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Welcome to the podcast! Today’s guest is the author of the Amazon #1 best-selling book, Delay, Don’t Deny, and the cohost of The Intermittent Fasting Podcast. She is also a wife, mother, retired teacher, and an intermittent fasting expert. Welcome, Gin Stephens!!

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Gin’s Website:

Chantel Ray:                 Hey guys, welcome to this week’s episode and I am so excited for today’s guest. I’m a huge fan of her work. She is the author of number one bestselling book, Delay, Don’t Deny, and the cohost of the Intermittent Fasting Podcast.

Chantel Ray:                 And she’s now doing her own podcast called Intermittent Fasting Stories where she’s talking to real people, and they are talking about how they do intermittent fasting and how they tweak it to make it work for them. She is a wife, a mother and a retired teacher. Welcome Gin Stevens.

Gin Stephens:               Hi, so glad to be here with you today.

Chantel Ray:                 So start by telling us a little bit about your own wellness journey and how it led you to intermittent fasting?

Gin Stephens:               Like a lot of people I have quite the diet history. I just turned 50 this summer, so looking back in my childhood I was always slim and then I started in college having to battle my weight a little bit the Freshman 15 and that sort of thing. And had a few tools in my toolbox, calorie counting.

Gin Stephens:               I was always fascinated by diets and diety things, even when I didn’t need to lose weight. I guess it’s the culture we grew up in with our mothers dieting, right? And so I really did everything. I would put on a little weight over the years and then I would take it back off, whatever was the diet of the day.

Gin Stephens:               It was maybe low fat in the ’90s, I dabbled with different things here and there. But as the decades came together, as I got into my 30s, 40s, I began to really put on a lot of weight, and I woke up one day and I was officially obese.

Gin Stephens:               I got up to 210 pounds and was really struggling with my weight and not knowing what to do. I was trying all sorts of quick fixes and I just thought, “If I can lose this quickly everything will be great.” And the sad thing is, there I was, 2014, 210 pounds.

Gin Stephens:               I had first read about intermittent fasting probably in around 2009, and there were several books I read at the time and I would dabble here and there. But I treated it like it was a quick fix, like everything else, and the weight didn’t come off quickly. I’m sure you know intermittent fasting is not a quick fix or a crash diet.

Gin Stephens:               So I would stop and move onto something else. And then finally when I had that wake up call in 2014 and I was 210 pounds, I was like, “I’ve got to do something.” And I did start with some quick fixes at that point too, but after a few months I found my way back to intermittent fasting and it stuck that time.

Gin Stephens:               I think it was something I read, I can’t remember what book gave me the idea, but the idea of weighing daily and calculating your weekly average and only comparing the weekly averages. And so finally I started doing that, and then I could see within all those up and down fluctuations that my weight was going down a little bit week by week, maybe a pound a week.

Gin Stephens:               And I was like, “This is working. I need to stick with it. It’s not quick, it’s not dramatic.” But those slow weekly losses added up to now I’m down over 80 pounds, and since hitting my goal in 2015 I’ve been able to maintain and even go on to getting leaner over time. So intermittent fasting is definitely a lifestyle, but I found my way to it through all the crazy diet roller coaster of my past.

Chantel Ray:                 Awesome. And what kind of eating window do you personally do and when you are in your fasting windows, talk about what you recommend? Are you doing a completely clean fast, like no foods or drinks, just water or black coffee? What do you allow yourself to drink during your fast?

Gin Stephens:               All right, that’s a great question. And I’ve actually learned a whole lot along the way, before I wrote my book, Delay, Don’t Deny in 2016. I had been dabbling in intermittent fasting for a long time and early on when I started, everything you read talked about how intermittent fasting was just a strategy for controlling your calories.

Gin Stephens:               Because everyone agreed that it was all about eating less, moving more, and having fewer calories. So that’s how I approached it. And when you think about it from that mindset and that paradigm of calories in, calories out, then of course all you’re going to worry about is calories. And so I was drinking diet sodas throughout the fast, I was putting Stevia in my coffee, and I was drinking that all the time.

