#265 When You Eat is as Important as What You Eat

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Would you like a way to support your health that’s not only free but will actually save you money? 

Are you interested in: 

  • Lowering your blood sugar 
  • Improving your insulin sensitivity 
  • Improving your memory 
  • Lowering your resting heart rate 
  • Improving your sensitivity to your cancer treatments 

This episode is for you.  

On today’s Tuesday Terrain Talk, I’ll give you insights that go beyond reducing calories for weight loss. 

I’ll help you understand what happens when you eat and how becoming mindful and deliberate about how often you eat can benefit your health. 

If you struggle with deciding what to eat, starting with when you eat could be a big step in the right direction to support your healthiest body. 


Referred to in this episode: 
Ways to work with Laura: 

Better Than Before Breast Cancer Life Coaching Membership 

90 Days of Wellness 

The Breast Cancer Recovery Facebook Group 

Supportive articles and studies: 

Current Evidence and Directions for Intermittent Fasting During Cancer Chemotherapy 

Fasting and fasting-mimicking diets for chemotherapy augmentation 

Intermittent Fasting May Help Cancer Treatments Work Better, Small, Early Study Suggests 

Intermittent Fasting: What is it, and how does it work? 

How does remodeling of the gut microbiota happen during intermittent fasting

Prolon Fasting Mimicking 




Read the full transcript below:

Laura Lummer  00:00

You're listening to the breast cancer recovery coach podcast. I'm your host, Laura Lummer. I'm a Certified Life health and nutrition coach, and I'm also a breast cancer thriver. If you're trying to figure out how to move past the trauma and the emotional toll of breast cancer, you've come to the right place. In this podcast, I will give you the tools and the insights to create a life that's even better than before breast cancer. Well, let's get started.


