Gin Stephens on the Real Deal on Intermittent Fasting for Women


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Katie: Hello, and welcome to the “Wellness Mama” podcast. I’m Katie from wellnessmama.com and wellnesse.com, that’s Wellnesse with an E on the end. It’s my new personal care line. And this episode is in response to a lot of questions I’ve gotten on past episodes about fasting and pushback from some of you guys about the idea of women fasting at all. In this, we’re talking specifically about intermittent fasting and what the research actually says about if women should do this and how to do it in the best way possible. We really dispel some of the myths that have been perpetuated about women and fasting and talk about the way that it can be not just safe but extremely beneficial for women as long as it meets certain criteria.

I am here with Gin Stephens, who is the author of the books, “Fast. Feast. Repeat.” and “Delay, Don’t Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle.” She has been living this way since 2014 and lost over 80 pounds herself doing this and still nourishing her body. She’s healthier than she’s ever been. I’m actually shocked when she mentioned she’s 51. If you’re not watching on this video, she looks much, much, much younger than that. But she’s also helped thousands of women lose weight and regain parts of their health through intermittent fasting.

And in this episode, we go deeper on the biology of what’s happening in the body when we intermittent fast, what that means for the liver, for the digestive system, for the brain, and how to use this as an effective tool. We also answer questions like what things are actually okay to consume if they’re non-caloric during a fast. Because it’s not just everything without calories. There’s some really important caveats that she breaks down in a really, really good way. So this one is specifically geared toward women, but the advice applies to everyone. I just wanted to really go deep on the issue of women and fasting and this episode did not disappoint. She really breaks down the science, the research, and her experience helping thousands of women through this. So without further ado, let’s join Dr. Gin. Gin, welcome to the podcast.

Gin: Well, hey, I’m so glad to be here with you today.

Katie: I’m excited to go deep on this topic today because I’ve talked about fasting in several different forms over the years on this podcast. And I always get a lot of pushback, especially from women who have been told like women should never fast in any form because it’s bad for our hormones. I think there’s a lot of things that are important to understand on this topic. And I think, from firsthand experience, it can be an extremely useful tool. But I do think it’s important to be educated and to understand when you’re using any kind of tool. And you have a lot of expertise on this and I’m excited to learn from you today. To start off, can you, kind of, talk us through your personal journey with both fasting and weightloss.

Gin: I sure can. I’d be glad to. Before I do that, I do wanna just real quick talk about that first part that women shouldn’t fast. And, you know, I’ve been part of a very large intermittent fasting community now for years and years. I left Facebook recently, but before I did, we had almost half a million members in our various Facebook groups that were all using intermittent fasting. And over 90% of those people were women. So, you know, that goes to show there are a lot of women that have been very successful with intermittent fasting. The real confusion lise in the idea of women’s bodies should not be overly restricted long-term. And so some people assume that fasting means you’re gonna be overly restricting. And that’s the key. When you’re fasting in a way where you’re nourishing your body well, during your eating period, during your eating window, fasting is not over-restriction. So that’s, I think, where the confusion lies.

So, back to me, well, I am 51, and have been maintaining a healthy weight for my body since 2015. But prior to that, I was a woman who was struggling. You know, I gained weight with babies just like, you know, I’m sure a lot of women could tell that same exact story. And I jumped on every fad diet that came down the pike from, you know, the time I was in college, started my first fad diet at that time, and then just kept going with them. So I was on that yo-yo that so many women know and understand. And I would gain some weight, get to a point that felt too high, then I would do something to get rid of it, live my life, gain it all back, plus some more bonus pounds, and so forth. So I yo-yo’d my way up to 210 pounds. And I was officially in the obese category.

You know, there were a couple of years where I didn’t really weigh myself because I was I didn’t wanna see that number because, you know, if I had seen something with a two in front of it, it would have been had to be real for me. But finally, after going on a family vacation in 2014, it was a week-long cruise. And, you know, I didn’t feel good in my body. You know, we went to the Mayan ruins and hiking, you know, through all the trails and up, you know, the steep, steep ruins, it was hard to move that body up those paths and up those stairs. And I just felt miserable. And I remember being really sweaty and uncomfortable in my clothes. Nothing fit me. But it was really the photos of our family on that trip. And, you know, I was smiling there beside my husband and my two sons, but I just did not feel good at all.

So I came back from that trip in 2014, you know, with renewed, you know, I am really gonna figure this out now. You know, I’m a smart person. I can do this. What’s wrong with me? Why can’t I lose the weight and keep it off? And that led me down the path that got me to intermittent fasting and to go on to lose over 80 pounds. And I’ve been maintaining the weight loss ever since 2015. I’ve even gone through menopause just in the past year. That’s the perfect timing for menopause. The average age is 51. That’s right when I did it. And so I’m on the other side of menopause. I did not gain weight through menopause through the transition. You know, obviously, I’m just barely into it. But for the first time ever in my life, I mean, literally, from the time I went to college in 1986 until now, this is the first time I’ve been able to maintain my weight in a healthy weight range without struggling. And if I could just send that message to other women, there is hope. There’s something you can do.

Katie: Oh, I resonate with so much of your story. That’s incredible. And also for anybody who’s just listening and not watching this as a video, when you said 51, I was shocked. You look so young. That’s amazing.

Gin: Thank you.

Katie: And I really also zoned in on those words that you said without struggling because I think for me, certainly, when I was in that same…and I had so much of that same experience, it felt like such a struggle to lose weight at all. And in my head, I thought this is gonna be, like, a really tough battle I’m gonna have to fight for my whole life. And the beauty of it is much like you, now I’m in a place where that’s not the case at all. And it’s, I am comfortable with my body. It’s not a thing I’m struggling to maintain. It’s that I’ve found this like homeostasis. We’ve lost actually very similar amounts of weight and I had an experience recently of going for a hike and for fun, put on an 80-plus-pound weight vest. And it was so striking. I’m like, “Oh, my gosh, I used to do this everywhere I went.”

Gin: It’s true. I was a schoolteacher. I taught elementary school for 28 years. And right after I lost the weight, I was working with some fifth-grade girls on a special project. I was the gifted teacher, which was the most fun job in the world, although retiring is also lots of fun. But I was in the room with these 3 fifth-grade girls, and I had just lost about 75 pounds at that point. And one of the little girls said, “You know, Dr. Stevens…” You know, I have a doctorate. I’m not a medical doctor, but in gifted education, but she says, “Dr. Stevens, you lost some weight, right?” I looked a little different. And I’m like, “Yes, I have.” I lost about 75 pounds at that point. And this other little girl said, “I weigh 75 pounds.” So I was like, “Well, let me pick you up and walk around.” So I picked her up, this little girl, this fifth-grade girl, and I walked around the classroom. And I’m like, “Oh my lord, how did I move through the day? No wonder I felt so bad.”

