Episode 234: Bathroom Regularity, Irritable Bowel, The Supplement Industry, Slow Or Fast Weight Loss, Timing Coffee & Caffeine, Family Meal Timing, And More!
Welcome to Episode 234 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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15:25 - Listener Q&A: Liv - 1-2 hour window, constipation, when everything balances out?
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34:35 - Listener Q&A: Cathy - Clean fast
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41:25 - Listener Q&A: Kristy - Optimal time for coffee?
48:20 - Listener Q&A: Melody - Crossroad on my IF journey
Melanie Avalon: Welcome to Episode 234 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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Hi everybody and welcome. This is episode number 234 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 great. We've been running around all day, and running in here to get started recording the podcast. The weather has really changed here. Has it changed there? It just feels so different.
Melanie Avalon: It does feel different. It's rainy, but it's not like cold yet.
Gin Stephens: No, it's not cold. I actually went swimming yesterday. Even though it's cooler. We finally got the pool. The pool is 100% ready to go. We wanted to test out. They just hooked up the pool heater. I cranked it up. I wanted to see what would happen, how long it would take. The pool was 75 degrees, so it wasn't really cold to start with. Although you know me, 75 is cold in water. I cranked it up to 90 to see how long it would take to get my little tiny pool at 90. It did it pretty quickly. Man, I felt like heaven. So, I swam and enjoyed my 90-degree pool and then turned off the pool heater and that was it.
Melanie Avalon: I learned this fun fact this week. Did you know you probably didn't know that you can die of hypothermia in water that is just as long as it's just like barely below your body temperature, if you're there long enough?
Gin Stephens: Well, I don't know that I would have known what the temperature was. But, yeah, because it takes the heat out of our bodies. I taught elementary science for a long time, and so I always taught my kids heat likes to share. Heat always goes from the hotter thing to the cooler thing, it transfers. That makes perfect sense. Eventually your body wants to maintain 98.6 or whatever your body temperature is. If you're in a body of water that's cooler than yourself, heat transfers from your body into the water. Eventually, I guess your body can't keep up. It just depends.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. I never thought about it before, but it's pretty interesting.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, it doesn't have to be freezing water for you to get hypothermia.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. Can I tell you my crazy update story?
Gin Stephens: Yes.
Melanie Avalon: About the Whole Foods guy?
Gin Stephens: I can't wait to hear it. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: So, you encouraged me to just put myself out there.
Gin Stephens: And go looking like yourself. Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Well, I did not go looking like myself, but I went back, I think last week, and I needed to get dressed up anyway, because I was going to go out with my cousin, and then she canceled on me. Then I was like, “Well, I need to go to Whole Foods. So just go to Whole Foods.” [laughs] I went to Whole Foods, and he was there. I awkwardly, again, walked around the store with no purpose, trying to get up the courage to talk to him. And then, it was this awkward moment where he was in a cashier lane that wasn't open. But there was a really long line at another cashier lane. I was like, “I'll just wait in this line long enough. And maybe he'll be like, ‘Oh, come to my lane.’” But then the self-checkout girl was like, “You can just come over here.” And I was like, “Um.” [laughs] I'm such a rule follower person, but I was like, “Okay.” I checked out, I had given up, I was like, “This is not going to happen.” So, I left the store, but he was outside. Gin, this is so bad. He was outside putting the carts away. I was like, “I just have to do this. This is the time." I saw him pushing a cart. And I was like, “This just has to happen now or never.” I drove up to him in my car, and I rolled down the window. And he said, “Hi.” [laughs] I was like, “Three questions for you.” [laughs] He was like--
Gin Stephens: Oh, no, I can't wait to hear what those questions are. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: He was like, “Okay,” and then I was like, “Well, actually, maybe just one question. It depends on the first question.” And he was like, “Okay,” and then I was like, “Do you have a girlfriend?” [laughs] And then, he was like, “Yes.”
Gin Stephens: Aww. And you're like, “Okay, I just have one. That's it.”
Melanie Avalon: And then, I was like, “Okay, well, that was my question.”
Gin Stephens: Well, I'm so proud of you for putting yourself out there.
Melanie Avalon: I am mortified. He was like, “Thanks.” I drove away. I'm mortified. I'm not doing that again.
Gin Stephens: Well, no, I don't think you should be mortified. Why would you be mortified?
Melanie Avalon: I just feel like that's a little bit embarrassing.
Gin Stephens: No. Look, I am 100% certain that we're all just screwed up inside. Of course, I've been married for 30 years, so take it with a grain of salt. But imagine as awkward as it felt for you to ask that question, imagine if he did not have a girlfriend and was interested in you, and might feel awkward about asking you, something like that. So, if everybody just goes around worrying about how awkward it feels, no one's ever going to meet anybody else. So put yourself out there.
Melanie Avalon: Well, I definitely did that.
Gin Stephens: And you did. And you know what? No shame in that.
Melanie Avalon: But every time now that I go to Whole Foods-- so before it was like, “I hope he's there. I hope he's there.” Now I'm like, “I hope he's not here.”