Laura Lummer  00:32

Hey there friends, welcome to another episode of the breast cancer recovery coach Podcast. Today is our Tuesday terrain talk. And I am so excited to dig into this really important topic. I love doing these Tuesday terrain talks. And I've heard so much great feedback from all of you on how much you're enjoying them as well. Everything that we can do. And I think every little mind set shift that we can adopt when it comes to connecting to our body, to nourishing our body and to understanding our body and how it works. There is so much I think confusion and just lack of knowing out there about how your body actually works. Lack of knowing sometimes even you know what a bone is called in our own body like we're in these bodies for a lifetime. Isn't it a great thing to get to understand how they work so that we can support them in their ability to work even better? I think so. And I hope that you will learn that from this episode. I think that one of the biggest mistakes that's out there, we oversimplify things in the fitness world and the diet world and the people who want to sell supplements and diet books and diet protocols and all that we take things that are so beautiful, like food like exercise, and we twist them all to have a single metric, which is weight, and weight loss. And I believe that's just such a disservice that if we could just get our minds off of weight loss, we might even experience weight loss more easily. But when we focus so much on the number on a scale, and we use that as our only metric for everything we do that we say is healthier, you know, why do you want to eat more vegetables? We want to be healthier? What does that mean? I want to lose weight? You know, why do we eat this drink that avoid this avoid that it's all about the weight. And then there are so many factors at play when it comes to weight, especially for us who have been through breast cancer treatment. If you've been put into a chemically induced menopause, or if you're already postmenopausal with most breast cancer diagnoses happening in women over the age of 50, who are either well into perimenopause or already postmenopausal. So there are all kinds of factors at play. When it comes to weight, weight loss and weight gain, especially medications, age, genetics, sedentary lifestyle, the older we get, the less running around, we have to do to take care of other people. So all of these things are at play. And when we start talking about food, as this way and exercise, as the only end goal being weight loss, I think that we miss this whole amazing lesson of how our body works, and how food serves us and how exercise serves us and what they actually do to benefit us. So what I encourage from my clients is the mindset that I learned to adopt for myself because I am no different. The scale it was all about the scale and the muscle mass and the body fat and all of that for many, many, many most people in my life. It was only in the recent past few years that I shifted that mindset to how do I want to feel? That is so important. I hear I see all the time, the struggle with breast cancer survivors in feeling fatigued, in feeling achy and in pain and having brain fog, and all of these things that, unfortunately can accompany menopause and can accompany breast cancer treatments and medications. But if we learn how food works with us, and exercise works with us, and not only what we're eating, but when we are eating it and how that can serve us. We can play a big role in mitigating how much we suffer from these side effects or from I guess it's like the side effects of aging and menopause as well as cancer treatment. And that's really what I want to focus on today. We're going to talk about intermittent fasting. And I'm not speaking to you about intermittent fasting as a method of weight loss. Although most of the time and oftentimes intermittent fasting does lead to weight loss And I think you can figure out why. Most people say, Oh, well, it's it's a reduction in calories. And yes, it is a reduction in calories if you're following the food protocol if you're following a consistent intermittent fasting protocol, but there's so much more happening in your body when you adopt intermittent fasting as part of your healthy lifestyle. Now, a lot of times when people hear intermittent fasting, all the fearful thoughts come up, what if I'm hungry? What if I need to take medication with food? Or how will that affect me what's gonna go on with my blood sugar, and so I want to state right up front, I'll touch on a few of those things. But I'm not a doctor. And I'm not a registered dietician. So I'm going to offer you these things from the perspective of a nutrition coach, I'm going to offer them to you from the perspective of a health coach. And I'm going to give you actual data and information. But if you have medical concerns, please talk to your doctor. And make sure that any change you make in your dietary protocols is something that is safe for you. I will offer you suggestions on things that I've learned have worked for me, and know that I will tell you upfront when that's a personal experience that's worked for me, versus what science says, and what the study say. And I think that's important. I am not telling you, this is for everyone, because it's not for everyone. And safety is always first. But what I will also talk about in this episode is the way our body is working. So whether you think that intermittent fasting is going to work for you or not for you, that's okay. But understanding how your body works with food may give you more insights on ways that you can tweak when you eat, what you're choosing to eat, and how that might serve your body in a better way than it's been serving you so far. All right. Let's dig into this. So first of all, let's be really clear on what intermittent fasting is, it is