Wednesday, September 4, 2019

Delay, Don't Deny: Living an Intermittent Fasting Lifestyle by Gin Stephens

I went through this book in a BREEZE. Started this morning and kept listening to it all day. I already knew I'm going to enjoy listening to Gin herself reading this book to me as I LOVE listening to her on "The Intermittent Fasting Podcast" which I'm totally HOOKED on. I don't even know how I got to it, or why I looked for intermittent fasting in the first place, though I know for sure it had to do with IF (that's Intermittent Fasting) having many gut health benefits which is my THING the past year.

So I've started listening to the IF Podcast, learned about Gin (and her Co-Host Melanie Avalon) then continued to Gin's own podcast "Intermittent Fasting Stories" which I absolutely LOVE, so I KNEW it was about time I read her book. As so many people consider "The Obesity Code" as some sort of a "bible" for the IF lifestyle I started with it, but Gin's book was destined to be next.

The IF Podcast taught me SO MUCH, most of what I know about IF and how to implement it into my life. I've listened to about 100 episodes in less than two months (I'm actually really bummed getting just an hour a week now that I caught on..) but getting this book was certainly a TREAT as it covers almost ANYTHING and EVERYTHING anyone needs to know about actually DOING Intermittent Fasting.

Though I HIGHLY recommend "The Obesity Code" (I'm NOT changing my mind) I WILL say that if you are interested in DOING IF - changing your lifestyle, losing weight and dealing with other health issues - this is a WONDERFUL book to read. Dr Jason Fung's book was about the science and far less about what "Living an Intermittent Lifestyle" means which is EXACTLY what you get in this book (after all, it's in the title..). It's still scientific with many research data from the many books and studies Gin has read but it's mostly a journey into understanding WHAT is IF and HOW to make it YOUR OWN.

Reading (or rather, listening) to this book feels like having an enjoyable conversation with a friend over coffee. Gin explains it all in a relaxed casual manner, using her own (extensive) experience as well as the knowledge she accumulated though her own research and she totally offers us to do our own and not just take her word for it. I really enjoyed the way she built her recommended books section of the book. She actually explains WHY she recommend each book and what you can find (beneficial) in it.

In a nutshell it's doing WHAT WORKS FOR YOU. It's being patient with yourself, and learning little by little how you can make IF into something that is easily manageable in your life. There are no "hidden recipes" or a recommended diet. There is no clear schedule she advises. There are just basic guidelines about the "clean fast" and the different patterns people can chose from - a daily eating window (14-23 hours) or full day fasts (a few of those a week).

The clean fast is one of the most important things to know and implement. While you can chose how much you want to fast and what exactly you want to eat in your eating window, if you want to enjoy the TRUE benefits of IF (and there are many!) you need to commit to a TRUE FAST. As Gin says many times in the IF Podcast - "Fasting should be boring". If you consider something to be DELICIOUS you can't have it during your fast. Fasting means drinking water, sparkling water, coffee/tea (no added sweetener, milk/cream). If it tastes sweet you are not allowed to have it (even if it's "zero calories"). Yeah it took me time to get used to "black coffee". I drink Americano now and surprised at myself I actually enjoy it!

I started IF about 3 months ago. First thing I noticed in a few days my FACE lost weight. Strange.. I started losing weight within about a week but it's a slow process (as it should) so don't expect miracles.. Believing in the process and sticking to it long term will bring me the results I want. I KNOW it will.

Though I consider doing IF easy, it wasn't that easy in the beginning. I was hungry at times (though nothing unmanageable, I was just not used to it), my stomach acted up and I kept "over eating" (= ate what I used to eat but it was too much somehow) and found myself literally ASLEEP in less than an hour later (lucky my big meal is dinner at home). But all these ended in the first month.

Now it's just my routine yet it's still flexible. I aim at 19 hours fasting a day, but some days I do 17-18 hours if I get home later than I planned and/or I still need to make dinner, and some days I do 20-21 hours (like the weekends as I eat one BIG meal so I just drink coffee with a snack later on). I mostly eat whole foods and organic but I can't say I do it exclusively (as I don't always eat at home..). Yet generally speaking I don't restrict what and how much I eat (though I don't eat Gluten as a choice).

Gin says IF is a lifestyle not a religion and I LOVE that. If you consider it a lifestyle you understand that some days you are "on point" with your desired schedule and some days - not so much. There are celebrations, holidays and vocations and you are allowed to enjoy them as long as you remember to get back on track right after. Yet as Gin says "Saturday is not a special occasion" - keep that in mind as well.. For me, as I know for many others, there is FREEDOM in choosing what works for ME. It's not another diet with a "one-size-fits-all" pattern. It's YOUR schedule and pattern and so there's no judgment or expectations.

If IF truly interests you this book is a GREAT place to start. I think you'll get the best advice in this one and if you still have questions Gin manages a few very welcoming and judgement-free Facebook groups with more than 100,000 members! I find it VERY unlikely you won't get your question answered. I was actually overwhelmed with the amount of answers I got when I ventured to ask one (Since then I just search for my issues and see it was already answered enough times to give me a satisfactory answer).

Also though I recommend this book ANY way you feel like reading it, I DO recommend you listen to it in Gin's voice. It's SUCH a great way to learn about IF and about Gin herself. I feel like we are friends now though she doesn't even know I exist hehe. Also if you want to learn even MORE check out Gin's Podcast  with Melanie Avalon (The IF Podcast) and if you want to get inspired there's also Gin's solo Podcast (Intermittent Fasting Stories).

4 hours
6 minutes
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4 September 2019

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