Gin Stephens: Nope, you own it and you talk to him because he doesn't have a wife. [laughs] That doesn't mean that he'll be with that girlfriend forever. Maybe they'll break up in a week, who knows, you never know.
Melanie Avalon: I can be his rebound.
Gin Stephens: Well, exactly. You just never know. So, do not have any shame in that. I would absolutely still be like, “Hey, how are you doing?” I would talk to him. Of course, I'm old. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Well, I never talked to him when I'm not my normal self. Only when I'm dressed up.
Gin Stephens: I would talk to him anytime now just because you've already broken the ice.
Melanie Avalon: I feel like I need to apologize.
Gin Stephens: No. Why would you apologize?
Melanie Avalon: For like, I don't know, just driving up to him and asking him about his relationship status.
Gin Stephens: Nope. I mean, that's how people used to do it back in the day with words, [laughs] face to face that's all we had. I mean, you could put a note in my locker, but that was the limit. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: It's interesting, though, socially, girls are not the one who-- even still, like, it's not normal for girls to walk up to a guy and do that.
Gin Stephens: I think that might be, when you get older, like me, like I said, I've been off market for 30 years, but I think the rules are changed. I think you can. I think it's okay.
Melanie Avalon: I did.
Gin Stephens: Well, good.
Melanie Avalon: I just need to see him once, like, it's just that first initial like, “Oh, man, awkward,” and then I'll be good.
Gin Stephens: I would just act like it's perfectly perfect. Like, “Hey, how are you doing?” I would definitely do that. I would not be the least bit embarrassed. There's no reason to be embarrassed.
Melanie Avalon: Okay. I'll feel it out. I'll probably just avoid them like the plague.
Gin Stephens: I wouldn't do that. I think that men like confident women who are not afraid to put themselves out there. I think that has to be attractive.
Melanie Avalon: Well, it's funny, I posted a story about it on Instagram, and probably 30 people have messaged me, saying that, like, “Oh, that's so confident.” And I'm like, “Friends, I am not confident. It was not confident.”
Gin Stephens: Fake it till you make it. That was confidence but you did it, though, that you were confident enough to do it. So, rewrite that message you're telling yourself, “You are confident.”
Melanie Avalon: Okay, pep talk for all the ladies out there, confidence. My three questions were going to be. One, “Do you have a girlfriend?” And he was supposed to say no. And then, I was going to say, “Are you straight?” And he was supposed to say yes. And then I was going to say, “Do you want to get drinks?” That was the plan. But it did not manifest as such.
Gin Stephens: I mean, he could be crazy. So, maybe you just lucked out.
Melanie Avalon: This is true. So, that's my story.
Gin Stephens: Well, thank you for that update. I know everyone is happy. And so now though, again, next time you're in there, you need to be confident and even if you're just dressed normal and not fancy, just be like, “Hey, how are you doing?” Smile and walk on and you got nothing to worry about.
Melanie Avalon: Okay, I'll just hear Gin in my head. Smile and walk.
Gin Stephens: Exactly. What's the worst thing that can happen? Nothing. No guy is thinking, “Darn it. Why did that attractive woman asked me if I had a girlfriend?” No man will think of that. The very worst you made him feel good about himself.
Melanie Avalon: True.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. You should ask more men that question. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: [laughs] I was going to start walking up to all the men. [laughs]
Gin Stephens: “Hello, do you have a girlfriend?” [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: I'm very rarely attracted to people, in general. I don't know.
Gin Stephens: I know what you mean, I get that.
Melanie Avalon: And it's a completely random, like, I can't like put a-- I don't know why I am, but I just am, was, so yes.
Gin Stephens: Anything could still happen.
Melanie Avalon: This is true.
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Shall we jump into everything for today?
Gin Stephens: Yes. We have a question from Liv and the subject is, “One-to-two-hour window, constipation, when everything balances out?” She says, "Hi, Melanie and Gin. I adore your podcast and love to skip around depending on the day and what I need regarding tips, IF education, and motivation. I'm a 30-year-old female and I've been athletic and health food based my entire life. Growing up on a fruit orchard with health-conscious parents was very helpful in my building blocks for plant based and whole food eating. I worked in a health food store through high school and college and have always been drawn to naturopathic and holistic medicine. That said, I avoid junk processed foods in excess of dairy or meat etc. However, like most people, I keep a balance and do eat desserts every now and then and I drink wine regularly. I used to kill myself at the gym to knock out my stubborn 10 pounds of extra fat. That seems to be so cozy around my midsection and hips. I could run five to seven miles a day and nothing was as successful for me as IF. I have been on and off this way of life for five years and never stuck to it for maintenance as I should have.
