Welcome to Episode 249 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle.
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1:10 - BUTCHERBOX: For A Limited Time Go To butcherbox.com/ifpodcast And Get Free Ground Beef For LIFE!!
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23:45 - Listener Q&A: Alexandra - Eating Window
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Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 249 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.
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One more thing before you 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 249 of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. I'm Melanie Avalon and I'm here with Gin Stephens.
Gin Stephens: Hi, everybody.
Melanie Avalon: How are you today, Gin?
Gin Stephens: I'm doing fabulous. Clean(ish) is out, it's out, and I can stop stressing about it, and [gasps] it feels so good.
Melanie Avalon: How did it go, the launch and everything?
Gin Stephens: It went fantastic. It went great. I'm doing a book study in my community more than anything else. Obviously, you care that you've written a book that people will like, but the most important people to me are the people that are in my community. And the people going through the book study, and so far, I've gotten so much positive feedback from the community. People are saying things like, "Well, the part where you wrote about Will really opened my eyes, or my daughter's the same way, or that I understand so much more now, or I thought I was making good choices, and oh, my goodness. Now, I'm realizing I'm not." The one message I wanted to get across with the whole Clean(ish), even the title of it was that perfection is not expected nor required, and it's a process, and that you're in charge at all times. So, the fact that that message really seems to have come through is really important to me.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I think that's so important. I think it's very unique perspective, at least in regards to stuff that is typically published on this. Because normally, when people are putting something out there, it's because they're-- I don't know. They're really wanting you to go really intense all in. So, it's really nice. I think it's very approachable.
Gin Stephens: Well, the thing is, is that, you can't get rid of everything. You just can't. Especially, not all at once and it's a process. Now, the me that is living right here in 2022, if I went back in time to the me from five years ago, I might be overwhelmed at how different my life is now, but I've gotten there over time. Oh my gosh, I had a reminder of why it matters so much and it was yesterday. I rode to the upstate of South Carolina with my sister in her car and I still have a headache. She had one of those air freshener things in there. Oh my God, I got in and I was like, "Oh, I should have driven. Why am I riding this car?" I was like, "We got to put this in the back." But still, she had it in the air vent and I thought putting it in the back might help. No, it made my head hurt, my sinuses still feel inflamed. I was in her car for probably a total of six hours. My sinuses are inflamed, my head's been hurting a little bit the whole time. I just don't do well with those fragrances and now, I understand why. But I was in there long enough that it did make a difference in my bucket. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, every time I get in an Uber that has some sort of smell, I'm like, "Oh, my goodness. How was I doing this for so long?"
Gin Stephens: Now, imagine, you had to ride there for six hours-- six hours in that Uber, it was too long. So, I told her I was like, "I don't know how--" She's like, "I don't even smell it and I don't know how--" I think it would change her life. But people are not always ready. My sister's not ready to hear that. So, I handed her a copy of Clean(ish) before we even went, So, I think that these changes, people don't realize. I will feel it because normally, I don't have any of these kinds of things in my home. I used to. I used to have those, I don't even if you're old enough to remember them, Melanie. There's Bath and Bodyworks plugins that you would plugin and they would--
Melanie Avalon: I did those in college. No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. Not Bath & Bodyworks, it was Target plugins. They're from Target.
Gin Stephens: Well, the Bath & Bodyworks, once were really popular in the late 90s. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Febreze is what I'm thinking of.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. So, I had it in one of my classrooms. So, I thought it just smelled so nice and now, I'm thinking, "How much did that negatively affect the students in my classroom?" I'm so sorry that I did it but I didn't know. I didn't know any better. But the way I feel after riding in that car all this time, the way my head feels. Really drives home, how much better I normally feel. So, again, if anybody just feels just not themselves and they're like-- they are low level, don't feel fabulous, if you've got a bunch of plugin air freshener stuff, that makes more of a difference than you realize.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. There are alternatives essential oils that might work for people. Oh, and I didn't want to say, listeners, I'm not yet read Clean(ish). I read the books based on the timeline of when people are coming on the show. So, it's in the calendar. It has to be read at a certain time. I'm very excited to read it, though.
Gin Stephens: Well, I hope that you'll love it. But at the end of each chapter, there's a part where people reflect and take action. That's really, the teacher in me coming out because it's taking stock of what you have and what little change could you make today without driving yourself crazy. Because that's really the key. I wasn't ready to hear everything five, 10 years ago. But every little step along the way, lowers your what you're putting into your bucket. Because you're going to ride in the Uber and smell it, and you don't need to freak out, and think you've ruined your health. But having it in your own car is a whole different thing where you're in there all the time. The dose over time does matter.
Melanie Avalon: I did think about this, actually, because the last Uber I got in was very scented and I was thinking that, if I ever had to take a really long Uber somewhere, I would somehow clarify not to have. Because I think there's an option Uber, the comfort option. I don't know if you can put in a note, but I think I would make sure I got one without.
Gin Stephens: I'm not sure but.
Melanie Avalon: I think that should be an option.
Gin Stephens: Well, I felt it should but I think it probably, people don't understand it enough to know. I certainly didn't. I was putting them in my classroom and how many children did I make their allergy load worse or even affect their behavior? This is before I had kids. It was the 90s is before I had Will. I stopped all of that once Will, I knew that he reacted to those artificial smells dramatically. We hadn't used them since but the fact that I've had a headache ever since is telling and I started to feel queasy right away also.
Melanie Avalon: Well, you still have a headache?
Gin Stephens: A little bit, yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, wow.