Katie: Yeah, it’s amazing to, like, be on the other side and to feel that difference is incredible. And I think also something that you said brings up an important topic. You said you always used to think, like, “Why can’t I lose the weight? What’s wrong with me?” And I think that was a big part for me as well is like, we get in that mindset and it’s like our brain and our body, our subconscious is trained to answer the questions we give it. So for me when I was asking, like, “Why can’t I lose weight? Why is this so hard?” My brain was ready to respond with, “Oh, well, let me tell you all the reasons you can’t.” Obviously, you’ve had six kids, and obviously, your thyroid’s messed up. And it became this very, like, self-perpetuating mental struggle for a long time. And so, I’m glad that you brought that up because I think also that mindset is a big component. And it ties into what you said as well about nourishing your body. You’ve gotta shift that focus because I think in dieting, often it’s easy to get in that, like, deprivation, punishing myself for not looking the way I want kind of mindset. And it makes me so sad to see women who are in that because I remember that internal struggle is turmoil.

Gin: Hundred percent, and the guilt, and especially if you’re eating something delicious, that that has to be bad or wrong or, you know, you should not enjoy your food or you have to deprive yourself. And so, that’s the beauty of intermittent fasting and the idea that you get to eat delicious foods until you’re satisfied every day of your life. I mean, what could be better than that?

Katie: Yeah, and I think, like, let’s go deep on what separates intermittent fasting and makes it so special. Because I know, I typically go on the nerdy science side. And there’s so much fascinating research on intermittent fasting and time-restricted eating. And like I said, I know there’s a lot of resistance, especially with women with this. We do, of course, want to always be careful about our hormones and making sure our body doesn’t feel malnourished or starved. But I also remind women, like, this is a thing you actually have done every day of your life because you’re not eating when you’re sleeping. So this is…we’re not talking about, like, a 10-day water fast. We’re talking about tweaking and I would guess you’re not even encouraging women to, like, eat in a two-hour window. You’re talking about, like, a very healthy, balanced version of intermittent fasting. But walk us through, starting at a broad level, what makes intermittent fasting so special?

Gin: Well, intermittent fasting, I like to call it the health plan with the side effect of weight loss. You know, we’ve all been taught that you have to lose weight to get healthy, right? But really, we have to get healthy to lose the weight. And intermittent fasting helps us do that because, you know, if you’re having trouble losing weight, you know, there’s a reason. We’ve all been told, well, it’s because you eat too much and you don’t move enough. Eat less, move more, boom. Do it, right? So we tried to do that in all the ways that eat less, move more was packaged to us. We tried to do it. And, you know, some people would say, “Well, you know, intermittent fasting, I got you there. It’s just simply an eat-less plan.” And we used to think that. We thought that intermittent fasting was just a way to eat less food because we’re eating in a window or if we’re doing alternate daily fasting, you’re eating every other day, whatever it is, we’re just eating less. And we may be eating less. That may not be wrong, but it’s so much more than just that you’re eating less. Our bodies need a break from constantly digesting food.

In 2016, we really started to understand that. And that was when the word autophagy started to get tossed around. I’m sure you’ve heard the word autophagy before if you’ve ever looked into intermittent fasting. And in 2016, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to a researcher who was doing work on autophagy. And it’s basically our body’s self-cleaning, recycling, upcycling system. And we’re designed to have periods of the day where our bodies can do some cleaning. I mean, you know, you’re a busy mom, right, and your kids are all around the house, I’m sure. And what if you never took a break and cleaned the house, ever? You never cleaned your kitchen. You know, it wouldn’t become a big mess. Our bodies are the same way.

We have to take a break from digesting food and always putting more in, in, in, and let our bodies clean out some of the stuff that’s there. You know, digestion is a lot of work. Digestion takes a lot of energy. Digestion takes a lot of resources. And if we are eating, and drinking, and constantly putting in, you know, food and nourishment from the minute we wake up to the minute we go to bed, our body…just a very brief period of time when we’re sleeping. And that’s just not enough. So many of the modern diseases that we’re experiencing have their route in the fact that we’re not letting our bodies take that break, take that pause, do that cellular housekeeping that’s so important. I think that’s why at 51, I look younger than 51 because intermittent fasting lets my body repair, and rest, and recuperate. It’s, you know, highly linked to longevity.

You know, another reason that we struggle so much these days has to do with insulin levels. And, you know, when I started talking about insulin, people first might think, “Well, you’re just, you know, diabetes. That’s the only thing they might understand with insulin or if they have a slightly deeper understanding, they might think I’m about to tell you that you have to be low carb or something. And I’m not. I am a carb lover. I, you know, eat potatoes and pasta and make my homemade bread. I mill my own wheat and the flour. You know, I love carbs. But insulin is a hormone that we all have in our bodies. And it actually is linked to storage, fat storage, putting sugar, you know, getting sugar out of your bloodstream. If you have constant high levels of insulin, it’s really difficult to enter fat burning. And hyperinsulinemia, high levels of insulin, all the time, very, very common these days.

When I was writing my book, “Fast. Feast. Repeat” that came out in June of 2020, I read a great paper about hyperinsulinemia, high levels of insulin all the time, and all the things that it’s linked to, you know, for metabolic syndrome, you know, to obviously, of course, we know type 2 diabetes, to even, like, Alzheimer’s and some of the things that that can go wrong in our brain, polycystic ovarian syndrome. I always think I’m saying that one wrong PCOS, whatever that stand for. I’m always close. But all of those things are linked to high levels of insulin. So, we need to get our insulin down. It helps us to be much healthier, but it also lets us tap into our fat stores. So if you’ve got really high levels of insulin all the time, you’re not gonna be able to burn fat very well.

And that’s why when you’re doing a typical diet that we used to do, you know, when you’re eating all day, little tiny meals, you’re eating and drinking just enough to keep that insulin going, going, going, and never low enough for you to really tap into your fat stores. And so you’re starving, you’re hangry, you’re cranky, and you’re not really losing that much fat, even though, you know, maybe you’re doing low-calorie dieting, you’re not having the success. That’s where fasting is different because fasting naturally lowers our insulin. We fast clean, our bodies lower the insulin. We are able to finally tap into the fat stores. And that fuels our bodies well during the fast and we feel so good. So we’re not hangry. We’re not struggling. But that makes the difference.

