Episode 179: How To Talk To Kids About Fasting, Fasting On Vacation, 24 Hour Fasts, Melatonin, Troubled Sleep, And More!
Welcome to Episode 179 of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast, hosted by Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine and Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living An Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle.
Today's episode of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast is brought to you by:
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12:00 - Listener Q&A: Edel - IF with small kids and holidays
13:10 - Listener Q&A: Jessica - My kids are watching me....
20:40 - Listener Q&A: Lysa - Melatonin
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30:30 - Listener Q&A: Phoebe - IF harder at certain points in menstrual cycle
36:10 - Listener Q&A: Renee - 24 Hr Fast
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52:15 - Listener Q&A: Lexy - Morning workout
Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 179 of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. If you want to burn fat, gain energy, and enhance your health by changing when you eat, not what you eat with no calorie counting, then this show is for you.
I'm Melanie Avalon, author of What When Wine: Lose Weight and Feel Great with Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, and Wine. And I'm here with my cohost, Gin Stephens, author of Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle. For more on us, check out ifpodcast.com, melanieavalon.com, and ginstephens.com.
Please remember, the thoughts and opinions on this podcast do not constitute medical advice or treatment. So, pour or 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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All right, now enjoy the show.
Hi everybody and welcome. This is episode number 179 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 great. It's been so long since I've talked to you.
Melanie Avalon: I know.
Gin Stephens: Listeners, don't know when these come out a week apart, but we've recorded the last one yesterday. So, it's been one day. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Little quick turnaround here. So, anything new since yesterday?
Gin Stephens: No, not a thing. Everything is the same.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. How about you anything new since yesterday?
Melanie Avalon: Not really. Except I just told you I'm slowly bringing wine back into my life, and that feels really nice. Dry Farm Wines, obviously.
Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah. I would never be able to drink any other kind. I've just-- yeah.
Melanie Avalon: I will say, listeners, I haven't had wine in probably, like a year and a half. I'd been having a sip, literally a sip of Dry Farm Wines every single night, but I hadn't really actually had wine like a year and a half.
Gin Stephens: Like a glass of wine.
Melanie Avalon: Like a glass, mm-hmmm.
Gin Stephens: That's so funny. I can't imagine having one sip of wine. What was the reason for having one sip?
Melanie Avalon: It just felt like a nice little routine, little supplement. You know how people take a shot of apple cider vinegar before eating? I don't know, I feel like it kind of had that effect. I think was more mental rather than anything else. But I will say, past few nights I've had like two glasses both nights of Dry Farm Wines and I'm fine. Dry Farm Wines for the win. Yeah, for listeners, if you haven't tried it, if you want to try hangover-free experiences with wine, definitely try it. Our link for them is dryfarmwines.com/ifpodcast, and that gets you a bottle for a penny.
Gin Stephens: Well, good. I'm glad you're figuring out how to work it back in and enjoying it and feeling good.
Melanie Avalon: Baby steps. Now, I’ve just got to get the fruit back.
Gin Stephens: Get that fruit back in. We're having hamburgers for dinner and I'm so excited. [unintelligible [00:06:38] anybody's interested.
Melanie Avalon: I like hamburgers without the bun.
Gin Stephens: It's going to have a bun.
Melanie Avalon: And not cooked. So, just hamburger meat.
Gin Stephens: It's a Green Chef meal. I like Green Chef.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, nice.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, they sponsored our podcast way back when.
Melanie Avalon: They did, back in the day.
Gin Stephens: Back in the day, but yeah, this is a Green Chef meal and so it's got zucchini, like oven fries on the side, so I'm very excited. I love a good cheeseburger with the bun and the cheese and the meat.
Melanie Avalon: I love the good raw ground beef.
Gin Stephens: No, thank you. No, no, no.
Melanie Avalon: It's so good. I will literally eat it that way.
Gin Stephens: Okay, not me. I mean I like a medium rare hamburger. So, I guess that would be for some people, but anyway, good times. What will you have for dinner tonight? Do you know?
Melanie Avalon: That's a good question. Probably shrimp or turkey or egg whites and cucumbers and maybe try to bring in some fruit. Maybe.
Gin Stephens: So, why the egg whites and not the egg yolks? I'm curious.
Melanie Avalon: Because I'm trying to do low fat, high carb.
Gin Stephens: Okay.
Melanie Avalon: Trying to get back to that.
Gin Stephens: All right, how are you feeling with that? Good?
Melanie Avalon: Actually, I feel demotivated because I keep trying to bring it back in and I get hypoglycemia symptoms and it's very bothersome. I get ravenously hungry basically, and that was never before a problem before. So, it's a little bit upsetting. But Glenn Livingston who has the book Never Binge Again, he came on my show and then I went on his show, which actually will probably be airing. I think he said he's going to air it probably around the time this show comes out. So, I can put a link to that in the show notes. But he's a huge fruit fan and I think he convinced me to bring back the fruit again. So, I'm going to do it.
Gin Stephens: I think you should do it. When I was experimenting with low fat just because it was right after Mastering Diabetes and I read that and I realized that was what my-- that one DNA analysis that I had suggested that exact percentage of fat they had said in Mastering Diabetes. I didn't have the hypoglycemic kind of thing. But I also eat a lot of grains, but I always have also.
Melanie Avalon: The mistake I made was I-- now that it's a mistake, but I tried a really intense ketogenic MCT oil type diet, and I think I lost my ability to-- I don't know, I think my liver is not used to running on carbs.
Gin Stephens: Very interesting. What's your Lumen telling you?