Gin Stephens: I really felt like it inflamed my sinuses. I sound like a big whiny baby but [laughs] it was very important, it reinforced to me, yes, it really, really does make a difference. I knew it already but I didn't whine to my sister the whole time, so, I'm just whining here. I kept my mouth shut the whole time. I said it one time to her and then I was like, "Okay, I'm just going to suck it up and I will always drive from now on."
Melanie Avalon: You probably talk about this in the book but it's interesting how you can be more or less sensitive at different times of your life based on if your own internal bucket is filled up or not. For me, I went through a period, especially, when I had really intense mercury toxicity and everything like that. I could not even step in the aisle in the grocery store that has all the cleaning products and all the things. I would feel sick if I step in that aisle.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I actually did talk about that. It's the whole once your bucket is full, when you put more in it, that's when it overflows. But if your bucket is not full, that's really the whole premise of Clean(ish) is keeping your bucket level as low as you possibly can because you're going to get into an Uber or an elevator with someone who has on way too much cologne, you're going to have those experiences, and your body can handle it better if your bucket is lower. So, that's the whole premise, but it's a lot more detailed than that. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Super excited. So, for listeners, we'll put a link in the show notes to all the ways to get Clean(ish). Congratulations, it's very exciting.
Gin Stephens: Yep. ginstephens.com/clean(ish) is a really good place to go.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. Can I share my story with listeners?
Gin Stephens: Please do.
Melanie Avalon: So, listeners, you might already know this because you might have seen it on Instagram. But I got COVID. So, that's been fun. I do have it right now and what's interesting, though, and I again, I posted this on Instagram, but it hasn't been that bad for me, I think I probably got the Omicron variant because my symptoms match it and that's been said to be not as bad as the original or the Delta. I woke up with a little bit of a headache, which I just don't get headaches, and I don't think I would have thought, I don't know. It didn't seem bad enough to be COVID. So, I don't think I would have really thought it was COVID if my Oura ring hadn't pointed out things.
So, I posted this on my Instagram, but so, the first day I had symptoms, you get a readiness score on your Oura ring which includes your heart rate variability, your respiration, your sleep, your body temperature, your resting heart rate, a few other things. It goes up to 100. My score is usually in the 70s or 80s, occasionally 90s. So, it was 60 and I'm just reading it right now and it said, "Pay attention, it said go easy, both your body temperature and resting heart rate are elevated. How are you feeling to help regain balance, give yourself time to recover today?" It actually said that my body temperature had gone up by 0.9 degrees. I think 0.9-- Oh, 0.8 degrees, even though, I wasn't getting a fever on any thermometer. So, I was like, "Oh, well, that's pretty telling." Then the next day, the readiness score dropped from a 60 to a 36, which I have never seen.
Gin Stephens: You are not ready.
Melanie Avalon: I know. I still didn't feel that bad but I was like, "Oh, there is something going on." So, I went and got tested, and I got a positive COVID test, two positive COVID tests because I wanted to double check. Then the next day I got a 28, and then the next day it actually started turning around. So, the next day, I got a 58, and then a 67, and then an 82, and I'm back today I think 81 again. This is the first time that I've-- because I really haven't gotten sick sick, I don't really remember the last time. So, this was the first time getting sick while having the Oura ring. You basically can track the progression of your illness on the ring, it really does know. That's very cool. But it's actually been really, really nice because you have to quarantine and so I cancelled all my appointments and it's like vacation. Like, I got to just work. I love working. Normally on vacation, you're not supposed to work but this isn't real vacation. This is resting vacation. So, I got to just work on stuff. It's been a really nice week.
Gin Stephens: Well, I'm glad you're feeling good. That's the most important thing that it's been nice and mild, and I read something that talked about the Omicron colonizing the nasal passages more so than getting into the lungs, which is actually a positive as far as the severity of our symptoms. So, that doesn't mean that people aren't going to get sick from Omicron obviously and have to be hospitalized or whatever, or that we shouldn't still be cognizant, but you sound a little nasally, like you never have before. So, it sounds like it's right up there. It's in your nasal passages and your body's fighting it off like it's supposed to do.
Melanie Avalon: Yep. I'm really grateful. It's nice. I felt very appreciative of my body during this. I'm like, "Go body."
Gin Stephens: Been able to see it.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Gin Stephens: So, how about your sense of taste and smell? That's the most fascinating symptom for me.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. So, ironically, even though, yesterday was the first day that my Oura ring was back to normal, that's when my taste went away, which I did Google it and apparently that's common. It goes away a little bit later but it was so interesting. So, I was eating last night, and I had no taste. I was really reflecting on how much of what we do is habitual because I noticed that I wanted to eat the exact same amount of food, I wanted to eat what I always eat, even though, I couldn't even taste it. I was watching myself eating, it was really mindful moment, especially, because I'm interviewing tomorrow, not in person.
Oh, yeah. Obviously, our interviews are not in person. Dr. Anna, I don't know how you say your last name. I should figure that out for tomorrow. Dr. Anna Lembke, I think she wrote a book called Dopamine Nation about addiction. I'm really excited to talk with her about the concept of addictive behavior but I was reflecting on it while eating, and I could see, I was like, "Oh, we engage in these things that are pleasurable, even when pleasure's not there anymore." I wasn't getting any pleasure from taste, zero. But I was still getting a lot of pleasure from the event of eating the same amount. Does that make sense?
Gin Stephens: That's so interesting. Can you smell?
Melanie Avalon: No.
Gin Stephens: I'll hope it comes back quickly because that's a symptom that for some people sticks around a long time and I know that would be awful. I feel so bad for anyone who that sticks around for.