basically saying that you go for a specific period of time without consuming food. Most of the time, the lingo, the jargon in intermittent fasting world is you have that fasting window, and a feeding window. Now, the fasting window is usually going to be about 14 hours, that's the recommended to go at least 12, but 12 to 14 hours without consuming food. Now, before you start freaking out and thinking, Oh my God, that's a long time, I want you to think about when you go to bed, and how much you sleep. And when you actually eat, oftentimes when I'll be talking to somebody about intermittent fasting, and they feel a little panicked at the idea of going 14 hours without food. And then we look at what their lifestyle actually is. Now, they'll realize they're coming pretty close to that, if not already hitting that target already. Because you stop eating at a certain time at night. And then you sleep. And when you take all those hours of sleep into consideration. For most of us, that's going to be six to eight hours of sleep that's already taken place with no eating happening, right. So if you stop eating at seven o'clock at night, and you wake up at seven o'clock in the morning, you go to bed or whatever, 910 11 you wake up at seven o'clock in the morning, that's 12 hours without food. So can you go two more hours? Could you go 14 hours most people can. So try to listen with an open mind realizing that maybe this isn't as intense as it sounds upfront. Let me talk to you a little bit about what actually happens like why 12 to 14 hours. Why is this even important to go that long without food again, because we're not talking about just limiting calorie intake. In these Tuesday terrain talks, I'm talking about things we do to support your health and your wellness your optimal well being now, having an optimal body weight certainly is beneficial for your overall health and the overall functioning of your body. And we'll go into that in another episode. But we know that body fat is a risk factor does increase our risk of breast cancer and our risk of recurrence. So managing our body weight and keeping our body weight at a healthy level or body fat at a at a healthy level is something very important to support our health. But I want you to first understand what's going on in your body when you eat so you get a better picture of how going for longer windows of time without food actually is beneficial for you. So in that first six hours after you've had a meal so from our zero from the time you finish eating for up to six hours, your body and it's a little bit different for Everyone, we all have different processes going on. But on the average, in that zero to six hours, your body is digesting and absorbing the food that you've consumed. It's releasing hormones and neuro peptides and it's beginning to move nutrients into cells, we've got to break it down and make it bioavailable, available to your body before the cells can absorb it, and use it for whatever they need. And in that next two hours in the six to eight hours after eating, that's exactly what your body is doing is taking nutrients from that food. And it's using it to make more energy for you to repair anything that needs repairing in the body, and to serve those metabolic processes. So cleaning out broken cells and making new cells and just overall functioning of everything that's going on in your body. That's happening for those next several hours after you consume your food in eight to 12 hours. Alright, so eight to 12 hours after you finished eating a meal. Think about how often you eat now. All right, and just keep that in perspective, in that eight to 12 hour period, nutrients from the last meal had been mostly absorbed, the energy you've taken in So food is energy, right? Carbohydrates have energy, fats have energy, proteins have energy. And that energy you've consumed from that food has mostly been used for most of us, okay. And the body now, just in this eight to 12 hour window after eating is starting to access stored energy. And this is where the beginning the fasting benefits begin here. What is stored energy, it is body fat, it is the fat that we have stored in our muscles in our liver. And we hear more and more these days about non alcoholic fatty liver disease and all of the issues that are being created for us how it's affecting and impacting our health. And that is just extra body fat that's gone so far as to be stored in your organs and imagine your liver with a bunch of glimpse of fat in it. How is it working this amazing organ that does so much for our body, and is such a vital part of the detoxification process that naturally happens within us. Imagine it being all clogged up with body fat, we need to make sure that we're using that stored energy that we're accessing the energy that's in the muscles of our body by moving our body the energy that's being stored in our liver, before we're just compounding more and more piling on more and more and more energy in the form of fat stored in our body. So when we think about our body fat, I want you to think about it in terms of that energy. Just consider like, where do I have fat on my body Where's fat stored, and we all want to have a little bit of it stored right, we have to be able to access the energy reserves that are in our body. And that serves us in a in a very healthy way. As long as it's not too much. As long as that body fat is not clogging up or hampering other body processes. So we've got some body fat, we've got it stored a healthy amount of body fat. And at that eight to 12 hour mark, our body says okay, I can either take in a meal at this time, or I can start accessing that storage and kind of eating away at that stored energy that's on the body. So then we go for 12 to 48 hours. Now this is two days, right. So if you go from 12 hours, all the way up to 48 hours that your