Health Podcast Post

Intermittent Fasting with Cynthia Thurlow

George Grombacher May 24, 2022

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Intermittent Fasting with Cynthia Thurlow

LifeBlood: We talked about intermittent fasting, how it works, who it benefits, how to have success with it, and how to get started with Cynthia Thurlow, Nurse Practitioner, podcaster and author of Intermittent Fasting Transformation.  

Listen to learn why high quality sleep could be what’s missing from your weight loss plan!

You can learn more about Cynthia at, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and LinkedIn.

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Our Guests

George Grombacher

Cynthia Thurlow

Episode Transcript

george grombacher 0:00
Come on blindfold This is George G. And the time is right. welcome today’s guest strong and powerful. Cynthia Thurlow. Cynthia, are you ready to do this?

Cynthia Thurlow 0:18
I am. I’m excited to be here with you

george grombacher 0:20
excited to have you on. Cynthia is a nurse practitioner. She’s speaker podcast host, an intermittent fasting expert and the author of intermittent fasting transformation. Cynthia, tell us a little about your personal lives more about your work and why you do what you do.

Cynthia Thurlow 0:37
Yeah, well, I’m a traditionally trained allopathic nurse practitioner, I started in the ER in Baltimore. And it was a natural gravitation as an NP, I worked for 16 years in cardiology. So I’m a bit of an adrenaline junkie. But I just got to a point where I felt that the traditional kind of allopathic model was solely focused on treating symptoms. And I became much more interested in looking at root cause management, which led me down a rabbit hole of many things. And I started a Ph. D program, which I did, like I did a wellness coaching program. And then I fell into a functional nutrition program. And I realized that at all, a lot of our health really starts with nutrition and food intake. And so I took a leap of faith six years ago and left clinical medicine, which was a hard decision, because I’ve loved taking care of patients for the past 20 years, but felt really compelled to, you know, be on the ground and creating programs and really leaning into the challenges that women face as they get north of 35 or 40. And so what that’s really turned into is a really successful business doing a lot of public speaking, which I love developed a podcast and have just really been exceeded every expectation I could have ever imagined. And a talk from three years ago, about my second TED Talk led to a series of really cool things that happened from the success of that, and one of them was, you know, creating a book because I,

in 2019, when I did that talk that went viral. A lot of people started coming to me asking for, how could they fast? What are ways that I could create programs that could support their needs. And so that’s really where the book came from. And a lot of people ask why I’m so focused on women. And I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that as a clinician, I felt that there was really a void. You know, we, as clinicians are very focused on, you know, teenagers and contraception and, you know, making sure that you know, their menstrual cycles are regulated, and then you know, helping with fertility and infertility and pregnancy and the postpartum period. And then it’s almost like women kind of go out to pasture. So it gives me an opportunity to support women at a stage of their lives, where there oftentimes is inadequate resources, and certainly not enough good information about how women can navigate the second half of their lives. So that’s a little bit about my background. But I would say that I’m, I’m a mom, I’m a wife. I’ve been married for 19 years. I have two boys who are teenagers. I have two crazy doodles, we love to travel, and we live on the east coast. So where are we? I live a great lifestyle. Nice. Well, I appreciate you sharing all that. So women have all these.

I don’t want to call them issues, but areas of new education that you just rattled off or shared, and then it’s okay. Well, we are done. No more. But like, wait, wait, I still have a lot of issues that that I need help with? Yeah. So Atlin after 35. I saw just on just a quick bit of research that two thirds of women are overweight and almost half were obese. Why? Why is that? Well, I think it’s it’s interesting, because actually, I gave a talk this past weekend, it was talking about this. And I think it’s a combination of many factors. I think it’s the frequency with which we eat. It’s the wrong choice of macronutrients. And as men and women get older, they need to eat more protein, less processed carbs, and limit the amount of adulterated fat for using high quality fat. So no frequency food choices. You know, we’re a culture that is very hedonistic, we want everything right away. We don’t want to work for things, we want them to be instant gratification. And, you know, on top of that, there’s also this prevailing wisdom that we cannot exercise a bad diet. And I’d like to remind people that the most important thing you can do is eat an anti inflammatory diet, get high quality, sleep, eat less frequently. And so when we’re looking at those kinds of statistics, they are not getting better, they’re getting worse. One of the things that has come out of the pandemic, I was quoting these statistics over the weekend, is that the average person gained anywhere from 15 to 20 pounds and there are many people who gained 50 pounds or more during the pandemic. So I think a lot of luck