Gin Stephens:               I was drinking flavored waters, and fasting was hard. That may have played a part into why I quit so many times along the way. And then it was only being obese that made me say, “No, I’m going to stick to it.” And so even though I had to white knuckle my way to my eating window every day, I did it because I was ready to lose the weight.

Gin Stephens:               So even after I lost my first 75 pounds, I was still having the diet sodas, chewing gum, all those things, the artificial sweeteners during the fast. Then in early 2016 something happened that really changed everything for me, and that is when I read the Obesity Code by Dr. Jason Fung. I’m sure you’ve read that.

Chantel Ray:                 Yes.

Gin Stephens:               And that really taught me, “Oh, it’s not calories in, calories out, it’s insulin. And all of those things that I was using during the fast, the Stevia, the diet sodas, the sugar free gum, those were really working against me. Even the flavored waters with the fruity sweet flavors, they would send a message to my brain that food’s coming in.

Gin Stephens:               Your brain doesn’t understand zero calories, because our brains are wired to work with, “Oh, we’re having something sweet. We must have calories coming in. I’m going to release some insulin.” And our brain doesn’t understand it’s zero calories and no insulin is required.

Gin Stephens:               So once I switched over to the clean fast, which I’ve now started calling it, we coined that phrase in my Facebook groups over the years and now it’s kind of stuck. And once I switched over to the clean fast, it made all the difference in the world. So I believe that it’s best to fast with black coffee, plain tea, plain water. Right now I’ve got my San Pellegrino, unflavored, and that’s all that I have.

Gin Stephens:               Some people are like, “Why are bitter flavors okay?” And that’s because the brain does not perceive a bitter flavor as something saying calories are coming in. But if your brain thinks you’re ingesting calories, it’s going to release the insulin. And what I learned from Dr. Fung that was so pivotal was that when you’re in a state of high insulin, you’re not going to be tapping into your fat stores effectively.

Gin Stephens:               And also the insulin causes your blood sugar to crash, because that’s what insulin does, it clears your blood glucose away somewhere else. And so then that gives you the rebound hunger, you might be shaky. It makes the fast a whole lot harder. So that’s the clean fast, plain water, sparkling water with no flavor, bitter teas, like a plain tea or black coffee. And as far as my eating window goes, it’s not always the same day to day.

Gin Stephens:               It depends on how busy I am. Like right now we’re recording this, it’s 2:00 Eastern time, I haven’t eaten yet. I would never eat prior to an interview because I’m not as mentally sharp after I eat. I’m more like, “All right, now it’s time to…” Like the lion after the kill, right?

Gin Stephens:               But I usually open my eating window now. Anytime after 3:00 that I feel hungry. Maybe I won’t feel hungry till 5:00, or I’m really busy, but maybe 3:00 rolls around and I’m like, “Oh, I’m a little hungry, I’ll have a snack.” And then later I have a really good dinner, maybe something a little later to close my window.

Gin Stephens:               So on a really, really busy day, my eating window might only be two hours long. That’s rare for me now, now that I’m in maintenance, my body needs more food. But typically probably six hours is about a good normal window. I’m not eating for six solid hours, but I make sure to have enough so that I am satisfied at the end of it.

Gin Stephens:               Last night I ate later than normal because I had a very active day. I was doing a lot of physical activity and so I ate my dinner and then a couple of hours later I was really genuinely still hungry. So I honored those hunger signals and I had more to eat.

Chantel Ray:                 Awesome. I loved the way you said that you honored your hunger signals. And that’s the thing, even though I’m a huge proponent in intermittent fasting, in my book I’m really passionate about recognizing true hunger. And that’s what I love, is that fasting allows you to recognize that true hunger. But even in the window that you decide, you still have to be looking for that hunger and fullness and for your satiety.

Gin Stephens:               That’s the thing that a lot of people don’t understand. Sorry to interrupt. Just yesterday… I manage some really large Facebook groups. We’re at about a quarter of a million members from around the world. It’s kind of astonishing.

