Season 1

Episode 41: Melissa

In this episode of the Intermittent Fasting Stories podcast, host Gin Stephens speaks to Melissa, an architectural and design rep from South Florida.  Melissa starts out sharing a period from Nov 2016-May 2017 when she changed job roles and quickly gained from 172 up to 194 pounds.  At that point, she called on what she calls “an old friend”, phentermine, as she had been on and off the diet pills for a decade in the past.  She describes side effects of the pills including mood swings and erratic energy levels, feeling simultaneously wired and exhausted, plus the weight wasn’t coming off easily anymore.  She was counting macros, obsessing over food, and quite miserable when someone in an online phentermine support group suggested intermittent fasting and Delay, Don’t Deny.

Melissa started with an 18:6 for three weeks, which she describes as a tough transition, then went to a 19:5.  Between October and December 2017, she lost about 16 pounds.  She was doing well, yet seeking the answer for that final push of weight loss when she was tempted into keto.  She started adding bulletproof coffee in the mornings, seeing positive readings on her ketone meter, yet things weren’t working as well as they had.  That is when she began really believing in the clean fast.  Clean fasting helped her be so in tune with her body that she was immediately alarmed in Fall of 2018 when she noted what felt like hormonal changes accompanied by fatigue, hot flashes, and weight gain.

She advocated for workup of these symptoms and was shocked to be diagnosed with Stage 1B Invasive Ductal carcinoma of the breast.  In late 2018, she gained weight over the holidays as she dealt with the overwhelming emotional impact of the diagnosis.  Then she became steeled for the fight and talked with her team about combining intermittent fasting with her chemotherapy regimen.  She is now on chemo treatment 5 of 8 and generally fasts for 24 hours before an infusion and 24+ hours after if she’s able.  Her doctors are supportive of IF, and she’s motivated to treat her cancer aggressively since her sub-type has a high rate of recurrence.  To document her journey and support other breast cancer patients, Melissa has a blog at  She says the work of writing is worthwhile if it makes anyone’s journey easier, including her own.


To check out Melissa’s blog, visit

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