Katie: Yeah, and it really is a profound difference of…That’s the thing I like to tell women as well is I lost that weight without feeling hungry. Like, I don’t think I felt like…There’s not a point I can remember during that whole time that I was like, “I am starving and I just need to eat everything.” It really does help. And then you’re able so much more easily to listen to your body about what you need to eat, when you need to eat. Let’s talk a little bit more about what’s happening to the body during the break because I’m so glad you brought that up of a digestion break. And I know from what I’ve read, there’s a lot of things going on in the liver when we take a break from digestion. And of course, just our digestive system, in general. But even I’ve seen studies on the breakdown in the flushing of cerebral spinal fluid and reducing amyloid plaques in the brain. Like, this is very much a deep cleaning process, like you said. And it’s kind of that joke of, you know, cleaning the house with kids is like brushing your teeth while eating Oreos. It’s the same thing if we’re constantly eating as I try and clean your body or you’re constantly just putting more stuff it’s gotta deal with. But walk us through some of the physiology of what’s going on internally when we take a break from food.

Gin: Well, it’s really…you know, it’s just what you said. You nailed it right there already. Our bodies are able to look around…You know, think about it like this. If you’ve gotta create dinner for your six kids and you haven’t been to the store, you haven’t been shopping, Instacart can’t come for whatever reason, you’ve gotta look in your pantry and see what’s already there. Right? You’re gonna dig around and dinner might be not exactly what you were expecting, but you’ve got plenty of stuff stashed away in that pantry that you can do something with it. You know, that’s what happens when we’re fasting. Our bodies look around, the process of autophagy, you know, okay, well, here we are, we’re fasting. Nothing’s coming in. So, let’s see what some of these old junky proteins are that are sitting around, and then your body starts to break them down, some of the old junky ones. And some of the things that you couldn’t use, recycles them, upcycles them, builds new body parts out of them because our bodies are very good at using what’s on hand when we let them, when we give them time to do it.

You know, aging is very much linked to decreased autophagy. So, as we age, our bodies naturally do less of that cellular housekeeping. But fasting brings us back to the time where our bodies can just do it more naturally because we’re taking that break from eating. So we have that period of time. That’s where some of the anti-aging benefits of fasting come in. You know, as far as in your liver, you know, our livers store all sorts…livers are really hard-working organs. Yeah, I’m not a medical professional. So, just FYI on that. But, you know, like, for example, fatty liver, so very common in today’s society because we were putting so much in and it all gets stashed in the liver. With fasting, when you’re taking that break, your body can clear out all that stuff. Take the time.

I have a friend. I met her through fasting, she’s one of the moderators in my community, she totally reversed a fatty liver with intermittent fasting before she lost any weight. This is what’s really important. She was diagnosed with fatty liver disease, started an intermittent fasting lifestyle for months, lost zero pounds, kept doing it anyway because she felt so good. Went back to the doctor, her fatty liver was completely gone. And could she have thought, oh, intermittent fasting isn’t working? It’s not working for me? Well, it was clearing out her fatty liver. So that’s pretty powerful. Eventually, she did start to lose weight and find success on that part of it. But intermittent fasting, as I said already, is so much more than just something you do, you know, for weight loss. I wish I’d known that when I started in 2014. I didn’t. You know, we hadn’t…you know, autophagy was not something anybody was talking about, except in the high research community, right? And so, the more I’ve learned about it, the more I’m excited that I get to do intermittent fasting for the rest of my life, that it’s a healthy way to live.

There’s a great article that listeners could actually go look for themselves. “The New England Journal of Medicine” had a review article in its December 26th of 2019 edition. If you wanna read it, it’s available for free through “The New England Journal of Medicine.” You do have to register on their site, but it’s “The New England Journal of Medicine,” they’re not going to spam you or sell your data or anything. You just have to sign up for a free account, then you can read the article. But it’s a summary of the best health effects of intermittent fasting. And it was written, you know, by a researcher, Dr. Mark Mattson, for doctors. But you read that…And, you know, even though the layperson can get understanding from it, it’s such a good summary of the health benefits that you read it and you’re like, “Oh, my gosh, this is just really the way we should be living unless, you know, you have certain contraindications.” Like, if you’re pregnant, don’t do it. If you’re breastfeeding, don’t do it. If you have an eating disorder, work with your therapist.

But other than that, there is a way to develop an intermittent fasting lifestyle that works for you. Even my husband who didn’t need to lose any weight, he’s a Ph.D., medicinal chemist, he adopted intermittent fasting for the health benefits, not to lose weight because he became such a believer. So, you know, he has a longer eating window than I do. And it works really well for him. But there’s an eating window that will work for everybody unless you have one of those reasons not to fast, and you can find a way to make it work for you, depending on whatever your goals are.

Katie: That’s so interesting about your moderator and her liver because we know that fatty liver is on the rise. And there’s a lot of people they think that have this and don’t know that they have this and that can cause all kinds of health problems on its own. But it’s also important, it makes total sense that she would need to have dealt with that before she could lose weight because anytime the body is releasing weight, it’s breaking down fat. There’s stuff stored in the fat. You need your liver to help process all of that. So if your liver’s already struggling, then actually, like, forcing rapid weight loss can make things a lot worse, potentially.

Gin: Absolutely.

Katie: Like a triage effect on the body. The body’s gotta deal with the most important things first. And so, like you said, giving that window of autophagy lets the body clean out the things it needs to be able to process and it doesn’t consider excess weight the most pressing thing. So that’s a really good point, to, you know, have patience and, like, nurture your body through that phase. If you’re, like, starting this and it’s not working, like you said, for weight loss, it may be that your body’s preparing to be able to do that in a healthy way. And so, focusing on the health benefits, I think, is really, really important.

Gin: I think so too.

Katie: Okay, so let’s talk about timing and a little bit more specifics because, of course, I think if people are understanding the importance of this, they’re gonna be like, “Okay, but how much time…? What’s the window? What time of day? Is it earlier in the day? Is it later in the day? And what do I eat during the window?” So, walk us through…Let’s start with that and we’ll dial down some specifics.

Gin: Okay. You know, there is no one-size-fits-all recommendation for the right window for you, the right foods to eat, really the right time of day. And, you know, we try to put everything in a nice, neat package of here’s the plan. Do this exactly. Eat these things between here and there, this much of it, you will be fine. This will work for you. But that’s not how intermittent fasting works. We’re all highly individual, you know, from our own individual circadian rhythms to the foods that work for our bodies. I mean, you know, we all have friends who are night owls versus that friend who’s, you know, the early morning person. I’m that early morning friend, by the way, who wakes up really early, no matter how late I stayed up the night before. I can’t force my body to have a different sleep cycle. I can do it for a few days, but it doesn’t work well.

Intermittent fasting is the same way. You know, there’s a train of thought that morning may be ideal for an eating window but if that doesn’t feel like a lifestyle to you, then you should not try to pigeonhole yourself into a recommendation. You have to figure out what works. I have a friend who has a morning window, works perfectly for her. Most people…You know, when I was writing, “Fast. Feast. Repeat,” just an unofficial survey that I did in one of my groups, I wanted to see what works for people. I asked them when they timed their eating window. I don’t have the percentages in my brain, but the much higher percentage of people tend to have an afternoon to evening eating window. That’s where they feel best or it’s where it fits into their life the best. So, you’re going to be more likely to stick to an eating window if it fits your life and if it feels good to you.