Melanie Avalon: I haven't tried it since trying to bring back the carbs. But this is something that's really interesting really quick. So, some of the symptoms I get when I try the fruit, if it's too much, it's like a heart racing. It feels like a sugar overload and the only time I felt that that I remember was before when I was eating a lot of fruit was on my birthday, one year, and they brought out a gluten-free chocolate cake. And I ate like the whole thing and my heart was racing and I was like, “I never want to feel this again.” And now, I'm getting that feeling from just eating like four kiwis, and it's really, really upsetting, but I've got to persevere. They say you've got to just stick it out. You've got to just [unintelligible [00:09:46] body for eating fruit and I'll learn how to.
Gin Stephens: Well, I'm not doing any kind of restricting at all after that experiment yesterday. In fact, how I said I was going to have broccoli with hummus? I forgot that I had bought some blackberries, and so I opened my window, blackberries with heavy cream on it. So, you see it was neither low fat nor low carb. It was absolutely perfect that blackberries with heavy cream on top.
Melanie Avalon: Actually, blueberries are the only fruit that they don't give me any heart racing. I still, in the fast, the next day feel hungry.
Gin Stephens: Do you like blackberries?
Melanie Avalon: I do. Maybe I should try some of those.
Gin Stephens: Of course, you're doing low fat but blackberries with heavy cream are just so-- I mean really, you could pour heavy cream over cat food and I would probably like it. But anyway, It's really good on blackberries, and probably blueberries and strawberries and all the berries, but you don't do dairy.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, I have been eating low fat and I rinse it to try to make it-- and I might start making my own cottage cheese.
Gin Stephens: I do love cottage cheese.
Melanie Avalon: I love cottage cheese.
Gin Stephens: They have like cultured cottage cheese.
Melanie Avalon: That's what I have.
Gin Stephens: Now, I feel I should go get some cultured cottage cheese just to eat it, but I'm not going to rinse it and I'm not going to get low fat.
Melanie Avalon: Wait, no, no, no, no. Get Nancy's cultured. It's so good and then I rinse it.
Gin Stephens: I think I'm going to because I got to eat the rest of these blackberries because they were on sale. That's why I bought them. So yeah, okay.
Melanie Avalon: I think I'm going to start making it-- Apparently, you can make it in your Instant Pot. I am so excited.
Gin Stephens: I don't have an Instant Pot.
Melanie Avalon: I'm going to make it from fat-free grass-fed milk cottage cheese.
Gin Stephens: We got to stop recording the podcast. Thank you all it was great to hear you today. An eight-minute podcast is [laughs] enough.
Melanie Avalon: Got to go make my cottage cheese.
Gin Stephens: I've got to go buy some. I'm not going to-- I have a book about making cheese. It's like the 30-minute cheese or something. It's some kind of a book for making quick cheese, but I never made any cheese. All these great intentions.
Melanie Avalon: So many things.
Gin Stephens: Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: All right.
Gin Stephens: Are we ready to get started?
Melanie Avalon: Yes. All right. So, to start things off, we have two questions and they touch on a similar topic. So, we will read both of those. The first one comes from Adele. The subject is "IF With Small Kids and Holidays."
And Adele says, “Hi, ladies, I just want to say thank you so much for the podcasts. I listen religiously and look forward to a new podcast every week. The information that you provide has really helped me on my journey, which I'm still relatively new to. My question to you is how do I deal with questions from my kids who are six and four? My six-year-old is starting to make comments about me not eating, and I don't want them to have a bad complex with food or think that I do.
I've been telling them that I'm just not hungry and I don't feel like eating until later in the day. Is this the right approach? Or do you have other advice? We are also going on holidays for 10 days next week and I worried about fasting while on holidays, as we'll be sitting down together for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and I was thinking of trying to skip breakfast only. But now, I'm worried in front of the kids to just sit with a cup of coffee only. I don't want to undo all of my hard work by going mad for 10 days. I'd like to be able to find a balance. Do you have any tips for me that can help with this? Thanks in advance.”
And then, we also have a question from Jessica. The subject is "My Kids Are Watching Me." Jessica says, “Hi, Gin and Melanie, first and foremost, I want to thank you ladies for all your hard work you put into this podcast. I am new at this and I have been loving catching up and you both have helped me understand this. I love it. I have two questions I would love your input on.” So actually, I'll go ahead and read her second question. And we can come back to her first question. So, her second question, she says, “I have two kids three and five. My husband brought to my attention the other day that they are watching me. What does it look like to my kids when I'm not eating with them? They see me skipping meals, and I'm sure they might start having questions. I'm not so sure fasting is a good idea for children. So, my question is do you ladies have any kinds of suggestions or have you ever dealt with this before? If so, what did you do or what would you recommend? I certainly would never want my kids to start questioning their eating habits at their ages. They're not overweight, and they are good eaters. Thank you so much for all you do. I apologize if I'm asking something you've already touched on, and I missed it. Love your podcast.”
And we can circle back to her other question. But kids and this problem. Gin, what are your thoughts?
Gin Stephens: Jessica is right that intermittent fasting is not recommended for kids. And by that, I mean we do not recommend that kids or even teenagers start with a prescriptive, like, “I am going to have an eating window and it's going to be from this time to this time every day and I eat in a five-hour window or an eight-hour window,” or whatever. It's not recommended until they've reached physical maturity to the level that it would be okay. So, if you have a teenager who you feel like is physically mature, talk to their pediatrician, make sure that they are developmentally ready for intermittent fasting, but obviously, the children in these two questions are way too young for that.
I was an elementary teacher for 28 years, and I find that we often overcomplicate things in our adult minds when we're thinking about how kids are going to respond. When really, kids are great with simple explanations. I look back to how I was a crazy dieter for so many years when my kids were really little, and I was like doing crazy things. They watched me have a very twisted relationship with food, with my body, with eating. But I wasn't fasting, but they were watching. I think that they were more likely to get a complex during those crazy years than now.