Melanie Avalon: I was googling it last night and they released a study on people who had lost their taste and smell from it. At one year, it was almost 100 people that they were following and everybody had regained it, except for I think two people. Yeah, most people had regained it sooner rather than later.
Gin Stephens: That's good.
Melanie Avalon: I will answer one question, not medical advice, but people have just been asking a lot of questions on my Instagram. A lot of people have asked, "Did I keep fasting during it?" I did because I wasn't feeling the need to eat any-- I wasn't feeling any different.
Gin Stephens: I always continue to fast when I'm sick unless, I feel like I need to eat. I really, really listen to my body. But the only time I really would feel like I needed to eat when I was sick is if I was nauseous and I felt like I needed food in my stomach to combat nausea. Other than that, I just continue to fast because I feel that gives my body time to heal and repair.
Melanie Avalon: That's what I feel like. Like I said, I definitely ate the same amount of food even though, I wasn't-- I don't know. It's been very, very interesting, the eating experience of this. Eating the same amount, not even knowing if I was that hungry for the same amount and also not tasting it, but still, I don't know. It's very interesting. I did notice that despite not having any tastes, it's like I could still sense in my body when I was getting nourished, even though, I couldn't taste anything. I thought that was really cool. So, for listeners, if you get COVID and you lose your sense of taste, it will be an interesting experiment to watch your relationship with food and yeah, that whole experience, it's been very interesting.
Gin Stephens: Well, I'm glad that you're feeling better and fingers crossed that the senses return soon.
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Melanie Avalon: Shall we jump into everything for today?
Gin Stephens: Yep, let's get started.
Melanie Avalon: All right, so to start things off, we have a question from Alexandra and the subject is: "Eating window." Alexandra says, "Hi, Gin and Melanie, for reference. I am 31 years old and 5'5". I weigh 168 pounds and would like to get down to 140 or 135 pounds. I hope this email finds you well. One of my favorite things to do is cook a delicious dinner in a fasted state while listening to your podcast. I can truly say this podcast is one of my absolute favorites. It keeps me motivated and I am fully invested in the Whole Foods guy saga." I do have an update about that, Gin. So, I'll report back.
Gin Stephens: You have an update about it you can share today?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Should I share it now?
Gin Stephens: Share it right now.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. He's gone. It's so sad.
Gin Stephens: Do you know anything about it or just one day, he wasn't there anymore?
Melanie Avalon: No. I know about it. I talked to him. He got an internship somewhere. So, he's no longer working there. So, I gave him a copy of my book as a going away present.
Gin Stephens: Well, that's fun.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So, sad face. But yes, I wish him the best wherever he is at his internship. Okay. Oh, actually, though I will say, so his internship-- I doubt he'll be listening to this. So, his internship is for engineering. We had a really nice conversation about engineering.
Gin Stephens: Oh, is he a Georgia Tech guy?
Melanie Avalon: No. Well, I don't know.
Gin Stephens: Well, if he's been in Atlanta and he's an engineer, that's Georgia Tech. So, anyway, I bet he is.
Melanie Avalon: I don't know. it's a good question. I would have asked if he was still at the store.
Gin Stephens: Because it's the best engineering school in the United States and it's right there in Atlanta, and he's got an engineering internship.
Melanie Avalon: He's interning at a company.
Gin Stephens: Right. Exactly. Yeah, that's what they do.
Melanie Avalon: I don't think he's in school right now. Regardless, I got very excited because have I expressed to you what is one of my ongoing fears/concerns if I think about it, so, I just don't think about it.
Gin Stephens: I don't know what it is. I don't know if you've expressed it. [laughs] Tell me what it is and I'll tell you if you have.
Melanie Avalon: I have an ongoing fear/concern if I think about it about structure support-
Gin Stephens: Oh, no, no. You've never shared that.
Melanie Avalon: -in buildings. If I start thinking about roofs or I'm in an apartment, and there are apartment buildings above me, it really stresses me out. So, I just don't think about it. I got so excited because I got to ask him all my questions about structural support of roofs.
Gin Stephens: Like structure failure?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, because that's what he said he wants to do and I was like, "Oh, my goodness, let me ask you questions." [giggles] Because I was like, "How did buildings not just collapse and how there've been buildings around for so long?" It just bothers me. And then I had never thought about this, Gin. Have you ever thought about that there are buildings from forever ago and they're still here? Did you know they've been checking them since they were built? That blew my mind.
Gin Stephens: That doesn't surprise me but I know, I'll often see, we have a house here in the United States that's from 1920, and you're like, "Man, that's old." You're like, "Yeah, over there." The UK, they're laughing at us with our old 1920s buildings because our building has been here since 1407.
Melanie Avalon: But did you ever think about-- they probably ever since 1407 had a building inspector come and check it.
Gin Stephens: It also makes me feel everything is fixable. There's no house that's beyond repair, because the ones from 1407 are still around, and they've just been able to keep them going.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, that just really blew my mind.
Gin Stephens: I know there are buildings that are beyond repair. But my point being that, if it looks like you could probably fix it, I'm sure you can.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. So, I walked away feeling a lot better about my fear I have. That was a tangent. In any case, back to Alexandra's question. She says, "So, my question, I have been doing IF on and off since 2019 because I was pregnant with my second baby, and then breastfeeding, I had to take a solid break. Losing my baby weight after my second baby with IF compared to losing it after my first with IF has been different. The baby weight the second time around has been harder to lose. Just for reference, I really struggle when I am pregnant and I gained a good 60 plus pounds. I'm constantly hungry, nauseous, and basically, just in survival mode." Survival mode sparked a memory for me. I'm going to circle back to that. She says, "Slowly but surely, I'm losing the weight, maybe about 0.9 pounds a week or a bit less. Not kidding, it never averages out to one pound.