that it’s our lifestyle that is not properly regulating and supporting hormonal balance. And this goes for men and women. But I think it’s really important for people to understand, there are ways to work around this, that it’s our modern day lifestyles that are creating tremendous dyssynchrony with with the ways that our bodies are designed to thrive. I’ll give you an example. I would imagine most people fall asleep in front of the TV or they’re streaming on their iPad or their on their phone. And just as one example, getting off of electronics or wearing blue blockers so that you can mitigate the disruption and melatonin secretion. Melatonin is this hormone that is predominantly secreted in the brain, but also secreted in, you know, melatonin clocks throughout the body. Even in the gut. This is why we say don’t eat two to three hours before bedtime because it will suppress melatonin and increase cortisol. But just something as simple as getting off of your tablets or getting off of the TV or wearing blue blockers can help promote healthy melatonin secretion, which can impact sleep quality. And if you’re north of 40, your body is intrinsically producing less endogenous meaning inside the body, melatonin. And so I think it’s from a variety of factors while we’re dealing with so much metabolic and flexibility and obesity issues.

george grombacher 6:16
Metabolic inflexibility,

Cynthia Thurlow 6:19
I like one of my favorite words,

george grombacher 6:23
that is a good one, dis dyssynchrony is also a really, really, really good one, metabolic and flexibility. So I assume that when you were practicing as as a nurse, the whole thing, or a big part of it is how do I help people to get better? So how do I help break bad habits. And every ounce of me says, I do not want to cuddle people. It’s not that I don’t care about your feelings, but what you’re doing is going to kill you or you’re just not going to lead a happy life. Where, where, where do you come down on that?

Cynthia Thurlow 7:06
The honest answer is that one of my gifts, I say that everyone has gifts that make them unique, I have a pretty tremendous ability to ascertain when I’m working with a client or a patient, how to connect with them. And so some people will need the tough love, they’re ready for it, they are accepting of it. And other people, you have to do a little more hand holding, because they may not be right, it may be terrifying for them. You know, and a lot of it’s, you know, I did some of my graduate work with this transtheoretical model of change theory. And so the readiness for change aspect of a lot of the work that I still do is assessing where is someone on the continuum of change. And if you can ascertain where that person is, maybe they just need a little gentle push and they’re ready to go. Or maybe they’re just thinking about the change? And how do you facilitate conversation around giving them options? So the honest answer is, I have had a lot of success working with patients and clients because I am very attuned to where they are on this, this change model. However, with that being said, I think if anyone were to ask me, I think you’d get a whole lot farther with a little bit of sugar than you do with a little bit of vinegar. And so that’s something my southern grandmother used to say to me. And so I do believe fervently that you can say something you can give someone tough love, and yet do it in a way that respects them for who they are, honors them for who they are, and does it in a way that’s not offending them or triggering them. Am I perfect? 100% of time of course not that that’s usually a reflection of the person and not about me, I try very hard to be respectful and sensitive to people and where they are.

george grombacher 8:44
Like, I appreciate that very much. And you want to be effective right? At the end of the day when I’m so whatever it’s going to take to get because it’s a huge problem. Two thirds of women are overweight and half are obese. So it’s a big problem. So the success of the TED talks the success of the book is evidence that what you’re talking about is that that you’re being effective with it. What is it about the fasting that is it that people are grabbing a hold of the idea is it is it practical and and and I can make it fit into my life? What is it that’s that’s helping it be successful?

Cynthia Thurlow 9:26
Well, I think there’s a couple of things you know, the toxic dieting culture and industry here in the United States is one example. I think people are tired of this potions, pills and powders concept these get quick, rich schemes or lose tons of weight in a week. It’s not sustainable that way and I remind men and women that fasting is a straight one of many strategies that can help people get better hormonal regulation, change body composition, lose weight, sleep better, be more mentally clear. are. And I think when people wrap their heads around it, this is the way our bodies are designed to thrive. This is the way our bodies are designed to be properly balanced. And it really speaks back to Biblical times. It’s not new or novel, you know, the media loves to make it sound like it’s a new concept. It really isn’t. I mean, it’s incorporated in all the major religions, we just had a big, you know, I think it’s every 33 years that we have Ramadan, and Passover and Easter on the same weekend. And so I just like to remind people that it’s a strategy that’s sustainable that people can do for the most of their adult lifetime. Obviously, there are always exceptions. But it’s also something that doesn’t require a gimmick, it doesn’t require buying a powder, you have to carry around, or, you know, little meal containers, all of a sudden, people have food freedom, they can get up in the morning, have their coffee, have their tea, and go about their day, and then oh, maybe in the middle of the damage and break my fast, it just makes things less complicated. I’m all about being efficient, and concise. And so fasting for many, many people is really aligned with how is my body designed to thrive, I don’t just want to survive, you know, I want to thrive and this is a way to do it.

george grombacher 11:14
How many different kinds of fasting are there?