liver starts releasing all kinds of stored glycogen, all that energy, so blood sugar that's stored in the body in the form of glycogen, and the body starts using your fatty acids, and it starts creating these ketone bodies that our brain works off of and that our body is learning to work off of. This is what we refer to as metabolic flexibility. The ability to go from using ketones that your body makes from accessing stored fat, to using glucose that our body makes readily from when we eat our food, can we be in a very healthy metabolic state, so that our body remembers and understands how to go back and forth from functioning off of stored energy to functioning off of newly consumed energy. Okay, so I wanted to give you that insight because if you think about the timeframes that I gave you, six to eight hours after eating, your body is still going through the energy the repair process, right. And then depending on how fast your metabolism is, eight to 12 hours after eating is when really that last meal has been used. But if you're snacking all day long, if you're eating meals every or Even what are considered small meals every few hours throughout the day, then your body is constantly doing this work. It's constantly having this burden put on it of digestion, absorption and hormone release. And it's never able to just completely go through that process and rest so that it can have its energy focused on that detoxification, the cellular repair, and the benefits of just renewing the body and doing that metabolic cleansing. So let's talk about some of those benefits when we get into that fasted state. I said, it's about much more than losing weight, right. So let's talk about some of the ways in which going for over that 12 hour mark without food can serve us? Well, it helps to regulate our blood sugar, because again, every time we put food in our mouth, we need to increase our blood sugar, and it's going to release insulin into our body, more insulin, more blood sugar, this cycle is where we start to develop what we see all around us so much now, of insulin resistance, we have so much insulin going through our bodies at any given time that our cells are like, Stop, no more, right? We eat, we have blood sugar, and like all these little tiny cells are everywhere going, Oh, blood sugar, this is good. I can use it for energy. And then you were giving it more and more, eat more, eat more, eat more, and the cells are finally like, stop, I'm full. I can't store any more energy in me, I can't use any more energy in me. But if we're still eating, and insulin is still being produced, it's still knocking on that cell saying no, no, no, you have to store more, and the cell is so full. And it's saying I can't store more, where's that glucose is going to be to circulating in your blood doing a lot of damage, right. And the same thing with the insulin that's just going to keep releasing, because it's going to the insulin, your body notices, your body is so smart, our bodies are so intelligent. And they're noticing, wow, this blood sugar just hasn't gone down in the blood, make more insulin, make more insulin, make more insulin, until finally, our pancreas gets tired of that too. And the pancreas is like Don, I keep making this, you're not using it, I'm not gonna keep making it, right? The cells are like you keep putting glucose in, I can't use the glucose, I'm not taking it anymore. And we create a cycle of sickness for ourselves. All right. So the benefits are when we use intermittent fasting as a protocol to support our health, we decrease circulating insulin, we decrease our blood sugar, we can regulate it, we decrease the insulin like growth factor. Think about growth factors people Insulin is a hormone that is a growth hormone, insulin like growth factor, another growth hormone when we have cancer in our body, we don't want to have a lot of circulating growth hormones going on, right? We want to find a balance, we want to find a way that our body works in a way that supports our health, and is not feeding a bunch of stuff that we don't want being fed. Okay? We find that intermittent fasting lowers blood pressure, intermittent fasting has been found to lower your resting heart rate. Isn't that interesting? Because think about why would your heart rate be elevated when you're eating? Why would fasting help to do to lower that. But if you realize and you really think about, it takes a lot of work and energy to digest food, your body is on the clock digesting working away. Okay. And so what we see when we use intermittent fasting and decrease the window of time that we're putting food into this body, we see an increased sensitivity to insulin. Why is that good? Because we eat our blood sugar increases. And our pancreas doesn't need to keep making tons and tons of insulin to get ourselves to take that in, our cells become more sensitive, when insulin comes knocking on the door, and they let the glucose in and they use it properly for the cellular function that they need. And then they're just waiting for insulin to come knocking again to say, Hey, I've got a little more glucose for you. So we learn to use that glucose and that insulin in a very effective way in an efficient way. When we're not constantly overfeeding the body. We also increase autophagy and autophagy is this beautiful process where your body starts to notice broken cells, cells that need repair cells that have died off and it just starts cleaning stuff up. And we want that to happen. So when we adopt fasting into our life, and we allow our body to go longer periods of time, without having to digest food, we increase our body's ability to clean up at a cellular level. Studies have also found that when We practice intermittent fasting, we actually increase the health of our microbiome and the diversity of bacteria in our microbiome. We give things