Now that I'm an intermittent faster, of course, my kids are grown and they are intermittent fasters too now, but if they had watched me as an intermittent faster growing up, they would see someone who does not have a crazy relationship with food. When I eat, they see me eat with gusto and enjoyment. They see that I love food, that I don't fear food, that I eat what feels good, eat what I love, stop when I'm satisfied. And I don't use dieting language like, “Oh, I shouldn't have eaten that,” or, “Oh, I'm getting fat.” Things like that. Those are the things that kids pick up on a lot.
I think you just live the lifestyle the way that you feel right living it. And if a child asks, “Hey, why aren't you eating?” Say, “I'm a grownup and grownups have different needs, grownup bodies need food differently than growing bodies. Growing bodies need to eat more frequently because you're trying to grow. And adult bodies, we're not trying to grow. So, we don't need to eat as often. And the kids go, “Oh, okay,” and then they go on. And they really don't need long, drawn-out explanations. They just really instinctually understand growing bodies have different needs. And if you have a child that's trying to copy you, like, “Oh, I'm not going to eat either. I'm going to fast too.” Say, “No, fasting is not for kids. You have a growing body, I want you to eat when you're hungry.” So, I think that they understand that.
Now that being said, if you have a kid in the morning and your child’s like, “I don't want to eat, I'm not hungry,” just naturally, I would not force the child to eat. Teach your child to be an intuitive eater, eat when they're hungry, stop when they're satisfied. Don't say, “Have one more bite. Just eat a little more.” Let them stop when they've had enough, and they'll turn into lifetime intuitive eaters who don't have all the baggage that so many of us came along with. What do you think, Melanie?
Melanie Avalon: That was an epic and perfect answer. I was wondering, growing up what was the messaging when you grew up for when you were eating?
Gin Stephens: I had a mother who was a hippie. She didn't really force me. I remember one time she made me sit there at the table till I was going to eat, it was like squash or something. And I was like, “I will die before I'll eat the squash.” Now, I love squash. I sit there for hours, and I never ate it. [laughter] I won that battle, I remember that. And I think she never did it again.
Melanie Avalon: I like that story.
Gin Stephens: I was like, “I'm not going to eat it.” I'll be like an old lady sitting here with this plate of squash. Anyhow, I remember that, but really, my mother wasn't that interested in why I was eating, and whether it was a TV dinner or a can of SpaghettiOs, it didn't matter to her. She was fine with-- if I wanted to eat a sandwich or, it didn't matter. There weren't a lot of rules around. Now, we're having a meal and don’t eat between meals. I started using snacking more recreationally later. But I went to college at 17, so I never really lived at home again for a long period of time after the age of 17, even in the summers. One time I worked at a camp all summer and then one time I worked on college campuses. So, yeah, I left home pretty early.
Melanie Avalon: I forgot about that, that we both did that.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. Then I was like, just becoming a grownup and trying to figure out my own relationship with food, but we didn't really have structured mealtimes. I think it would have been better if I had grown-- I would have liked-- who knows? It's hard to say, but if I'd grown up in a household where it was like, “Now, we're sitting down to have breakfast.” “Now, we're sitting down to lunch.” “Now, we're sitting down to dinner.” Instead, it was more like, grab something whenever you felt like it. no one ever asked me really if I was hungry.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, that's so interesting.
Gin Stephens: Anyway, it is interesting, but my mother struggled with her weight. She was a dance teacher. She was always complaining about her weight or complaining about her size or trying to be on a diet. And so, I think I saw a lot of that. I don't know, it's hard. No matter what, we're probably doing something wrong. You could just do the best you can.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Well, we can go to Jessica's other question. She said, “I love running and I've been doing it for about 15 years, anywhere between four to seven miles, four to six times a week. I've been on the 18:6 IF cycle. I tend to eat a lunch and an early dinner. However, I run in the mornings and I'm wondering if not eating after my runs is a bad idea. I feel fine not eating. I'm hard-headed though and sometimes not in tune with my body. So, I would appreciate it any thoughts you might have on this?”
Gin Stephens: I think that you're in tune with your body enough to know that that was bad for your body, you would feel that. So, if you feel fine not eating, I think you would know. You would feel possibly shaky or you would have some sort of a sign that your body was not happy.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, because we get a lot of questions of people who do experience that. If it's not broken, don't fix it is what I say.
Gin Stephens: Really, if it feels right, it probably is. And if it feels wrong, it probably is. Our bodies have amazing feedback mechanisms in place when we connect to them.
Melanie Avalon: It's very, very true.
Gin Stephens: All right, we have a question from Lisa. And the subject is "Melatonin." “Hi, ladies. I love, love, love your work and have been binge listening to both this podcast and Gin's other podcasts for almost a month now. I came to IF about six weeks ago primarily as a way to prevent Alzheimer's disease which my mother has. I don't weigh myself because scales play mind games with me, but I noticed clothes are looser and I feel overall just wonderful. High energy, more stable moods, and best of all, I crave healthier foods.
My question relates to sleep aids. One important anti-Alzheimer's measure is to get regular solid sleep. Being perimenopausal, my sleep hasn't been so solid. So, I've been given the green light to take melatonin at night to help. My understanding is that the chewable varieties are most effective. You can probably guess my question. Does chewing two pills at night break my fast? I usually close my window around 8:00, but I don't want to take my melatonin until around 11:00 which is when I like to go to bed. I'm almost finished reading Fast. Feast. Repeat., so apologies if there's an answer in that book that I haven't yet read.” And then, she lists the ingredients of her melatonin, and it does have flavors and sweeteners.“ So, thanks.”