Cynthia Thurlow 11:17
Well, I mean, from a perspective of just intermittent fasting, there are lots of different windows, I think that’s what you’re alluding to, you could have a 16 hours faster with an eight hour feeding window, you can have a 24 hour fast, you can have omad, which is one meal a day, you can have a five two and a five two can be done different ways, five days of normal eating, and then two days of 24 hour fast a five two can also be five days of normal eating and two days with a caloric intake of 600 calories if you’re male 500 if you’re female, and then there’s other I mean, obviously, there’s tons of variations. And then there’s prolonged fasting, some people want to fast for 48 hours or 72 hours, we’re you know, long water fasts or dry fasting, there’s a lot of different modalities. But I generally encourage people when they’re new to the concept to deal with intermittent fasting, which tends to be a little bit easier for people to integrate into their lifestyles.

george grombacher 12:15
And how, what is what is the gateway window?

Cynthia Thurlow 12:21
Well, I think it’s whatever you start with. So I always advocate that people started, we’re going to rip off the band aid. So this is the band aid, you stop snacking, we’re just going to force you to restructure your meals, focused on animal based protein, the right types of fats. And then you know, carbohydrates generally from non starchy vegetables, low glycemic berries. And if you’re getting the combination of foods properly together, you know, for breakfast, lunch and dinner, you’re not going to be hungry in between. So that gets rid of this need for snacking, you know, the next step is going from dinner to breakfast without eating many, many Americans. In fact, I would I would garner to believe based on the research that I’ve done in excess of 50% of Americans eat after dinner, you know, they eat their dinner, and then they’re snacking and sugary beverages, and maybe they’re having alcohol. And so the post dinner snacking is hugely problematic. So I encourage people to start with a 12 hour 13 hour, digestive rest is how I kind of pointed because that sounds a little more user friendly if you’re a newbie. And so going from 12 to 13 hours without eating to opening up the window to 14 to 15. I’d like people to get to 16 hours I like people to you know, then potentially move on to 18. And then you know, when you’ve really mastered the basics, then you can get more complicated with your feeding and fasting windows. But a good rule of thumb is that you’re going to garner a lot of benefits from fasting when you’re, you know, around that 16 to 18 hour mark. Obviously, there are different benefits from 24 hours fasting versus 16. But you’re still what I want people to focus in on is that eating less frequently is going to allow your entire body to work more effectively than eating. I think it was such an pandas study from last year where they were using an app to have people input how frequently they were eating. And the average person was eating six to 12 times a day. So imagine what’s happening with hormones like insulin, every single time you’re eating with frequent for with frequencies, you never get to use stored fat as energy. And so that’s an important distinction that when you are constantly eating, whether it’s liquid calories, which I generally encourage people not to do, especially things that are loaded with fructose, which is highly toxic, you know, or it’s food that you’re chewing and swallowing each time you do that your body is secreting insulin in an effort to bring your blood sugar back down and so that stops the ability to use stored fat for energy each time you eat. So I think it’s important for people just to understand like the very much the basics that you want to eat less frequently so that you can better better balance those hormones and you know really tap in intrinsically to the way our bodies are designed to thrive.

george grombacher 15:07
If, if I ate the same diet, essentially and had the same exercise, but then incorporated fasting, Is there research that shows what the differences are from like a weight loss perspective or longevity, something like that?