So, I have a period of time in my book “Fast. Feast. Repeat” called the 28-day fast start. And in that, you decide what kind of person you’re gonna be. Are you gonna be someone who rips off the Band-Aid, jumps right in, or are you gonna let your body adjust a little more slowly, or are you someone that’s kind of in the middle? And you’re going to experiment with, you know, gradually shortening your eating window until you find one that feels right to you. And you’re gonna experiment with also the time of day because I believe that people could follow me around, eat exactly what I eat when I eat it, the exact amount, and have different results than I do, and feel differently than I do. So, you know, an eating window of probably four to six hours ends up being a good weight loss sweet spot for a lot of people.

You know, less is not always more. You know, you might think, well, if a four-hour window is good then a one-hour window would be even better. And not necessarily. That may be way too much restriction for you. A four-hour window might be too much restriction for you. And it really just depends on your style of eating. You know, I’m a volume eater. If I gave myself an eight-hour window, I would pack too much food in it because I like I said, I’m a volume eater. I like to feel full and satisfied. I’m not that person who’s over there munching on the little tiny salad and having a little tiny…no, I’m having a big meal. And so, someone who is more of, like, a light eater, more of a grazer, might need an eight-hour window. Whereas for me, an eight-hour window, I’d probably gain weight if I started having an eight-hour window. I tend to be more of a four to six-hour window at this point. Five was a good weight loss sweet spot to me.

A five-hour eating window worked really well for me and I structured around the evening meal. Like, I would generally open my window with a pretty hearty snack. Think like an appetizer, you know, kind of a thing or something like that. And then a few hours later, I would have my actual dinner and then maybe something a little later to close my window. All within that five hours. You know, I wasn’t trying to fit in two full meals but I was just trying to eat until I was satisfied within that eating window. Some days you need more, some days you need less. But over time, you really do find the rhythm that feels right to you because we want to enjoy our life and we wanna live our life.

Katie: Yeah, I think that the one-hour window, that is one that I would say over the long-term tends to, from my experience, work better for guys. Like, they can hormonally handle a lot more restriction. They can also typically eat a lot more food in one hour, at least that I can.

Gin: I can’t eat enough in one hour to sustain me. I mean, I could have a one-hour window every now and then. And I do. Like, if I’m super busy, like let’s say we were recording this at 6:00 p.m. You know, I don’t generally like to eat before I have a podcast interview. Sometimes I might have to if it’s like 8:00 p.m. But if it was 6:00 p.m., I would wait until afterwards to open my window. And then I wouldn’t be able to have a five-hour window because I gotta go to bed because I already told you, I like to get up early. I like to go to bed early because I’m just tired at that time. But I wouldn’t do that day after day. It’d be okay to have that once in a while. But I need longer windows. I just can’t get enough food in an hour or two, day after day.

Katie: And the other cool part about this is when you shift that thinking and you are eating at a shorter window, instead of, like, “Oh, I shouldn’t eat so much food,” you actually get to shift your mindset to like, “Oh, I need to nourish my body really, really well and get enough calories.” And I think for women, that can be a profound shift to starting to think of, like, how can I get enough calories into my body, which is so much more freeing than, like, I should deprive myself of food that my body needs. And another hidden advantage here is when you’re eating in a smaller window, you’re typically eating more protein at a time. And there’s some really cool research on, for women, a lot of us are not getting enough protein to begin with, but when you hit a threshold, which is different for every woman and every person, they think it’s somewhere in that 30 to 40 grams per meal range. When you exceed that, it causes a really cool hormonal and metabolic cascade that revs up your metabolism.

So by shortening the window, you’re also giving your body a chance to spike those hormonal processes that are really important for weight loss, but also probably for anti-aging because we know that connection there. And then by balancing that with a shorter eating window, you’re also giving your body the recovery time. So you’re not trying to activate mTOR and you’ve got, kind of. everything in balance. I’m curious how you balance with bedtime because I know there’s also a lot of conventional advice that you shouldn’t eat too close to bedtime. And I’m not a big fan of eating right before bed. I try to give myself a couple of hours, but I’m curious how you navigate that.

Gin: Well, I’m not usually eating right up until bedtime. I usually close my eating window…We eat dinner sometime between 6 and 7 depending on how quickly it comes together, what we’ve been doing. Of course, in the summer, as it starts to get lighter, it might drift a little to more like 7:15, 7:30 at the latest. But I’m generally done eating completely at the latest by 8:00 p.m. And that would be like in the summer, maybe 8:00 p.m. And then in the summer, I might go to bed at 10:00 p.m. So, I’ve got a couple of hours in there before…I can’t sleep if I go to bed with an empty stomach. So if I ate early in the day, I would be starving by dinnertime and I would need to eat again. So, I don’t sleep if I haven’t had enough to eat. My body always lets me know. But I’m not eating right up until the time that I go to bed. But that’s what works for me.

You know, if I have too much food in my stomach at that time, that’s also not a good thing. So I’ve figured out, you know, like I said, my window tends to be four to six hours. I’ll open it up with a little something and then have my dinner, maybe I’ll be done by 7. And then even in the winter, when I’m like, “Is it really only 8:00 p.m. because now I’m…” I still manage to hang in until 9:00. Even in the cold winter when my body’s like, it’s been dark for hours, go to bed. Anyway. So, you just really have to see what feels right to you. Some people feel so much better with a midday window. Like, maybe they eat their food from 10:00 a.m. and are done by 3:00 p.m. That might be their sweet spot. And then they feel light and go to bed and sleep well. So, it’s really just a matter of finding what works well for your timing, and your sleep, and your body.

Katie: Yeah, and that crosses over into any conversation about health. It’s just how individualized we are. And that’s why when people ask me like, “Oh, what did you do to lose the weight?” I’m like, “I can tell you what I did but I’m not giving you a checklist of what to do for you. I wanna give you a springboard and then you have to experiment.” I know another question we’re gonna get is what about non-caloric things during the fasting window? And there’s definitely some, like, mixed opinions on this. But I’m curious your take, and I’ll share mine as well, about things that don’t have calories, like beverages, for instance, during the fasting window.

Gin: Well, I’m a stickler. And, in fact, my intermittent fasting community, we invented the term “clean fast” back in 2017 is when we started using the terminology “clean fast.” No one was using it or no one was even really thinking about it because, again, prior to our understanding of autophagy and the health benefits of fasting, we really all did believe…you know, we had been told that intermittent fasting was just a way to eat fewer calories. So, if that’s all you’re focused on, then obviously zero caloric things wouldn’t be a problem. You would have your diet soda, you would have your stevia, whatever. And I did all that.

