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Dr Orlena: Hello. Hello, welcome to fit and fabulous with me, Dr Orlena Kerek. I’m super excited to invite Matty Lansdown back. If you didn't check our first podcast, now go and listen to that. We've had so much fun. Matty, do you want to give yourself another quick intro?
Matty: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. We just got off on a, such a good foot on the first one.
Matty: So we had to do a second one. So thanks for the invite back. I appreciate it. So a bit about me. I'm a medical scientist and nutritionist and I help women to lose weight and manage their emotional eating. And we do that without counting calories. Oh, eating rabbit food, which is really cool. I started off working in hospitals and doing all sorts of different research and being a part of cancer research teams where I led a loss and that really motivated my journey to help people before they ever walked in the front door of the hospital building.
Dr Orlena: Fabulous. So, as I say, we haven't listened to the first episode, go and listen to that because you'll find out lots about Matty and how he helps people today. I want to talk about intermittent fasting because it is. An amazing tool. And it's really interesting, so much interesting research. So take it away.
Dr Orlena: Matty, tell us, tell us what intermittent fasting is and how it can be.
Matty: Yeah, absolutely. So intermittent fasting is simply the cycle between eating and not eating. And the interesting thing about that is that it means if we look at it through that lens, we've actually been intimate fasting our whole lives and humans have been intimate fasting the entire length of time that they've been walking the planet.
Matty: So it's not just a new fad because. Just the cycle between eating and not eating and pretty much everybody's sleeps at night. So you go through a stage where you're not eating. And the idea, obviously that with, you know, really focusing your attention on now, I'm intermittent fasting is to really just get the benefits of that cycle between not eating and eating because some people are obviously we've got grit, people that graze a lot.
Matty: And then they eat many times through the day. And one of the issues in the Western world with. Both disease and being overweight and obese is usually the frequency that people are reading. They did a study that was released last year in an American population, and they found that on average, people were eating six to 11 times a day.
Matty: And, and so the frequency of which we're putting food in, and then of course the nutritional content that we're putting into our bodies. So the idea is that in the fasting window, Allowing a window of time for our body to clear the blood of the blood sugar, clear the digestive system of everything that's in there and allow the body to then spend a few hours using body fat as fuel, which is exactly what we want to do to be able to lose weight.
Dr Orlena: So it's a bit. Turning your computer on and off when it's not doing what it wants
Matty: to do. Yeah. I like like those. I'm not sure what it's like over there in Europe, but here it's the European cars that do that, which is like, they turn off at the traffic lights and then you put your foot on the accelerator again and they turn back on.
Matty: So it's the same way. Oh,
Dr Orlena: fabulous. Fabulous. Okay. So that's the really simple thing, but you know, we just stop eating after dinner. Oh, such an easy thing to do once you're in the habit. So yeah, I remember years ago before I knew about intermittent fasting and I was. I had young kids at the time and I was writing a blog of a kid's blog, a parenting blog.
Dr Orlena: And, you know, I didn't have much time, so I would sit and work after dinner and in order to reward myself. Yep. I know rewarding yourself with food, not great, but I would have a little bit of chocolate until I basically realized that actually that's the worst thing that you can possibly do. And if I want to eat chocolate, I'm far better off eating it with dinner than, you know, stopping dinner, breaking, or, you know, not having that fast.
Dr Orlena: So what do you recommend for people? The basics now, what should everybody be doing in terms of intermittent fasting?
Matty: Yeah, that's a really good question. And I think the important sort of caveat at this point is to say that it looks different for everybody and particularly women women, I think especially menstruating women should not be strict.
Matty: They should have be more flexible. And like there should be weeks where they add in different foods that they should fast less because intermittent fasting and any type of fasting is it's a hormetic stress on the body, but you can have. Too much of a good thing. So although, you know, a lot of people think, well, I want to lose weight, you know, yesterday.
Matty: So they go really, really hard and then went on this diet culture kind of conundrum, which is like, I lost weight really quickly. My body adapted, I plateaued, I can't get to the rest of the weight off. I'm just going to give up and eat all the food and then I'm back to square one. So for, for women, it's going to look a little different.
