In this episode of the Intermittent Fasting Stories podcast, host Gin Stephens interviews Melissa Wages, a pediatric dentist from Portland and a fairly recent convert to the intermittent fasting lifestyle. Melissa had long faced challenges with her weight, and when her husband began to follow an IF lifestyle, she was not initially interested in joining him. To her, the idea of a clean fast – with no coffee creamer! – was not compelling. However, when her husband testified to how much energy he had in the afternoons, Melissa was willing to give IF a try. Now, eight to nine months later, she is down 55 pounds, and while she says she is not “at goal” yet, she also clarifies that she has a goal body rather than a goal weight. She has a maintenance mindset, and knows that she is already the healthiest she has been in her entire adult life.
Gin and Melissa spend some time talking through the health benefits of IF. Since Melissa has a medical background, she has the knowledge base to understand some of the scientific benefits of IF for the human body. More specifically, she describes for Gin the way in which eating and drinking impact the teeth, and how fasting is good for oral health, which in turn has been shown to help overall health. In fact, good oral health can even help a person’s cardiovascular health! In her own experience, Melissa has found IF to help her to have increased energy and healthy blood work numbers, and along with exercise, IF has helped her to dramatically reduce her body fat percentage. She has been encouraged to find that both her doctor and her personal trainer have been on board with IF, which reinforces the trend Gin and Melissa note of increased understanding and acceptance of IF among healthcare professionals.
Melissa also tells Gin about her IF routine. She goes through her workday in the fasted state, and then breaks her fast when she arrives home with a green smoothie, which she says helps her cholesterol and helps her body to feel good. She then eats a snack followed by dinner with her family, including her husband and two teenagers. She may eat a bit of dessert after dinner, and then she closes her window. In general, Melissa does not eat a lot of meat, and she is particular about what meat she will eat. In the IF lifestyle, though, she is free to choose whatever foods work well with her body and preferences (including the changes in taste she has developed through IF), and has a lot of freedom to be flexible with her fasting regimen. She has found fasting to be very doable, and while she does not know precisely what her final goal should be, she is happy to spend the rest of her life taking care of herself by staying active and fasting.
Melissa’s excitement about IF extends to ways she has seen it impact people around her. Even with the setback of a recent surgery, Melissa’s husband has lost 40 pounds. IF has also improved his inflammation from arthritis. Her kids also have a healthier relationship with food, eating when hungry and paying attention to how food makes them feel. Some other relatives have also started an IF lifestyle, and Melissa feels that she has a very strong support system. She is not always excited to tell people about fasting, since she often anticipates an initial negative reaction, but Melissa’s positive experience with IF is helping her develop an eagerness to share it with others and she has a settled confidence even in the face of naysayers. She encourages listeners just starting with IF to dive in and research the lifestyle so that they can “make it their own.”
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