Then I read “The Obesity Code” in 2016. And Dr. Jason Fung talks about insulin. And that was when I really started to understand the role of insulin in the body and keeping insulin low. And he had a statement in there in “The Obesity Code” that said that stevia caused your body to release more insulin than even table sugar. And I’m like, “What?” Okay. So I now understood that we wanted insulin to be low in order to really be tapping into fat stores. But I learned about cephalic phase insulin response. And I actually have some studies on this cited in my books, But cephalic phase insulin response is what your brain does. You taste something sweet, like let’s say you’re having a diet soda, or putting stevia in your coffee, you taste it, the sweetness sends a signal to your brain that glucose is coming in. Well, it’s not because you’re having zero-calorie whatever, you know, that we’ve created in the modern world. But all throughout evolutionary history, if you were having sweetness, it was honey, or fruit, or something that was gonna have a sugar hit or a glycine hit for your body. So you were going to need insulin to deal with the rise in blood sugar that your body is expecting. And so, your body pulses out some insulin to deal with that.

Well, remember, we wanna keep insulin low so we can tap into fat stores. And there’s, you know, a lot of confusing and conflicting stuff about this. You know, some people will swear up and down, “Well, that is not even what happens. I’ve read this study that said that, you know, this sweetener does not cause an insulin response or that one does not cause an insulin response.” Well, there are even studies out there that show that some people have a greater insulin response than others. And if you’re overweight, you probably have a bigger insulin response than the normal person does because that’s what they found in a study, a higher insulin response. So, for people who have been overweight, who are overweight, who have a heightened insulin response, and if you’re overweight, you likely do, it really becomes even more important that you fast clean. And so, you know, when we fast clean, I came up with really, you know, why are we fasting? What’s the point of fasting? It’s not just to get fewer calories, but what are the reasons why we’re actually fasting instead of just doing a low-calorie diet?

So, number one, keep insulin low. That’s the number one fasting goal. And to do that, we avoid anything that makes our brain think that food is coming in. So you don’t wanna put cucumber in your water or lemon in your water. You don’t wanna have, like, an herbal tea called like Apple Cinnamon Delight, you don’t wanna put stevia in your coffee, you don’t want to have a diet soda because all of those things, or apple cider vinegar even, your brain may say, “Something’s coming in, I need some insulin.” So we avoid anything that’s food-like flavor during the fast.

Our second fasting goal is we wanna tap into our stored fat for fuel. And to do that, you don’t wanna be taking in other sources of energy, for example, a cup of coffee full of butter and, you know, fat, MCT oil or whatever. That’s a very popular drink. There’s even a type of fasting where you’re taking in that throughout the fast, but our bodies are going to take the easy route. If you’re taking in a ton of fuel in your coffee cup through butter, or cream, or any fat source, your body’s gonna use that for fuel. I mean, you might feel fabulous and have great mental clarity, but you’re not burning any of your fat. So, avoid taking in anything that’s a source of fuel for your body. That would also apply to, like, exogenous ketones, which I don’t know if people are still doing that. That was kind of like a really popular thing around, I don’t know, 2019. People were selling these fancy ketones that were gonna make you be in ketosis, no, that you’re taking in a source of external energy. So avoid any source of external energy so your body has to look within.

And the third fasting goal is we wanna have increased autophagy. And so, we wanna avoid taking in any sources of protein. Well, where’s protein? Well, bone broth, for example. So, you know, if you’re taking in bone broth, it’s very healing for your body. It’s a healthy beverage, but it’s got protein and it’s gonna keep your body from getting into that, you know, increased autophagy that you’re looking for. So to fast clean, you want to avoid having an insulin response, don’t take in anything that’s gonna have a source of fuel for your body, and avoid anything that’s got a source of protein. So, stick to plain water, plain sparkling water, no flavors added, black coffee, plain tea, like, actual tea, not all those, like, wild mountain blueberry, whatever, that’s gonna be food-like to your body. And, you know, the reason that we can have the coffee and the tea is that they have a bitter flavor profile. And a bitter flavor profile is not linked to insulin response. Our bodies don’t taste that coffee and think, “Well, here comes, you know, something glucose,” unless, of course, you have sweeteners in it. So, stick to the clean fast.

And for anybody who’s doing it another way and maybe you had great success, I mean I lost 75 pounds without fasting clean. And I talk about this in my book, but I didn’t understand, I didn’t know, also fasting was harder. I had to white-knuckle it. As soon as I read “The Obesity Code” and said, “Okay, I’ve got to do something differently.” Took the stevia out, I took cinnamon out of my coffee. I took the diet sodas away. I stopped chewing gum. I stopped all of those things. Suddenly, fasting was so much easier, no more white-knuckling it. I had started to have a little weight regain. I lost that. I got leaner. I dropped two more jean sizes. My seasonal allergies went away, all after changing to the clean fast. And if I had not read “The Obesity Code” and learned the things that I learned, you know, would I have yo-yo’d back up? Would that just have been…would intermittent fasting have been just another failed diet for me? I will never know because that’s not what happened. But the clean fast really changed everything. And so, for anybody who’s tried it another way, I would like to encourage you to take what I call the clean fast challenge. Give me a month, just a month, try it my way for one month, and I bet you’ll never go back.

Katie: That is probably the most comprehensive and logical explanation I have heard on that because I think so many things get lumped in together. It’s like all non-caloric things or no non-caloric things. And I think, like you said, it’s very important…Like, it’s easy to see, okay, like coffee with butter, obviously has calories, obviously has fat. Of course, it’s going to stimulate the digestive process. Same thing with that sweetness. I’m glad that we now have the research on that because I’ve seen that of myself. You feel a difference when you drink you get much more hungry. And in my personal experience, if I’m drinking, like, a normal cup of coffee in the morning with nothing added to it from a good source, like, I actually tend to feel better fasting. Like, I actually feel less hungry.

Gin: That’s true.

Katie: Same thing with herbal teas. And there’s cool things with, like, certain teas that are supportive of the liver. So, again, back to that connection, they don’t have calories and they have a bitter taste. And so you’re actually helping your body prepare for food by flushing that stuff out. And then I’m a big fan of water with electrolytes or like minerals added.

Gin: I’m drinking mineral water right now. I’m drinking San Pellegrino. But…

Katie: Yeah, I think that’s…And also, I think when we…Like, coffee is an important thing for so many people. And it’s an important social thing. Like, I often will have coffee with a friend throughout the week. I think when you can have the coffee, that, like, makes it so much more doable.

Gin: Oh, yes. Yes. And, you know, coffee is linked to increased autophagy. You know, we’ve got studies on that where, you know, in the research, coffee induced autophagy. So it’s just a way to support what your body is doing, and tea does that as well.