I am now back on two weeks eating a one-to-two-hour window and feeling amazing. Weight is falling off again and I'm sticking to my tennis game and more leisurely physical fitness. Huge plus in this heat in Ohio. My question is one, I have not heard discussed too much on your podcast or maybe I'm missing the episode. Pooping.” Can I just say, Melanie, she just must not be in the Facebook groups? Of course, I'm not on Facebook anymore, but I'm still in the moderator chat. I can just tell you, Liv, pooping is a frequent topic of discussion and the moderators joke about who gets to answer it. From constipation to diarrhea, it comes up and people are not afraid to ask anything about pooping. Do you hear it in your group?
Melanie Avalon: I do. For some reason I feel like maybe not quite as much, but there's a lot of bowel discussion for sure.
Gin Stephens: Yeah, the Ask a Moderator is full of poop talk and some people run away from those questions. They're like, “No,” and then they’ll tag another moderator. [laughs] -get them to answer. On to Liv’s question. She says, “Yes. Can we all admit we poop and discuss IF and pooping issues? I am someone who likes to poop every day and when I don't, I get irritable. Does my window reflect too small of an eating window to produce a daily bowel movement? Is constipation a temporary thing? As women, I feel we're more subject to this physiologically.” I'm not sure that's true for women, maybe.
Melanie Avalon: I think so.
Gin Stephens: I know we have a lot of water balance issues that can affect things in our bowels as well, but men have the issue, too.
Melanie Avalon: IBS is associated with women more.
Gin Stephens: Is it? Or do women just be more likely to mention it that?
Melanie Avalon: That is possible, that is very possible.
Gin Stephens: I feel Chad could be having whatever in the world is going on? And he's not going to tell me. Of course, other men are different but who knows. She says, “How long does it take to regulate? Can you please describe your experiences and/or share your research on this topic?” Liv, I'm a great pooper. [laughs] The more vegetables I eat, the better it is. All right.
Melanie Avalon: The more I eat the worse it is.
Gin Stephens: Really, yeah, the more I eat, the better it is. When I was eating according to the ZOE protocol. It was like even the best ever. She says, “I think ketosis and fasting can really change things for people here. I feel it's valuable to discuss in order for me to feel a little more normal. Also, I've read that most people are carrying around a minimum of 10 pounds of bile. Now she said bile, but I wonder if she meant bile.
Melanie Avalon: She probably meant--
Gin Stephens: Like just waste products in our like fecal matter? Yeah. She says, “Yeah, yuck. I have to guess that I have helped with this because sometimes, and sorry, this is nasty. Sometimes what comes out and these first few weeks back to fasting, feels like that type of stored sludge, for lack of a better term backing me up. No shame in the pooping game. Love you both, Liv.”
Melanie Avalon: Thank you for your question. This is perfect timing. I had a colonoscopy a few days ago. And it was really exciting. Have you had one, Gin?
Gin Stephens: No, not yet.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I've had three. It was like a clean bill. What was interesting was she said I have a twisty colon. Have you heard of that?
Gin Stephens: Well, no.
Melanie Avalon: So, I haven't hardcore gone down the rabbit research hole on it. Because I don't want to because I don't want to. I briefly googled it and it said that it can relate to things like constipation and stuff like that. So, I was like, “Oh, that might explain a lot.”
Gin Stephens: Well, it sounds like it totally could explain a lot, because if your physiology is just a little bit off, then things can't flow through. They're supposed do that, that could really make a lot of sense. And then maybe that could cause backing up into your small intestines and some issues like you've had there with SIBO, I don't know.
Melanie Avalon: Speaking to that, one of the things I really noticed, because, Liv, I can identify with you, although she said she's just been back to her intermittent fasting for two weeks. It could be something that does regulate, because when some people make big changes in their eating windows, sometimes it does take a little bit to regulate. I think something that it might depend on is, historically, have you had issues with constipation or IBS? Or, is it just when you do the fasting? If you've had issues before, then it quite possibly will be an ongoing thing. I as well identify with you, I get very irritable if things aren't flowing. So, I do all that I can to make sure things are flowing. Oh, you know what else is really interesting? I came out of the anesthesia and the doctor who she was really nice and really amazing. But she was going over my results, she was asking me about my bowel habits. And I said that I take a lot of magnesium to keep things flowing, because that works really well for me. And she was like, “Oh, well, you should definitely just take MiraLAX.” And I was like, “But the magnesium works.” And she was like, “No, you should really just take MiraLAX and then she left.
Gin Stephens: That sounds like really bad advice.
Melanie Avalon: I know, she left. I was talking to my mom and I was like, “Why was she so insistent I take MiraLAX?” We were just talking about how with conventional doctors, it's like they're trained to just prescribe the conventional pharmaceutical route to things. So needless to say, I will not be switching to MiraLAX. Liv, if your constipation ends up being something that is ongoing, like I said, magnesium works really, really well for me.
Gin Stephens: And it's an essential nutrient.
Melanie Avalon: Exactly. It's like win-win situation. And that was actually something that I was really happy about with the colonoscopy, because, basically, with my own personal-- man, this is just the personal Melanie episode. [laughs]
Gin Stephens: Tell you what, [laughs] do you ever have gas? What about belching?
