Go to ifpodcast.com/sowell and get 10% off with the coupon code MelanieAvalon!

Listener Q&A: Ratunda - Question

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #30 - William Shewfelt And Ted Naiman

The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast Episode #57 - Robb Wolf

GREEN CHEF: Go To greenchef.com/ifpodcast130 And Use Code IFPODCAST130 To Get $130 Off Including Free Shipping!

Listener Q&A: Katie - IF, autophagy, and scar tissue

Intermittent Fasting Stories Episode 13: Donna Dube

Fasting before or after wound injury accelerates wound healing through the activation of pro-angiogenic SMOC1 and SCG2

Stay Up To Date With All The News About Melanie's New Serrapeptase Supplement At melanieavalon.com/avalonx Or Head Straight Over To avalonx.us To Place Your Order Now!


Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 247 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing when you eat, not what you eat with no calorie counting, then this show is for you. I'm Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Gin Stephens, author of 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. 

Hi, friends. I'm about to tell you how you can skip a 150,000 people waitlist and finally get something that we love and talk about on this show all the time, a continuous glucose monitor, also known as a CGM. Wearing a CGM has honestly been one of the most profound bio hacks that I have personally experienced for understanding how I respond to food, what type of diet and fasting work for me, and truly taking charge of my health. A continuous glucose monitor is an easy to apply sensor that you put onto your arm and guess what? It continuously monitors your blood glucose, also known as your blood sugar. With a CGM, you can literally see in almost real time how foods are affecting your blood sugar levels, how your blood sugar levels change during your fast, how exercise affects them, and so much more. CGMs used to only be available to diabetics or if you had a prescription, but now, Levels is changing all of that. Yep, Levels is making CGMs accessible to everyone. With Levels you get a prescription for a CGM and then you sync it with their amazing app, which lets you track your blood sugar over time, see graphs of your data, get your own metabolic score, and see how that changes, log your meals, and so much more. I am obsessed with wearing CGMs. I've been experimenting with them and talking about them on this show for months now. But even if you just wear one once I think you will learn so, so much about your body and about your health.  

Here's the thing. Levels has a waitlist of 150,000 people, but no worries. For my audience, you can skip that and get one right now. Just go to levels.link/ifpodcast. That's Levels dot link slash IF podcast to skip that waitlist of 150,000 people. If you'd like to learn all of the science of Levels, you can check out my interview with the founder, Casey Means, that's at melanieavalon.com/levels, and definitely check out my Instagram, because I have so many reels about how to put on a CGM, it is painless, and so, so easy to do, I promise. Again, that's levels.link/ifpodcast and I'll put all this information in the show notes.  

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. When you're putting on your conventional skincare 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 makeup that you're putting on today actually affects the health of future generations.  

Did you know that conventional lipstick for example often test 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, anti-aging 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. 

Melanie Avalon: Hi, everybody and welcome. This is Episode number 247 of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with, Gin Stephens.  

Gin Stephens: Hi everybody.  

Melanie Avalon: And this is not really relevant anymore for listeners but happy late Christmas, Gin. 

Gin Stephens: Well, thank you. Thank you and happy New Year to you and all the things. 

Melanie Avalon: I know. When this airs, it will be 2022. Although, last week, last week as well, I guess.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah. This is our second New Year episode even though, we're still recording it in the past. [laughs] 

Melanie Avalon: Crazy, how that works.  

Gin Stephens: Wonder how the future looks.  

Melanie Avalon: How are things in your world? Anything new?  

Gin Stephens: Well, I just want to say thank you for being such a good, well-prepared podcast host on your Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast because I just had a podcast interview last week and it was set up by my publisher. It's a big-name person. I'm not going to say who because I don't want anybody to listen to it. [laughs] Because it's very clear this person didn't even read my book. But yeah, it was so very clear. He had not read anything. First of all, he got the title wrong when he was saying it. Did he got the title of my other book wrong? Didn't he like said, "Oh look, a book that lets you cheat." I'm like, "Oh, my God, no. What? No." Then he's like, "How many days a year can you cheat?" I'm like, "Oh, my God, why am I here?" What am I doing? [laughs] It's really, really-- Everybody else I've ever talked to has been like, you could tell they read it, or at least they read enough of it to really understand what it was about. I think all he did was look at the cover. Maybe, just a picture of the cover. I don’t know. 

Melanie Avalon: That's so funny.  

Gin Stephens: That really goes to show you take the time you read the book, you dig in with your guests. I've been a guest on your podcast and I just wanted to say thank you for doing that, and I know your audience appreciates it as well. Maybe, he doesn't have a lot of people that listen to his podcast. I hope not. It might be millions. I don't know.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I've found that, I actually think because I listen to a lot of podcasts, and I think the ones that really shine are the ones where they do do a deep dive, like I talk about how I listen to Rich Role a lot, and he is well, really, really-- You can tell, he's like really reads all the books. He's at that show for about, I think six years or seven years, and he always talks about how-- he never takes a vacation and how he's working on it just 24/7. And it makes me feel better because I'm like, "Okay, it is normal to be doing this 24/7." 

Gin Stephens: Well, if I have a guest on-- For Intermittent Fasting Stories, most of my guests are just not authors. They're just intermittent fasters, telling their stories. But sometimes, I do have someone on there like, Cynthia Thurlow with her new book that's coming out in March, and I read it before I talked to her about it. I mean, I did. I took that time and it just feels, it was just so funny, because luckily it was a really short. It's like a 17-minute interview, which is really it was like a segment of a bigger one. But I was like, "Well, this certainly, nobody's going to be reading it after listening to this interview anyway."  

Melanie Avalon: That's so funny. Oh, my goodness.  

Gin Stephens: it was funny but the others I've had have been fabulous. I'm grateful to all of them and I'm grateful for this one too, because maybe one person who hears that as be like, at least interested to look it up. I don't know.  

Melanie Avalon: Were you able to redirect with your answer like clarify?  

Gin Stephens: I tried. I did my best but-- [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, it's funny.  

Gin Stephens: It is. It is funny. 

Melanie Avalon: Crazy that you bring up Cynthia Thurlow. That's what I was going to talk about.  

Gin Stephens: Oh, I love her. 

Melanie Avalon: In the intro, two things. I as well, am reading her book right now, because she's coming on my show as well. I'm really enjoying it a lot. I really like how she dives into the hormones, like all the specific roles of the hormones, and for listeners, it's geared towards women specifically for fasting. It's funny because when I first started reading it, I was like, "Okay." I mean, it was really good, but I was wondering if I was going to learn anything new. But I do really appreciate her dive into hormones. I have not gotten to the part yet with the actual specifics of her plan. So, I'm not sure how it lines up exactly with things we talked about on this show, but it does seem to be a very good resource for listeners. 

Gin Stephens: She's a bit more conservative when it comes to women and fasting than I am and you are. That's just important to know like with your cycle. It might be like, I'm such a big eater, and you like to eat a lot, too. So, I just have less fear that women aren't eating enough because you know, if you're listening to your body, you're not going to over restrict. So, I don't know. I think she's more of a restrained eater, perhaps. So, if you're a restrained eater, I feel like you would worry more about women not getting it being able to eat enough. Does that make sense?  

Melanie Avalon: Like if you'd experienced it before?  

Gin Stephens: Through your lens, someone who doesn't eat a lot is more of a restrained eater and they would realize that maybe you can't eat "enough" [laughs] in a certain window.  