Melanie Avalon: So, thank you, Lisa, so much for your question. Melatonin in itself, the hormone, is not going to break a fast. So, if you were to be crazy like me in the past and order straight pure melatonin powder, there would not be any fast breaking, but don't do that, that can be dangerous. The supplement that you listed, it does have a lot of ingredients in it. Like Gin said, artificial sweeteners like xylitol, maltodextrin which is actually sugar, starch, natural flavors. The technical answer is yes. My little caveat to it, and I'm not saying this to encourage people to take things lightly, but I think if there's the potential for something a supplement being least problematic in the whole grand scheme of things, it's probably shortly after your eating window has closed because you're still in the fed state, that tiny little bit of whatever-- it's not like you're into the fasted state already where taking in a supplement is going to send a different signal to your body because you're in the fed state at that moment.
So, this is really just supplements specifically. That said, I really wouldn't recommend the one that you're taking, Lisa, because it's got a lot of stuff in there. You don't need all that stuff in there. There are much pure forms that you can get. And I would actually really recommend, I had on my other show, Dr. Kirk Parsley who made a sleep supplement called Sleep Remedy and it does feature melatonin in the correct ratio that your brain needs as well as other natural substrates that your brain needs to like naturally instigate the sleep state. Those aren't pharmaceutical or a drug, it's just a supplement. So, I really recommend that. I'll put link to it in the show notes and a coupon. Those are my thoughts. Basically, I would suggest a different supplement anyway, even though if you are taking one, you're taking I'm not concerned about it from a breaking the fast perspective. I'm just concerned about it in that I don't like all those ingredients that are in it. Gin?
Gin Stephens: Yep, I was going to say that exact thing about a supplement at bedtime. For someone, like me, who say, “Fast, clean, fast clean. The clean fast is so important.” I completely agree with the fact that if you just close your window at 8:00, you're only three hours away from that. And so, your body has not made the transition. If you had a whole meal, that would be a different thing.
Melanie Avalon: Right. If you had food.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, then that starts the clock over. But a tiny little supplement like that is not going to interrupt because you're still digesting your last meal, you haven't shifted over into fat burning yet.
Melanie Avalon: It's not sending a different signal, basically.
Gin Stephens: Yes, I liked the way you said that. If you were 15 hours into your fast, it's going to feel different. Plus, even if it does make you feel a little, you're going to sleep. So, yeah, I completely agree with that. I've got to try that sleep remedy, Melanie. I've never tried it.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, yeah. You haven't tried it?
Gin Stephens: No, have him send me some.
Melanie Avalon: Wait. Gin, how have you not tried it?
Gin Stephens: I don't know, all the struggle I've had with my sleep.
Melanie Avalon: I have taken it consistently for the past five or six years.
Gin Stephens: I've got to get some of that. Work your magic, and then we can talk about it.
Melanie Avalon: I can work some magic.
Gin Stephens: Work some magic.
Melanie Avalon: And they have an unflavored version.
Gin Stephens: Is it something you dissolve in water?
Melanie Avalon: Well, he has the supplement pill-- the supplements, and then he has drinks versions. So, you can look it over and see what you want.
Gin Stephens: All right. Well, I'd be interested to try it.
Melanie Avalon: Just to say, I will make that happen. Listeners, so if you go to melanieavalon.com/sleepremedy and use the coupon code, MelanieAvalon, you will get 10% off. Yeah, so I take the unflavored capsules, but there is a drink packet as well. That's actually a good question. Gin, what would you think about the drink version, because that would be more like a drink but it doesn't have calories?
Gin Stephens: I'm still pretty loosey-goosey up until I go to bed just because I have the evening eating window. I would never want to do something early in the day when I've woken up that would inadvertently break my fast because I'm deep in the fasted state. Right before bed, your body is still shifting over and a small sleep aid, I don't know how much it is, how much is the drink?
Melanie Avalon: It's a packet that you mix. It's five calories.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, probably not going to make a huge difference. It's tiny and it's at bedtime. But I guarantee if I woke up in the morning and drink something like that, I would be shaking, I would have--
Melanie Avalon: I'm glad we discussed that. I hadn't really thought about that way until we talked to it right now. But the signals' framework-- because you're not changing anything that's happening signal wise, and especially this drink would have five calories.
Gin Stephens: I would take the capsule though, just because but sometimes people really overstressed about stuff that's in capsules too. And they're like, I want to take this magnesium at bedtime, and it's got whatever, whatever in the capsule. Yeah, that's probably not a problem. Not very much. So, at bedtime is the time that I worry the least about supplements.
Melanie Avalon: What I love about the capsules is they're completely unflavored. There's no problematic ingredients.
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All right, now back to the show.
Our next question comes from Phoebe. The subject is, "IF Harder at Certain Points in Menstrual Cycle." Phoebe says, “Hi, Melanie and Gin. I've been doing IF for over a month now trying to find where my body is happiest, something between 16:8 and 18:6 and taking it day by day. One thing I'm starting to notice is that the more my hormones are changing closer to my period, I have a very regular cycle and very predictable bloating and cramps, etc. So, I know it's coming. The harder fasting seems to be, I feel hungry or sooner and generally more shaky or lethargic. Things I felt in the first days of IF, but which soon vanished.
I'm wondering if hormonal processes are to blame for fasting suddenly becoming much harder the last week or so. Have you heard other people saying the same thing? And yes, I am clean fasting, not over-exercising, and sleeping enough. Thank you so much for all y'all do.”
Gin Stephens: All right. I wish I knew how much time that really was because Phoebe says over a month now. So, there's a big difference between 5 weeks or 12 weeks. If Phoebe is within the first eight weeks still, it could just be getting to the end of the adjustment period where you have a harder time. Overall, with people in the groups, we hear over and over again that all of a sudden, fasting gets really, really hard. That's when that metabolic switch is getting ready to happen. The metabolic switch we talked about last week as your body is approaching that point and making the shift to fat burning. So, it totally could be your body getting ready to make that metabolic switch depending on where you are in the process.