Melanie Avalon: Oh my gosh, I actually don't. [laughs] Anyways, I find that I can really keep things flowing really well with magnesium, but I have been a little bit concerned about it, because I feel like I'm causing myself to have the bowel movements. I was wondering if it's okay to be doing high dose magnesium to keep things flowing and all of that, but the colonoscopy was like perfectly fine. So that was really reassuring. It's not just me with the magnesium, a lot of people report this, so many people in my Facebook group IF Biohackers report that when they started taking magnesium, especially Magnesium Breakthrough by BiOptimizers and I did not plan this. But that actually really helps their bowel movements. We do have a discount code for them. So, if you go to magbreakthrough.com/ifpodcast10, that will get you 10% off any of their products, but in particular, their Magnesium Breakthrough is what they are promoting with that link. A lot of people have reported that that really, really helps. So, I take that.
I also have found that a low FODMAP diet, and that's just personal to me, but basically finding the foods that work for you, and it's very individual, which we already discussed, because like Gin for example, when she eats a lot of vegetables, she has great bowel movements.
Gin Stephens: They're perfect.
Melanie Avalon: If I eat a lot of vegetables, no, not good bowel movements, and it'll just kind of stop everything. I really do a low FODMAP approach. You can actually get my app Food Sense Guide and it has over 300 foods and it tells if they are low, medium or high FODMAP and it also includes a lot of other compounds that you might be reacting to, like histamine and gluten and oxalates and sulfites and thiols and nightshades and AIP, so that might be a helpful resource if you want to try playing with the foods that you're eating. So, that is at melanieavalon.com/foodsenseguide.
This is something else that the doctor said, so I find that if I use HCL and digestive enzymes, that those really, really helped digest my food and stop me from getting blockages or constipated. It helps so much, so, so much. I told the doctor, when I came out of the colonoscopy that I was taking those, she said, “You shouldn't take those. There's no scientific support behind that.” It was frustrating. I was like, “It helps me so much and it's completely natural.” I don't know, it was a little bit frustrating. BiOptimizers, they do make HCL supplements and digestive enzymes. So, you might want to try that. And then like you mentioned psychologically, or she said, physiologically, but psychologically, I think it plays a role as well. I really, really think it's about finding the foods and a pattern that can work for you and using the support where you need it to really get things flowing. It might, like I said, it's only been two weeks. So, it might regulate, but if it doesn't, there's a lot of things that you can try for sure. Gin, do you have thoughts?
Gin Stephens: Just you know, as I said at the beginning, we have a lot of questions about constipation to diarrhea and everything in between when people start off, there seems to be an adjustment period for a lot of people. I didn't have it. I did not have that adjustment period. Either way, like some people have the dumping kind of a syndrome thing. Where are they? As soon as they open their window, they're running to the bathroom. It just gets their digestion started in there and they're pooping right away. Other people, they're putting less food in, so less foods coming out. They can be constipated.
I don't know, for me, I just am lucky. I've never really had these problems. But I also was already taking magnesium before I started intermittent fasting, because I did that whole summer of keto before I switched over to intermittent fasting and I had a lot of trouble sleeping while I was doing keto. In the keto community, they're like, "Trouble sleeping? Take magnesium because it helps our bodies relax.” I was already taking magnesium and I've taken magnesium ever since I've been-- I am not a supplement person. People know this about me. I don't take a million things. I take very few things, and magnesium is the thing I have been taking since 2014 without stopping. It helps me to sleep and also I wake up in the morning and I take my magnesium at bedtime just whatever the dosage is on the capsule, on the bottle of whatever I've been taking right now, it is Magnesium Breakthrough but it's been other things in the past. Whatever the recommended dosage is, I take that at bedtime and go to bed, go to sleep.
Wake up in the morning, have my coffee, go to the bathroom. It's clockwork for me. Did I ever tell the story, Melanie, about how Chad wanted to go fishing really early when we first got his little boat? We haven't been in a long time, but he would want to go really early in the morning and we would have to get up and I'm like, “I can't be out on the boat until I've gone to the bathroom.” [laughs] Because that that doesn't sound very fun to me. I'm just a very regular, and then that's it. If I have a big eating window, I might go more than once during the day even, not just that once in the morning. I don't know if the magnesium has helped me, maybe if I wasn't taking magnesium when I started doing intermittent fasting, maybe I would have had one of those problems, but because I go to the bathroom in the fasted state, I think when I open my window, I don't have anything for my body to dump out. So, I don't know if that's been the secret to my success and I didn't even know it.
Melanie Avalon: I have an exciting update to what I just said. I haven't looked at the full offer right now for BiOptimizers, so it's not just 10% off, actually at that link right now, this is so exciting. So, if you go to magbreakthrough.com/ifpodcast10, and use the code IFPODCAST10, so you will save 10% when you try Magnesium Breakthrough, but then on top of that you will get a free bottle of P3-OM.
Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah, that's true.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, a free bottle of P3-OM, which is their bestselling probiotic, which also that could possibly really help. I love that probiotic. And MassZymes, which are the enzymes. I was just talking about-- that's so perfect. Okay, so over $50 worth of free supplements, one of which I just recommended for you and the other I would have recommended if I had remembered it. magbreakthrough.com/ifpodcast10, 10% off discount, plus the chance to get a free P3-OM and MassZymes. The reason they founded their company was to help fix people's digestions.
Gin Stephens: And their own. They'd founded it for because they got interested in it because they needed it for themselves. Like you and the Serrapeptase, that's just the thing. That's why I trust them. I've said before, I'm weird about who I trust when it comes to supplements by trust BiOptimizers they actually sponsor Intermittent Fasting Stories as well. I say no to lots of companies, mostly supplement companies all the time as a no, no, no, but I said yes to BiOptimizers.
Melanie Avalon: I have been going down the rabbit hole this week with the supplement companies creating the Serrapeptase because there are so many Serrapeptases on the market, and a lot of them say on the bottle that they're free of fillers. But I've been working with the guy I'm creating a supplement with and he's like, “I don't know if we can make it without a filler.” And I'm like, “Well, what about all these other ones for making it without fillers?” So, we've been going through and looking at them and finding out what's really going on and they do tricky things with the labels.
Gin Stephens: Oh, yeah. Well, hello, welcome to-- Yeah.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah. They make it seem like it's without fillers, but it really is.
Gin Stephens: Lies.
Melanie Avalon: A lot of them are said to be enteric-coated Serrapeptase free of fillers. So, basically, they say that the Serrapeptase itself is enteric coated. That coating is like a filler. It's not something you want to be putting in your body. We've been doing a lot of lab testing and trying to figure out, “Can we make it with no fillers? If it has to be filler, what is that going to be?” It might be something like benign, like cellulose, but oh, even like a lot of the bottles will-- they'll make it seem like it's like calcium, but it's basically like the equivalent of a magnesium steroids. It's not really calcium. It's this filler material. I've been learning so much. And now I'm just like, A, I need to make this Serrapeptase, so I can make one that I feel comfortable about. B, I just want to make my own versions of everything that I'm taking, because then I will know. So, yeah, for listeners, if you'd like to get on the preorder list for that, that's at melanieavalon.com/serrapeptase. S-E-R-R-A-P-E-P-T-A-S-E. I'm excited.
Gin Stephens: So much of the supplement industry is not trustworthy.
Melanie Avalon: It's so sketchy.
Gin Stephens: It really is sketchy. I am super, super-- especially when I was doing my research for Clean(ish) and it's in the book, I talk about what they found when they've actually looked in certain supplements and found what's in there and it's like prescription medications that are banned from the market, but they're putting it in this supplement and claiming it's one thing when it's really Viagra in there or something. People are just taking it and you have to be careful with drug interactions. And if you don't even know you're taking a drug because it's illegally in a supplement that's supposed to be ginkgo biloba, for example, and instead it's something else, you don't even know.
Melanie Avalon: Is that the type of stuff they would like put the Viagra in?
Gin Stephens: I don't have it off the top of my head. Ginkgo biloba is one that I talk about in Clean(ish), but it's been in all sorts of supplements, like maybe it's a weight loss supplement, and they claim that it's one thing, but really it's a prescription diet pill that's been pulled from the market, because it's got concerns, but instead they're putting it in this supplement and claiming it's one thing but it's really this other thing.
Melanie Avalon: The research, I was reading a study on looking at melatonin supplements, it was shocking, because the episode that's airing this week is actually with Dr. John Lieurance about melatonin, but what it says melatonin wise, and then what it actually is, is there's a huge range. Just because there's no regulation on it, like if these were pharmaceuticals, they would be very tightly regulated. I think was Tim Spector. I had not thought about this before. It's a slight tangent, but related. He was pointing out the fact that if artificial sweeteners tasted bitter, not sweet, they probably would have been regulated like a drug rather than artificial sweeteners. Isn’t that interesting?
Gin Stephens: What would their purpose have been?
Melanie Avalon: I'm paraphrasing, but basically just the concept that if they presented differently as bitter.
Gin Stephens: They wouldn't have been like, “Oh, here's the food additive.”
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, they would have been more supplement or a drug or something, not artificial sweeteners that we just liberally throw on our food. I thought that was really interesting.
Gin Stephens: We didn't even think about what it might be doing. We just like, “Oh, this is sweet. Let's try this.”
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I thought that was pretty interesting.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. I'm very, very skeptical about supplements and that's why BiOptimizers, I trust them because they've made it for themselves.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. Hopefully that helps, Liv, feel free to email us back or join us on one of the Facebook groups and share your story. We hope that things start flowing for you.
Gin Stephens: Literally.
Melanie Avalon: Literally. Okay, so we have a question from Kathy. The subject is, “Clean fast.” Kathy says, I'm on day 41 of 23:1, and I'm amazed that I've made it this far. I'm down 14 pounds, but I'm definitely not losing fast. I have at least 80 pounds to lose.”
