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Q: Can I be paleo as a vegetarian or vegan?

A: You can, but you’re going to have very limited sources of protein. You need to eat a lot of nut butters and things like pea or hemp protein. One way to get protein is to drink smoothies.

Q: What if I’m reaching the end of my six-hour window and my stomach isn’t growling? Can I eat?

A: Let’s say you waited for your stomach to growl and you began your window at 12:30pm. Your window ends at 6:30pm, but maybe your stomach hasn’t growled by the time your family is eating dinner at 5pm. Let’s go back to that hunger scale. For the very first meal you need to be at a 1 before you start your window. At your next meal (like the 5pm family dinner), you can be a 2 and eat something really small. This way your stomach doesn’t growl just after your window closes leaving you feeling tempted to eat. 

Q: What if I like to have coffee with cream in the morning?

A:If you’re the kind of person who lives for their coffee with cream every morning, you’re going to have to make an adjustment for a little while. It is possible to have coffee with cream and no sugar every morning and still get results. If you decide to do that, just know that you may not get results as fast as someone else. This is because you’re elevating your blood sugar when you drink that. I personally recommend you don’t do it. However, if that is your one hang up that’s keeping you from starting this plan, then keep your coffee with cream. Whatever you decide to do, it’s best to wait and drink coffee 3-4 hours after you wake up or at least until you start getting hungry. Caffeine is an appetite suppressant, so when you drink it, it pushes you so that you can fast a little longer. On days when you’re fasting but you feel like you just have to eat, that’s when you drink the black coffee or unsweetened tea. 

Q: Once I break the seal, I get out of control. Once I have one chip, I have to have 20. Once I eat one French fry, I’m going to eat the whole thing! What if I don’t know how to stop eating?

A: The reason you’re out of control is because you’ve deprived yourself of the foods you want and you told yourself that these are “bad foods.” Yesterday, I went to Ocean Breeze Waterpark with my family. One of them got pizza, one got a hot dog, one got french fries, and they all got ice cream. I asked my husband for one bite of his pizza and it tasted disgusting. It was like the worst thing! Then I had a french fry and I thought these are the worst fries ever! It was very easy to stop eating. The most I ate was three bites of ice cream. That goes back to the rule of decadent foods – just have a few bites. The point is this: if I didn’t have that stuff I would have been sitting there thinking, I want that pizza! I want those fries! Instead, I had one bite of all of them and thought eh. I decided that the food was so disgusting that I wasn’t going to eat. I wasn’t starving hungry so it wasn’t a problem. I’ve made a decision that I’m only going to fill my body with things I truly love. Why am I going to waste my calories on foods that are just eh. 

Q: I have low blood sugar. Can I do intermittent fasting?

A:I have a major problem with low blood sugar. I woke up this morning not feeling well, so around 8:30 I decided to take my blood sugar. It was 63. Anything under 70 is considered low and when you’re fasting your blood sugar should be between 80-100. I don’t feel good when I’m in the 60-70 range. Now, I’m not a doctor and this entire book is based on my personal experiences and what works for me. This is my advice based on being a person who’s had low blood sugar for a very long time. Consult your physician before doing these things. 1. Get a monitor - First you need to find out if you indeed have low blood sugar or if you’re just constantly spiking and crashing because of a high sugar diet. Get yourself a monitor and actually test your blood sugar. If this is truly a problem for you, then you might want to eat smaller meals so that your stomach growls sooner and you can eat again. 2. Move Around - Typically, when you exercise your blood sugar drops but I have found in my own experience that when my blood sugar is really low and I exercise and have some caffeine it actually goes back up. Do a little research and you’ll find there are other people who have a similar reaction. 3. Drink unsweetened tea - Like I said before, I woke up this morning with my blood sugar at 63. I got up, walked around the house and drank a glass of unsweetened tea. By 11am, my blood sugar was 104 which is actually considered prediabetic. I went to Lucky Oyster later and had egg whites with spinach and onions as well as an egg and cheese biscuit with half of the biscuit removed. Twenty minutes after that Q & A: Your Questions Answered! 179 meal, my blood sugar had only risen to 125. That’s pretty good for it to only rise that much after eating a whole meal. Unless your blood sugar is below 70, you shouldn’t be eating when you’re in your fasting time. Look, you’re talking to the low blood sugar queen! If I can do it, so can you. You just have to check your blood sugar to see where it really is. Also,confirm you actually have a low blood sugar problem and that you aren’t just addicted to sugar!

Q: Aren’t you going to eat so much more when you’re in your eating window?

A:In the beginning, I think you will. You’ll have to remind yourself not to overeat. However, one of the benefits of fasting is that it gets you out of the habit of eating just because it’s a certain time of day, and into the habit of eating only when you’re hungry. It gets rid of the “I’m bored” snacking habit. That was a big deal for me. You have to be very careful not to eat out of boredom even if you are in your six-hour window.

Q: What should I do if I’m having really bad bouts of being “hangry?”