But, I remember when I was doing intermittent fasting in the earlier days, and I was really tracking a lot of things and paying more attention to windows, and I can remember it was always like a shock to me every month because my cycle hasn't been regular like that. But especially since I've been going through perimenopause and menopause, I was wacky for years before I even started intermittent fasting. I had trouble with fibroids, that sort of thing. But I can remember I would be hungry and I'm like, “What's wrong with me? Why am I so hungry? What's going on?” And then, bam, the next day. And then, finally I started to recognize, but every month-- or not month, it might be 40 days, then one time-- Anyway, my cycle was all over the place during that period of my life, but every time I had the same reaction.
Melanie Avalon: Like not realizing?
Gin Stephens: Yeah. I was like, I am just so hungry, and I'm like going to the grocery store and buying all the ice-cream. And then the next day, there it is. It was just so very funny because it surprised me every time. Then, all of a sudden, I realized. I don't know. we've been women our whole lives, and why was it suddenly a shock, but I know I really noticed it with intermittent fasting in those earlier days, but now, almost at the end of menopause, Melanie. I looked it up last night, yesterday was day 333. I'm now on day 334. I'm a month away from being able to say that I am done.
Melanie Avalon: I know nothing about all of this.
Gin Stephens: Well, a year. You give it a year, a year with no cycle and then you can say, you're officially-- And here's what's really, really funny. I looked up one time, what was the average age for menopause, and it was 51. And here I am, 51. I'm going to be perfectly average, spot on. Yay. Hooray for that.
Melanie Avalon: I wonder you probably were more in tune to the hunger because you were so used to not being hungry with intermittent fasting, so it was like, what?
Gin Stephens: I think so. I think that intermittent fasting made me see it more than I had before. I think that's true, but I just remember that process of being surprised every time and then all of a sudden, like “Okay, now I get it. I get it. Thank you.” But I was getting more in tune with my body.
Melanie Avalon: Do you suggest for women who do experience like crazy hunger to continue with what they are?
Gin Stephens: Well, I continued fasting, but I had longer windows and ate the food my body was craving. I just said that's what this is. And I bought the ice-cream.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I definitely think for a lot of women, the carbs are pretty important and all of that.
Gin Stephens: But my body certainly craved them, and instead of having ice-cream, I probably could have filled that same hole with, say, the blackberries with heavy cream.
Melanie Avalon: That’s what I was just about to say was, I would definitely encourage if you are having the cravings, there are different ways you could fulfill that craving. And if it is at all possible to get it in more of a whole foods form, that will help everything the most in the long term. Even if you want to eat cake mixes instead.
Gin Stephens: I can't think of the last time I’ve bought ice-cream. I don't think-- We just had been in the house for a year. I don't think I've bought ice-cream, like actual ice-cream the whole time we've been living in this house, which is -- I used to eat it all the time, but then I realized that the sugar gave me restless legs. I'm okay if I had a little treat. I just have discovered-- you're familiar with KIND bars, I'm sure. They have frozen KIND bars that are almost like ice-cream, but I think they're non-dairy.
Melanie Avalon: Oh really?
Gin Stephens: Yeah, they're so good. They were almost like having like a little ice cream bar, like a Snickers bar ice-cream bar something, but the ingredients are so much different than you would find. I have some of those in the freezer but I'm not really gravitating towards them every day.
Melanie Avalon: One of the things I used to really love was there was a frozen kefir at Whole Foods. I can't find it now.
Gin Stephens: Oh, I bet I would love that.
Melanie Avalon: And it was low fat too. It was perfect. It was low fat. Yeah, frozen. It was LifeWay brand. If you ever see it-- Yeah, it was really good.
Gin Stephens: If I ever see it, I'll get it.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah.
Gin Stephens: But now I have these wonderful little truffles. I have to just share these truffles with somebody, I was on her podcast. And so, she sent me as a thank you these little tiny truffles. They're so amazing. And so first of all, I told my husband he was not to consider them as his. [laughs] And then, I hid them in the refrigerator. And then, he's like, “Where are those truffles?” Every night, I get them out, we each have one. He's allowed to have one and I'm allowed to have one because we're savoring them and making them-- I'm not allowed to have one if that makes sense. I just know that it's just the perfect amount and I won't feel bad after having one. And it's going to make it last for days and days.
Melanie Avalon: I love that.
Gin Stephens: I know. All right, everybody for the next one.
Melanie Avalon: All right. Our next question is from René. The subject is "24-Hour Fast." René says, “Hi, Gin and Melanie, love the podcast. I learned so much from it. I'm wondering about your opinions on adding in two 24-hour fasts per week to my routine. I've been IFing consistently since late February 2020. My minimum fast is 16 hours but my average is 19 to 20 hours. I've seen a weight loss of three to five pounds, very disappointing.” I wonder when she sent this. She said. “Yes, I am clean fasting, black coffee and plain Lacroix or Topo Chico only during the fast and eat a pretty clean diet during my window. I would say 85% to 90% whole foods, 10% to 15% processed. I do like that my wine and I have it a few times a week.
I’ve read Fast. Feast. Repeat., and it sounds maybe it's time for me to give ADF a shot but I am hesitant to do so. I like to eat something daily. I'm wondering if I throw in two 24-hour fasts a week, as in eat Sunday night at 5:00, and then don't eat until dinner, Monday at 6:00. And then, repeat that again Wednesday to Thursday. Following those with a 16 to 18-hour fast on Thursday and Friday to refeed and maintain 20-hour fasts the other days. Do we think that that could jumpstart my weight loss? I only have 15 to 18 pounds to lose. I'm at 158. My goal is 140. I am 5’5". But it seems like they just don't want to come off. I would love to hear what you ladies think of this plan or if you have better ideas. Thanks in advance. René.”