Melanie Avalon: I just had an epiphany. She's like a blend-- well, she's more like me in that she does prescribe eating certain types of food in your window. So, she advocates like Whole Foods based and typically lower carb, but she talks about carb cycling as well. But she does talk about what foods to eat. I do think when you're eating, well, just from a pure calorie percentage, it is more likely if you're eating Whole Foods or eating like low carb, specifically, I think that you might eat less. Because if you're eating all processed foods, it's really easy to eat thousands, and thousands, and thousands of calories.  

Gin Stephens: Oh, well. Yeah. I don't know anybody who promotes that's the best way, the processed foods, you know what I mean?  

Melanie Avalon: Not that they promote that. 

Gin Stephens: Well, I mean some people do, I guess. That's what they think IF is. 

Melanie Avalon: True.  

Gin Stephens: Or if you just read the title of any of my books, you might think that's what I say, too. Then, you actually read it and go, "Oh, that isn't what Gin said."  

Melanie Avalon: So, the difference would be, so with Fast. Feast. Repeat., there's not a huge, huge focus just as much as there could be. 

Gin Stephens: The whole feast section is about choosing, going away from ultra-processed foods towards real foods, but when you're ready.  

Melanie Avalon: Right. It's not to the extent of my book or Cynthia's book.  

Gin Stephens: Well, I'm not taking a side. Like, you should be low carb, everybody should be low carb, or everyone needs carbs, a lot of carbs. Yeah.  

Melanie Avalon: So, maybe, the type of person who's addressing both of those right at the beginning and more intensely could more likely underrate. Maybe, I don't know. I'm just thinking. 

Gin Stephens: Yep. And I love her. She is more delightful in person than she is even virtually. Because she's great. I met her in Tampa when I was there in November. She and I definitely agree that women should not over restrict. That's important. Especially, hormonally, it can definitely affect our hormones. I don't think you just shouldn't do fasting certain times of the month. I never stopped fasting just because of what day of my cycle it was, but I may have had increased hunger naturally. Because I got better at listening to my body. I naturally had a longer eating window.  

I actually remember joking in my Facebook group one time that, every month, I would have a day where I was starving and be like, "Why am I so hungry today?' And every day, yeah, the next day, you know, boom, there we go, it's low or whatever you call it. But every month that surprised me, but I always had that day of increased hunger where I ate more, and I was like, "Wow, that was surprising. Why am I so hungry?" I'm like, "Oh, da." [laughs] But I always listened. I didn't feel like I was feeling. If I have different hunger, I'd always listen.  

Melanie Avalon: I'm really excited to talk to her about that specifically, when she comes on my show. For me, I would never want to-- because I eat do pretty much the same eating window every night. For me, personally, I would not want to change my fasting in eating windows for my cycle. Honestly, that would just add more stress to everything. I'd rather just eat more in my eating window when I'm hungrier. That's how I would compensate.  

Gin Stephens: I've always just been very, like, even when I was trying to have a five-hour window every day, I talked about this before as well. I made a goal that like, it was like, it was 2016. June of 2016, it's my goal, I'm going to have a perfect month where every eating window will be five hours or less. Well, that didn't happen in June, and I was like, "I'm going to do it in July." It didn't happen in July. I've never had a month of my life, or every month, or every day was five hours or less. Because I just said like, "Oh, we're out. Let's go out to eat."  

And I'll have two meals that day, and maybe it's an eight-hour window, and I'm more of like a social kind of, "Today, I'm going to open my window wider or I'm hungry today. I'm just going to go ahead and eat now." So, I just tossed those in. I think that's been helpful over time. I've never been overly rigid. even when I tried to be. Other than, there were like 10 weeks in the spring of 2015, when I was trying to get to goal that I was a little more strict for those 10 weeks. I don't even know if I was perfect for those 10 weeks, I doubt it knowing myself, but that's been a long time ago.  

Melanie Avalon: For me, it's not that I'm being, because I'm just thinking about it more like super rigid, it's just that the way I have my life set up. I'm working the same amount every day up until I eat. So, opening up the window earlier doesn't really make sense for me, and then, it's not like, I can eat later because I go to bed. So, it takes care of itself. It's self-contained. 

Gin Stephens: I'm just a little more spontaneous and flexible, just because that's my personality, I guess. I don't do well with overly rigid. If Will came home right now and said-- you know, I don't normally open my window right now. But it's a lot earlier in the day, although I mean, I totally could. If he came home and said, "Hey, I really want to go blah, blah, blah, here with you. Would you go with me out?" I'll be like, "Sure." 

Melanie Avalon: I think that's one reason that our show works so well, because we're able to cover a lot more approaches. It works so well that we are like that. Because you cover all the people that are more fluid and like what you just said, and then, I'm the people that are like the same window all the time.  

Gin Stephens: On the flip side of that, when I was that 10 weeks, when I was really trying to get to my goal, I was a little more rigid. If you have a goal to lose weight, if you're too flexible, it just probably isn't going to happen. You may need to tighten up for the weight loss phase. But again, if I look back to my history of intermittent fasting when I really committed in 2014, now, here we are when this airs in 2022, right? That's a long time. 2014 to 2022 is a lot of years. I was a lot more mindful for the very brief period of that time when I was trying to lose weight. But once I got to my goal, that's where the flexibility came in. If my honesty pants get tight, I'm like, "Okay, time to tighten up my window a little bit." And it's the ebb and the flow that really make it work long term. 

Friends, I'm about to tell you how you can get 50% off a product that has truly changed my life. Do you experience stress or anxiety or chronic pain? Do you have trouble sleeping at least once a week? If you do, trust me, you are not alone. I personally have explored so many avenues for how to have a healthy relationship with stress and finding the world of CBD oil has been absolutely incredible for that. After doing more and more research, I realized just how incredible the health benefits of CBD are. CBD regulates your cannabinoid system, like an adaptogen making you feel better naturally. It's not addictive. It's not a crutch. Basically, it's just helping your body function better when it comes to stress, anxiety, pain, and sleeplessness. I take it daily for my mood and the effects are profound. s 

In fact, I even got robbed last year and I went from crying with stress and anxiety to taking some Feals and laughing. I said to my mom, “Mom, see how effective this is.” Due to all of its health benefits, we knew we wanted to partner with a CBD company for the podcast, but I have very stringent criteria. You guys know this. So many brands approached us and I kept just saying, “No,” because nothing fit all of my criteria. I wanted CBD oil that was full spectrum, tested for purity, organic, made with MCT oil as the carrier and that I actually experienced benefits from, that's a pretty tall order to fill. We said no to a lot of brands and then Feals came along and it was meant to be. I personally tried it out and started seeing massive effects on my sleep and stress. Feals is so easy to take. You can just put a few drops under your tongue and you'll feel the difference within minutes. I truly do feel it within minutes.  

Of course, it is important to remember that CBD works differently for everybody based on your own unique cannabinoid system. You might need to work to find your perfect dose. Experiment over the course of a week or so, and you may find that you need more or less depending on the effects that you're looking for. I'm also super grateful because they have an incredible offer for our audience. you can start feeling better with Feals. 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 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. When you get that offer you'll be joining the Feals community and you'll get Feals delivered directly to your doorstep every month. You'll save money on every order, and of course, you can pause or cancel anytime. So, definitely try it out for the first month with our code for 50% off and see how it works for you. And we'll put all this information in the show notes. All right now back to the show.  

Melanie Avalon: The reason I was bringing up Cynthia was too par. I was going to talk about something else, but while we're talking about it, this actually relates completely to our first question. Do we want to go ahead and do that one?  