A: When I’m hangry (hungry and angry for those who don’t know) I become a bear. One of the things that makes you hangry is your shift in ranges of blood sugar. When you’re doing intermittent fasting, believe it or not, your blood sugar is more stable. I feel amazing right now - or super-duper really good as my son likes to say - so I’m going to go ahead and take my blood sugar for you guys and see what it is. I’m at 97. I feel the best when I’m fasting and my blood sugar is in the range of 90-100. It’s when I’m in the 70-80 range that I’m not feeling good.

Q: What if I’m not seeing results?

A:If you’re not seeing results, the first question you need to ask yourself is, “What am I drinking?” Are you drinking Diet Coke, coffee with cream, flavored water with sugar in it? These are little things that can slow your weight loss. Believe it or not, they spike your insulin and that’s something you don’t want to do. Keep in mind that losing weight takes time. I didn’t lose anything for the first two weeks. That’s why I don’t recommend weighing yourself on a scale every day. Only weigh yourself once a week and at times when you’re feeling really thin. Weighing yourself everyday can discourage you.

Q: Can I do this Vegan?

A: You absolutely can keep a vegan diet with this plan. You can do whatever you want as long as you’re following the principles of fasting, never overeating and only eating when you’re hungry. If you’re trying to do 80% paleo like me, then you’re going to have to eat a lot more veggies and avocados and fats. I believe God calls different people to different things. For example, God called me to give 90% of my income and to live on 10%, but he didn’t call everyone to do that. If you want to be vegan, I’m 100% on board with that. I believe the Bible is saying eat whatever you want. If you feel like God is calling you not to eat meat, who am I to say to eat meat? You have to decide what is best for you. I believe that eating meat and avoiding a whole lot of dairy and gluten is the best thing for my body. 

Q: How does the fasting window begin?

A:If you’re having trouble figuring out the beginning of your fasting window, remember that you are free to determine when you start and stop eating. The second you start eating, you’re in your eating window and you are considered to be in the fed state. Your eating window is closed the minute you stop eating and the fasting window begins. I talked to a girl this weekend who told me she wakes up in the morning starving but is not a dinner person. If you’re like that, you may want to do a 9am-2pm eating window. That’s fine; that’s your eating window. Your window is closed when you eat your very last bite. Now, some people argue that when your fasting window begins, you’re not really in a fasted state. For example, if you finished eating at 2pm, you’re not immediately in a fasted state at 3pm because your body is still fueling itself off of the food you just ate. That’s true, but it’s not what we’re talking about for the fasting window. We’re dealing with the time you’re eating vs. the time you’re fasting. You get yourself to the fasted state by waiting until your stomach growls the next day. It’s an accomplishment when your stomach growls because now you’re really starting to burn fat.

Q: What if I’m required to take food with my medication in the morning?

A: Obviously, you’ll have to break your fast in the morning, so you need to find something that will not cause your insulin to spike. Look for a high-fat food: something with cream or with a lot of butter. An egg is good as well. The yolk is very high-fat, lowcarb. I would eat anything I could think of that was high-fat and low-carb, and I would eat as little of it in the morning that I could. Then I would wait for my stomach to growl before eating again. I definitely wouldn’t try to have a whole meal. I wouldn’t stress about it, but I would just make sure I had enough in my body so the medicine wouldn’t mess up my stomach.

Q: What about body odor?

A:I had a friend tell me that once she started fasting she was getting more intense body odor. She said her armpits and breath smelled more. That is just a matter of your body detoxing. Use a lot of mouthwash if your breath smells bad. Carry an extra deodorant with you in your purse for your armpits. It gets better, but right now your body is trying to get used to it. It may be kind of unpleasant, but you should really look at it as something that’s good. It means you’re doing a good thing for your body. Also, it causes an unexpected positive side effect: more showers! If you have a problem with eating impulsively, showers and baths are really good for you. It de-stresses you. If you’re having an issue with body odor, use it as an opportunity to bathe instead of eat and increase your weight loss! 

Q: What if I’m not losing weight doing the eight-hour window?

A:I’ve found that women have a hard time losing weight if they’re only doing eight hour eating windows. It’s not enough fasting time and they’re usually eating too much at each meal as well. If you’re working out, though, there may be another explanation. You may not be losing weight on the scale, but your body composition could be changing. Take me, for example: I am such a muscle builder. My mom used to smack me on the butt and call me the Rock of Gibraltar because I am just a solid piece of meat! There’s a lot of muscle in my body. So, I have a jacket that I used to never be able to clasp both buttons, but now it fits just perfect! I’m not seeing the results I want when I get on the scale, but these other signs let me know my body is actually changing. Ultimately, you want to change your body composition more than you want to lose weight.

Q: Are artificial sweeteners harmful?

A: Here’s the bottom line: you will not get the best results if you consume artificial sweeteners. The biggest area of struggle for most people is with drinking water. I have so many friends that say they hate water. They never drink it unless it’s zero-calorie flavored water. However, I believe that when you do something for a few days, you just get used to it. For example, I used to always need some sort of Splenda in my tea because I thought unsweetened tea was disgusting. Now, I can drink my tea with no sweetener at all. It’s something you’ll get used to. 

Q: Can I have artificial sweeteners during my eating window?