Gin Stephens:               But someone was like, “Hey, are you really eating whatever you want?” I’m like, “Well, here’s the thing you have to understand, eating whatever you want does not mean eat as much as you can possibly feel like eating, because maybe it’s really good to eat ice cream and you’re enjoying it, but you don’t eat the whole pint of ice cream because your body doesn’t need a pint of ice cream. You have a little bit of ice cream, so you’re eating what you want, but not unlimited amounts.”

Gin Stephens:               You still have to say, I’ve had enough of that and stop eating. And that’s what intermittent fasting allows you to get back in touch with, those satiety signals, the “I’ve had enough,” but you’ve got to listen. You can’t ignore them.

Chantel Ray:                 Yes. So if you had to answer, if someone said to you, let’s pretend clean eating was like lean meats, fruits and vegetables. And if you said out of my diet, would you say 60, 40, 70, 30, 80, 20, meaning what percentage of the time would you be eating very clean, and what percentage would you be eating just whatever you truly want? Just as an estimate.

Gin Stephens:               I don’t know that I could answer that. I don’t really think about food that way anymore. I’ve gotten to the point where I just eat food. Last night I did have some ice cream, because my son’s birthday was two days ago and we had some in the house. Then I was, “I’m still hungry. I’m going to have a little ice cream.”

Gin Stephens:               And I don’t judge it as this has been unclean food and I’m going to let it in. I just really eat what’s there and what looks good. Now my body does ask for vegetables more than it ever did before, and I think one thing that it’s important to understand is our bodies send a signal for nutrients. If, for example, I went out after this call and went to McDonald’s and got a Big Mac and had a Coke and have some fries, that would be a big load of calories that had very little nutritional value.

Gin Stephens:               So it might physically make me full, but it would be very unsatisfying nutritionally. And I have found over time that if I don’t feed my body sufficient nutrients, my body keeps asking for more food. The whole idea of being overfed yet under nourished is a problem that we fit into in today’s society. It’s a huge problem, because we’re constantly eating things that are devoid of nutrients.

Gin Stephens:               So I work really hard to get nutrients into my diet daily. I eat a variety of vegetables, but I don’t think about… Like if I open my window with cheese and crackers, that’s perfectly fine and I’m not worried about that at all.

Chantel Ray:                 Awesome. Yeah, I agree, and your body will tell you. In my book I talk about the fact that like my son, anytime he has a little bit of a cold, he just says, “Mom, can I have some orange juice?” Or, “Can I have some oranges?”

Chantel Ray:                 His body is telling him he needs Vitamin C. It’s literally subconscious. Your body’s saying, “This is what I’m craving.” So listening to what your body’s craving, it will tell you what it’s kind of lacking. When I’m lacking iron, I know I might crave a steak or so forth.

Gin Stephens:               Right, me too. A burger, a big burger.

Chantel Ray:                 Yes, exactly. I want you to talk a little bit more in depth because I ask all my guests to take me through a day in the life of Gin. What did you eat yesterday exactly? What time did you start and kind of what time did you end?

Gin Stephens:               Okay, well yesterday was different, like I said, because I had a very big eating window because I was starving yesterday. We just bought a new house and so we moved into that a month ago. But our old house, we took it off the market for the move. It’s going back on the market, so I had to go in and clean the whole house to get it ready for photos being taken today.

Gin Stephens:               It was just freshly painted inside and oh my gosh, it was a huge mess. So I worked really hard for about seven hours physically. I was lifting and mopping and vacuuming and scrubbing and cleaning. And I mean I didn’t stop for seven hours, but I did it all in the fasted state. I kept myself hydrated, but I worked really, really hard. So I came home and I was hungry and at about, I don’t know, maybe 4:00, maybe 5:00, somewhere in there, I did have cheese and crackers.