Katie: Yeah, absolutely. And I think also, like, you’ve already touched on this so much but it’s also really important to just hone in on the idea that when you’re doing it this way and you’re not eating in a super, super small window that’s causing stress in your body, like, there is this idea of hormesis. Like, if you find that sweet spot, you’re giving your body autophagy, you’re not putting it in a time where it’s like, oh, there’s famine, I need to freak out and change my hormones. You’re gonna find that sweet spot for you. That’s when women can really benefit from this because we’re not…Like, certainly I agree, like, anytime we’re fad dieting, or over restricting, or not nourishing our bodies, our hormones can freak out. And that makes it much harder to lose weight and you don’t feel good. And so, this is about finding your own window and doing it in a really healthy way. And I think the other side of that coin is being very intentional about nourishing your body during the eating window. So I’m sure you have some at least starting point guidelines for people to springboard into their own, kind of, routine for this but walk us through what we need to know about what to do during the eating window.

Gin: Well, that is really gonna be up to you. And it really develops over time. When we start with a 28-Day FAST Start, I actually encourage people not to change what they’re eating yet. And then there’s a method to that. There’s a method to my madness here. And it’s because, haven’t we all tried to do too much at once and crashed and burned and then quit and said, “Forget it?” And now you’re, like, you know, going crazy. So we want to make one big change at first. And the 28-Day FAST Start is your time to nail the clean fast for 28 days only without changing what you’re eating. And now that goes both ways. Sometimes people will come to intermittent fasting after being on a specific diet. Like, let’s say, for example, maybe they were doing the keto diet, or maybe they had been vegan, or maybe they had been paleo or whatever. They’d been doing a very strict diet protocol and maybe they’re tired of eating that way, and they’re like, “Well, I wanna do intermittent fasting because I wanna bring back all the foods.”

So they start intermittent fasting, bring back all the foods on day one. And then surprisingly, they don’t feel very good because they’ve reintroduced all these foods they’d been avoiding. So, that is not a winning combination. You know, if you’ve been following a dietary approach, when you start intermittent fasting, continue with that dietary approach until your body adjusts to the fast, then you can slowly start adding back in things and see how you feel when you add them intentionally. On the flip side of that, if you’ve been eating the standard American diet, you know, when I started intermittent fasting, I was the queen of the drive-thru and I had like the palate of a teenage boy, honestly, a teenage boy that was not given any direction on how to eat. I just ate whatever. And if you’ve been eating that way, start intermittent fasting, let your body adjust to the clean fast without changing what you’re eating once again. But then over time, an amazing thing happens to most of us.

We start to be able to really tune in on what our body needs. You know, our bodies don’t count calories. Our bodies count nutrients. And so, we start to suddenly one day, you’re like, “Ooh, I think I would like to try some Brussel sprouts today. They sound delicious.” And then all of a sudden, you know, you’re eating differently and you allow that to happen over time. So nail the clean fast first, then you could focus on your diet in either direction, cleaning it up if you need to. And if you do, you probably know you do or, you know, adding back in things that you’ve been missing, that you’ve been over restricting. But intermittent fasting allows you to really find what works for your body. And that’s a process. And, you know, it’s not gonna be the same every single day for the rest of your life. And it may change. You may have a season of time where some foods are not working for you. And maybe later they will as your body heals.

It’s such a process, but figuring out…You know, focus on…You know, my dietary advice, ideal diet, focus on real foods and limit ultra-processed foods. And what that looks like, what you choose in that real foods continuum is gonna be different. Maybe you’re somebody who feels better when you were a little on the lower-carb side to that or maybe you need more starchy carbs. I do great with starchy carbs. My body needs them. I don’t feel satisfied unless I’ve had them. And you just have to figure out, dial it in for yourself.

Katie: Yeah, and the other fun part of that is as you adjust to that, I’ve had the same experience where my body naturally was craving very, very nutrient-dense foods. And so I’d be, like, “Oh, today I want like anchovies, oysters, and olive oil.” And it was like nutrient-dense foods. But also, the beauty of it is, I agree with you, like, limit the less optimal foods, but also you are able to eat them sometimes and have a healthier relationship with them. And volume-wise, like, I used to be, like, I would eat so little and I trained myself to eat so little for so long, trying to lose weight. And now not the fast-food part but I eat like a teenage boy.

Gin: The amount of it.

Katie: The amount of it. Yeah, like, I can eat a lot of food…

Gin: Me too.

Katie: …and carbs. And I ended up avoiding carbs for so long. And now, like, Japanese sweet potatoes are one of my favorite things. So, you just learn to love your body and to really, like, dial in what it needs. And like we talked about in the beginning, it gets so effortless.

Gin: It really does.

Katie: And also, yeah, I’m glad you brought up the carbs thing too because I think that’s a myth that a lot of women have bought into with some of these fad diets over the years is that we should eat very low carb. And that actually can be one of the things that throw hormones out. And so I think, especially when talking about intermittent fasting, that’s an important part of the conversation to have is, like, don’t overly restrict anything during the eating window. Listen to your body and experiment because if you’re eating in a short window, then you go super low carb, and you’re trying to, like, minimize calories during this short window that you’re already eating, your body’s gonna get a little stressed.

Gin: And the word carb itself is, like, so misunderstood. You know, you say…Like, I’ll have people who are like, “Well, you know, I know that carbs are a problem for me.” I’ll be like, “Well tell me what you mean by that.” And they’d be, like, we know french fries, and pizza, and cake, and cookies.” I’m like, “Those are not carbs. They have carbs,” but they also have lots of fat and they’re super-duper ultra-processed and they don’t have any nourishment. So instead, you know, you talked about Japanese sweet potato, right, or like, you know, beans or when I’m milling my wheat into flour and making homemade bread, that is not the same as, you know, just carbs. A carb is not a carb is not a carb, basically.

Katie: Yeah, that’s a good point. A sweet potato and, like, a strong fermented sourdough bread are not the same thing as, like, a cookie or just something that’s got too much sugar but mixed with a fat. And I think that’s also an important thing to understand just from the macronutrient component, not that those things should be avoided completely. But we know that when you combine a lot of really processed sugary type carbs, like refined sugar carbs, with a lot of fats, especially bad fats, that is a combination that makes it most difficult to lose weight because you’re giving your body too very dense sources of fuel at the same time that it can use. And so, like, just thinking in terms of that not from a deprivation standpoint, but just from a nourishment and letting the body deal with one fuel type at a time, then you still can eat the carbs without that, like you said, ultra-processed high-density carbs.

Gin: Exactly.