A: Once you’re in your eating window, you can have them as much as you want. Do I like it? No! Go back to the section on Chemical City. For me, artificial sweeteners are the Devil and I’ll never eat them. I don’t like the way they taste, and, if I’m going to eat something sweet, I want it to be real, live sugar. If you want to eat them, you’re free to do so, but your results won’t be as good. If you’ll do a web search on the effect of artificial sweeteners on blood sugar, you’ll see competing results. I think it varies for every individual. Forget the studies and try it for yourself. If you’re considering having artificial sweeteners in your diet, check your blood sugar before and after having them and see what happens.

Q: What do I do when I’m not getting the results I want?

A: Do more Big Power Fasts. That’s my technique to step up my weight loss. I wait a little later in the day to eat, and I drink more caffeine to get me through. Sometimes I’ll eat 95% paleo instead of 80/20 as well.  

Q: What do I do when I go on vacation?

A:I’m going on a four-day vacation in a couple of weeks and I’m going to extend my eating windows to eight hours. If you’re doing an extended vacation – like a month – I would suggest starting your window later in the day. You could do something like 1-9pm. I definitely recommend that you don’t weigh yourself as soon as you get back from vacation. Like I’ve said before, I weigh myself when I feel skinny. Now, if you want to continue to lose weight while you’re on vacation and not just maintain, then stick to eating one meal a day while being lenient on the 80/20 rule. Personally, I eat less while I’m traveling because jet lag throws me off and I don’t do as good a job. A note about the enjoyment scale: you are never going to find something at the airport that’s a four. Airport food is just nasty! Even though you’re on vacation, stick to 4s and 5s on the enjoyment scale. If it isn’t good, just don’t eat. You’re going to have more fun on your vacation if you’re feeling lean, so don’t abandon the plan just because you’re traveling. When you’re on the beach in your bikini you want to feel good!

Q: Are you getting enough calories when you eat one meal a day?

A:I’m sorry, but my aunt is 89lbs and she is never worried if she’s getting enough calories! You’re not going to ruin your metabolism by eating one meal a day; that’s a myth. You need to get this sort of thinking out of your mind. You are not overweight because you don’t eat enough calories. Let’s be real honest with ourselves. That excuse is ludicrous, and it came from the diet industry. As always, eat when you’re hungry and eat until you’re satisfied on your Big Power Fast. Don’t use the Big Power Fast as an excuse to get stuffed. This is very, very important. 

Q: I’m not seeing my weight change on the scale. What’s wrong?

A:I learned about something recently called the “whoosh effect.” It explains why you don’t always see a consistent change in your weight every day while you’re burning fat. Because of the law of thermodynamics, burning more calories than you consume results in weight loss as your body gets the energy it needs from your fat reserves. This isn’t a theory; it’s actual physics. If you don’t give your body food, it has to use the fat in your body. So, you may wonder why you can go a whole week and not lose weight when you know you were burning fat. That’s where the “whoosh effect” comes in. It has to do with water retention. The idea is that your fat cells become filled with water as you’re burning fat. Because of this, the scale doesn’t change even though you did in fact burn fat. However, once your body finally drops that water (maybe 1-2 weeks later or more depending on the person) you lose a bunch of weight at once. That’s called the “whoosh effect5 ” It’s like the sound of your pounds being flushed down the toilet. Get it? It’s not that you actually lost that many pounds overnight. It’s that your weight loss finally “caught up” with your fat loss. I lost no weight at all during my first two weeks of doing this plan. My third week I lost six pounds and my fourth week I lost four. WHOOSH! I lost all this weight! That’s why I don’t like getting on the scale every day. You’re getting yourself worked up for no reason. Here’s what I suggest as a better way to measure your weight loss: get a pair of pants that you don’t ever wash or dry and try them on regularly to see how you’re progressing. I even prefer this method to measuring your inches with measuring tape. When you use measuring tape, you have to be sure to measure the same exact spot and pull the tape just right every time or your reading won’t be accurate. 5 Muir, Chris, “How Whooshes Impact Your Weight Loss” Shellabarger, Brian. “The ‘Whoosh’ Effect” “Of Whooshes and Squishy Fat” 

Q: I’m doing intermittent fasting and now I don’t feel good?

A: Don’t make the mistake of overdosing on the wrong foods just because you’re allowed to eat whatever you want now. I’ve seen a lot of people who were eating really clean but then went the complete opposite direction when they started intermittent fasting. Your body isn’t going to feel well if you do that. This is why I focus on eating clean foods even if they’re not “healthy.” I know I have a high fat diet. I don’t worry about fat. I eat nuts that are high in fat, steak with butter and all that stuff because the more fat I eat the better I feel. It’s chemicals that I stay away from because I like to feel my best.

Q: How do I know if I’m getting enough nutrients in my body?

A:I take a lot of vitamins because I feel like the food we eat doesn’t have as much as I need. Visit

Q: What are your thoughts on having a cheat meal?

A:I don’t call it a cheat meal because I eat what I want every day. On days that I’m not feeling great, I fill my body with super healthy foods to get my energy up. Right now, I’m craving Baker’s Crust’s Gotta Have It burger. Since I want to keep it clean today, I’m going to take away the bun and wrap it in lettuce. When I need a lot of energy, I don’t eat as many carbs. I’ll eat red meat because my iron levels are lower than the average Joe. So, I’m going to have this burger wrapped in lettuce with some fries for potassium, and that will be my one meal for the day. 