But then depending on what's going on, I will have a week when I go up a bit or I don't lose any weight. As Gin always says, tweak it till it works. I've been doing just that. Tweaking and tweaking away and I discovered that if I close my window around six or seven with a nice dinner and maybe a snack to open my window that my weight has really started to drop. But I am confused about is the amount I'm eating has really not changed. Before doing this, I would open my window with a nice homemade dinner and have some dark chocolate and crackers around 8:30 PM when I finally got my toddler in bed. But I can't figure out is why closing my window at six or seven would make such a difference in my weight loss. I'm writing to you about it because I'm upset, ha-ha as I like to have my evening snack. Perhaps, I will just need to do this as I am working to lose these last 25 or so pounds, but I was curious what your take would be on this matter. I just can't see how the time in which I eat but not the volume could make such a difference, wishing you," oh, this must have been in Christmas because she wished us an amazing Christmas season, Allie. Oh, I've been calling her Alexandra, but her name.
Gin Stephens: Well, it's her official name.
Melanie Avalon: She goes by Allie.
Gin Stephens: Well, Allie, that's a great question and I'm going to 100% tell you one thing that was true for my body. The baby weight the second time around was harder to lose. I don't know why but it absolutely was. I don't know. There're so many changes that go on but when I had Cal, I still remember exactly how much I weighed. I remember being like 123 pounds when I found that I was pregnant with Cal, and then I got up to a high of 163, and then I wore my same jeans till like five months into the pregnancy, and then I just had to do that rubber band trick where you'd take a rubber band and you hook it around the button and then you go through the little loop and then put it. They probably have better tools for that now. You can actually buy them but I used the rubber band that kept my jeans go in for probably till six months in. And then I barely had to wear maternity clothes, it felt like for that one. Oh, then I was back in my jeans, I swear a week after Cal was born. That's one of those, my body bounced back, right?
I wasn't super young. I was in my upper 20s at the time and then with Will, they're 18 months apart. It's like the minute the pregnancy test was positive, my abdomen went bloop [laughs] and I was already in maternity clothes right away. More than most of the time and I got up into the-- It was either high 180s, low 190s, like I didn't even want to tell Chad how much I weighed at that point. And then after I had Will, my body did not bounce right back. I thought my body would and it didn't. I remember sitting around 163 and I'm like, "That's where my body settled in." I was like, "Gosh, that was my high weight when I was pregnant with Cal was 163" and here I am. I'm just weighing 163 and it's normal now. It was hard. That's when I went down the diet pill rabbit hole that was right after that and long story there. But the thing is that, for whatever reason, my body really had that same exact situation as you're describing. It was harder to lose the weight after baby two.
Now, when we're getting into your weight finally starting to drop, there are two things that could be in mind here. One, your weight was just about ready to be start to drop anyway and it was a coincidence that it happened to be when you've shifted your window. That could be it, I don't know. Also, though it might have to do just with water weights. I'm not sure if you just-- Let's say there're two scenarios. Maybe whether your weight suddenly had a sudden drop, and then it's kept going down at your same pace or has the rate of weight loss increased, that would be what I would like to know. Because if you had been losing 0.9 a week, and then you switched your window, and then it had a little whoosh, but the 0.9 a week from that whoosh has continued, then the timing probably just meant that maybe you weren't retaining as much water later on because it's been longer since you ate. That could cause your weight to be lower, if that makes sense. The amount of time since you last ate because our bodies retain water to deal with the food, and when you have more food in your system, you're retaining more water to manage it, and then the food's working its way out, you drop the water.
If your rate of loss has actually increased and before it was 0.9 or less and now it's more, then it could just be your body was ready to do that or it could be that that really is a better window for your body for whatever the reason might be. So, keep experimenting with it and see, because theoretically you're right that if all you've done is change the time, but it's the exact same amount, and it's not like you've changed it a ton. Closing it at six or seven versus closing it at 8:30, it doesn't seem like a giant difference that it would physiologically change the workings of your body, right, Melanie? What do you think about that?
Melanie Avalon: I have two concepts that might be going on and one speaks to what you just said. So, one, and I should have timed this question differently because I haven't posted this blog post yet, but I'm actually glad we're doing this because this is just going to force me to post it. I've been working on a blog post for months, months, I tell you about really looking at what did the study say about timing of eating and its effect on weight loss, particularly, things like late night eating and stuff like that. But the takeaway, it's such an epic blog post. So, I'm going to try to post it this week actually. I'll make the link to it regardless. So, even if it's not up when this comes out, but hopefully it will be. I'll make the link for it melanieavalon.com/eatingtiming. The takeaway from it was that, there are a lot of hormones involved in us eating, and us burning fat, and not burning fat, and there's just so many hormones. There's insulin, there's ghrelin, there's leptin, there's norepinephrine, there's cortisol, there's so many hormones, and they're all on rhythms. How we eat interacts with that and it can affect our weight.
The problem is that, it's not black and white. People like to say, "Oh, if you eat, after a certain time, it becomes fat for everybody all the time." That's just not what I saw, especially, if you're doing things like intermittent fasting, and you're only eating in a certain window. The takeaway that I took from it is that we're all very individual and I do think some people are eating at different times for given person. So, I'm not comparing between people. I'm comparing within the same person. I think for a given person, it is very possible that if they have a window at a certain time, they might lose or gain a different amount of weight than if they have a consistent window at a different time. I don't think it's standard between people like I just said. So, I don't think you can say, if this person eats at this time and this other person eats at this time, they're going to gain or lose the same amount of weight. I think it's individual. The reason I'm saying all that is that, I actually do think that with your individual biology, it might be that eating, even though, Gin did point out that it's not that big of a difference when you're changing it. The timeline of those hormones is on a rhythm where I think it could be affected by something like this.