Cynthia Thurlow 15:26
Well, I think you have to, there’s obviously different metrics if you’re looking to change body composition. We know if we look at in their eight week studies comparing men and women men, because they have less body fat, they have more muscle mass, they will lose weight, more quickly change body composition a bit more quickly than women who have intrinsically more body fat just by nature, if you’re still getting a menstrual cycle, there’s also times in your cycle when you should not fast. And so women take a little bit longer to change body composition. We’re looking at longevity models, most of those are done on animals. And so I actually had a really good conversation last night with a leading expert in this area. And she was saying that if all those models have been using rodents, you know, whether it’s rats or mice, etc, then you have to kind of look at it and say, well, if we’re going to extrapolate, can we look at a mouse model and compare it to a human, it gives you things that you can potentially look at. But obviously we know that if we look at some of the Blue Zones in the world, and looking at caloric restriction strictly, we know that people that eat less calories, and I’m not focused on calories, but if you look at that research, people that eat less calories generally live longer than people who eat more calories have end up having more health problems. And so there’s a lot of good research that’s out there. But you’re looking at two different things. If you’re looking at changing body composition, a lot of good research there on humans, although again, and this ties back into this talk that I gave this past weekend, women are generally women of childbearing age are generally excluded from a lot of clinical trials. I mean, that’s getting better. But most of the human models in terms of fasting and changing body composition have been done on men and postmenopausal obese women other than rodent and animal models.

george grombacher 17:15
Got it? Thank you. So what can people expect when they pick up the book?

Cynthia Thurlow 17:21
Well, the book is is written for women because this is the first intermittent fasting book that’s written exclusively for women. And it walks you through the science in a way that is not scary, but completely is broken down in a way that people can understand it. I talk about hormones, a lot of hormones, not just our sex hormones, I think women tend to think that that’s the only thing that we have to worry about. And really, it’s understanding the hierarchy of hormones. And then I dive into this 45 day plan that I’ve created, as well as there are over 50 recipes created by an amazing chef Beth Lipton, which are very aligned with my personal and professional philosophies about the intake of animal protein, non starchy bachelor veggies and using the right types of healthy fats. And so it gives you a 45 day program that you can implement, and it’s done in a way to support you, not just physically and physiologically but also spiritually mentally.

george grombacher 18:16
Awesome. I love it. Cynthia, thank you so much for coming on. I’m gonna skip the difference making tip that people are ready for that difference making tips at the what do you have for them?

Cynthia Thurlow 18:25
Well, I mean, obviously, I would say eat less often. But I think it’s really important for us to focus on high quality sleep. That means seven, eight hours cold dark room electronics off, I remind people all the time that you know I am a kind of tend to be a data nerd, like I wear an aura ring. I have no affiliation with them. I just like to track my sleep. But it’s been very humbling even for me focusing in on sleep. But it is the one thing that I tell everyone that everyone is capable of getting better quality sleep, and if that means you are taking a supplement to help support sleep, like let’s say, for example, GABA or L theanine, getting off electronics wearing your blue blockers really prioritizing and being very protective of sleep, because there’s so many things that go on. In sleep that aren’t able, our body isn’t able to intrinsically tap into and without belaboring the point, focus on better high quality sleep. And even the people who swear they don’t need a lot of sleep. If you look at the research, even those people need at least six and a quarter hours of sleep a night. So if you’re sleeping less than that, you’re really setting yourself up for some metabolic issues that you don’t want to have.

george grombacher 19:33
Well, I think that that is great stuff that definitely gets a come up. Cynthia, thank you so much for coming on. Where can people learn more about you and how could they get to where can they get a copy of intermittent fasting transformation?

Cynthia Thurlow 19:44
Thanks so much for having me. probably easiest to start with my website. It’s www dot Cynthia You have access to my podcast everyday wellness, where I get in to interview some pretty incredible leaders in the health and wellness space. You can also get links to where purchase my book, target Barnes and Noble Amazon or your local bookstores. I think with the pandemic, the last two years I’ve been encouraging people to buy local to support those brick and mortar businesses. I’m also very active on Instagram. I have a free Facebook group called Cynthia Thurlow. Sorry, intermittent fasting transform, intermittent fasting lifestyle, backslash by name. It’s a free group. There are men and women in that group. It’s a very nurturing, welcoming community. If you find me on Twitter, I’m a little snarky, depending on the day, but I am everywhere and we’d love for your listeners to connect with me.

george grombacher 20:34
Excellent. If you enjoyed this as much as I did shows that Cynthia your appreciation and share today share with a friend who also appreciates good ideas go to Cynthia at CYNTHIATHU R. l o w pick up a copy of intermittent fasting transformation, check out the everyday wellness podcast and find her on social media. I’ll list all those in the notes of the show. Thanks again, Cynthia. Thanks again. And until next time, keep fighting the good fight. We’re all in this together.

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