Gin Stephens:               I had some fresh mozzarella that was leftover from something I made recently, and I had some crackers. I get those that are like the organic Ritz crackers. So they’re processed, but they’re organic. So I ate cheese and crackers and then I was still hungry. So I had some roasted broccoli left from a couple of days before. So I had some roasted broccoli after that.

Gin Stephens:               And then maybe at about 6:00 my husband came in and he’s like, “Are you going to start making dinner? I need to go do some things.” So I started making dinner. One of the sponsors of Intermittent Fasting Stories is Plated, and I love Plated and I’ve been using it since way before they sponsored my podcast. I started using them in 2016.

Gin Stephens:               I’m a big believer in those meal delivery services. They send you all the fresh ingredients and you make the foods from scratch. You’re still cooking, you just don’t have to go to the grocery store. So last night’s meal was a veggie… It was supposed to be a tostada, but we like to wrap them up instead. So it was made with… I had to slice up some onions and some tomatoes and zucchini. And what else was in there?

Gin Stephens:               I can’t remember, but it was mushrooms. So starting with all those raw vegetables, slicing them up, roasted them. It had some Mexican cheese, it had some corn with it that was delicious. So that’s what we had for dinner. Then I ate just enough at the time and I was satisfied. But then a couple of hours later I was hungry again.

Gin Stephens:               I also had a glass of wine with dinner and then I relaxed in the bathtub after dinner with my glass of wine. But then later, like I said, I was really hungry so I had some chocolate ice cream and then just a handful of crackers along with that, because I got to end with something salty. I can’t end with sweet. That’s just something about me.

Chantel Ray:                 Awesome. Well, let’s jump right into the listener questions. And this first one is from Maggie in Dover. “I read an article online that says our bodies spend much of the day under the control of a sympathetic branch of our nervous system, which controls our fight or flight response. So during the day, our bodies are naturally a little more stressed. At the night, it’s our parasympathetic system that kicks in and controls our digestion, meaning it’s better to eat at night. Then I read a different article that said it’s better to eat your bigger meal during the day so you can burn off some of the foods you eat. I’m trying to do one meal a day, but every time I read a new article, I switch from eating lunch to dinner. Who do I know who is right and who to believe?” Maggie in Dover.

Gin Stephens:               That’s a great question. You’ll read so many confusing things and my best advice is to make intermittent fasting fit into your life. Do you feel better when you eat dinner? If so, go by that. If you feel better eating your meal, even if you feel better with a breakfast window, eat breakfast. If you feel better eating in the middle of the day, you’ll know.

Gin Stephens:               For me an evening eating window is what works the best, because as I’ve already mentioned today, once I eat I’m like that lion after the kill, I want to just sit around. I don’t want to be active. So if I had my main meal at lunch, I would not be very productive for the rest of the day. And then I also find myself dragging and then I also get really hungry again, maybe eight hours later.

Gin Stephens:               Like there have been days when I’m like, “I’m going to have my big lunch today because I have an event and that’s going to be my one meal and I’m not going to eat again.” And I feel great. Now I might be a little draggy, but I’m still fine. And then about 8:00 p.m. I’m starving and I have to eat again because I’m really, really hungry and I don’t sleep well if I’m hungry.

Gin Stephens:               So for me, I don’t care what an article said, a middle of the day eating window does not work for my body, because I eat again later. And so I end up with a really long window. So practically that isn’t useful for me. Even if we had a definitive study that said the ideal eating window is at X time, if that doesn’t feel right for my body and fit into my lifestyle, I’m not going to do that.

Gin Stephens:               Because we can chase perfection, when really do what works best for you. And that’s why an evening eating window is fine for me. There’s also a train of thought that you didn’t mention, that an early window, early in the day is better because of circadian rhythms. That’s a train of thought out there that a lot of people have really latched onto, and it might be true, but I’ve yet to see a study where they compare a morning eating window to an evening eating window, all other things being equal.