Gin Stephens: Sure.  

Melanie Avalon: I really like you like dovetails in into it. We have a question from Bethany, and her subject is: "food not enough too much?" So great. She says, "Hi, Melanie and Gin, I absolutely love your podcast. I have learned so much and I look forward to listening every day. Like most listeners, I have tried several diet programs including intermittent fasting done incorrectly. I came across your podcast by accident a few weeks ago, and I'm so happy I did. I've lost 10 pounds and several inches since I realized putting stevia in my coffee, was hurting me, not helping me. Clean fasting makes all the difference. I am on episode 20, but I've been listening nonstop to try to get caught up. So, I apologize if this is something you've already covered in your future podcasts, I would definitely skip ahead to hear the answer. People post questions on the Facebook page about not seeing results and in the comments, people are asking, "Are you eating enough?"  

What do they mean by this? What happens if you don't eat enough and if you are not counting calories, how are you supposed to know if you are eating enough? Right now, I'm doing an 18:6, opening my window from 1:30 to 7:30. I have a slow-paced job and I get bored. So, I find myself watching the clock waiting for 1:30 not so much to eat, but to have something to do. When I do eat, I don't have a full meal. I try to bring a veggie, fruit and maybe some crackers for my lunch/snack, but then, I struggle to make it home to eat dinner with my family around 6:30. I don't want to increase my lunch or snack because most of the time our dinner is Chick-fil-A drive thru which should start their own weekly delivery box, LOL. 

I thought, maybe, I won't eat during the day and just wait until dinner. But when I tried doing one meal a day a couple of times, I ate everything in sight when I got home. Chocolate, candy chips, everything easy but not healthy. I have two little kids by the way. I want to work my way to eating one meal a day but I guess my body is just not ready right now since I have only been doing IF the correct way for a few weeks now. I'm seeing results and I don't want to backtrack due to eating too much during my window. I appreciate any suggestions you can offer and I look forward to your reply." 

Gin Stephens: There's a lot in there. I wonder what Facebook page she's on? Of course, I haven't been on Facebook since March of 2021. So, wow, it's almost a year of being off of Facebook.  

Melanie Avalon: I think this was a really old question.  

Gin Stephens: Old. It's really old. Okay. That's what I was wondering. Now, I wonder who's asking, "Are you eating enough?" Because I don't think that's the right question. The right question is actually very similar. The right question is not, are you eating enough? It's, are you restricting too much? Which sounds like the exact same question, but I think it isn't. Restricting too much does mean you're not eating enough. But I would think about your eating window and what you're doing within it, and like for example, when Bethany says, "She wants to work to one meal a day," it sounds to me like, she's thinking one meal a day is like 23:1 or something. We've talked about this before, neither you nor I Melanie, eat one meal a day in a one-hour window. We have a longer period of eating. So, we stretch our eating out in one way or another over a longer period of time, then like just an hour.  

So, I feel like if you give yourself a long enough window like 18:6, or 19:5, or 20:4, and you allow yourself to eat intuitively within it, you're not going to fit in two full meals in a six-hour window, probably, two full meals. It's probably going to be like one big hearty meal or multicourse kind of thing over that period of time. I would think you're probably not overly restricting if you're in that period of time and eating to satiety. But it's when you try to really force it into a small period of time, and you do that day after day after day after day, that's when it becomes restrictive. You might be eating "enough in that 23:1 paradigm enough to maintain your weight, but your metabolism will downregulate overtime if you do the same thing day after day after day, and especially, if it's a little bit restrictive for your body. So, when we say not seeing results, like, if you're not eating enough, you're not going to gain weight. I mean, we can agree on that, right, Melanie? You don't gain weight by not eating enough.  

Melanie Avalon: I don't know. People will say that they're eating severely restricted diets and gaining weight and you can't-- I don't know.  

Gin Stephens: I mean that could happen if you have over time slowed your metabolism to the point. Like let's say, you did a 500 calorie a day diet for a year, I'm just you know, hopefully, no one would ever do that. But let's say, you did. You ate 500 calories a day for a year, and now, you eat 700 calories a day, could you start gaining weight? Yes. Because your body has adjusted to 500 calories and your metabolism is slowed. I mean that's an extreme example. So, could you gain weight on extremely low-calorie diet? Yes. But that's only if you've really slowed down and now, you're eating more. Does that make sense?  

Melanie Avalon: I don't know. If they're actually taking in 700 calories. 

Gin Stephens: I know. That's a very severe example. I don't know. Yeah.  

Melanie Avalon: Well, the reason I think it's actually really worth discussing is, I think people think about it that way. They think that their metabolism could slow enough to the point where they could gain weight on 700 calories, 

Gin Stephens: I have heard from people who have gained weight on like a thousand. These are not people who don't know how to count calories. People who have a long-term diet history, and they are used to counting calories, they know how to count calories, and they're really have been restricted for a long time, they do have to keep lowering, lowering, lowering, and so that gets to the point where they actually could gain weight on a very small number of calories like a thousand. Because your body is downregulated to the point. So, you can't fix your metabolism if it gets downregulated. So, if you're not eating enough as we just said, if you're keeping it in a very restrictive window day after day after day for a long enough period of time, you can plateau there. 

But that is absolutely not where we are right now with you, Bethany, because you just started a few weeks ago. So, I don't think that's time to downregulate your metabolism. The key is really just listening to your body and making sure you're not over restricting. You kind of would get an idea if you've dieted at all before in the past, think about when you did a restrictive diet, and how much food you were eating, and if you're eating like way less than that now in your eating window then you used to eat over the course of the day, that's a sign you might be over restricting.  

Melanie Avalon: Yes. I have a few thoughts and it kind of ties into what we were talking about earlier with, you know, how easily do people under eat. I do agree that not eating enough is actually very different from over restricting. It sounds like it'd be the same thing but- 

Gin Stephens: It's really not that, right? I'm glad you get it.  

Melanie Avalon: -it's not, because and I guess we would even need to define what under eating is, but let's say that under eating is not eating the amount of calories. Well, I don't know, because you do have to under eat to lose weight in a way. Well, if that's what under eating is, that's not the same thing as over restricting which is like providing way too much of a restriction to your plan. They are different. What actually something that I was thinking about, it wasn't about eating, it was a study about runners and their exercise levels compared to, if they had amenorrhea from it. So, if they lost their cycle from running and it did not relate to the amount of exercise they were doing. So, like, everybody could exercise the same amount intensely. That was not the factor for if they lost their cycle, it was their body weight. I bring that up because I think the analogy or the comparison to fasting would be that-- so, you could be doing a lot of fasting or "under eating," but if your actual body is not in a baseline state of stress, which I think the equivalent is like in the running study, it's like the people who are underweight, that might be okay for you.  

Gin Stephens: I just had an epiphany, a huge one.  

Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. Go ahead. 

Gin Stephens: It's only overly restrictive if your body perceives it as being overly restrictive in which case, it would downregulate your metabolism. But if you're fast and clean, your body's tapping in your fat stores well, and you're switching up your window day to day, some days you eat more, some days you eat less, your body is not going to perceive it as being overly restrictive, you're well fueled from your fat stores. But the definition of overly restrictive, it's not really something we can say. Like, here's the number that's overly restrictive. 

Melanie Avalon: Exactly. So, for example in that study, I just talked about with the runners, so, these are intense endurance athletes training. They're doing a lot of running. Again, it's the women who are too low body fat, those are the ones that affected their cycle. So, they didn't have the body weight to support that intense running, and so, the body is perceiving it as too restrictive compared to the women who had the adequate fat store. So, the body didn't perceive that same amount of running as restrictive and I think you could apply that to fasting as well.  