Q: What are your thoughts on alcohol and wine?

A:I went to a pool party last night and someone asked me if I wanted champagne. I told her no because I don’t like to drink my calories. I have a ton of friends that do intermittent fasting and they really like to drink. I believe the Bible says that Jesus drank wine, and I believe drinking is fine as long as you don’t get drunk. There are also health benefits to drinking red wine. I’m a proponent of drinking wine if the Holy Spirit leads you to. I’m just not a drinker. I probably drink two times a year and I don’t love it. I actually have this mental block to drinking because of all my years of dieting. It’s this thought that if I don’t drink my calories, I can have more to eat. I have plenty of friends that are very skinny and would much rather drink their calories than eat them. The main thing is that, if you’re drinking, you’re doing it during your eating window.

Q: But doesn’t alcohol make you gain weight?

A:I have this group called the Thursday Funday group. A lot of them are not Christians, but I absolutely adore them. I look at how much they eat and drink and they definitely increase their calories with alcohol. However, they are still as thin as they can be. Keep in mind most of those girls only eat one meal a day and maybe a snack. Most of them don’t start eating before two or three in the afternoon, and they stay in that six or eight-hour window. Keep looking at the line between eating and overeating. If you are eating and drinking in your window, the alcohol should be fine. 

Q: What are the benefits of red wine?

A: There are all kinds of studies explaining why you should drink red wine. They say it regulates your blood sugar. I don’t really know because I don’t drink it, but if Jesus drank it I’m not going to look at you negatively for doing it. If you want to be literal I suppose you could say you drink it to be more like Him. HAHA!

Q: How strict do I have to be on the 80/20?

A: The 80/20 is important. It’s 100% clean eating that I don’t recommend. Yesterday, I had nothing but grilled veggies, grilled shrimp, and salad. However, I ate a large volume of food and I ate so clean because I was surrounded by people who were eating that way too. I really wanted a potato and pasta and I should have gotten that. I could have done that and only eaten a few bites. Instead, I tried to do 100% clean and ended up feeling deprived. So, when I got home I went a half hour over my eating window and ate a bite of pudding and ten mini peanut butter Ritz crackers. That was a mini-binge for me. When I try to be perfect with my eating, I get in a bad place and lose control a little bit. When I eat what I want in the 80/20 system, it doesn’t affect my body negatively. You want to make clean choices, but you don’t want to overdo it. Not overeating is the #1 thing.

Q: What’s the ideal number of times to poop? A: Most of the people I talk to feel their best when they have 2-3 bowel movements a day. At that number, you’re cleaning out your gut and getting rid of toxins in your body. Keep in mind that if you’re eating only one meal a day then you’re probably going to be running to the bathroom less. I’ve done a lot of study on gut health and I think it’s one of the most important things for you to work on. Your bowel movements are influenced by what time you’re eating and by something called the gut microbiome. The healthier your microbiome, the better your digestive system will work. What tears up your microbiome is eating too much processed food. When your gut is out of balance you have inflammation, excess fat, and insulin resistance. If you find yourself feeling constipated a lot, you can take probiotics to clean out your gut. I take between 100-180 million probiotics every day but it can be very expensive. Candida – or yeast infection – can give you chronic fatigue, digestive problems, bloating and more. While cutting down on sugar in your diet can help stop the overgrowth, candida actually makes you crave sugar more! Avoid these kinds of conditions and stick to your 80/20. I’ve seen some people say they have runny stool or constipation from intermittent fasting. If you have problems with constipation, magnesium can be good for you. You can take it in powder or oil form. You also need to look at how much fiber you have in your diet. I don’t think the American diet includes very much fiber, so I take a fiber supplement every day. 

Q: Should I be eating low-carb?

A:I try not to focus on eating a low-carb diet. Even if you cut down your carbohydrate intake, you could still easily eat 3,000-4,000 calories in a day. I’ve seen people actually gain weight on a lowcarb diet because the foods they were eating were high in fat. My answer to how to eat is always this: eat in your window and never overeat. You shouldn’t be counting calories and you shouldn’t be counting carbs. Eat high-quality, real foods, eat only when you’re hungry, and stop eating when you’re full.

Q: How do I decide the length of my eating window each day?

A:It depends on your schedule and what you have going on. For example, I have company at my house today, so I sat down with them when they were eating breakfast but I didn’t eat with them. I’d rather skip breakfast because that’s easier for me than lunch and dinner. Since I still need to maintain my six-hour window, I’m going to eat from 1-7pm so I can have that meal time with my visitors. Although it’s better to use the same timeframe for your eating window every day, you can make adjustments on the fly depending on your schedule and how you feel. 

Q: When does my window begin? Do I track my eating or do I track my fasting?