Gin Stephens: Or, not. You think an hour and a half would really make that much difference?
Melanie Avalon: I think it could. I'm not saying that it is but if it's a consistent change and if it is working ever so slightly better for your body with all those hormones, I think it could make a difference. I don't know if that's what's happening but I think it could be. If that is what's happening, I don't think it's like we'd be able to point to-- I couldn't say which hormones it is. I just think it could be a thing. Something that could also be a thing, so, that was option number one. Option number two is, she says the only thing she's changing is the timing, but the situation that she gave us, she's eating differently as well. She says that when she closes at six or seven, she maybe starts with a snack and has a nice dinner.
Gin Stephens: I had that same thought Melanie that you're saying.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. But when she closes at 8:30, she starts with a dinner and ends with a snack. So, she says what the snack is on the 8:30 but not on the six or seven. Small nuances but you actually might be eating more.
Gin Stephens: It might be different.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. That's what it sounds like. So, it could be a combination of all that. It could be that you are a little bit better when you eat. By better, I mean, hormonally, for whatever reason you don't gain as much weight when the window is a little bit earlier. Then on top of that, maybe-- oh and there's something else to point out. So, it could be that hormonally when you eat earlier, your hunger driving hormone. So, it doesn't necessarily have to be the hormones that are determining if you store fat or not. It could be the hormones regulating appetite and it could be that when you eat a little bit earlier, you get fuller faster or you're not as hungry, little things can be different that are resulting in you actually eating less when you eat earlier. I do think with what is happening if it's not water weight like Gin said, which it could be that as well. But if it actually is, different weight gain or loss, then I would guess what you're eating is actually changing, even though, you think it's not the amount of food.
Gin Stephens: I wonder if the question would be, has the rate increased week to week? If she was losing 0.3 a week and now, she's losing 0.9 a week average, then the rate of weight loss has increased. But if she had a whoosh in there at some point, but the rate has stayed the same, then actually, it hasn't made her lose weight faster if that makes sense. Because sometimes we just have a whoosh, our weight will just drop a few pounds, but overall, your rate stays the same week to week. That's a question that would be interesting to know. But really, it doesn't matter. You just keep doing what feels like it's working. Use that data to test different things and see what happens. It's a study of one. So, maybe now, try the old way that you felt like you'd liked a little bit better, see what happens. If you have a reverse whoosh but the rate stays the same, if you put on a few pounds, pop back up. But is then your rate is the same as it was the rate of loss, then that really isn't just indicating more fat loss or less fat loss. It just your weight pops up a little bit and then your rate of loss stays the same. That would indicate it's more likely water weight is what I'm saying.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, that's a really, really great point. I will say, when I was reading the studies for that blog post, oh, my goodness, I read so many studies, and they were so long, and it was really interesting because some of them, I mean, most of them were really in depth but there was probably one or two where the researchers were so clearly approaching the subject matter with an agenda of finding the problems with late night eating that they would point out because it would have so much data on these different hormones at different times, and they would point out things that would be in complete contradiction to other data in the study but only when it was supporting their thesis. It was very frustrating. So, I didn't mean for my blog post to get so in the weeds, but I was like, "I just have to really point out what they're doing in these studies," because this is how information I think it's-- I don't know. it gets put out there with an agenda and then people don't get the full story. So, I'll be curious to see what listeners think about it. Two other really quick things.
The concept of harder to lose the weight the second time around with the baby weight, definitely check out my interview with Joel Greene, who wrote The Immunity Code, I think is his book and he's the one I've talked about in the show before. He's the one that talks about why it's actually harder every time you lose weight to lose weight again. His theory which he supports with scientific data is that, every time you lose and gain weight, it affects the structure of fat cells, which is called the extracellular matrix ECM. So, it's basically like wearing clothes. Oh, this is a good analogy because Gin, you're talking about your clothes, like if your fat cell has clothes and every time you gain weight, you have to make the clothes bigger, and then basically how easy it is to shrink back down that ECM versus just it's easier just to keep it filled rather than taking in your clothes. Your body would rather just keep the weight rather than go in and fix that extracellular matrix. Go in and basically alter your clothes is a very energy heavy process that the body does not really like to do. Every time it has to do it, it gets stiffer and stiffer. He calls it the stiffening of the ECM. So, it's a really cool explanation for why gaining weight and losing, and gaining weight losing gets harder and harder every time.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, that makes sense. Yeah, my body was like, "All right, we're just going to stick around right here." [laughs]. I don't even think I really hardly even tried after Cal. My body just bounced right back but that second time, there was no bouncing. I didn't bounce all the way back down to 123. So, I did not. But I bounced back down to what was a good weight for me. I also wasn't really as much-- back in that time, I just didn't stress about it as much. I don't know. It got harder and harder over time and then that number became more and more important.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Another thing and I need to finish reading the book because I haven't. I'm so excited because I just started reading it. Oh, this book is like a cliffhanger. I'm going to interview, have you heard of Rick Johnson, Gin?
Gin Stephens: I'm not sure.
Melanie Avalon: He wrote a book called The Fat Switch. He's probably the authority on fructose, probably. He's probably done the most research on fructose.
Gin Stephens: I might have read that a long time ago. I feel like I might have. Did that book come out in maybe 2016? Was it around then?