Gin Stephens: Oh, can I say something there about that? She's lost 0.34 pounds a day. So that is like amazingly fast. Down 14 pounds in 41 days is like astronomically fast, and you should not expect it to be that fast. Everybody needs to immediately change their expectations if you think that losing 0.34 pounds a day is not fast.
Melanie Avalon: That is a really good point. It's so interesting, I feel people write into us a lot and have this same general idea. They say how much they're losing that it's not fast.
Gin Stephens: People all the time do that. You're right. One of the things that people will say in the IF community and the Delay, Don't Deny, the main group, the groups that I used to run and the Social Network, they'll call themselves a turtle. That's just a cute little name for someone who loses slowly, then they'll talk about how much they're losing, and they're losing about a pound a week. That is not turtle. That is average, that is normal. We've got these expectations that we're supposed to lose a lot of weight really fast, or they're turtles, but a pound a week is not a turtle. It is not slow. If you're losing a half a pound a week, okay, that's more like a turtle. Anyway, I just had to throw that in there.
Melanie Avalon: Yes. So, reframe, listeners. Back to Kathy's question. She says, “I have at least 80 pounds to lose.” That's probably what it is, is probably she's just seeing all that she still has, and so it's not seeing the forest for the trees is that the phrase?
Gin Stephens: Exactly. Yes, because it feels like so much. And then you go to the checkout counter and you see those magazines at the checkout counter that say, “Lose 100 pounds by Thanksgiving.” They say stuff like that crazy, stuff like that. And then you're like, “Well, I should be losing 100 pounds about Thanksgiving,” but you're not going to not a fat, anyway.
Melanie Avalon: She says, “At the beginning, I was drinking chai tea, and my friend said it may not make my fast clean. I have since eliminated the tea. But would black chai tea wreck my efforts? I'm working my way through your podcast, I'm on 33 now, so many to listen to so little time.”
Gin Stephens: Yeah, there are a lot to listen to. [laughs]
Melanie Avalon: Chai tea, black chai tea.
Gin Stephens: That would be a no for the fast caffeine, I'm sorry about that, because the only things that are yes during the fast are plain water, black coffee, plain tea. If you add in anything with other flavors, your body's going to start to perceive that as a food, like flavor. Chai tea is delicious. It's got all those spices in there, it's comforting. It's so good. I used to put cinnamon in my coffee for years because it's so good, but that's not part of a clean fast. Delay the chai tea for your eating window. If you think of something, and your thought is, “Wow, that's delicious,” it's probably not a good part of the clean fast. So, I also want to say, Kathy, you're doing 23:1, I would like to encourage you to consider switching it up a little bit. Personally, I don't recommend 23:1 for most people as a long-term approach. And that is because our bodies do adapt to anything that's too consistent from day to day. And in a one hour eating window, it's difficult for your approach to not end up being overly restrictive over time. Even though fasting is protective of our metabolic rights in so many ways, if you over restrict long term, even with fasting, eventually, you're going to see that your body may plateau before you wanted it to. I would really think about switching up what you're doing.
I have this explained a lot more in a lot more detail with the science behind it in Fast. Feast. Repeat. I talked about it in the introduction and also in the alternate daily fasting chapter. So, bear that in mind. I mean you've done great, you've lost a lot of weight in a very short time. If you see that you're plateauing, and also in Fast. Feast. Repeat. I encourage you to weigh daily and then track your how your average is doing, what your trend is doing, either through an app or through weekly averaging. If you notice that your trend plateaus, you're no longer going down on your weekly average or overall trend. That's when you know that your body probably wants you to switch things up.
Melanie Avalon: Awesome. I knew that this was a Gin question.
Gin Stephens: It totally was a Gin question. [laughs]
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Melanie Avalon: Shall we go on to our next question?
Gin Stephens: Yes. This is from Christie. Christie says, “Hi, Gin and Melanie. Love the podcast and especially the two of you, you balance each other really well and I love the story of how you met. I've learned so much from you too and I thank you for guiding me down this IF lifestyle, which I absolutely love. I recently went on vacation to Hawaii for a couple of weeks, and had very long windows with my family. I couldn't wait to get back to my one meal a day life. This just feels so natural to me. Thank you for introducing me to it and teaching me. Now to my question. I was drinking my coffee listening to the podcast the other day. And Gin was saying not to drink coffee before a fasting insulin test because it prompts your liver to dumb glycogen and can mess with the results. That got me thinking. Is there an optimal time in the fast like a minimum number of hours before or after you close your window when you should have coffee? I typically fast at least 20 hours, but I have my coffee at around the 12th hour. Would it be better if I pushed it a little longer, does that matter? Thank you in advance. Christie.”