the space to kind of grow and function in a healthier way. And then, studies have also shown that intermittent fasting increases the expression of genes that are involved in cellular repair. What does that mean? We may have lots of genes. And their job is to work towards repairing ourselves at any level. But unless we have the lifestyle habits, that turn those genes on, then they may not work as efficiently as they could, they may not send out the signals in the rules to make the body have all the processes that actually support our cellular repair. But when we practice intermittent fasting, or we are in a fasted state, studies have shown that the expression of these genes the turning on of these genes increases, and we have better cellular repair. This is the kind of thing that I really want you to embrace and hear and think, Wow, that's so cool, right? Because it doesn't cost you anything not to eat. What it is, is lot of energy in managing your mind. And this is something that I found, you know, my husband and I, when we started doing intermittent fasting, and really incorporating fasting protocols on a consistent basis into our life. We were shocked at how our grocery budget dropped. It was amazing. And it was like, wow, did we really eat that much that we didn't even realize, you know that it was this mental state this idea that there always had to be food, right? There always had to be food there. Do we always eat the food? Did some food get wasted? Some food go bad? Yeah, sometimes it did. But we came really mindful. And I think that's another aspect of intermittent fasting, it really helps you to increase the amount of mindfulness you apply to feeding your body. Because you become more aware of your hunger cues. If you're only going to eat at a certain time, when you've made that commitment to yourself to do it, then you begin to notice that just because your body has a little Timmy growl, you don't need to run and get food. And then in your mind, all of the issues you have around food start to come up and you start to become very aware of what drove you to eating boredom, emotions, treats, I deserve this all different mindsets, and they become very, very clear and very bold, I guess I should say, like you you cannot overlook this when you're practicing intermittent fasting, even if you're at that 12 hour, and you've decided to go 13 hours when that lasts 60 minutes, right? Oh, I'm hungry. And you're paying attention to what his hunger feels like in your body, you develop a greater awareness and you increase your ability to practice mindfulness. And that has a huge impact on so many areas of our life, but especially for what we work on here as breast cancer survivors, getting to know our body. Because we want to take the power that we have to support our ability to have the healthiest possible body and that is in getting to know it and how it works. So I want to address a couple of things that I hear frequently when I talk with people about intermittent fasting. And one of those is what if I need to take medications with food. I personally am on a chemotherapy pill that's supposed to be taken with food. And so what I will do is I might have a butter coffee, or I might have some MCT powder in my coffee, if it's at a time where I'm in a fasting window, but I do need to take medication. So I know that there's some calories there. But I always honor my body too. If I were to do that, and I didn't feel well. And I noticed that wasn't enough calories or enough sustenance, so that taking that medication made me feel unwell when I did it, then I would adjust that, hey, we got to give ourselves grace. So let's talk a little bit about what fasting is some people are like, you know, hardcore on the fasting and just said saying, Oh, I put cream in my coffee or MCT powder, my coffee will say Oh, you broke your fast. And maybe that's true. If you're gonna follow it like absolute black and white by the number. Maybe that's true, but there's also what's called fast mimicking. And when we do fasting mimicking diets prolong which is a fast mimicking diet that was developed out of the University of Southern California out of USC by Dr. Valter. Longo. Proline has about 800 calories a day that are consumed and so some studies have shown that the body can stay in a fasted state for women if we're consuming between five and 800. Drink calories and men who's right about 800 calories in a day. So I tend to just kind of notice what works for me. And I noticed because I do test blood sugar, and I do test ketones, I can have a butter coffee, or I can have MCT powder in my coffee, when it's time to take a medication, and I'm referring to my morning medications, I can have something like that. And I don't really break my fasting protocol, it doesn't spike my insulin, I don't get a big glucose spike. And so it works for me. And we've got to find things that work for us. Like, isn't it better to give your body this ability, this window, this fasted window to repair itself to support its healing? Isn't it better to do that with maybe a little bit of leeway, a little bit of broth here, a little bit of a cup of coffee with cream in it here than to just not do it at all, you know, at least lowering that calorie content to just a few 100 calories. And if you're just talking about one cup of coffee, it's obviously less than if you put a little bit of cream in it is less than 100 calories, right? It's so much better to support your body in the way that you can in the best way that you can, then not to do it at all. So I mean, don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. If you say, Well, I have to take my medication with food. And then that means that I didn't finish my 20 hour fast or my 18 hour fast or my 14 hour fast. Why be that hard on yourself, you know, 100 calories, a piece of cheese, something like that, if