Melanie Avalon: It was a while ago.
Gin Stephens: I remember reading a book about fructose a long time ago, maybe, 2015.
Melanie Avalon: It came out in 2013.
Gin Stephens: That sounds right about when I might have been reading it.
Melanie Avalon: 2012.
Gin Stephens: They talk about animals that eat a lot of fructose?
Melanie Avalon: Probably. I'm reading his new book. The cover of it is these two silhouettes of a woman.
Gin Stephens: The Fat Switch, just I'm going to look it up on Amazon and then I'll know, because it will tell me because Amazon knows everything I've ever bought. But that doesn't mean I saw it on Amazon or read it on Amazon. I didn't buy the audiobook, I didn't buy the hardcover. Melanie, this is hilarious. I purchased it on April 18th, 2016. [laughs] Yeah, that is so funny. Yeah, I knew when I read it. I remember. So funny. You know what? After I had read it was, "Okay, this puts it all in perfect perspective." It was right after I had read The Obesity Code because The Obesity Code came out in March of 2016. So, I was going down that rabbit hole at that time. That was what I was learning about. So funny.
Melanie Avalon: I'm so excited because he's been on Peter Attia's podcast a lot and Peter literally calls him 'the number one fructose authority.' So, I'd had The Fat Switch in my lineup to read, and then his people came to me for his new book, which is called Nature Wants Us to Be Fat. It's not out yet. The subtitle is The Surprising Science Behind Why We Gain Weight and How We Can Prevent and Reverse it. I was so excited. I was like, "Oh, my goodness," because I've been dying to interview him. So, I am interviewing him in a little bit over a month, I think. According to my Kindle, I'm 21% of the way through his book, but he is making the argument thus far. I don't know how it's going to materialize for the rest of the book. But he's making the argument. He calls it the survival switch, which is I said there was a key word in that question that reminded me of something. He talks about how metabolic syndrome seems like we've switched on this survival switch, which is basically what animals do when they go into hibernation and/or migration. So, their body becomes very insulin resistant, they get abdominal obesity, they store fat, they get high triglycerides. So, yeah, he's making the case that basically it's our bodies hibernating.
Gin Stephens: That's exactly, I remember he talked a lot about animals in that book that I read. Because remember that was what I thought I remembered something about how the animals like really, really-- when they're trying to gain the weight, they eat a lot of fruit or something. That's what I think I remember from the book. [laughs] I remember that. I had a friend that was struggling and she was eating a lot of fruit. I think that's one of the reasons I might have read it. I'm like, "You got to read this book." I remember that. I'm like, "I know you're eating a lot of fruit. Read this book." [laughs] He is not a fan.
Melanie Avalon: Well, I'm obsessed with it because context dependent, I mean, I eat a super high fruit diet. So, I'm really excited. I have so many questions for him.
Gin Stephens: I have a theory that it has to do with maybe your liver health. If your liver is super unhealthy, maybe a high fructose diet might be more fat promoting than if you've got a really healthy liver.
Melanie Avalon: I think so as well. I think the context is so important. I think fructose in the context of high fat diet is probably pretty problematic. But in the context of what I do, which is high protein, high fruit, low fat, I really want to talk to him about that. Oh, but he talked about the hummingbird. This is what I read last night and he might talk about this in the first book. Did you know that the hummingbird every day eats four times its amount of its body weight and nectar, and it gains so much fat, and it gets a fatty liver by the end of the day, and it's basically diabetic by the end of the day, and then overnight it burns it all off, and then it's back to normal?
Gin Stephens: I do think I remember reading that the hummingbird had the highest metabolic rate, it has a really high metabolic rate.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. The equivalent though, I think he said, it's blood sugar at the end of the day is the equivalent of 700 for us. Then it burns it all off because its metabolism is so fast and it wakes up lean and not diabetic, and then it gains the weight all again. Isn't that crazy? I'm really enjoying this book. So, yeah. I'm really curious to see what he says about humans being in this survival state, this hibernation mode. I want to ask him though if hibernating animals have high blood pressure, because that's one of the other things about metabolic syndrome. So, that was a tangent.
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Melanie Avalon: Shall we go on to the next question?
Gin Stephens: We have a question from Tyler and the subject is: "Fasting headaches." Tyler says, "Hello, Melanie and Gin, I have been intermittent fasting for about eight months now using the 16:8 method. I have lost roughly 25 pounds thanks to intermittent fasting. I have an issue though but I don't know if it has to do with fasting or not. I have tension headaches almost every single day. They started sometime around when I started fasting. They do not go away when I break my fast. Could this possibly have anything to do with fasting? I have been to plenty of doctor appointments with no results and figuring it out. Thank you."
Melanie Avalon: All right, Tyler, thank you so much for your question. So, headaches. Yeah, it was so interesting because like I mentioned, I was getting a headache with COVID and I used to get headaches growing up, it was just normal to get headaches. Now, I never get headaches unless something's up, like my current situation.
Gin Stephens: Same thing. I never do unless it's something.
Melanie Avalon: Did you used to get them?
Gin Stephens: I used to get more hormonally-- I would get monthly headaches at some point. I don't know. I would get them every now and then. I remember more in my late teens, very early 20s than later.
Melanie Avalon: It's just so interesting because I'm sure we're growing up, it's like, "Oh, if you get a headache, take an Advil." I never really thought about it. It just was a thing. I didn't question like, "Why am I getting a headache?" So, it just seemed like a thing that happens.