So, René sent this mid-August. She's been IFing for, let's see, February, March, April, May June, July, about six months, and she's lost three to five pounds.
Gin Stephens: Great question, René. First of all, I'm going to say something that's probably going to make you super sad. And that is the wine. Look, I have had a struggle with wine, and I'll be talking more about that over coming months but in Delay, Don't Deny, and I think I talked about this and Fast. Feast. Repeat. as well. When I was getting to my initial goal weight back in 2015, I delayed wine for about 10 weeks. I had a goal, I wanted to get to it. It was about time to shop for spring clothes. I wanted to go ahead and get to my goal weight so I could go shopping and buy my spring wardrobe. That was what it was. So, I delayed wine and also ultra-processed foods, which you'll remember the discussion of that from Fast. Feast. Repeat.
Even though I had already lost, I had lost 55 pounds at that point of my journey. I had 20 to go to get to my goal. My initial goal was to lose 75 pounds. And even though I'd already lost 55 pounds, I started losing at the rate of 2 pounds a week, which is really crazy for somebody who's already lost 55 pounds and is approaching their goal. Usually that's when weight loss really slows down, but mine really picked up because of the food choices I was making. Not having the alcohol really turbocharged my weight loss.
I have since figured out what I think is the reason. You've heard me talk about DNA analysis. I did a different company recently, just ran it through. It's is not a very expensive one, but I ran my raw data through their company, and for the first time I got information about my rate of alcohol metabolism. I am a slow alcohol metabolizer. That blew my mind. It made me realize why alcohol affected me so much when it came to weight loss because my body has to focus on dealing with the alcohol. Your liver processes alcohol. Your liver is also going to be the place where you want to be processing your fat that you're going into ketosis. I really think that for people like me who are slow alcohol metabolizers, alcohol may really be that link that is keeping you from tapping into your fat-burning superpower.
I actually have been experimenting with the ketone breathalyzer that Melanie's talked about before, and I have one too, and noticed a giant difference in my ketone levels for days after having any alcohol at all. I know that nobody wants to hear that alcohol could be the culprit for you, but man, my body sure has told it to me.
I also see that you don't really want to do ADF, so I would pull out Fast. Feast. Repeat. and look at the Intermittent Fasting Toolbox Chapter. You do not have to do full-on ADF. You can do Toolbox Strategy 2. I called it kind of a loose version of ADF because you're having short windows a few days a week and then longer windows, so you're getting that alternate pattern without having a full down day. So, look at Toolbox Strategy 2 where you're throwing in a few. You mentioned having two 24-hour fasts per week. Yeah, I would certainly try that. That, plus the wine and I really think you would see some things change. I'm sorry to tell you that because wine is amazing.
Melanie Avalon: I will weigh in and provide a-- I guess it could equally be a Debbie Downer or it could be a not Debbie Downer if you prefer the wine.
Gin Stephens: And again, sorry if your name is Debbie.
Melanie Avalon: I know. That's what I was just thinking. So, me looking at what you're eating and drinking the 85%, 90% whole foods, 10% to 15% processed, and then wine a few times a week, everything Gin said is completely true and stands. Some people are slow metabolizers, some people--
Gin Stephens: I'm still mad about that, by the way.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Struggle with weight loss, with wine. For a silver lining, from what I've seen, the majority of the research on alcohol and wine actually tends to-- so not like the food choices with the wine, but just wine and alcohol itself tends to correlate to lower weights, particularly in women. Wine and alcohol itself can't actually become body fat. So, when you are gaining weight, if you're gaining weight from drinking, it's from two potential things. It's what you're eating with the wine and/or what Gin talked about. If it's messing with how you're metabolizing other fuels, it could be an issue.
So basically, it's possible that it's fine. It's possible that it's not fine. It's definitely something that you can play with and see. I would say if I were to focus on something, I would focus on either going all whole foods, cutting out the processed foods, because she doesn't mention macros at all or trying a macros approach. So, either low carb, high fat or high carb low fat. And with both of those, I would recommend 10% or less of the macro you're limiting. So, like 10% fat diet or 10% carbs diet. Out of all those choices, maybe try what sounds most appealing to you. I think you'll see biggest results from adjusting the food choices probably. So, that's definitely something to try.
Yeah, if you're not wanting to try ADF, I wouldn't make that the first choice, like Gin said, because there's so many other things you can try. So, why do something you don't want to try?
Gin Stephens: Yeah, exactly. I just was shocked at the difference it made in my breath ketone scores, that's the thing I wasn't expecting. I couldn't believe the difference that it made in fact. And then, that was what really sent me looking for-- I guess I've never really come across the idea that some people are slow alcohol metabolizers and all the stuff I've read about people's bodies handling things differently. Like for example, I had read about caffeine metabolism. I know I'm a fast caffeine metabolizer. The other DNA analyses I did all told me that, but I never saw anything about alcohol. So, then I was like, “I wonder if we can have different rates of alcohol metabolism,” then I looked it up and sure enough there it was. It was really using the ketone readings that let me see something was going on.
Melanie Avalon: Also, yeah, for those ketone readings, if anybody's interested in going down that route of breath analyzing, I do have a group for it. It's called Lumen Lovers and Biosense Biohackers. So, you guys can join me there. Did I talk yet on the show about that recent study that just came out with alcohol and the rodents? That blew my mind.
Gin Stephens: I can't remember.
Melanie Avalon: It's a new study and it was looking at rats where they basically only gave them alcoholic water.