Melanie Avalon: I'm actually interestingly going to answer your question from a slightly different perspective. I know you're asking about it for liver glycogen dumping. I don't really know that that would be the thing to focus on with a coffee. I actually am interviewing Dr. Michael Breus this week who wrote The Power of When about the different chronotypes. And he has a new book coming out called Energize!, which is about the sleep chronotypes paired with actually body types. He actually talks a lot about drinking coffee and caffeine from a circadian rhythm perspective based on your personal chronotype. I thought I would share that information because I thought it was really interesting. There are basically four chronotypes and you can figure out which one you are by-- he has a quiz on his website, we can put a link to in the show notes or you can read his book or you can try to figure it out from what I say.
Basically, there are dolphins, which is me, those are resident insomniacs They stay up late and have trouble sleeping and all of those things. There are lions, like Gin, who get up early and fall asleep early. There are bears which are the majority of the population. So, that's what social norms are basically based around. I think around 50% of people are bears. And then there are wolves that naturally wake up late and naturally stay up late. They often think that they're insomniacs, like dolphins, but it's probably just because their natural rhythm doesn't align with society's natural rhythm. So, they think it's insomnia. But really, it's just their natural rhythm, compared to dolphins where it literally is insomnia. In any case, his thoughts on caffeine and coffee, so he actually thinks that you should not have coffee right when you wake up because you naturally have a cortisol spike anyways right then. In a way, there's not really a point to it, and it's not doing what you want it to be doing, which is giving you energy when you are naturally at a lull. He believes that you should have coffee or caffeine about two hours after waking up.
And then by the individual chronotypes, dolphins, the insomniacs, he thinks that you should have your coffee or caffeine, only six ounces no more. Not right upon waking, but, well, he doesn't really talk about fasting, but he says with a meal before 3:00 PM, never after 3:00 PM, the ideal window is between 1:00 to 2:00. Lions like Gin, I'm curious if this would match up with you, Gin. He thinks they should have caffeine between 8:00 to 11:00 in the morning, and then if they need it for an afternoon pick me up between 2:00 and 4:00. Bears between 9:30 and 11:30 or for pick me up between 1:30 and 3:30. Wolves, only between 12:00 and 2:00 and nothing after 2:00. Definitely not six hours before bed. So that's just his thoughts looking at the different chronotypes. If one of those chronotypes really resonates with you and those hours sort of resonate with you, that could be something that you could try out. She's talking about a minimum hours before, after you close your window. I wouldn't do it based on your window. I would do it based on your sleep. Definitely not six hours before bed. That's how I would play with that. What are your thoughts, Gin?
Gin Stephens: Well, this is just like what I say for everything really. The best time to have coffee is just like the best time to exercise in the best time to have your eating window. It's when it feels right to you. I wake up in the morning I'm not drinking coffee. When you were talking about that, like drinking it for a pick me up kind of thing, I was like, “Well, is that why I'm drinking it? No, I don't need a morning pick me up.” I drink it because I like it. I don't need an afternoon pick me up and I don't need a morning pick me up. I could drink one cup and I could drink five cups and I don't feel different. I'm a fast caffeine metabolizer also, so I don't know if that's a factor there. I probably, just like you, Christie, I'm probably around the 12th hour of my fast when I'm having black coffee too. I just have it. No big deal. That hasn't affected me negatively that I know of. Even though I had black coffee before I went and had my fasted bloodwork because I didn't think about it. My insulin levels were still low, they were still below five. I would like to have that done again, without having coffee just to see. So, it's not affecting my insulin levels to the point that they're high. It's just the time that feels right to me. And I'm a fast caffeine metabolizer and that's when I want to have my coffee.
I don't drink it all afternoon just because I do think it could interfere with my sleep if I had a late. I don't need an afternoon pick me up because I'm deep in the fasted state by then. Now I will say I used to need an afternoon pick me up before I was a faster, I always had afternoon coffee and I don't feel like it affected my sleep then. But drink your coffee when you want to drink your coffee, Christie.
Melanie Avalon: Yeah, I would focus more on its relationship to your sleep than all of this.
Gin Stephens: Yeah. If you feel like it's giving you negative effects, tweak when you're having it or if you're having it. We just had a conversation in the Social Network the other day. I think it was in the 28 Day Fast Start group. Someone was asking about coffee. She feels like it breaks her fast. She's like, “What do I do?” I'm like, “Well, then just experiment without it.” That's really the only thing you can do. We're all so different, if you feel like it's causing you a problem, you've got to be your own study of one.
Melanie Avalon: Yes, exactly. All right. We have a question from Melody. The subject is “Crossroad on my IF journey.” Melody says, “Okay, guys, I am at a huge crossroads in my IF journey and I need some advice. I have been IFing for the last six months and I absolutely 100% know, this is my forever lifestyle. I love the feeling, I'm finally losing weight, I have more energy and it is just so easy. I am down to one meal a day and that is working great for me most days. The only problem is mommy guilt. Right now, my one meal a day has to be around 2:00 to 3:00. I have tried to push it further because I feel like I need to eat with my family. For that is the time my body says it's time to eat. I've tried eating just a snack to tide me over until dinner which is usually around 6:00, but it's hopeless. I just end up eating a meal full of snacks and then out of guilt, I eat a little dinner with my family even though I'm not hungry.