Gin Stephens: I did notice even at my late teens that it was awful and hormonal for me. I made that connection.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, interesting. Okay, yeah. So, headaches. There are a lot of potential causes for headaches, and especially if you've been getting them Tyler, you've probably been going down the rabbit hole of trying to figure out all the causes. If it is related to fasting, the thing I think that it could be for anybody in general would possibly be electrolytes. So, I never experienced issues with headaches, and electrolytes, and fasting. But especially since we've been partnering with LMNT, they make electrolyte supplements that are completely free of problematic additives, they're developed in part by Robb Wolf, they have an unflavored one that is fasting friendly, you could take it during your fast. I have seen so many people say that their headaches were gone when they started using electrolytes. So, there could be other things related to fasting that could cause that, but I think if it was something related to the fasting that it might be that. So, that might be something to try.
You can get a free sampler pack at drinklmnt.com/ifpodcast if you want to try that out. If it's not that, I'm sorry, I don't know what it is, but there are a lot of things you could definitely look at. It could be related to what you're eating, it could be food sensitivities, I doubt it. But that could be a way that'd be related to fasting and that maybe if it was something that you're eating, that's a problem. Maybe having more of it in a concentrated form in a shorter eating window could be causing an issue. Whereas before, you didn't really notice because it was spread out. I don't think that's what's going on but that could be. Other things that you could look at just in general, blue light exposure. So, a lot of people find that using blue light blocking glasses, especially, if they're staring at computer screens all day can really help with their headaches. Trying to think what else. Do you have suggestions, Gin?
Gin Stephens: I have two ideas here. I would experiment to see with your fasting. I might would take-- if you feel it's related to fasting, I might would say, "You know what? I'm going to not fast for this week and I want to see if my headaches go away." If the headaches go away, then you can say, "All right, it is definitely something to do with the fasting." Because there are some things that can cause headaches that are related to fasting. One would be something about your blood sugar response. There are certain people who get headaches after opening their eating window, you can find articles about that, eating-related headaches. That's the thing that I've seen. I wouldn't know this if I hadn't been in those communities for so long where people have all the problems and we talk about them. But here is a thing that does happen and the fact that Tyler's had tension headaches, it made me go ding, ding, ding. If you feel they're tension headaches, you can actually get tension headaches if you're doing any kind of jaw clenching.
I have heard through the community, this is not something that you hear all the time, but sometimes, ketosis can make people clench their jaw. If you Google it, you can find that something they talk about in the keto community, jaw clenching and being in ketosis. So, that is something that could be happening. If you feel you're clenching your jaw when you're in ketosis, then perhaps that's causing your headaches. But again, I would experiment to see if it had to do with fasting by taking a few days off to a week and see if your headaches go away. Again, that could still be, it might be ketosis, it might be what you're eating, experiment with what you're eating if you have your blood sugar doing some wacky things, that could be related to the headaches. But you're just going to have to experiment and see. Have you ever heard that before about clenching your jaw with ketosis?
Melanie Avalon: I haven't but I was thinking about it and that completely makes sense. Because we know that with fasting or keto that it can upregulate stress hormones in general. So, I can see how it would have that effect. I actually do that.
Gin Stephens: 16:8 is a pretty gentle fasting approach. So, I only mentioned that just because it's a possibility. If I were doing 16:8, I would not be getting deep enough into ketosis to have any jaw clenching. But it's something to keep in mind because it could definitely happen in an eight-hour window if you eat lightly and have a lot of activity.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I wonder how much it has to be ketosis or just the stress hormone upregulation potential from fasting.
Gin Stephens: Well, it's something you hear in the keto community more so than the fasting community, which is why I believe it's linked to ketosis. Because not everyone in the keto community is of course fasting.
Melanie Avalon: True. That's been a lifelong-- not lifelong, it's been since 2012, long struggle for me, like TMJ and jaw clenching and--
Gin Stephens: Oh, really?
Melanie Avalon: Mm-hmm. Ever since I had my wisdom teeth out.
Gin Stephens: When did you start fasting?
Melanie Avalon: 2010.
Gin Stephens: Well, I wonder if there's a connection with ketosis and jaw clenching.
Melanie Avalon: I don't think so, because it started from when I had my wisdom teeth out. I'd been fasting for two years already and didn't have any issues, and then I had my wisdom teeth out, and then it just--
Gin Stephens: Not everybody who clenches their jaw has this problem. My grandmother had a real problem with clenching her teeth and grinding her teeth, and she didn't fast. So, TMJ definitely could be unrelated to fasting. That's why I recommended that Tyler experiment with taking a week off of fasting and seeing that would really make it clear. If the headaches completely go away, then okay, there's something going on related to the fasting.
Melanie Avalon: And also, try the electrolytes as well because I've just seen that helps so many people. So, anything else?
Gin Stephens: I think that's it.
Melanie Avalon: Okie-dokie.
Gin Stephens: I think we have time to answer one more question.
Melanie Avalon: I think so. So, quick question from Jane. The subject is: "Need food with meds" and Jane says, "Hi, ladies, my sisters and I are interested in an IF challenge, but I take meds first thing in the morning with a banana in order to not get nauseous. There is no way I can't do that. How much will that screw me up if I'm going to attempt the 16:8, which is 8 PM to noon fast, noon to eight eat? Is there something better than a banana I could eat?"
Gin Stephens: Well, thank you, Jane, and the answer is 100% yes. I would not choose a banana. But let me tell you this. [laughs] I want you to first explore the idea of having to take your meds first thing in the morning. I am not a doctor or a pharmacist, but I recommend probably the pharmacist is who I would talk to about this, because they're the ones who are trained even more so than possibly your doctor, probably more so than your doctor. They're the ones trained in what meds need to be taken when. So, just because you've been told to take it first thing in the morning that doesn't mean that you absolutely have to take it first thing in the morning. So, that's why, I wouldn't change it up yourself without talking to your pharmacist. But I 100% for every person that's taking medicine would recommend that you talk to your pharmacist about timing it because of your fasting.