Gin Stephens: For some reason, yeah, but maybe we were just talking about it. I can't remember if we talked about it on the podcast or off the air.
Melanie Avalon: I don't know if we did. So, there was a study recently-- It just sounds really funny. They took rats and they had rats on a weight-promoting diet. So, like high-fat, high-carb, made to gain weight. Then, they had rats also on that diet, but all of their water was slightly alcoholic. And then, they had rats, I don't know what the third wing was. I think--
Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah, we have not talked about this. I don't think we have. This does not sound familiar.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, you haven't heard-- Okay. Yeah, so the study, it was released January of this year, 2020. And the title is "Long-term low-dose ethanol intake improves health span and resists high fat-diet induced obesity in mice." And the setup was that they had mice that were eating a high-fat, high-carb calorie diet to make them obese. And then, they had a group also eating that diet, but their water actually had that 3.5% V/V, I'm not sure what that means, ethanol in their drinking water. And then, they had the group on a standard diet also with the ethanol.
They did this to, in their words, “Investigate the effects of long-term low-dose ethanol intake in vivo.” And it was honestly really shocking because the group that was eating the obesogenic diet without alcohol obviously got a lot of problems, like everything just crashed and burned basically. They got metabolically unhealthy, they gained weight, their liver triglycerides got bad. They got markers of just a lot of health issues. The group that had the water supplemented with ethanol didn't experience any of those effects. It's honestly really, really shocking.
Gin Stephens: That is bizarre.
Melanie Avalon: I was shocked reading it. I didn't think it would be that intense of a response. They have lot theories in it about why that might be happening. It could be activation of AMPK, which is something we talk about a lot, or at least I talk about it a lot. I'm not sure we talk a lot about in this show, but that's a gene that's expressed in the fasted state. And its longevity-promoting gene and it makes your body basically turn to its own self for fuel sources. So, it's great, we get during fasting so that could possibly be at play. It might have to do with insulin sensitivity. And it could be a lot of other things. Their conclusion basically, they said, “Our findings show that not only could long-term low-dose ethanol intake improve the physical performance and the health span in mice, but also boost the defense mechanism against the high-fat diet. Extended evaluations are needed to assess the long-term impacts of moderate alcohol intake on organs or systems such as the brain, the muscular, and the cardiovascular system. Findings from the current study substantiate opinions on the protective effects of moderate alcohol intake.”
Gin Stephens: They weren't trying to lose weight, right? It just prevented weight gain. Is that what they're saying?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Basically, they weren't adding it to like a normal diet. They were adding it to a diet made to make the rats obese and metabolically unhealthy. And when they had alcohol, they were protected from all of that.
Gin Stephens: Okay. But they were not like overweight rats who were trying to lose weight during the rat study?
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, it wasn't a weight loss study. But it makes you wonder, if it is having all these effects, it's very intriguing and it speaks to the potential role of wine in a healthy diet, if it works with your body for weight loss.
Gin Stephens: That's the kind of study I would have clung to like a life raft when I was trying to-- Look, it makes it better, it makes it better. That's why I was drinking so much wine but then realizing how it was affecting me--
Melanie Avalon: And the crazy thing is, I think for me, it does make me better.
Gin Stephens: Enough people say it that I believe-- I believe it if it is, but just for me, it's just been shocking to see the difference.
Melanie Avalon: My body composition hands down throughout my life has been the best during the time-- I know it could just be correlation, but it was definitely during the time that I was drinking the most wine.
Gin Stephens: But I lost weight the fastest, that was back when I was weighing daily and calculating, and I knew what my weekly average was doing. And I'd been on that road for a while to lose the 55 pounds before, but I lost two pounds a week after eliminating the wine, and I would notice if I had it. I just really notice the correlation between my weight and wine, and any alcohol back when I was a regular weigher. So, René, experiment with it and see. You may be like me, and the wine could make a difference for you. Or you could be like the rats or Melanie, and the wine helps you. That's a variable to play around with.
Melanie Avalon: I said it at the beginning but Dry Farm Wines, the reason we love them so much is it's basically a company that goes throughout Europe and finds the wineries practicing organic practices and then they extensively test the wines to make sure they are free of alcohols, free of pesticides, free of toxins, free of mold, low sugar, and low alcohol. And they're dry farmed, which is the traditional way of winemaking. And it actually creates more of a xenohormesis potential in the grapes, which is basically just saying that's likely going to have more compounds that actually jumpstart those longevity genes in our body. The link, dryfarmwines.com/ifpodcast, gets you a bottle for a penny.
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Shall we do one more quick question?
Gin Stephens: Yeah, I think we have time for one more. This is from Alexis and the subject is "Morning Workout." “If I work out in the morning, then I am hungry, but I don't want to eat and break my fast. However, if I don't eat after my morning walk, then I can feel sick and queasy. Any tips to hold me over so I don't break my fast until later in the day?” And she signed it Lexi, even though her email came from Alexis, she goes by Lexi. What do you say to Lexi?
Melanie Avalon: So, I have a few different thoughts here. She says workout but she says it's a morning walk, so it's not like an intense gym session, which if that were the case it would make more sense. Do you find, Gin, that most people get hungry or sick and queasy from just a walk? I'm just curious.
Gin Stephens: I'm wondering if Lexi is just really early in the process and is not fat adapted yet, because absolutely no. Once people are fat adapted, a morning walk would not make you probably sick and queasy. If you've been fasting clean for a long time and you're pretty sure you're fat adapted, I wouldn't think a morning walk would make you sick and queasy. Because I could do anything-- I mean, okay, that's me. I'm talking about myself. But just from the hundreds of thousands of group members that say the same thing. Once you're adapted-- When people I interview for Intermittent Fasting Stories, they talk about how, once they're adapted, they just keep doing the things in the fasted state and they feel great, but it's during the adjustment process, because feeling sick and queasy is a sign of low blood sugar, which means your body has nothing to fuel you. And so, your body is not accessing a fuel source during your walk for whatever reason your blood sugar crashes, you feel sick and queasy.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I was going to say it's ironic because oftentimes I feel if we get questions about how do I deal with hunger during the fast? One of my suggestions is actually do something like go on a walk because normally, it usually has the opposite effect.