Gin Stephens:               They have a morning eating window compared to an all day eating window, and of course which one was better? Well, the morning window was better than the eating all day, but we don’t have a study where everything is kept the same. So theoretically perhaps it would be better to eat at a certain time. You’ll certainly read that and hear it, but I’m living in the world and I’m okay to make it work for me and eat when it feels right to me.

Chantel Ray:                 I love that. And I just love your philosophy, because I have the same one of like listen to your body. We’re all different and you’ve got to listen to what you do. For me personally, sometimes, because I do have a lot of lunch appointments, and so I love going out to eat.

Chantel Ray:                 So if I have the choice to have someone else’s cooking or my own, I’m always going to choose someone else’s. So I kind of flip flop. So if I’m going out to lunch I’ll be like, “Oh, I’ll just have lunch.” And then I’ll either have a snack at dinner or nothing at dinner, depending on how hungry or full I am.

Chantel Ray:                 But I think a lot of people just forget to talk about your hunger and fullness. It’s like, “Okay, am I hungry, am I full?” And as you know, I’ve interviewed over 1,000 women and most of them that I’ve interviewed, I would say that most of them eat at night.

Chantel Ray:                 And most of them, the thinnest ones that I’ve interviewed have a snack around like 2:00. They have something small, like they’ll have a Greek yogurt, a little bit of peanut butter, whatever it is. Like a 200 calorie, doesn’t matter, they’re not counting calories, but just if you had to estimate they’re eating something around 200 calories.

Chantel Ray:                 And then they’re eating whatever they want for dinner and that’s this… It’s a one stack and a one dinner. And those are the thinnest people that I’ve interviewed. Yeah, it’s very true.

Gin Stephens:               Yeah. So I do think we get caught up in the whole, this is what we think is right. Like I think some of the recommendations to eat early have to do with insulin sensitivity being better early in the day. But some of the studies that that’s founded on were people who were eating all day long.

Gin Stephens:               So they were eating all day long and their insulin sensitivity was better in the morning. Well, by the end of the day they’ve been eating all day. So you can’t draw any conclusions from that. Anyway, it’s so very complicated when you dig down into it and you’ve just got to do what feels right to you. The listener question said do you want to eat so that then you can burn off that food.

Gin Stephens:               I think that’s a faulty way of looking at it, because I’m burning off something all day long when I’m in the fasted state. You’re going to eat it, you’re going to burn it off. It’s going to happen. You don’t have to burn it off immediately after you eat it. It’s not going to all just like turn the fat in your body.

Chantel Ray:                 Yes. Okay, this next one is from McKayla in Westchester. “Hey Chantel, I’ve listened to your Thin Eater interviews online, and almost all of them say that they have coffee with a little creamer in the morning and they don’t have their first meal till 1:00 or 2:00. But on the other podcast you say it’s best to drink black coffee. If it’s not what the Thin Eaters do, should I do it? Also in the interviews it seems like most of the girls had a medium sized meal to large, and then one snack like fruit and yogurt. So that’s more like one meal plus a snack. Will one meal and one snack, bring me better results or do you think two small meals will be better?” That’s funny. This is just what I was talking about.

Gin Stephens:               Well, you know, as far as the coffee with creamer, that’s getting your digestion started. So for me, that puts you into… You’re not fasting anymore. You’re having really what is a low calorie diet. Can people lose weight on a low calorie diet? Yes. People lose weight on low calorie diets all the time and you have to work really hard to stick to that low calorie diet to maintain it.

Gin Stephens:               I don’t work very hard. It’s not hard for me. I drink my black coffee. I don’t have to think about what I’m eating. I can have a large snack and a large meal if I need it that day. So if you’re trying to fast, I would recommend that you fast. There are hormonal and metabolic benefits that come along with the fasted state that you lose the minute you put creamer in your coffee or cream or milk or anything like that.

Gin Stephens:               Like I said, I learned that for the first time when I read The Obesity Code back in 2016, and it really changed everything for me. I also know I’m so much more hungry if I have a little something like that, a little cream in the coffee, a little whatever. It’s very striking once you embrace the clean fast and realize how great that feels.