In this day and age with how many people are doing intermittent fasting and what we know about the benefits, I would think that every pharmacist would be able to tell you, how best to take your medicine structured around your fast. Because there are some medications that you 100% don't want to take and then fast for a while, because it could have negative effects on your blood sugar, for example. So, you really want to say, "Okay, I'm doing intermittent fasting or I'm about to start intermittent fasting, I would prefer to not have to eat with this medicine, because obviously eating breaks the fast. So, can you help me tie my medication to go with the fasting approach I'd like to?" You might be surprised that might say, "Oh, yeah, there's no reason you can't just take your medicine with your first meal at noon." That might be absolutely fine. So, just because it's always been first thing in the morning, it doesn't mean it has to be first thing in the morning. So, have that conversation.
Now if you do have to eat, yes, it does break a fast. But I would choose something that's going to have a smaller insulin response, something like higher fat. You definitely don't want to have something high carb. But something that's going to be more of a blip to go along with it. But personally, I would not do well having to have a little bit of anything. Because once I have something to eat even if it's high fat, even if it's just a little bit, then I would be struggling. It would be harder for me to fast. But people do maybe a tablespoon full of heavy cream or something. It helps the medicine not affect your stomach in a negative way. Or, Jason Fung suggested in his book, like a small amount of leafy greens. They're going to have less of an effect. But you really might not need to take it at that time, even though, you've always taken it at that time.
Melanie Avalon: I thought that was great. It reminded me of, I was just listening to David Sinclair on Huberman.
Gin Stephens: Oh, my God, that's so funny. Because yesterday while I was at brunch, when I was with my sister right in the car, we went and met a bunch of relatives in Clemson, South Carolina, and the waiter was, I don't know how he got on the subject of intermittent fasting but he just said he had listened to Sinclair on the Huberman Podcast.
Melanie Avalon: I swear everybody has listened to that episode.
Gin Stephens: The waiter had listened to it. So, I pointed him to your Biohacking Podcast. I thought he would like yours a lot. He was interested in some of the same kind of things that you're interested in. He's young, a young waiter guy, and I was like, "You got to find Melanie." But he's interested in fasting. So, I said, "First go to Intermittent Fasting Podcast." Because I was like, "You should listen to David Sinclair from Melanie's podcast, too." Because he was asking me about that, what's that NAD thing?
Melanie Avalon: NAD?
Gin Stephens: Yeah, whatever. I don't know much about it. But he was asking me about that. I'm like, "All right, you got to go somewhere else to hear that information." But I said, "Look for Intermittent Fasting Podcast, find Melanie," because it's really easy to remember Intermittent Fasting Podcast, but harder to remember The Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. He can find you from finding us. So, anyway, so funny.
Melanie Avalon: That's so funny. Really quick story about that. Well, I'm friends with David Sinclair's agent, who is also Andrew Huberman's agent and Andy Huberman, his podcast is one of the top podcasts on podcasts. He was on Rogan and all this stuff. Before any of that, I remember his agent was like, "You got to have on this guy, he's going to be huge," and it was him. We never locked it down and I forgot about it because he didn't have a book. So, he wasn't on my radar. Now, I'm like, "Oh, I really should have locked that down," because now, I reached out recently to his agent and I was like, "Can you please come on?" He's like-- Oh, and now he's completely booked up because he has his show, missed out on that one. Oh, so David Sinclair went on his show and talked about how he takes his NMN, and maybe some other things that he has to take with a fat. So, he does daily intermittent fasting but he does take some supplements.
He used to take it with a little bit of yogurt every morning. That's what I think he said when I interviewed him. But now, apparently, he does it with olive oil. So, he talks about it in that episode. He said he does like a little bit of olive oil with-- He says, it tastes like an Italian salad dressing. That's what he does because the supplements that he takes actually requires fat with them and he said, he doesn't-- this would not be in line with what we talk about with a clean fast, but he said he doesn't really consider it breaking his fast, being just pure fat and not changing any of the signaling there. So, I'm not saying that you can have fat and that doesn't break your fast. But I'm saying if you do have to take a little bit of medication with something, maybe something then to try would be-- if you are able to take it with just a little bit of olive oil or something like that.
Gin Stephens: And also, be aware that if you take oil on an empty stomach, it can have a laxative effect. Especially, MCT oil. [laughs] Ask me how I know. Anyway, yes, good times.
Melanie Avalon: 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 email@example.com or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. The show notes will be at ifpodcast.com/episode249. You can follow us on Instagram, we are @ifpodcast, Gin is @ginstephens, I am @melanieavalon. We'll put links in the show notes to Clean(ish). Again. Congratulations, Gin.
Gin Stephens: Thank you.
Melanie Avalon: And yeah, this has been absolutely wonderful. Anything from you, Gin, before we go?
Gin Stephens: Nope, I don't think so.
Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, I will talk to you next week.
Gin Stephens: All right. Bye.
Melanie Avalon: Bye.
Melanie Avalon: Thank you so much for listening to the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember everything we discussed on this show does not constitute medical advice. We're not doctors. If you enjoyed the show, please consider writing a review on iTunes. We couldn't do this without our amazing team. Administration by Sharon Merriman, editing by Podcast Doctors, show notes and artwork by Brianna Joyner, transcripts by SpeechDocs, theme music 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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