It also brings it to my second point, which is ironically, I was talking about how people following a Whole Foods diet are more likely to "under eat." Ironically that actually might be for some people less "restrictive" because if it's more nutrient dense, like the body is looking for nutrients, and so, you could eat less calories wise, but if it's coming from what your body needs, so, like higher protein really nutrient dense, like our body is looking for nutrients. So, that's going to send a completely different signal to our body than eating the same amount of calories of processed nutrient depleted food. So, I think that's a huge thing. So, like, Bethany's question of like, how much to be eating? For me, the focus isn't even calories, it's the nutrients.  

Gin Stephens: I've said it before our bodies don't count calories, they count nutrients. Everything I've ever seen in the literature reinforces that. I actually talk more about that in Clean(ish). Did you get your copy of Clean(ish), by the way?  

Melanie Avalon: I did.  

Gin Stephens: I thought it got to you. I thought it did, I thought it did. Isn't it so pretty?  

Melanie Avalon: It is beautiful.  

Gin Stephens: I love it, but there's a section in there. I can't remember which chapter it's in, where I talk about a study they did with little kids back in like the 1930s and how they ended up being master nutritionists who designed the perfect diet when the adults just left them alone and let them eat, what they wanted to eat, that they were looking for the nutrients their bodies needed. If you don't feed them the right things like what Bethany says here. She tried doing one meal a day a couple of times. Now, again, it's early on, so, she's probably not well fueled during the fast. So, that's why she's so hungry when she starts eating because her body is like, " I'm not well fueled? I need a lot to eat." But then, she's eating chocolate, candy, and chips, which is also not nourishing your body. And then your body's like, "That wasn't it, that wasn't it, that wasn't it." And you just keep going in a frenzy of over eating. 

Melanie Avalon: The majority of time she says, they're eating Chick-fil-A, which that could be a lot of different things. But I would encourage her to try if she is doing for example, a one meal a day window, which we just discussed is not necessarily a frenzied one-hour of eating experience. It could be starting at 6:30 dinner and much longer or it could be even a snack before dinner, but later, so, like five to nine or something. I would encourage you, Bethany, instead of eating chocolate, candy, chips, because when you're in that hungry state ready to open your window, chocolate, candy, chips is not providing what your body needs at that moment. 

Gin Stephens: It's not giving you any of it. 

Melanie Avalon: Gin just said this. One, you're going to eat all that. It's not giving you what your body is looking for. So, you're going to still be hungry. Two, it's going to be really messing with your insulin levels. So, you're probably just going to crave even more because it's going to give you massive blood sugar swings. So, if you instead open your window with a very nourishing meal, maybe, I don't want disrupt your entire habit because it probably works well to pick up Chick-fil-A. But if you are able to find another dinner alternative that is possibly more nutrient dense, and more Whole Foods based, and opening with that intense nutrition, especially, high protein, try that and see if it's the same experience of frenzy and feeling like you're overeating and feeling like you can't get full.  

It'll probably be a very different experience. Maybe, you can go to Costco and get rotisserie chickens or something like that. I think it'll be quite possibly a different experience or oh, Green Chef, [giggles] is one of our sponsors today. Not planned. I'm so excited. I love it when this happens. Something like Green Chef would be probably amazing for you. So, listen to the ad that we run for them in today's episode. We have an amazing offer from them.  

Gin Stephens: The offers just get better and better. That's a really good offer.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. 

Gin Stephens: I want to pop in and say real quick that, Bethany did say that, when she opens at 1:30, she's usually having a veggie and fruit. When she opens earlier, she's opening with veggies and fruit, more nutrients. Then, if she waits later, she's choosing those quick chocolate, candy, chips kind of a thing or the drive thru. So, it really is about I think being prepared like you said. 

Melanie Avalon: Yes. It's so interesting because people think that it's a whole lot more of a hassle or time to "eat healthy" or to change to that sort of dietary lifestyle. But it does take some time in the beginning because you got to sit down, and like, Gin said, "You got to be prepared." So, you have to figure out what the plan is that's going to make this materialize. But once you find the plan that works for you and your family, it doesn't have to be hard. 

Gin Stephens: Right. You know the saying, "If you fail to plan, you plan to fail," right? You've heard that saying before. 

Melanie Avalon: I like that.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah. If you fail to plan, just plan to fail. I mean, you know, not all the time. Obviously, but it's true with me with food. If I let myself get really hungry and there's nothing nutritious to eat, I'm going to grab the quick stuff, too. Because I'm hungry now. I'm just grabbing it. I've done that before. But would you have something in the fridge like my Green Chef meal? I can go to that, I don't have to drive thru somewhere because I'm like, "We're having this and it's quick. I don't have to think about it." I love Green Chef. I, literally, do love Green Chef. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: And I just checked our offer right now for Green Chef. So, again, all the details will be in this spot, which will probably air later in the episode. So, greenchef.com/ifpodcast130 and the code IFPODCAST130 will get you $130 off, which is awesome. They just provide access to really nutritious meals and you can choose if you want keto, or paleo, or vegan, or vegetarian, or gluten free, and they use organic ingredients. 

Gin Stephens: Or, balanced living, which is what I do. [laughs] I use the balanced living plan which isn't any of those. I always say it when I'm talking about it because that's the plan that I choose is balanced living. I think they're trying to really just promote. People like me that are balanced living, we're just going to pick foods we like. If you're a keto, for example, you want to know they have keto.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. 

Gin Stephens: I already know what I'm going to be eating when this podcast comes out. The week this podcast comes out, this is what I'm having from Green Chef, cheesy Italian meatloaves. It's got broccoli, and it's got bread, crispy chicken with honey drizzle, it's got mashed potatoes, and like this vegetable slaw, and butternut squash chili. I just looked on my app. Those are the things I'm getting.  

Melanie Avalon: What I really like about them as well is, you can really make it your own. So, as you guys know, I eat more simply. So, I just got my box and it had like a barramundi, had salmon, and a chicken dish, and the ingredients are all separate. So, you can choose if there's something that doesn't work for you, you know not to include that in the dish. So, I was able to really make it my own, which was super cool.  

Gin Stephens: One thing about Green Chef that's so great is a lot of the stuff is like pre-prepped. They had something I made recently and it had already. They'd already diced up like the-- I can't remember what was it, like sweet potato or something. It was already diced up. Dicing up a sweet potato is not always easy. But it was already diced up but I just had to dump it in. But I mean, it was real sweet potato. But there it was, already diced and just the exact amount that I needed.  

Melanie Avalon: I think, Bethany, definitely report back. Again, I do think this was-- 

Gin Stephens: A really old question. [laughs] Yeah, because if it talks about Facebook, because that was March. That's been a long time. Sorry, it took so long, Bethany. You've probably figured it all out by now.  

Melanie Avalon: I know. [laughs] So, let us know, the other reason I was bringing up Cynthia Thurlow was, she introduced me to a woman who has a company called SoWell. Her name is Alexandra Sowa. I wonder if she decided to call it SoWell sort of related to her last name or if that was not related at all. What's super cool is, so, she's actually an MD, and I had a phone call with her recently and I'm super excited. I'm going to bring her on my show to talk all about her company. But what I love is Gin and I are always talking on this show about the super importance of testing your insulin levels, and how none of the companies we currently work with like at home ordering, provide insulin, and doctors just don't readily prescribe an insulin, a fasting insulin test. So, she's all about that. Her kits are at-home test, kind of like with ZOE or with Everlywell, or LetsGetChecked. They syndicate to your house and you just do a finger prick yourself, and I'll make a redirect. So, you can go to ifpodcast.com/sowell, S-O-W-E-L-L.  