A:In this book, we track our eating with eating windows. Alternatively, you can choose to track the number of hours you fast instead of with a fasting window. Your eating window begins as soon as you consume your first calorie for the day, and it ends when you consume your last calorie. A fasting window begins after your last calorie of the day and ends when you consume your first calorie. For advice on tracking, visit

Q: What if I want to have a beer while watching football on a Sunday night but I finished eating earlier at 7pm?

A: When that last drop of beer is consumed, that’s when you’ve begun fasting. You have to count that beer. If you are consuming drink or food, then you are still in your eating window, no exceptions.

Q: How do I decide the length of my eating window each day?

A: We have a calendar (see Principle 3) to get you started, but ultimately this is individualized in the long-term. Men seem to do better with 14 or 16 hour fasts (10 or 8 hour eating windows) and women do better with 20 or 18 hour fasts (4 or 6 hour eating windows). Personally, I like to do 4 hour eating windows two or three times a week. 

Q: How obsessive should I be on the eating window? If I started my window at 12:06pm, do I have to close it at exactly 6:06pm?

A: Don’t get obsessive! You don’t have to pinpoint it to the exact minute. What you want is a consistent window to help you develop a routine, but this should never be stressful. Intermittent fasting is a tool that takes the stress out of your eating. If you start getting obsessive, then you’re on the wrong track.

Q: If my eating window just opened, but I’m not truly hungry should I eat anyway?

A: No. If you’re trying to lose weight, you definitely don’t need to be forcing yourself to eat. Remember, we eat when we’re truly hungry.

Q: I’ve read before that you should eat before you get hungry to avoid binging. Is that true?

A:If your car doesn’t need gas, you don’t put gas in it. If your bill isn’t due, you don’t pay money on it. I believe the same principle should apply to our bodies. I get the idea of trying to avoid binging, and, honestly, the first couple of weeks of intermittent fasting you’ll probably overeat some. However, you will adjust.

Q: What are some tips to not overeat on your first meal of the day? Sometimes my work schedule is so busy that I can’t take a break to eat. When I do finally begin my eating window, I’m starving.

A: Stay away from simple carbs and sugars on your first meal. Keep your digestion in mind and eat slowly. You’re going to be full 20 minutes before you realize it, so don’t rush through your meal just because you’re hungry. Another great tip is to drink a glass of water an hour before you eat. This will take the edge off of the hunger so you can sit down and enjoy your meal without overeating. In fact, whenever you’re feeling overwhelmed by hunger throughout the day, try drinking water. If it’s been 45 minutes since your last drink, you could actually be dehydrated. Don’t drink a ton of water while you’re eating, though. You might dilute your stomach acids and hinder digestion.

Q: I’m so tired after eating my first meal of the day. Why am I so exhausted from fasting?

A: Are you eating too much? What are you eating? It’s more likely that what you’re eating is the source of the problem rather than the fasting. If you’re eating whole, clean foods I have a hard time believing you’re constantly tired.

Q: I don’t have enough energy to workout in my fasted state.

A: There are a lot of possibilities. Are you getting enough of all of your proteins, carbs, and fats? Are you getting enough sleep? Maybe switch your workout time to be closer to your eating window so you can eat right after. Or, eat right before. I personally like to work out fasted, but everyone is different.

Q & A: Your Questions Answered! 195

Q: Are you allowed to lift heavy weights while fasting?

A:I lift heavy weights every single morning in a fasted state. I’ve lifted heavier weights fasted than men in my gym! My trainer, Chris Sykes, tells me he does all of the same workouts he did before he started intermittent fasting and he hasn’t lost any steam.

Q: Can you still build muscle with intermittent fasting?

A: Yes. Nothing changes. If you need to get in a certain number of macros everyday, you can still do that just in an eating window. You don’t have to choose between the two. A lot of people who want to build muscle hear that you need to eat no more than 30 minutes after your workout to get the benefits from your food. While it’s true that your cells can take in more of what you eat within 30 minutes of your workout, that’s not the only time. You can eat 20-30 hours after and still get the benefits from your food.

Q & A: Your Questions Answered! 196

Q: How do I decide on the length of my eating window? Should I be eating whole meals or half meals?

A: You have to figure out what works for you because everyone is different and our windows won’t all be the same. There are some people who only eat one meal a day (also called OMAD). Some people eat in a five-hour window and have one snack and one meal a little while later. If you’re someone who’s going to do OMAD, just be sure you’re not binging. You may need to spend time practicing it until you regulate. Personally, I couldn’t lose weight in an eight-hour window. I don’t believe many women can unless you’re eating really clean, really small portions. When I’m trying to maintain my weight I do a six-hour window with one medium sized meal around 12pm, and something small around 5:30pm. That works really well for me. When my goal is to lose weight, I try to stick to that one meal a day. It’s usually in a four-hour window where I’m eating a nice meal that gets me to a four on the hunger scale, and then I may have another small snack. You’ll need to tinker with your window to find out what works for you. If your goal is weight loss, you may need to tighten your window and the amount of food you eat. If you’re maintaining, you have more flexibility. Some people want a rigid plan with someone telling them exactly what to do, but with the Chantel Ray Way, you have to modify everything to fit you. Something you want to pay attention to is your satiety signals. It’s a signal your nervous system gets that gives you that sense of fullness. Now that I’m doing intermittent fasting, my satiety signals are so good. Yesterday, I went to lunch and I tried a lot of different foods; I had a little bit of this and a little bit of that, and, when I was done, I was 100% satisfied with no desire to eat anything else for the rest of the day. 