Gin Stephens: Well, it pushes you to that fat burning, it gets you there if you're right on the edge. Because if I'm having a lull during the day, a momentary feeling of, “Ugh,” I just will pay attention to it for a minute and then usually right after that, bam. I hit the really good part.
Melanie Avalon: So, I actually have a suggestion that's way out there. I am really, really becoming more and more convinced of the power of things like breathwork, especially for things like nausea or feeling sick or queasy or hunger because we don't just get energy from food. We get it from food, light, oxygen, breathing. And they've done studies. It's fascinating. They've done studies on athletes, and the percent increase in energy that they can get from breathwork is very impressive.
So, for example, when you are actually doing physical activity to generate energy, the process of actually creating energy, which is called ATP molecules, that involves something called aerobic dissimilation. And aerobic dissimilation creates about 30 times more energy, ATP molecules, when there's oxygen versus when there's not oxygen. And they found in studies that they can substantially increase performance with breathwork. The reason I'm saying this is if you're struggling with-- your body doesn't seem to be fueling adequately with your activity, I would maybe suggest trying some breathwork techniques before and potentially after. I'll put a link in the show notes to Wim Hof’s new book that's coming out because he has a lot of exercises in there for this specifically.
Also, you can tie it in with like a mindset shift. So, maybe if you can see your morning walk not as something that's going to make you hungry, but it's something that is actually tapping into your fat burning. The power of the mind is very powerful. And we've seen studies on this, like when people are doing exercise, if they think they are burning more calories, they lose more weight, like they burn more calories. So, if you can see the walk as tapping into your fat-burning that might actually be effective.
Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah, I believe the power of that. I talked about some of those studies in Fast. Feast. Repeat., where people were told that this is all the exercise you need in a day, like hotel workers, just the group that was told this was great exercise, lost weight. The group that wasn't told that, didn't. I mean, your mind is amazing.
Melanie Avalon: The mindset is all covered in Wim Hof’s new book too.
Gin Stephens: I can't wait to read it.
Melanie Avalon: I am so excited for you to read it. I think I'm really excited that you're excited to read it.
Gin Stephens: Well, I think he's cool. He's a little wacky, right?
Melanie Avalon: Have you heard him talk?
Gin Stephens: I don't think I have because you know I don’t listen to things.
Melanie Avalon: I know you don't listen to things. But the interview I did with him, maybe you’ll listen to it. He'll be talking like normal and then he'll just get so excited, passionate, and just start basically screaming and talking about changing the world. And you're just like, “Oh, my gosh, what is happening?”
Gin Stephens: I can't wait to read it. He seems like an amazing guy.
Melanie Avalon: He really, really is. I would hands down get that book. I honestly want to be everybody read this and just use it to deal with all the things that you're struggling with, because it's just a really great reframe for what we experience. That said, if it doesn't mess with your circadian rhythm, you could have some coffee. That might help suppress appetite, tea. Also, breath work side of things. I've mentioned this before, but I am loving, loving my Komuso Shift’s necklace. It's a necklace that you wear, and you breathe in through your nose and then out through it, and it forces you to extend your exhale. So, it basically forces you into breathwork technique that is calming and just really beneficial for the body. Especially if you have the urge, like munch, you want something in your mouth. It's nice because it's literally something that you can put to your mouth. But, yeah, I would encourage-- like Gin said, we don't know how long she's been doing it.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, that would be something I would wonder because it just sounds like she's not fat adapted.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, definitely. And also, she doesn't talk at all about what she's eating in general. So, that could also be adjusted, but we don't know. Gin, do you have other thoughts?
Gin Stephens: Nope. I think that was it.
Melanie Avalon: All righty. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. If you'd like to submit your own questions for the show, you can directly email firstname.lastname@example.org. Or you can go to ifpodcast.com and you can submit questions there. You can get Gin's new book, Fast. Feast. Repeat., in stores, everywhere. You can join my Facebook groups, IF Biohackers and Lumen Lovers and Biosense Biohackers, got two of those. And you can follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast. You can follow me on Twitter, I'm @melanieavalon and Gin is @ginstephens. I think that's it. Anything from you, Gin, before we go?
Gin Stephens: No, I think that's it, and I will talk to you next week.
Melanie Avalon: Oh, my goodness, I just realized what next week is. Big things are on the horizon.
Gin Stephens: Awesome.
Melanie Avalon: Talk to you then.
Thank you so much for listening to the Intermittent Fasting podcast. Please remember that everything discussed on the show is not medical advice. We're not doctors. You can also check out our other podcasts: Intermittent Fasting Stories and the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. Theme music was composed by Leland Cox. See you next week.
STUFF WE LIKE
Check out the Stuff We Like page for links to any of the books/supplements/products etc. mentioned on the podcast that we like!
BUY Melanie's What When Wine Diet: Lose Weight And Feel Great With Paleo-Style Meals, Intermittent Fasting, And Wine, Gin's Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle, Feast Without Fear: Food and the Delay, Don't Deny Lifestyle and/or Gin's Fast. Feast. Repeat.: The Clean Fast Protocol for Health, Longevity, and Weight Loss--Including the 21-Day FAST Start Guide
More on Melanie: MelanieAvalon.com
More on Gin: GinStephens.com
Theme Music Composed By Leland Cox: LelandCox.com
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