And so, what's really cool is they have two kits right now, but they're going to be launching a new one soon that I can tell you about, but their weight biology kit, so, I'm literally holding the kit in my hand because she just sent it to me, which was super kind. The weight biology kit, it tests your HbA1c, your glucose, your insulin, cholesterol panel, so, like HDL, triglycerides, LDL, your TSH for your thyroid, your vitamin B12, it factors in your BMI and then, it calculates your HOMA IR, which is what we've been talking or I think I've been talking about it a lot. And that's basically a ratio of your insulin and your glucose, and that can actually give you a really good picture of your metabolic health. So, that's super exciting and then they also have their PCOS Biology kit, that's coming soon and that is going to be specifically to help people who have PCOS, which is super cool.  

And then, the third one that they're coming out with, I think she said in the New Year, I'm so excited about this, it's going to be just a HOMA-IR test. So, that glucose-insulin measure, and I think they're going to have it like on a subscription type basis thing. I'm not really sure, but she made it sound like you get it monthly. So, you can keep track of your HOMA-IR. So, very, very exciting. It's such a great resource, and I can't wait. I talked to her on the phone like I said, and she was super great, and she just really wants to help women, have access to this testing. I mean, literally, that's testing the things that I think we both believe that you need to be testing. So, we have a code. I'm not sure what the discount is exactly, but if you go to, ifpodcast.com/sowell, that's S-O-W-E-L-L, and you can use the coupon code, IFPODCAST, and that will get you a discount. I will clarify with her what that discount is and put it in the show notes, which by the way, the show notes are at ifpodcast.com/episode237. So, yay for great resources for listeners.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah, that sounds great.  

Melanie Avalon: So, I'm excited to have her on the show and really, you know, dive deep into what she's doing. So, all right, shall we go on to our next question?  

Gin Stephens: Yes. I'm going to tell you also, this one must be really old, because I know this girl, this lady, I should say. [laughs] She is 53 now. She's in my group. She's on my community. Anybody, if you go to ginstephens.com/community, you can find my community but Rotunda, and I'm not really sure how she pronounces her name, because you know, we're all typing stuff. We're not saying things or talking to each other out loud. So, I'm not sure how she pronounces her name. And in my head, I've always said Rotunda. How would you say it, Melanie?  

Melanie Avalon: I would say, Rotunda. 

Gin Stephens: Rotunda. Well, she is in my community and she posted 25 days ago, a follow up that she is now 53. So, when she typed this email, she was 51. So, we know it's been a while since she put it. So, I know, this question has already been answered in her life. I'm certain she's not doing this anymore. But she says-- 

Melanie Avalon: Can I jump in really quick?  

Gin Stephens: Yeah. 

Melanie Avalon: I want to clarify something for listeners about that. I'm super glad you mentioned that. If listeners are curious, so, we have every question ever submitted to our show in this massive document. It's very long. I'm telling you this, listeners, because I want you to know, if you submitted a question a long time ago and you haven't heard on the show yet, go ahead and send it again. Because the way I've been prepping the show now is as new questions come in, when I really liked them, I just put them into our prep document to prep, and then, it's only when new questions don't fill up an episode that like when I think we don't have no questions, then, I go back to this massive long document and I pull out. I don't even look at dates. I just pull out something. So, that's what happened with this for example. I say that, so that feel free to submit again because you're more likely to get on the show if you submit now.  

Gin Stephens: We changed how we did it.  

Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I used to like every time go through the whole document and pick ones out but that's too much. So, if you want your question on the show, submit now, even if you submit it before. Other tips to get your question featured as many details as possible without making it long. It's the whole writing thing of like, saying the maximum amount in the shortest amount possible. That's a golden way. So, as many details but not like a novel.  

Gin Stephens: I've been doing IF for six weeks, why have I not lost weight? That is not enough information. We do not know.  

Melanie Avalon: Yes. So, we love specific, we love details, we love personality, but also, if it's like 10 pages.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah. But we don't have time to read 10 pages. All right, so, here's her question from two years ago. [laughs] She said, "Hi," and then, maybe, I'll read what she just wrote 25 days ago that you would like to hear.  

Melanie Avalon: Does it relate to this?  

Gin Stephens: Yes. It's really good. I love it. She answers her own question. It really kind of-- Okay. So, she said, "Hi, I just learned about you and your podcast today." This was two years ago. So, she said, "I listened to Episode 2. I couldn't find Episode 1. Today, during my lunch break, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've purchased Delay, Don’t Deny and I can't wait to start reading it. I've been experimenting with IF for about a year now off and on. I like how I feel while IF-ing. I've been practicing the 16:8 approach. I think I may need to up my game to a five-hour eating window as I'm a 51-year-old perimenopausal woman. As of late, I've been following Jorge Cruise's method, which includes tricking my fast with healthy fats by drinking bulletproof coffee in the morning. Jorge recommends a macronutrient balance of 20% protein, 30% carbs, and 50% fats. Considering your success, I was wondering, do you two pay attention to the macronutrients you consume specifically, complex and simple carbs."  

So, fast forward to now, two years later, I'm not going to read the whole thing. She said, "Gin, you have no idea how much you have changed my life prior to stumbling upon your podcast just over two years ago." She said, "My life has changed drastically. I used to be a serial diet or starting a new diet every Monday." Again, she was looking for Jorge Cruz, like what he said to do. That's her serial dieting. I did that, too. Well, how does he say to do it, I'm going to do it like that. But listen to what she says this gives me goosebumps. She's like, "Starting a new diet every Monday. They never worked. I cannot tell you how many diet books I bought. Of the 53 years of my life, I'm confident, I've spent a good 34 years dieting unsuccessfully, not enjoying my life. Since I started IF-ing, the dieting chains have been broken and I've slowly lost 53 pounds over the past two years. I don't care that it has taken me two years. The weight comes off and it stays off, best of all, I'm not on a diet, I'm free. Thank you so much. I'm forever in your debts."  

I'm pretty sure, Rotunda has figured out that no, we do not tell you what macronutrient balance you need to eat. We are all going to be different with that. And also, even if I knew what my perfect balance was, I still don't want to calculate it. I just want to eat delicious food, trusting my body to let me know when I need more protein or if I haven't had enough if my food isn't delicious, it probably needs more fat, and I know, also, she knows that you absolutely can't "trick a fast" with the bulletproof coffee. We're both definitely thumbs down on that being fasting because that's a lot of energy you are consuming. So, I know, she's not drinking that anymore.  

Melanie Avalon: Well, that's super exciting.  

Gin Stephens: Isn't it exciting? I'm so glad. I was able to pull it up and that she had such a great-- I mean, now, we know. Two years later, she's done great and she's no longer worrying about the bulletproof coffee or counting her macros, she's just lost 53 pounds since she initially wrote in two years ago. 