Gin Stephens:               I remember a Thanksgiving, it might’ve been 2017. No, I think it was 2016. I don’t know. One of those years. It was Thanksgiving and my son and his girlfriend, who’s now his wife, were at home from college and they were having something early in the day. I’m like, “Well, I’m just going to have a little coffee and cream. I’m at my goal weight. I can have it. It’s not a big deal. I can have whatever I want. I’m opening my window early.”

Gin Stephens:               I mean I knew I was opening my window early, but I was just going to have the coffee and cream, and then eat later. Well, after having that, very soon I’m starving. So I’m like, “Now I got to eat all the things because I’m really hungry now.” So that just illustrates for me, that’s a kind of hunger I don’t get when I’m sticking to the black coffee. It’s really a different kind of hunger.

Gin Stephens:               So anybody that’s not sure, I would like to challenge you to stick to the clean fast for at least a month. Let your body really adjust to that. And then you’re like, “Well, this cream isn’t causing me a problem.” Try it and see and I bet you’ll see the difference.

Chantel Ray:                 Yeah. And the people that I’m interviewing, these are people who have been thin their whole life, they’ve never been on a diet.

Gin Stephens:               Right, a good point.

Chantel Ray:                 So they’re also not trying to lose weight. Excuse me, sorry. But they’re not trying to lose weight. When I choose who I’m interviewing, I literally say, “Have you ever been on a diet?” And if they say, “Yes,” they’re not a candidate for my pool. So these are people who have been thin their whole life, they are not trying to lose weight at all.

Chantel Ray:                 And so I’ve interviewed them and literally pulled out every piece. And it’s very interesting that this person has noted that, because I asked them, “What do you have for breakfast? What do you have for lunch? What do you have for dinner?” And the majority of them do have coffee with cream. But again, they’re in maintenance mode, so they’re not trying to to lose any weight.

Gin Stephens:               They’re not fasting either. They’re just having… That’s what they do. I also think those of us that have been overweight, do my body was very insulin resistant. I had the abdominal obesity that you get, I was really big around my middle all of a sudden, and I think we have to be a little more careful those of us that have come from obesity. My body could get back there so I have to work to keep my insulin low.

Chantel Ray:                 Yes. All right, this next one’s from Ava in Memphis. “I’ve been intermittent fasting for about a year now. I was losing weight pretty steadily, but now it seems like I’ve hit a plateau. Do you know why this might be happening and what are some tricks that can kickstart the weight loss again?”

Gin Stephens:               Well, I wish I had some more info from Ava because that would really help. It’s possible that she could be at a weight where her body’s happy. Sometimes the weight where we naturally settle is not the weight where we want to be. Think about the whole… We’ve learned about the bell curve when we were in school, and the whole spectrum of sizes that we just are naturally somewhere along there.

Gin Stephens:               Maybe her body’s happy point is higher than her brain would like it to be, and it’s hard to work against what your body wants. But let’s say that she’s at a weight that’s higher than she wants to be. I’m assuming she’s probably doing the eating window approach, she didn’t say, but that’s a very typical one. We find that a lot of women specifically, most of our group is made of women, but a lot of women will plateau at a weight that’s higher than they prefer on the daily eating window approach also known as time restricted eating.

Gin Stephens:               And so it might be time for them to pull out the up and down day strategy. I have a chapter on this in Delay, Don’t Deny. Also alternate daily fasting is another name for it. You may have heard of 5:2 or 4:3. It’s where you have down days balanced with up days. There was just a big study that came out recently about alternate daily fasting in fact, and the health outcomes that go along with it, the positive health outcomes.

Gin Stephens:               So the daily eating window approach is a really great strategy, but sometimes people’s bodies will adjust to that. Our bodies like something called homeostasis, we like to stay the same. Our body can adjust and say, “Here we are, we’re staying.” And that’s when you plateau. So you’re going to have to shake things up.