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Katie: I think another thing that women will need to figure out as they start intermittent fasting is timing of workouts. And there’s also a lot of opinions about this. I’m curious if you have any guidelines specific to is there an optimal time I’m guessing everyone’s gonna have to figure out their own but optimal time or type of workout in a fasting window or an eating window?

Gin: You know, the idea that we all should be doing the same workout is also not a good one. You know, some people are more, you know, cardio worker-outers and some are more, like, you know, they tend to do better with more, like, the weight training approach or a mixture. And, of course, we all should be, you know, working on being strong and healthy. But research actually shows that we all have different likelihood of gaining…I mean, of losing weight with exercise, for example. Some people are more likely to need to exercise a lot to see weight loss, whereas others, it’s just a good healthy thing to do but it’s not gonna lead to a lot of weight loss for you. So, the best time to time your workout is the time when you’re going to do it and enjoy it.

You know, personally, if I have to do a lot of exertion, I do better in the fasted state. Like, when we moved in 2019, I had to lift a lot of boxes, pack a lot of boxes, unpack the boxes. I did all of that work in the fasted state. And I felt great. You know, I went hiking with my son and his wife over the Christmas break, and we hiked a long way. I did it in the fasted state. I felt great. You know, I just don’t have quite as much energy to do a lot of exertion if I’ve eaten already. That being said, if it’s after dinner and it’s a beautiful evening, I might go for a walk around the neighborhood with my husband and I’m not in the fasted state. So you just need to really figure out what feels right to you and what fits into your day. And, you know, you lift heavy things. For me, that might be a case of San Pellegrino or, you know, today I lifted…meal kits are like my lifesaver. I love meal kit companies. And so the box came right before we started this interview and I lifted it and the guy was like, “This is heavy.” And I’m like, “That’s fine.” And I lifted it and carried it in. And, you know, we wanna use our body, build muscle in whatever way feels good to you.

Katie: Yeah, and I think just like you said, you know, don’t make any drastic changes with food when you’re starting anything new like this. I found the same was true for me when it came to working out. And in fact, during the really intense part of my weight loss days, I actually didn’t do probably anything that was considered an actual workout. Like, I went for walks and I moved but I, like, really felt the need to let my body recover because I had deprived for so long as I wasn’t doing anything intense. And so, I think that’s also an important conversation to bring up is like you don’t have…

Gin: I agree.

Katie: …to do crazy hard workouts to lose weight. And in fact, sometimes they can be counterproductive.

Gin: And to your point with that women and restriction, if we are over-restricting and doing this crazy workout, that is like the perfect storm to cause our bodies stress. So, that would be the wrong thing to do and having that intense exercise. You know, our bodies do react to whatever is perceived as over-restriction and danger. And it’s not gonna look the same for every person. What one person can do and your body’s happy with is not gonna be the same as what another person can do. So, the best key to really anything is feeling great. If you feel great, that is a very good sign. If you start to feel burned out, and you start to feel like you’re doing too much, and you start to have the urge to bend or you start, those are all very bad signs that your body is, like, sending you that distress signal. So you need to back it up, work on nourishing your body, take it easy. Yeah, excellent point to make. Don’t start intermittent fasting and also train for a marathon right at the same time if you’ve never done that before.

Katie: Yes. And then, yeah, all of this centers on the idea of listening to and nourishing your body, I think, like, the mindset stuff we touched on in the very beginning, that also helps us just to have so much of a healthier relationship with our bodies and how we’re thinking of nourishing them and a healthier mindset. And that’s the part that makes this effortless in the long term. It makes it easy, I think because we’re not fighting. And at the end of the day…

Gin: Yeah. I was just gonna say that.

Katie: Yeah, you can’t go into battle forever. And if you are gonna try to fight hormones and win, you’re gonna lose. Like…

Gin: You are gonna lose. You cannot fight your body, your body will always win because it’s trying to keep you alive. It doesn’t understand bathing suit motivation. It’s just like, no, you’re going to die if you keep doing that. So I’m gonna slow your metabolic rate. I’m gonna lower your hormones. I’m gonna make it…because it’s trying to protect you. So you have to work with your body, not against it.

Katie: And you probably see this in the groups that you’ve had for all these years and then yourself too is like, when you dial these things in and your body gets the message, that it is healthy and vibrant and ready to thrive, like, your metabolism increases, it’s easier to put on muscle, your energy goes through the roof. And so, I think that’s just…I’m so glad we got to go deep on so many of these points and, kind of, dispel the myth that any type of fasting is bad, especially for women because, by that logic, we should be eating the entire time that we’re awake all the time because if not, we’re accidentally fasting.

Gin: Well, when I weighed 210 pounds, that’s pretty much how I was eating. And that certainly was not good for me. I mean, just, you know, based on how I feel right now in this body, that did not work and I did not feel good, and I was 80 pounds heavier than I am now. And now I feel amazing all the time. And that can’t be bad because I feel so good.

Katie: Yeah, and my lab levels have reflected that change as well. I have talked about this podcast before but I used to have Hashimoto’s, and a lot of markers were out of range, and I now clinically do not have Hashimoto’s. I have no antibodies, no markers.

Gin: I’ve heard that before.

Katie: Yeah. And I was able to even get entirely off of thyroid medication, which is rare, even for people who don’t have antibodies anymore. And I think part of that was the autophagy aspect. I had a bunch of nodules on my thyroid a few years ago. And I think that the time-restricted eating during the day gave my body time to deal with that and break it down. And because at the end of the day, that’s when it all goes back to is supporting the body’s natural process. Like, people get excited about all these different detoxes. I’m like, you’ve got one of those built-in and it’s called…

Gin: It’s free.

Katie: It’s free. And if you support your liver, it will do a way better job than any kind of crazy juice cleanse. And so I love that you’re dispelling these myths and giving people practical tools. I know you also have a new book coming out that gets into some of these specifics and you mentioned a challenge. So let us know how to find both of those.

Gin: Okay. Yeah, the challenge is…the clean fast challenge, it’s just a part of my book “Fast. Feast. Repeat.” you’re on your own with that. But I do have a community that people can join. I do have a Facebook group that I’m not in. It’s Delay Don’t Deny Intermittent Fasting Support. The moderators run it because I left Facebook and focusing on…I have another community, the Delay Don’t Deny Social Network. If you go to dddsocialnetwork.com, you can find all of this by going to ginstephens.com. Gin is G-I-N. Stephens is with a P-H, ginstephens.com and the Delay Don’t Deny Social Network. We have groups in there, like, the 28-Day FAST Start group on the Delay Don’t Deny Social Network. And, you know, I’ll, you know, interact with people in there. And you have to join. It’s a membership site, but, you know, you can do it for a month. You can join for a year. You can join for a lifetime, just whatever level of commitment you have. And you can join for two months and then quit. I mean, that’s fine. So, that’s how to connect with me there.