Melanie Avalon: I'll provide an answer separate from her experience just talking about how I perceive macronutrients, like, whether or not I focus on macronutrients. Two things I really like about macronutrient-based approaches and I don't count macronutrients like the way people count calories or the way people count macronutrients. I don't do any of that. However, I think if people are taking a macronutrient approach, it can work for a lot of people, especially, if they're focusing on protein. So, especially, for people who and again I'm going to do this a little bit separate from Rotunda's question and just talk about the concept in general. Especially, some people who are trying to lose weight and not feeling full or not losing weight, like, focusing on protein as the center of your meal can be very, very effective for a lot of people for weight loss, and for satiety, and for health. I think what's funny is I've always been that way intuitively, like I just crave protein, and I eat high protein. But some people, I don't think it's intuitive at all and it doesn't necessarily occur to them. 

For some people, they might benefit from making a conscious decision to focus on protein as the center of their meal, and that can be really, really effective. I've done some episodes on it. So, if you check out my conversation with Ted Naiman and William Shewfelt, that's at melanieavalon.com/protein. We talked about it, you can check out my first episode with Robb Wolf, I believe at melanieavalon.com/sacredcow. We talk a lot about protein. I will be having an episode coming up with Dr. Gabrielle Lyon in the future. That's going to be about protein. So, be on the lookout for that. I also recently recorded with Maria Emmerich, but that's not out yet, but that will be good as well. That's part one is that, just focusing on protein, other macronutrients aside, focusing on protein could be a great route to go and like 20% protein would be much less. That's a much lower protein proportion than what people could be focusing on I think.  

Second macronutrient thing is that, especially, if weight loss is your goal, or metabolic health is your goal, having a macronutrient paradigm can work for a lot of people. So, not counting anything per se and I feel like a broken record stuck about this all the time. But doing either low carb or low fat can work for a lot of people. Different things might work for different people at different times. But I do think there is a benefit to focusing on macronutrients. The reason I started focusing on macronutrients actually is, I basically had an epiphany I've talked about this a lot on different shows. But I had this epiphany where I was like, "Hmm, I can look at macronutrients, and I can take in certain macronutrients, and I can pretty much guarantee that I won't gain weight." And if anything, I'll lose weight. I'm not prescribing what I did when I had this epiphany because I don't think it's that healthy. I basically realized that if I just ate protein for example and drink wine that it was pretty much unlikely I would gain weight, and if anything, I would lose weight, and especially, if combined with fasting and that worked really, really well.  

But that was just the realization that I had that you can focus on macronutrients. You don't have to count like a single calorie and if there's a hack, I think that's more of a hack than this whole drinking fat while fasting. I think macronutrients are in a way sort of like a "hack." It kind of reminds me of something, I think Peter Attia once said, he was talking about dieting, but he was saying basically, you really just have to monitor one thing. You can count calories or you can count macronutrients. He was saying you can restrict one of three things and likely see benefits. Calories, micronutrients, or time, which for a lot of people restricting one of those can possibly have an effect.  

Gin Stephens: Well, it did for me. I only restricted by time when I was losing my 75, 80 pounds, I just did time. I wouldn't count in macronutrients or calories. I just did it with time. 

Melanie Avalon: And then on the flip side, I know, we're not fans of calorie counting. But if you really, really did severely, restrictedly count your calories, that can work. It's not sustainable, and you'll probably gain it back, and it probably won't be fun, but it can work. And then, same with macronutrients. If you're really, really intense, monitoring your macronutrients even without the fasting or the calories that can probably work, too. I think the magic is finding the thing to focus on that works for you, and just really making it work for you. So, a lot of our listeners, for us, it's fasting. I like to add in the macronutrients as well for the health benefits of focusing on the macronutrients that fuel my body and then also, I really don't have to ever worry about overdoing it in my eating window because of focusing on macronutrients. So, that was a long answer but those are my thoughts.  

Today's episode is sponsored by Green Chef. I'm sure you know by now, how much I love them. And we've used them since around 2017. Green Chef is America's number one meal kit for eating well with dinners that work for you, not the other way around. Green Chef's options for every lifestyle include keto, and paleo, vegan, vegetarian, fast and fit, Mediterranean, and gluten free. No matter what your eating preferences, Green Chef has flavorful good for you recipes that are sure to satisfy, and I can attest to that as can Chad. I choose the balanced living plan because that's a great way to describe how I like to eat and live. This week we're having creamy chicken and potato soup with corn, roasted red peppers, sharp cheddar cheese and chives. Sriracha-tamari beef bowls with jasmine rice, broccoli, cabbage, and carrots, peanuts, and sesame seeds, and roasted chickpea and carrot bowls with kale, rice with dates and feta, and creamy turmeric spiced vinaigrette. 

But besides the fact that all meals are window worthy, what do I love the most, Green Chef saves me time by taking care of meal planning, grocery shopping, and most of the prep for me week after week. So, I have time to do other things. I also love that Green Chef's pre-portioned ingredients mean, I've reduced food waste by at least 25% compared to grocery shopping. Maybe, even more than that. I was not a good grocery shopper. Anybody relate to that? Go to greenchef.com/ifpodcast10 and use the code IFPODCAST10 to get 10 free meals including free shipping. That's greenchef.com/ifpodcast10 and don't forget to use the promo code IFPODCAST10 to get 10 free meals including free shipping. And now, back to the show.  

Melanie Avalon: All right, are we ready for the next one?  

Gin Stephens: Sure.  

Melanie Avalon: Okay, so, we have one more question from Katie. The subject is: "IF, autophagy, and scar tissue." And Katie says, "Hi, Melanie and Gin, I, so, appreciate your podcasts and all the work, research, and love that you put into each episode. I've been doing one meal a day with clean fasting for a little over a month and I love it. I was doing about 16:8 for a couple of years without knowing it was a thing. I just knew I had weight loss results if I didn't eat after about four. I have been in the normal weight range for a couple of years after losing 90 pounds, but a recent bout with breast cancer led me to IF for the health and autophagy benefits.  

My question is whether, you have ever heard about IF-induced autophagy having any effects on scar tissue. The reason I ask is that, I just noticed today that my scars are remarkably different. I am 58 and I've had a big ropey keloid scar on my side since kidney surgery as a teenager. Well, it has suddenly reduced to just a thin white scar. And my breast cancer surgery scar has almost completely disappeared. The surgeon even remarked a few days ago that it was pretty amazing. I really attribute it in great part to IF and I was curious if you have ever heard of this effect, presumably due to ramped up autophagy, thanks for all you do," Katie. And before we answer it, just sending you love and healing Katie with your breast cancer. I'm sorry. 

Gin Stephens: Oh, absolutely.  

Melanie Avalon: So, I did a lot of research on this one but Gin, do you have thoughts? 

Gin Stephens: Okay. You have a lot of research. So, I'm just going to give you very quick short thoughts. The answer is yes. If you go back to, gosh, I can't remember what episode it was Donna Dube on Intermittent Fasting Stories. If you just type into any Google, Intermittent Fasting Stories, Donna Dube, D-U-B-E, is how you spell her last name, the episode will pop up. But if you listen to her episode, she's older than me, she's older than you, Katie. She talks about, she had a C-section scar that was thick and ropy. I mean, for decades, like 30 years after her kids-- 30 years, she had this thick ropy C-section scar. After doing IF, it was exactly like you said, a thin white scar. So, I can't think of another single cause for a scar to disappear other than autophagy knowing that we know that autophagy breaks down junky proteins that we don't need anymore, and what else would a scar be except, tissue we don't need anymore. So, to me, that's the most plausible explanation.  

Melanie Avalon: Okay. So, this was super interesting to me. I went down the rabbit hole. I was not able to find many, actually, really any studies on autophagy and scars that were there that had been there, and then, having them go away through autophagy later on. 