Another problem is that IF has changed my cravings in a good way. I want more fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats, like fish and chicken. I want to try Buddha bowls and just eat more healthy all around. I am even for the first time in my life not really wanting pasta all the time. This, by the way, is all the stuff my hubby and 13-year-old son hate. They just want to grill some meat, have some sort of starchy side and maybe if forced a veggie. I just don't want that anymore. I want real flavors. I'm seriously considering giving up eating with my family to enjoy the foods I want and to put my health first. But it makes me feel like a bad mom and wife. I feel so selfish even thinking about this.”
Gin Stephens: All right, Melody, you're going to get some Gin tough love here. You are absolutely not selfish to take care of yourself and your needs. Sheri and I, in the Life Lessons podcast had an episode called “Self-Care Isn't Selfish.” When you're on an airplane and you're traveling with someone, like maybe a child, and there's a problem and the oxygen masks come down, what do they tell you to do? Put the oxygen mask on yourself first, and then help the people around you. So, I want you to think of it this way. If you can't take care of yourself, you're not going to be able to be a good wife and mom. They don't care what you're eating, they care that you're with them. What I would do is, I would just sit with them while they eat and visit with them. They care about you, not your plate. If they do say to you, anything like trying to be negative about the fact that you're not eating, that’s when you need to just really advocate for yourself and say, “No, I'm here because I want to be with you. I ate earlier.” Just be confident about that. Don't feel like you have to eat the food that they're eating or eat at the same time that they're eating. That's really all I have to say about that.
Melanie Avalon: I have two thoughts. For the first one about the timing, and being hungry earlier versus later, I wonder if she's actually tried and stuck it out having that later window without trying to make it easier with a snack.
Gin Stephens: She said she couldn't. Yeah, she said she's tried to push it further, because she said that because I felt like I need to eat with my family. But that is the time my body says it's time to eat. You just wonder if she's really given it time.
Melanie Avalon: Because she says she's tried eating just a snack to tide her over, hormones related to when we get hungry, adapt based on what we're doing. I just wonder if maybe she thought it was hard and maybe tried it a day or two and then tried with a snack to make it easier. But really, the snack would not allow that hormonal reprogramming to happen. One thing you could try, if you haven't tried it, is like a week of eating with your family. Pushing it back just those few extra hours without a snack to try to tide you over and just see if that happens and just see what you learn. Yeah, you still get hungry earlier or it may be that you actually can change your eating window, which would address that eating window question just like from a time perspective.
From the perspective about eating, I love, love, love what Gin said. 100% that you are not obligated to change your own personal health decisions and what you're doing for other people. I think there's a lot of brainstorming you could do because I'm assuming that you are the one making the meals for the family. I think there's a lot of brainstorming you could do about making an inclusive meal. So, you like lean meats, like fish and chicken and they grilling meat, you could have lean meat that is grilled that both of you guys could have starchy sides, and maybe a force of veggie, like is there the option A to maybe do a starchy side that you like as well that's a veggie. I don't know what type of veggies you do, but like sweet potatoes or something like that? Or, could you do two sides and have like a starchy side for them and then a veggie that they might pick at what you would eat the large portion of. Can you make these meals that's kind of like a mix and match approach where everybody can find something that they like? I think that that could be a possibility. But ultimately, you're not being selfish, you're not being a bad mom and wife, if anything, this is just my opinion. But if anything, I think creating delicious, healthy meals that are possibly potentially going to be more health supporting and their composition, if anything, I think that is-- it'd be super selfless and amazing to try to create meals that are potentially more health promoting than what you've been creating and put in the time and effort to find a way to make them really delicious. That shows dedication and love that you want to provide your family with the most healthy food and most nourishing food and you want to do it in a way that they really enjoy. I think that you could change this whole thing from a selfish perspective to a labor of love. That makes everybody happy.
Gin Stephens: Yep, so many options but definitely don't feel guilty. Never feel guilty for taking care of your needs when it comes to feeding your body nutritious food that makes you feel great. You should feel guilty if you're forcing yourself to eat food you don't want at a time you don't want to eat it. That's where the guilt-- [laughs] like, “Why am I not letting myself do what I want to do?” Anyway.
Melanie Avalon: 100%. All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful. A few things for listeners before we go. If you would like to submit your own questions to 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 follow us on Instagram. We are @ifpodcast, I am @melanieavalon, Gin is @ginstephens. If you've been following me, you would have heard my story about the Whole Foods guy. And, yeah, I think that is all of the things. Anything from you, Gin, before we go?
Gin Stephens: Nope, I think that's it.
Melanie Avalon: All right. Well, this has been absolutely wonderful and I will talk to you next week.
Gin Stephens: All right, bye.
Melanie Avalon: Bye.
Thank you so much for listening to the Intermittent Fasting Podcast. Please remember that everything discussed on the show is not medical advice. We're not doctors. You can also check out our other podcasts, Intermittent Fasting Stories, and the Melanie Avalon Biohacking Podcast. 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!
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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