In my new book, I think you’re really gonna like it, it’s called “Clean(ish)…” the ish is in parentheses, and the subtitle, let’s see if I can rattle this off, “Eat (Mostly) Clean, Live (Mainly) Clean, and Unlock Your Body’s Natural Ability to Self-Clean.” And so this is not an intermittent fasting book, although there is a chapter on intermittent fasting because obviously, I think it’s like the best self-cleaning tool that we’ve got in our toolbox. But, you know, our bodies are meant to self-clean, whether it’s your skin or your brain while you’re sleeping, you know, the glymphatic system, our lymphatic system. We have all these things that are designed to clean. The problem is, in the modern world, we’re putting in way more than we’ve ever had to deal with before. You know, so we go through the whole, you know, what’s happening now and all, you know, so many toxins coming in that our bodies just can’t handle it. Our toxic load is up. And we can’t even avoid it no matter how hard we try.

So there are some things we can do to limit what we’re putting in. And I know this is what you’re doing in your life already, eating organic foods, limiting the ultra-processed foods. You know, I’m clean-ish, so, you know, if I wanna eat a cracker, I’m gonna eat a cracker. But, you know, I’m mindful about, you know, the toxic oils that I’m putting in. You know, but that doesn’t mean that I’m not gonna go to a restaurant…you know, if I’m at a restaurant, I’m not gonna be like, “I’m sorry, I can eat anything you have here.” No, I’m looking to live in the real world because I’m clean-ish. But by changing, you know, my skincare and the products I clean my home with, that’s naturally lowering my toxic load and my body then has the time to do the self-cleaning that it needs to do.

You know, and again, I’m not telling people exactly what to do in the new book “Clean(ish),” but I’m giving you that framework to figure out you know, what do you want to eliminate? You know, maybe you’re drinking diet sodas and you wanna stop having artificial sweeteners, that’s a huge positive. Maybe you wanna change your skincare routine, every single thing that you do makes a positive difference. And it’s just a matter of figuring out what that looks like to you. So “Clean(ish)” is available for pre-order now. It’s actually not gonna be out until January 4th of 2022, which sounds like the future but, like, really far away, but it’ll be here before we know it. But like I said, it’s available for pre-orders. There’s actually a tab at ginstephens.com. You can click on the “Clean(ish)” tab, and it’ll take you where you can pre-order.

Katie: Perfect. I will put all of those links in the show notes at wellnessmama.fm.

Gin: Thank you.

Katie: And I think that’s another great point that you brought up as well is, like, the reason why we need to be aware and do some of these things now that our great grandparents didn’t need to do is that we do have so many more inputs than we’ve ever had that our body is gonna have to process.

Gin: Oh, yeah. So many.

Katie: And I’ve talked about that from the personal care world. And that was my reason for starting my company related to personal care products, but it’s true, we have so many more inputs, some we can’t control, like the environmental ones, and the air and the water, but we can control some of them. And things like intermittent fasting give our body a time to get on top of the ones we can’t control as well. So, such good advice there as well. Another question I love to ask toward the end of interviews is, besides your own, if there’s a book or a number of books that have had a profound impact on your life, and if so what they are and why?

Gin: Well, one of them that really changed me as a teacher and then also it carries over in all areas of my life was the book “Mindset” by Carol Dweck. And from the amount of time you use the word mindset, I’m gonna guess, have you read Carol Dweck’s work on mindset?

Katie: I have, I thankfully read it when my oldest was really young, and it’s really shaped how I parent.

Gin: One hundred percent. It changed how I taught in the classroom. I actually had the privilege of hearing her speak at the National Gifted Conference in, I don’t know, 2013 or 2014, somewhere around there at the National…I don’t know, maybe it was earlier. Anyway, whenever it was, might have been as early as 2010. When I heard Carol Dweck speak, it just really blew my mind because we’re so used to praising children, like, you know, “Oh, you’re so smart. You’re so good at math.” You know, we’re praising characteristics. And then children begin to have what they call a fixed mindset. And then if they start to struggle, like, maybe math is hard for them one day, then they’re like, “Well, I must not be good at math.” And then they start to believe, you know, “Oh, I just really should avoid anything I’m not good at.”

But focusing on a growth mindset, instead, encourages the kids to think of themselves as capable and having the ability to improve. Like, “Wow, you work really hard at math. When you work hard, you learn, or like, I can tell you worked really hard on that project.” And just changing the way that we praise them so that they become growth-minded instead of stuck in that fixed mindset. And Carol Dweck talks about all the research behind it, but you’re not praising children for their characteristics, but for what they do. That really shaped the way that I looked at working with kids and teaching. And of course, it carries over into your own life.

Katie: Absolutely. I love, love, love that book as well. I’ll put that link in the show notes, as well. And this has been such a phenomenal interview. Any parting advice for the listeners today?

Gin: Well, you know, I would say it’s never too late to change. You know, I was 45 years old and 210 pounds, and I had been up and down and I was just really, you know, almost ready to give up. But I didn’t. I didn’t give up on myself. Thank goodness. And I made a change. And we have people coming into the intermittent fasting communities who are like 70, you know, 75, 80, I’m not kidding. And they’re finding their healthy way of living, even at the older ages so that they can continue to feel good as they get older. It’s never too late for you, no matter how old you are, to bring back your health. And if you’re young, oh, thank goodness finding it young, you know, finding intermittent fasting and making these changes now, you’re going to have such a good, healthy foundation as you grow. Like, I’m so grateful to be able to have, you know, modeled this for my boys. They’re 21 and…let me see what month is it, 21 and 23. And so, they have this foundation, if they, you know, wanna pull on it, they can. So they’re not gonna have to have the struggle that I did. Never too old, never too young. You can do it.

Katie: I love that. I think that’s…

Gin: Well, on one caveat, you can be too young. This is not meant for people who are still growing and developing. Children and teens who are not mature, do not do intermittent fasting. Other than that, never too young.
Katie: I’m glad you touched on that. Yeah. And also pregnant women, the restrict calories. Yeah, there’s those few caveats. But oh, I love it. Well, I think we’ve touched on so many important topics today. I’m excited for people listening who have not tried this to get a chance to try it. I’ll make sure they can find all of your resources on how to dial in their own programs. And thank you for your time today.

Gin: Oh, well, thank you. I loved it. Thank you for having me.

Katie: And thank you guys, as always for listening, for sharing your most valuable resources, your time, and your energy with us today. We’re both so grateful that you did, and I hope that you’ll join me again on the next episode of the “Wellness Mama” podcast.

If you’re enjoying these interviews, would you please take two minutes to leave a rating or review on iTunes for me? Doing this helps more people to find the podcast, which means even more moms and families could benefit from the information. I really appreciate your time, and thanks as always for listening.



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