Q: I want to try intermittent fasting, but I have low blood sugar. Can I go that long without eating?

A: The crazy thing is intermittent fasting will actually help regulate your blood sugar. If you hang in there, you’ll notice it gets better. If you begin Intermittent Fasting while having blood sugar issues, you’ll need to do a good job of gradually weaning yourself off of a long eating window. You may have to start with a 12 hour eating window, then step it down to 11, then 10, and so on. I had low blood sugar as well, so I absolutely understand what it’s like. Intermittent fasting’s effect on blood sugar is really fascinating.

Q: How do you know when your body starts using fat storage for fuel?

A: You’ll never really know the exact moment your body is attacking your fat, but I like to use my stomach growl as a general gauge. That’s why I like to wait a couple of hours after I hear my stomach growl to eat. I feel like it’s when my stomach starts growling that my body is out of food and starts using my fat for fuel. There’s a chance that it’s all just mental, but I love that feeling of my body eating away at my fat; I like to prolong that for as long as I can.

Q: Why not do a calorie restricted diet?

A: Trying to manage the total number of calories you need to eat for weight loss is too restrictive. We want to stop counting calories, stop focusing on food, and do away with the restrictions. Instead of listening to a program, we’re listening to our bodies. God wired our bodies to tell us exactly what we need. We should be able to eat what our bodies crave in the amount that it needs and be satisfied. We are never going to tell you that you have to eat this or that. What’s optimal, though, is the 80/20 rule. 

Q: What should I do when I go out and everyone else is eating except me?

A:I went to dinner with friends just the other night. I had already eaten a big lunch and I wasn’t hungry, so I didn’t eat or drink any calories. Guess what happened? I had a fantastic time! Eating and drinking is not the only point of hanging out with friends! I had fun just sipping on water and club soda. I was able to talk more and have deeper conversations with my friends. All it takes is a mental adjustment. You can even have fun with it! When the waitress asked me what I wanted I responded, “Oh, I’m not eating. I’ve got to keep this skinny body of mine.” That got a laugh out of everybody! If you have real friends, they won’t pressure you non-stop to eat. If someone is trying to push you to eat, just say something like, “I appreciate it, but I didn’t come here to eat. I came to enjoy my time with you.” Let your friends know that their understanding will help you achieve your goals the same way you help them achieve theirs.

Q: I’ve already lost 10 pounds! Now that I’ve reached my goal, should I continue intermittent fasting or stop?

A: Continue! Do it to maintain and do it because intermittent fasting has so many benefits beyond weight loss. It’s a positive lifestyle change, and, personally, I can’t imagine going back. There are plenty of stories of the hormonal and brain benefits of intermittent fasting people have experienced. Read Principle 3 for more on the benefits of intermittent fasting.

Q: Is intermittent fasting good for thyroid issues?

A: Always check with your doctor before you start a new diet plan. My personal experience has been stellar! I was taking 115mg of Synthroid when I started this journey because my thyroid wasn’t functioning well at all. Now, I’ve weaned myself off of it completely. One note about my thyroid improvement is that I also eat paleo for the 80% of my 80/20. I believe that this combination with intermittent fasting has had a huge impact on my thyroid improvement. Now, this isn’t about the thyroid, but my trainer, Chris, suffered from ankle pain for a long time from a surgery for a previous injury. He used to have pain five days out of the week, but now he’s pain-free. He doesn’t even need a leg brace when he plays sports anymore.

Q: I’m really confused. All of my trainers have always told me that eating 5-6 small meals a day will keep my metabolism elevated. Is intermittent fasting bad for my metabolism?

A: That claim about eating 5-6 meals a day is a myth. Your metabolic rate is not based on how many meals you eat. It’s based on what type of foods you eat, your digestive health, how much you exercise, and what body type you have. For example, if I eat 6 meals of pancakes and fast food burgers, I’m not going to have a six pack. Intermittent fasting is not bad for your metabolism. Intermittent fasting has gotten me results while eating 5-6 meals a day in the past hasn’t.

Q: I can only train in the morning before work. Should I eat after? How do I handle this?

A: Ideally, you want to take in protein and carbs after your workout. Post-workout, your cells are open and more of the good stuff can get in. However, not eating immediately after your workout isn’t a death sentence to results. I work out in the morning and don’t eat until 1 or 2pm. My trainer, Chris, usually doesn’t eat until six hours after his workout. However, if you find yourself dragging during the day, then maybe that isn’t for you; move your eating window to accommodate your body.

Q: Should I shift the time of day I have my eating window so my body doesn’t get used to it?

A: Having your eating window at the same time everyday won’t really affect your metabolism. The length of the window has a greater effect. You can mix up the length of your eating windows each week to keep your metabolism from getting used to a pattern. For example, one week you might alternate each day between six and eight-hour eating windows. The next week you might throw in three Big Power Fasts. Your body does adapt to changes quickly, so mixing up the length of your eating windows is a good idea

Q: Is intermittent fasting bad for my blood sugar?