Gin Stephens: Like, knowing how they fund scientific studies and why they do them, I can't imagine anyone would actually do one. Because it would take such a long time and it's a very specific thing, right? It doesn't sound like something they would study.  

Melanie Avalon: But what's really interesting, I did find studies on fasting before or after wounds and how it affected the healing process, which relates to the scars. I also learned all about scars. I learned, this had never really occurred to me, Gin, but do you know the difference between scars from a surgery and then like fibrosis?  

Gin Stephens: No.  

Melanie Avalon: So, scars from surgery is like it's done. So, you had a wound, the surgery, or whatever you had done, then, a scar forms, like the process is done and the scars purpose is to-- it's the healing process and then, eventually, the scar should go away over time. So, fibrosis, and it never really occurred to me what fibrosis was. Fibrosis is actually when the body is perpetually-- It's like, it's messed up. Like it's perpetually creating new scar tissue. The scar tissue forming process should be done and it just keeps creating scar tissue. So, I thought that was really, really fascinating and was interesting, and the reason it's important to talk about this is autophagy has different effects on those two different things.  

So, I found a study called fasting before or after wound injury accelerates wound healing through the activation of pro-angiogenic SMOC1 and SCG2. So, I'll put a link to that in the show notes. But it was basically looking at fasting effect on wound closure, scar formation, collagen deposition, skin cell proliferation, and other things. I believe this was in rats, but they did find that fasting patterns, well, they looked at before and after wound injury, that it helped with the wound healing process. So, it was definitely better for like the scar formation and all of that. So, that was promising. They didn't really talk about autophagy, specifically. When I went down the autophagy rabbit hole, that's how I ended up at this fibroid world because all of the studies on autophagy and scarring was mostly related to fibrosis and fibroids. The interesting thing was it is hotly debated.  

Gin Stephens: As to whether it helps or not?  

Melanie Avalon: Yes.  

Gin Stephens: [laughs] I'm just laughing so hard because I think the two people who have now told us about and I've heard from more than two that their scars went away but they'd not debate it.  

Melanie Avalon: Well, this is different.  

Gin Stephens: I know it is. But still, I'm just laughing.  

Melanie Avalon: So, this is not the scars.  

Gin Stephens: I know. I get it. But I'm just laughing in general because they would hotly debate that this would happen for our people too, right? Anyway, go ahead. I'm sorry. 

Melanie Avalon: Yeah, no, I'll further clarify so I don't confuse listeners. So, basically, the reason it's debated is the role of autophagy and fibrosis. So, in the body perpetually creating new scars, some studies show that inhibiting autophagy actually increases fibrosis. So, some of the studies find that autophagy actually plays a role in a way feeding that process. Listeners, I tried to read all of the studies more but they were really, really long. But the takeaway that I think I was taking from them was that, especially, since like I just said that the fibrosis process is the body unnecessarily creating scar tissue when it really, actually shouldn't be. Autophagy can actually be used to help that because it can be feeding that process. On flipside some of the studies do show that it helps reduce fibrosis. So, it's very confusing.  

All of that to say, that's different than a scar on your skin at which I could not find studies about, but I think anecdotally, we do see that, like Gin just gave the example, I've noticed it in myself, a lot of people have reported it, and it makes sense in theory. I think the important thing though to focus on, especially for her question is, even if autophagy is not the main mechanism, we see it happening. So, I don't think you even need to necessarily know exactly why. But I think we can just anecdotally say that we see it with fasting and scar tissue. I mean she even saw it. And also, last thing, especially since she was fasting before, the study I talked about that was looking at fasting before or after wound healing, I found that both helped. I found that before was more effective. So, especially, since she was fasting before these procedures, it might have been even more so that that pre-fasting prior to the procedures that created a better healing process in the first place that more allowed for a scar that faded. And then, on top of that, after it can help with the wound healing.  

Gin Stephens: I just think the fact that her scar faded from when she was a teenager is just incredible. If you wrote that in a book when you do intermittent fasting, your old scars that you've had for 30 years are going to go away. That sounds fake. [laughs] You'd never make that claim, but it's happening to people. Anyway, I love it.  

Melanie Avalon: Quick plug as well. I become more interested in the fibroids as well because I've been researching it in relation to my serrapeptase product because there's a lot of studies on serrapeptase and fibroids, and being a fi-bri-no-lytic. Wait, fibrinolytic means it's breaking down fibroid, right?  

Gin Stephens: Oh, I don't know. It sounds like it to me. 

Melanie Avalon: I've been researching that process a lot more and when serrapeptase being an enzyme that breaks down proteins, it makes sense that when it goes into your bloodstream, it can actually help break down fibroids, and I've noticed-- I'm really excited because I wasn't sure if it was going to be affecting this mole that I have on my nose, but I think it is actually making it go down which is very, very impressive. But I think that might be another-- If you're looking to potentially address scars and such therapeutic enzymes like serrapeptase, it might be something as well to try and to synergize your fast and that whole process. So, mine is at avalonx.us if you'd like to get it. All right. Anything else about scars? Have you had any scars go away, Gin? 

Gin Stephens: You know, I've often examined my scars trying to see and I don't really know. I didn't have like a ton of scars. But there is one of my hands that I've had since I was a little girl and I do think it's not as raised as it used to be. I cut my hand when I was at Girl Scout camp. [laughs] I was slicing an orange and I had a new Little Girl Scout knife, you know, and back then they just gave knives to children, and here's your knife. I'm like [noise] slice in my hand. Maybe, that's why they don't give knives to children anymore.  

Melanie Avalon: Was it really traumatic?  

Gin Stephens: I know. What you know, know, it wasn't traumatic. I just always had that scar from it. That was all and it wasn't that it was traumatic. It's just that I knew-- 

Melanie Avalon: It just sounds traumatic. You still have the scar this long.  

Gin Stephens: I mean, I cut my hand pretty badly. I think it used to be thicker than it is now. Now, you can see it but it's not as thick. So, I don't know. I think it's pretty obvious if it's like a ropy scar from kidney surgery or from a C-section, it would be more apparent. Whereas for me, I just have little scars here and there. 

Melanie Avalon: The other reason like speaking of the enzymes and this mole that I have on my nose, what's interesting about it is, its skin color. You can't even really see it. I see it more than anybody. People probably don't even notice it. The only time it super went away like it went away was when I was in my high pineapple phase. Like when I was eating a ton of pineapple which contains bromelain which is a protein digesting enzyme, it went away. 

Gin Stephens: Well, that's interesting.  

Melanie Avalon: I know. When I stopped eating the pineapple and switched to-- I went low carb and then I went high carb again, but I had been eating blueberries. I wanted to go back onto a pineapple diet and see if it really does go away again. There's really a benefit to protein digesting potential of things be it autophagy, be it enzymes like serrapeptase, be it bromelain. Those really can work magic in your body for breaking down these old dysfunctional, unused proteins and scars.  

Gin Stephens: We just have to give our body time to do it. 

Melanie Avalon: Exactly.  

Gin Stephens: That's the thing. If you're eating all the time, like I did yesterday, we're recording the day after Christmas, I sure enjoyed my window. It was long, long, long. [laughs]  

Melanie Avalon: What did you have?  

Gin Stephens: Oh, it was such a good day, though. We always start with-- I had this cheese and sausage balls recipe. It's like-- 

Melanie Avalon: Oh, my mom used to make those.  

