In this episode of the Intermittent Fasting Stories podcast, host Gin Stephens speaks to Susanna Patten, who lives in Washington DC and works as a senior government research analyst. Susanna shares that her introduction to intermittent fasting was not motivated by weight loss. Instead, she says, it was a desire to get free from frequent snacking that brought her to IF. A couple of years ago, she noted constantly feeling “hangry”, a shaky, frantic feeling that came on if she did not eat every couple of hours. The need to snack was becoming a distraction and fasting sounded like a way to set boundaries, so she began researching and stumbled onto the podcast. She became convinced of the importance of a clean fast, and says black coffee was not difficult because she previously took a splash of milk. Though she’d been a believer in traditional morning breakfast, she chose an 18:6 regimen, breaking fast around noon or 1:00 PM and closing the eating window after dinner.
At first, Susanna noted an ironic increase in her consumption of processed food. She had been a longtime whole-food eater, but indulged a taste for processed stuff and found even so, her inflammation decreased and her shoes went down half a size. Starting at 136 pounds, she only wanted to lose a few, and did shed 7 lbs during those first six months. Even though weight loss was happening, Susanna gradually noted feeling sluggish and tired. Commenting that she is an “Abstainer” in Gretchen Rubin’s behavior model, she decided she needed to totally eliminate processed foods. Doing so created a shift and she began feeling better, dropping another 9 pounds in two months’ time. She now feels “amazing”, slim and trim with high energy levels and glowing skin.
Susanna is a big believer in epigenetics and the ability of our lifestyles to influence health outcomes. She is grateful to be free of food related distraction and compulsion, and encourages others to consider the lifestyle, regardless of their weight status. Her best advice to new IF adopters is to focus on early consistency so the fasting habit sticks. She wishes she had given herself more grace during the phase when she was figuring out the food, and reminds that with persistence, all pieces of the puzzle will come together in time.
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