A:If you’ve read this far, then you already know that answer to that! One of the biggest benefits of intermittent fasting is the positive effects it has on blood sugar. Keeping insulin from being introduced to your system for 18-24 hours helps you burn fat and keep your weight down. Always check with your doctor before you start a new diet, but I’ve learned that much of the time people don’t experience low blood sugar as often as they think. Sometimes people are just fatigued and it’s because of something other than low blood sugar. My blood sugar is more stable now than it was when I was eating foods with a low glycemic index.

Q: I love having wine at 8 or 9pm after putting the kids to bed. How can I still have my wine at night?

A: Time your eating window so that it closes after your drink. If it’s a six-hour window day, maybe eat from 3:30-9:30pm. If you need to have an eight-hour window to be able to have your wine, you can do that. Just remember that for women, an eight-hour window is not very effective for losing weight unless you’re eating very clean, very small portions for every meal.

Q: Is intermittent fasting safe for women?

A: Well, I am a woman so...yes! Women respond to fasting differently than men because we have different hormones. For example, when I first started fasting, my menstrual cycle was 20 days late. I’ve read reports of this kind of thing happening for the first couple of months of fasting, but usually it returns to normal. Fasting is perfectly safe for women barring any specific medical issues you discuss with your doctor.

Q: I’m a Type 2 diabetic, and I have been off of medication and on a LCHF (low carb high fat) diet for eight months. When I try fasting for multiple days, my blood sugar drops to the low 60s. I’ve been taught this range is too low and it means I need to have food. Is this drop a normal short-term effect?

A: Your blood sugar will be lower while fasting, but it shouldn’t be low to the point of affecting you negatively. I think maybe the combination of fasting and the LCHF might be too much. You could try cycling in higher carb days, but that’s a guess without seeing the foods you’re eating. Again, always check with your doctor if your blood sugar is running too low.

Q: I am brand new to intermittent fasting and I miss my wine. Is it okay to drink in my eating window?

A: You can definitely drink wine in your eating window! Just be careful to notice the sugar content in what you’re drinking. There’s a lot more sugar in wine than most people realize. There are also 70-80 additives in wine that you wouldn’t know about without reading the contents. Find natural wines that are low in sugar. After you drink, watch your eating activity because you can start getting cravings that have nothing to do with true hunger. You don’t want your eating to take a nosedive after you drink!

Q: Can I break my fast with alcohol?

A: You should break your fast with some sort of protein. Alcohol on an empty stomach isn’t a great idea. Alcohol, like other high sugar drinks, can spike your insulin very harshly if you drink it at the start of your window.

Q: Can I eat a ketogenic diet with intermittent fasting and still drink alcohol?

A: The ketogenic diet is a very low-carb, high-fat diet. It’s designed to keep you burning fat for energy instead of glucose. Like I’ve said before, alcohol has a lot of sugar. Consider losing the mixers to cut out some of those carbs. Most pure spirits are low carb; the mixers are what rack up the calories. 

Q: Does drinking alcohol completely halt my fat burning?

A: No. Like anything else you eat, it’s all about the nutritional value of what you’re drinking. Beyond that, there’s nothing inherent in alcohol that makes it more restrictive to fat burning than any other food with the same nutritional content. My thin friends use sugarfree mixers with vodka and tequila and love to drink all the time. It hasn’t affected their ability to burn fat or maintain their weight.

Q: Is there a certain caloric intake I should have with intermittent fasting? Is there such a thing as too few calories? Some days I’m just ravenous!

A: How many calories you consume depends on your goals. If you’re trying to lose weight and you haven’t been getting strong results, then you might need to decrease your calorie intake. Of course, if you want to gain weight then you’re going to need more. There is such a thing as too few calories. You can’t go three weeks eating only 500 calories a day. My desire is that you learn to listen to your body. If you’re a person who exercises, some days you’re going to work out harder and your body is going to be hungrier. Listen to your body and eat. Eating is not a bad thing. Overeating is.

Q: I’m really concerned about doing intermittent fasting because I have low blood sugar. I’m afraid I’ll pass out.

A: First, you need to determine if you actually have low blood sugar. If it’s just a fatigued feeling and not a doctor’s diagnosis, it’s probably what you’re eating that makes you feel lethargic. If you eat a huge, carb-heavy lunch, it’ll raise your blood sugar so high that when it comes back down, you “crash.” Adjusting how you eat is important. More protein and less carbs is how I like to eat with intermittent fasting. Also, getting fiber into your meals will help your digestion so your body isn’t working overtime and making you tired while it’s digesting food.

Q: I always heard about calories in vs calories out. If I’m watching my calories, does it matter what I eat? Is there a difference between eating 1800 calories throughout the day versus eating 1800 calories in a 6-8 hour window?

A:I believe you would be leaner in the window because of the insulin response in your body. If you’re eating all day, you’re filling up your glycogen cells, and, at the end of the day, they’re being stored as fat. When you eat in a window, however, your insulin is turned off for the rest of the day and you burn the glycogen and get to fat burning mode faster.