Gin Stephens: We have them every Christmas. My grandmother made them. It's cheddar cheese, spicy sausage, and like a Bisquick kind of thing. Although, this year, we didn't use Bisquick brand because I didn't have any, so, we got a different brand, and it actually was better. So, you just mix that together, and bake it, and they're so good. So, I started to eat. They came out of the oven at 9 AM and they're never as good as the moment they come out of the oven. Like, they're going to be okay later or they're still going to be delicious but never saw. I'm like, "All right, window open." So, I started at 9 AM and then, we went over to my dad's for-- we have a brunch every year. So, we had the brunch, came home and probably I wasn't hungry again.  

You know, I did a little nibbling here and there while we were at the brunch. Like, "Ooh, I'm going to have this olive and ooh, I want to have this." They had these pickled green beans that were spicy and I loved them. So, I kept eating those green beans. [laughs] Eating early in the morning, then, I was so tired. So, like mid-afternoon it was like 2 o'clock, she's like, "Do you want me to make some more coffee?" My stepmother and I'm like, "Yes." So, because my window was open, I had like more of a hot milkshake kind of coffee. It was like dessert. So, then, I was even more tired [laughs] because of the sugar. And then, I came home and I wasn't hungry at all till probably, I don't know, I was hungry again and had dinner maybe at like 6 PM. Leftovers from Christmas Eve dinner. It wasn't a lot but then, I closed my window. I did have some champagne. Chad and I played cards.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, nice.  

Gin Stephens: Yeah. So, it was really like 9 AM to maybe 7 PM by the time I finished with the champagne.  

Melanie Avalon: Dry Farm Wines?  

Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah. It was Dry Farm. It absolutely was.  

Melanie Avalon: I haven't had their champagne. They send it to me sometimes. I haven't had it though. Is it good? I re-gift it because I'm not a champagne person.  

Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah, I love it. Yeah, but my fridge is fully stocked right now. [laughs] So that was good. But even so, it felt like I was eating for like forever, but 9 AM to 7 PM is 10 hours and really that's not long. You know, like, people are like eight-hour window is fasting. So, anyway, a 10-hour window, it felt like the longest window ever. But today, I'm still fasting. So, right now, I'm at let me think about it. All the time we're recording, if I've been fasting since seven, I'm at 20 right now.  

Melanie Avalon: It's so interesting how you know, if you have a more indulgent day, just how effective fasting can-- It really feels like it's just cleaning out. It can really, really quickly just reset you. I'm hesitant saying that because I think people can be like that you're trying to undo damage by over restricting and it's not that at all. It's just that when you have this fasted period, I'm just always really impressed by how fasting can make me feel.  

Gin Stephens: Well, yeah, I think about ADF. Honestly, ADF is having an up day like yesterday, Christmas Day was like an up day, and then, today, I'm not having a down day today but I could. But that's the whole plan. Big eating day, small eating day, big eating day, small eating day, and you alternate it. It's not like you're binging and then making up for it, and binging and making up for it. I didn't binge yesterday. There was no binging. I ate longer, and more, and differently than I normally eat. Those green beans were probably one of the few vegetables I had. [laughs] Really, now that I think about it. Not a lot of vegetables on the plate. I did have pumpkin pie. Does that count? It's pumpkin. We're going to count it. 

Melanie Avalon: Did you know that-- That's something else I learned. Oh, did you get your Farmer Lee Jones book?  

Gin Stephens: I did. Oh, my God. That's a beautiful book.  

Melanie Avalon: Isn't it amazing?  

Gin Stephens: Yes. It's really an encyclopedia of vegetables. That's how I described it. I have a friend who lives in UK. Shoutout to Lucy. She teaches cooking and she's a chef herself, and she always has the most beautiful food. She's in my Delay, Don’t Deny Community and was a Facebook moderator before that. So, I've known her for a while. But I was like, "Lucy, you need this book." She's like, "Well, I'm on cookbook restriction. I'm not allowed to get any more cookbooks." I'm like, "Well, this is not a cookbook, even though, it has recipes. I would not call it a cookbook." So, she asked for it for Christmas and I'm pretty sure she got it.  

Melanie Avalon: The reason I'm thinking about it, I think he says that the majority of canned pumpkin, I think it's not pumpkin. I think that's yam, usually.  

Gin Stephens: Well, I don't care. I had yam. Whatever I had, it was orange and delicious. I have the best pumpkin pie recipe that I just found this here. It is so good. You know, how most pumpkin pie has a regular crust?  

Melanie Avalon: Yes. 

Gin Stephens: I'm now making it. I thought, wouldn't it be good with Graham cracker crust? So, I googled it to see if anyone had had that idea and I found, you know, Bobby Flay?  

Melanie Avalon: Wait, wait, wait, wait. I thought they are always Graham cracker crust. I thought I was going to say. 

Gin Stephens: No, uh-huh, pumpkin pie is usually regular crust.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, that's funny. You said that and I was like, "Yeah, Graham cracker crust."  

Gin Stephens: Maybe, that's the way your parents, your mom makes it. I don't know. But I've never seen it that way and our family, it's always just a regular crust. So, it's like, blah, you know? So, I googled that and it was a throwdown. He had that throwdown where he would have people competing to make the best pumpkin pie and this was, I think, the winning recipe. And of course, I did tweak the spices that I used a little bit. I did a little bit differently but homemade Graham cracker crust, I will never buy a Graham cracker crust again. I'd never made one from scratch. I mean, you're still starting with Graham crackers, right? But it's still, it's Clean(ish) because even though, they're processed Graham crackers, you're using real butter. Hence, it's got a lot fewer additives like a premade Graham cracker crust would. And it was so much more delicious. And then, the pumpkin filling, it's like real pumpkin, and heavy cream, and pumpkin pie spice, and oh, my God, it was good. Egg.  

Melanie Avalon: It's really funny. I know, we're like way over time but one more thing. One of the brands sent me a, it was like a credit for this, what was it called? Treat box or something. And you can go online and pick out what you want, and it's a lot of like normal stuff that people would get in treat boxes, like treats, and cheese, and fun little gadgets. But they had a meat and seafood section. I see why they do it, why the company does it because you can get more than the credit they gave you. So, you can make the box even bigger. So, I got for the box. I got wild caught salmon, and scallops, and cod, and it ended up costing me so much money because I was like, "Oh, I want all of this." 

Gin Stephens: Yeah, that's how they get you.  

Melanie Avalon: I know. But it was pretty funny. That's a good Christmas gift. So, all right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. So, a few things for listeners before we go. If you'd like to submit your own questions for the show, you can directly email questions@ifpodcast.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. You can get all the stuff that we like at ifpodcast.com/stuffwelike, and then, again, the show notes, which we'll have links to everything we talked about will be at ifpodcast.com/episode247. Alrighty. Well, anything from you, Gin, before we go?  

Gin Stephens: No, I think that's it. I did just yawn because after having such a big eating day, I'm not quite as glycogen depleted as I usually am at hour 20.  

Melanie Avalon: Oh, I hear yeah. I'm going to tell you right before hang up one of the presents that I got that you will think is funny.  

Gin Stephens: Ooh, I can't wait to hear it.  

Melanie Avalon: But listeners can't know.  

Gin Stephens: Oh. [laughs] Dun, dun, dun. All right.  

Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful and I will talk to you next week.  

Gin Stephens: All right. Bye-bye.  

Melanie Avalon: Bye.  

Melanie Avalon: 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!

More on Gin: GinStephens.com

Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com

If you enjoyed this episode, please consider leaving us a review in iTunes - it helps more than you know!