that's what you need to be able to take the medications that are necessary for you to support your body's ability to heal to support your body's ability to fight disease. Give yourself that leeway. Okay? We don't have to be beating ourselves up all the time. Another thing that I hear from people is when I feel funny, when I feel shaky, will I get clammy. Now, this is something that's really important to pay attention to. And this is why if you have a blood sugar issue of any kind, or if you notice, you start to feel sick when you go longer periods of time without food, work under medical supervision. Make sure you're testing your blood, get somebody to work with you who's monitoring you who's licensed in this. And you can carefully help you transition into the food protocols that you want to transition into to do it safely and carefully and so that you're not feeling unwell during the process. Another thing that I hear from my clients is, what about chemotherapy? You know what if I'm getting treatment, Isn't it bad to go without food. And here's something that I noticed in my infusion room. And when I go to the infusion center, there's bowls of candy everywhere, and not only bowls of candy, but I've been on IVs and the nurses are going around with little baskets full of bags of cookies and chips and processed high carbohydrate foods. And so we tend to think and I think that we align it to with anytime throughout our life since we're kids, we feel sick when you feel sick, what do you do give people food. So much of the time, food is love for us. And we connect with food in that way, when I'm sick when I'm having a difficult time we eat emotionally. And does that mean that we need food is food really supporting us in those times? Well, studies show that it's actually very beneficial to fast for 24 to 48 hours before a chemotherapy treatment. And that fasting Windows actually support our body's ability to be more sensitive to chemotherapy drugs. So I'll post a link to some studies in the show notes for this episode. So you can check into that for yourself if you are in chemotherapy treatment and you would like to know more about it and discuss it with your doctor as well. So you check out those links and make sure you're taking the very best and safest care for yourself. But when it comes to supporting your terrain, intermittent fasting is something that is absolutely worth investigating for yourself. If you've never tried it. If you would like to try it, get information, check out the links that I post here for the podcast, talk to your doctor about it. Make sure you understand how fasting works, what fasting means and start off slow. Be gentle with yourself. And notice how your body is affected. I'll tell you one of the most outstanding things I noticed when I began intermittent fasting protocols was the brain fog cleared up. That was something that I noticed now I've been doing intermittent fasting for I don't even know how long it's been maybe six years now, maybe a little longer. And what I mean by that is I fast for 14 to 16 hours every day. And then at least twice during The week, I'll fast for 18 to 20 hours. And then I used to do a lot more of 24 hour fasts. I used to do them like twice a week to 24 hour fasts. And then I started noticing that my body was feeling very stressed. And in fact, he was feeling so stressed that when I would check my blood sugar, my blood sugar would be elevated. And we think what in the world is going on here, like my blood sugar is elevated, I haven't even eaten in 24 hours. And I realized that I was taking my body a little too far and creating a little too much stress. So I'll dial that back. So now we'll do 24 hour fast, maybe twice a month. But it really depends on how I'm feeling, and what I have going on, especially in my own treatment plan. And so I encourage you, play with it, test it, do little bits at a time, and practice mindfulness, as you are experimenting with intermittent fasting so that you really get your arms around how it's working for your body, how you're feeling, and different steps you can take to set yourself up for success. And slowly move into figuring out the fasting and feeding windows that work for your body and support your optimal health. All right, my friends, I would love to hear from you. I would love to your questions about this. I love talking about nutrition and fasting and ways in which you have other options that might be able to work for you. I think if you listen to this podcast with any regularity, you know, I'm not a one size fits all person. So you can find me on Facebook, or Instagram as the breast cancer recovery coach. You can join my free Facebook group, the breast cancer recovery group on Facebook and let's post questions there. You can have discussions there ask me your questions. give me feedback on the podcast there as well. Or if you want coaching, one on one coaching, small group coaching access to me directly so we can work specifically on the things that serve you best and what you would like to create for yourself in your life. You can work with me in the better than before breast cancer life coaching membership, you can find all the information on everything I just talked about my website, the breast cancer recovery coach.com You can also find their free downloads and my standalone courses, especially the 90 days of wellness. And I have different modules in the 90 days of wellness that are dedicated to intermittent fasting and protocols and give you lots more information along with everything else you could imagine when it comes to supporting your wellness. Alright my friend so go check out the website, the breast cancer recovery coach.com find what you need come and work with me. I'd love to support you. And I'll talk to you again very soon take care


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