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Q: Does this diet include a vegan option? If it doesn’t, I’m not trying it. If it’s not vegan, it can’t be healthy!

A: As long as you’re following these other rules, you can be vegan if you want to be. This isn’t a diet per se, so you can eat whatever you normally eat and that includes vegan. Genesis 9 makes it clear you can eat meat, but if you feel you need to eat vegan, then that is perfectly fine. The Bible tells us to be tolerant toward each other in what we eat (Romans 14:5).

Q: I’ve been told I have to eat carbs before working out. So, is it safe to exercise during my fasting window?

A: Your body stores a lot of glucose and carbs. If you had carbs the night before working out, then you could still have enough to get you through your workout the next morning. Personally, I’m always in a fasted state when I exercise and I’m always fine. When you’re in a fasted state your endurance and stamina can actually increase. My trainer, Chris, believed the same myth about having to eat before exercising and was surprised to discover that once he started intermittent fasting he actually had more focus and stamina.

Q: I typically eat a high protein meal after my morning workout, but I want to start my eating window later in the day. Should I start skipping my post-workout meal?

A:I haven’t eaten anything post-workout since I started doing intermittent fasting. When you’re intermittent fasting, your workouts are going to primarily be fueled by fat and that’s a good thing. It’s true that, post-workout, your cells are more open to absorbing protein, but that window of time can be as long as 36 hours. You don’t have to eat immediately after your workout to take advantage of that benefit.

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Q: What is the longest amount of time that it’s safe to fast? I’m going on vacation in less than a month and I want to speed up my weight loss.

A: 24-36 hour fasts are ideal. Anything longer than 48 hours is something your body might not be prepared for. However, it sounds like you’re trying to rush for a short term goal. Don’t overdo it! A couple of 24 hour fasts a week are a good way to kick up your weight loss.

Q: I’m pregnant and already freaking out about my post-baby body. Is it safe for me to start intermittent fasting while pregnant?

A: This is something you’ll want to talk about with your doctor. I would’ve been fine fasting during my pregnancy because I would have still made sure to get in all of my nutrients. Remember that intermittent fasting isn’t about restricting what you eat, but about changing the timing of when you eat. Still, fasting does affect your hormones and you want to be sure you don’t do anything to affect the baby negatively, so talk to your doctor.

Q: I always wake up starving in the morning. Could I eat dinner and breakfast, but just skip lunch?

A: Unless you’re someone who works a night shift, this would be hard to do. You wouldn’t be able to ever have a long enough fasting window to maximize the benefits. If you’re waking up starving, maybe adjust your window so that you’re eating closer to your bedtime. Try drinking coffee and plenty of water to help suppress your appetite.

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Q: Can I drink my coffee with MCT or coconut oil or does that break my fast?

A: I’m a big fan of both oils. My blood sugar goes down when I drink them. Now, these oils have calories and I would prefer you fast without consuming any calories. However, if this is the only way you can get through your fast, then this is the second best way. It wouldn’t sabotage the entire fast. Ingesting pure fat or oil doesn’t spike your insulin and MCT oil requires little digestion. If you’re going to eat something, this is the best option.

Q: Can I eat some low-carb foods during my fasting window to take the edge off? They’re healthy right?

A: The nutritional content of the food doesn’t matter. If you’re taking in calories, you’re breaking the fast. If you’re new to this and struggling, maybe you’re fasting too long. Back it down if you have to and work your way up.

Q: How much water do you recommend I drink during my fast?

A:If you’re thirsty then drink. If you’re not, then you don’t need to be guzzling water. You can dilute the stomach acids needed to digest food when you drink too much water. Drink just as much as you need and no more.

Q: My breath smells really bad when I fast. Is this normal?

A: It could be related to the fasting. Fasting encourages detoxification in your gut and that can have smelly effects on your breath. If you’re eating a lot of protein in your diet, your body could be going into ketosis and that can cause bad breath. Try taking peppermint oil to fix the smell.

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Q: Should I stop fasting if I feel shaky?

A: Check your blood sugar if you’re physically shaking. It could be different things but that’s a good place to start.

Q: I heard I should break my fast with protein but I recently learned meat spikes your insulin. What’s the deal?

A: I was surprised to discover this, but, yes, meat can spike your insulin.

Q: I learned about the food pyramid when I was young. Are those principles still true? 

A: NO! We now know that the food pyramid is not based on nutritional value. When you’re eating, you need to decide what’s good and what works for you. They used to say we should drink 3 cups of milk a day decades ago, but now we know that’s not the best for you.

Q: I think I’m ready to try out my first 4 hour eating window. Should I eat breakfast, lunch, or dinner?

A: That’s a matter of personal preference. Don’t try to force yourself to eat at a certain time of day you’re not comfortable with. Fasting for 20 hours is challenging enough on its own.

Q: I’ve been hearing a lot about the importance of gut health.

A: The process of digesting food is what they’re talking about. The gut microbiome has a lot to do with how you feel. When your gut health is off, you’re not digesting your food and nutrients correctly. You can have what are basically pounds of feces sitting in the lower part of your stomach. If you struggle with digesting food well, you can take digestive enzymes.