Gin Stephens:               And the up and down day pattern really does help for a lot of women especially, men too. It helps for men too. But if you’re stuck at a weight and you are confident that you should be able to lose more weight, then try the up and down day strategy.

Chantel Ray:                 Okay, this is from Diane in Atlanta. “I’m doing a six hour eating window. I’ve done it for two weeks and I’ve only lost two pounds. I’m not eating very clean during the window. How quickly after I start intermittent fasting, can I expect to lose weight? I’m a super impatient person. What am I doing wrong?”

Gin Stephens:               The only thing you’re doing wrong, Diane, is expecting that you would have lost more than two pounds in two weeks. That’s the only thing you’re doing wrong. First of all, your body is still adapting to intermittent fasting, and in two weeks you’ve not adjusted, your fat burning enzymes are not fully activated. You’re probably not really tapping into your fat stores yet.

Gin Stephens:               And so, first of all, intermittent fasting is a whole lot more difficult before your body adjusts to the fast. So I’d be aware of that. But you’re probably not really tapping into your fat stores yet. So a pound a week is typical once your body adjusts, but really don’t expect to lose weight any more quickly than that. And as I mentioned before, daily weighing with weekly averaging, only compare the weekly averages. So at this point you’re two weeks in.

Gin Stephens:               Your weekly average should be down by two pounds, if you’re lucky. I mean during the adjustment phase, some people even gain weight because since your body is not adjusted yet to fat burning during the fast, it’s typical for you to be extra hungry during your eating window and you may over eat to compensate for that, because you’re not well fueled.

Gin Stephens:               Once your body adjusts to tapping into your fat stores during the fast, you are well fueled. Yesterday when I was working all throughout my house, I was able to work with plenty of energy. My body was as well fueled. Of course I got home and I was a little extra hungry, so I ate more food because my body had let me know I needed more fuel.

Gin Stephens:               The same thing’s happening if you’re not adjusted to intermittent fasting, your body’s like, “Eat more food.” So some people actually gain weight at first. Once you adapt, you should be better, you won’t be as hungry, you’re not going to have that overeat feeling as much and your satiety signals will get back into balance.

Chantel Ray:                 All right. This next one is from Gail in Seattle. “I’ve lost 50 pounds doing intermittent fasting and I’ve gained 20 of it back. I was at 200 and I got down to 150, and now I’m at 170 and I’ve mainly stayed around the 170 mark. 170 Seems like my happy place and my boyfriend says that this is my set point and this is the weight range which my body is programmed to function at its best. He says that this is where my body is going to fight to maintain that weight range. In the first few weeks I might keep losing, but I’m always going to get back to 170, do you agree?”

Gin Stephens:               Yeah, that’s certainly a possibility. I discussed that a few minutes ago that if your body really wants to stay at a certain weight, it’s hard to work against that. But I would want you to think about what you’re drinking during your fast. Because let me tell you a story about me. I talked about how I lost 75 pounds and then I read The Obesity Code and then I realized about the clean fast.

Gin Stephens:               What I didn’t mention, and I do talk about this in my book, and I’ve told this story many times, just not today, I had started to regain weight. I dropped 75 pounds and then over the next months I was regaining. I regained eight pounds of that 75 pound loss. I was not fasting clean. I didn’t know about it. I thought it was calories in, calories out. I was putting the Stevia. I thought it was all the calories. I was having the diet sodas.

Gin Stephens:               Then I read The Obesity Code and then I went, “Okay, I’ve got to do this.” So the day I started fasting clean, not only did fasting get easier, but I lost those eight pounds and then went on to lose more. I was a size fours, but my fours were getting tight. And now in that same brand of jeans, I’m a size zero. So the clean fast made all the difference.

Gin Stephens:               So if you’re not fasting clean, that’s what I would bet is why you’re regaining, because that’s exactly what happened to me. Because if you’re not fasting clean, you’re low calorie dieting. And when you do low calorie dieting, you miss out on the metabolic and hormonal benefits of the clean fast. You’re able to tap into your fat stores, your body knows you have plenty of fuel on hand, your body doesn’t panic and you don’t have the rebound weight gain.

Gin Stephens:               So if you are clean fasting and your weight is going up, that is something to think about. Also, something stressful going on? Are you not sleeping? Have you started taking medication linked to weight gain? It could just be your body’s set point. But I would really look to the fast and make sure you’re fasting clean.

Gin Stephens:               And if the answer is no, then congratulations. I think you have found it and I think you will be able to get back down to where you were before if you start with the clean fast. Give it some time.

Chantel Ray:                 All right, last question. Hannah in Omaha, “One of my friends told me if she’s trying to lose weight, she goes down to two days out of the week. She does OMAD, one meal a day. I’m trying to do the same thing. Do you think that just doing OMAD two days a week and not seven days week will still give me the results that I’m looking for? Also, do you think I’ll keep losing weight even though I’m eating really unhealthy foods during my one meal a day?”

Gin Stephens:               Well, I don’t know if doing that twice a week would give you results or not. I know it would not have given me results, but it might. If you’re maintaining eating normally all the time, then maybe switching two days to one meal a day you will lose weight. So you just have to try it and see.

Gin Stephens:               Now as far as eating the really unhealthy things, I think that’s part of the process for a lot of us. My book is called Delay, Don’t deny and so many of us denied things for so many years when we were dieting because those were quite bad foods and whatever. But I don’t want you to think about longterm that that is how I mean for you to eat.

Gin Stephens:               Some people get really confused. They’re like, “Well, Gin said, don’t deny, so I’m going to have…” I’m like, “Well, no. It’s more nuanced than that. You still want to make sure to feed your body nutritious foods.” Yesterday I ate a lot of nutritious foods even though there was some ice cream in there and some crackers.

Gin Stephens:               And so I would not think that I should do two meals of really unhealthy foods. Get some healthy foods in there too, and then have the foods that you crave, have a little bit of those too. That’s important. Your body is craving nutrients. So it really all depends also on what you’re doing those other five days.

Chantel Ray:                 Yeah. For me, I usually do two meals a day, but if I am trying to lose weight, I will do one meal a day, like two or three times a week. And that does help me to lose weight. But I’m still intermittent… It’s not like the rest of the time I’m eating every two hours. I’m always in a six hour window or less.

Chantel Ray:                 For me, I can’t do an eight hour window. If I do eight hours, I’m going to gain weight. So for me, I do a six hour window and if I feel like things are creeping up, then I do maybe two or three days-

Gin Stephens:               Heighten it up, yeah.

Chantel Ray:                 … I might just do one meal a day and I’ll start seeing things move. Well, tell listeners where they can go and follow you and your work?

Gin Stephens:               All right, well if you go to, that’s my website, G-I-N-S-T-E-P-H-E-N-S. and there are links to all sorts of things there. My main book is called Delay, Don’t Deny: Living an intermittent fasting lifestyle. And I have a second book called Feast Without Fear, which is about food.

Gin Stephens:               It’s not another intermittent fasting book, but it’s a book about why we’re all different when it comes to what foods work well for you. Like your friend who did great on keto, but you did not, or you do well vegetarian, but your other friend did not. So we’re all different when it comes to what we eat. So just go to my website and check out my books.

Gin Stephens:               My podcasts, one of them is Intermittent Fasting Stories. If you want to hear from real people who have adapted intermittent fasting into their lifestyles, that’s the one you want. A new episode comes out every Thursday. And my other podcast with cohost Melanie Avalon, the Intermittent Fasting Podcast comes out every Monday.

Chantel Ray:                 Awesome. Well, it’s been an absolute pleasure having you on the show. Thank you so much for joining us today.

Gin Stephens:               Well, thank you for having me.

Chantel Ray:                 And if you have a question that you want answered, go to We’ll see you next time. Bye bye.


***As always, this podcast is not designed to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any condition and is for information purposes only. Please consult with your healthcare professional before making any changes to your current lifestyle.***