Matty: It's going to be a bit of a flow throughout the months with regards to like, when we're going to go a little bit harder. Ease up and support our hormones and our stress. So I mean, with it, I think there's one thing that everybody should do. And that is to aim, to eliminate snacking. I don't believe that a snack is anything other than through one of three things and addiction.
Matty: So an addiction to sugar and emotional response to a situation. Or a lack of protein in the diet. So it's one of those three things. So one of the first things you can even do before you start intermittent fasting is increasing the protein in your diet and reducing the refined carbohydrates, because you will have cravings and hunger during your fasting window.
Matty: If you are not correctly satiating the body, which most people aren't, that's one of the reasons they're eating so often, that's one of the reasons we go towards these fast carbs, like chocolate or donuts, or, you know, whatever it might be because we don't have enough protein. And most nutrition, diet advice, you know, encourages a diet that's low in protein.
Matty: The fact that we have cereal and toast recommended for breakfast is basically the most unhealthy way to start the day because it's totally absent of protein. So I would start there. But yeah, it looks different for everyone. A lot of people. You know, they feel good at 16, eight, some people 14, 10 all sorts of stuff.
Dr Orlena: I'm going to stop you there because you're throwing numbers around and we haven't explained the numbers. So I actually, what I was actually asking was overnight, like how long do you reckon people should fast overnight?
Matty: So yeah. I think, I think overnight it's yeah, it's going to be different for everyone because everybody's stress, sleep nutrition, like the, the context of their day.
Matty: I find when I meet most people, they're at about 12, 12. And then it varies greatly between what people might do. They might go to 20 hours of fasting. They might go to 16. They might actually stay at 12 and just focus on having three solid meals a day and eliminating all this.
Dr Orlena: Perfect. Perfect. So, yeah, w you know, going back to what I was saying, like one really easy way to make sure you aren't getting that 12 hours in is to look at when you eat dinner and when you break your fast and don't snack after dinner.
Dr Orlena: So you mentioned some numbers, 16, 8, 24. Can you just explain a little bit what that means? You know, thinking about people who don't know anything about intimate and post.
Matty: Yeah, sure. So that's, what's called the intimate fasting ratio or schedule. And so the first number is the fasting. So when you finish eating at nighttime too, when you start eating tomorrow, so you might finish dinner at 7:00 PM and wake up in the morning and have your first coffee and breakfast at 7:00 AM.
Matty: So that would be 12 hours fasting through. Plus a few hours, they decide. And then the other number, the second number, the other 12 is during the day. So you've turned on your digestive system. Your metabolism is focused on, you know, the food that you're putting into the blood supply, and then it can move.
Matty: Like you can have 16 hours fasting where you might wrap up at seven the night before, and then eight at 11. The next day type thing. And then you've got an eight hour window where you eat. So, and that number can change a lot. It can be 23 in one, which is OMAD, which has one meal a day, which is not something I would really encourage most people to do.
Matty: But, but yeah, so those numbers can fluctuate. And I think for the important thing to say is for women that are still having a cycle, is that weeks one and three should be the, the weeks that you sort of, you know, really experiment and then three and four, we need to ease up. That system and allow more eating in those windows to support the body and the stress and the menstrual cycle.
Dr Orlena: really interesting that you mentioned the one may today. Apparently that's how people used to eat. You know, hundreds of years ago, they would just have one meal a day. And this idea that we have. Three meals a day, I think came from breakfast cereal companies, to be perfectly honest.
Matty:. Yeah, no, I totally agree.
Matty: The other thing I would say is that, yes, I agree with that. But we now have also a situation with our daily lives that didn't exist a few hundred years ago, which is we are. Constantly stressed. We have so many toxins in our life. We have, you know, just, just an abundance of problems and absolute abundance of problems.
Matty: So that's, it's, it's kind of like a juggling act. It's like, I think a lot of the stuff from back in the day is really relevant. And probably 99% of it, but we do also have to condition our bodies to deal with this chaotic world we've created. Yeah,
Dr Orlena: absolutely. Absolutely. So just backtracking a little bit.
Dr Orlena: And I think one thing that I haven't asked you yet, Well, what are the advantages of intermittent fasting? Like if I'm going to eat, let's say for example, 2000 calories a day. If I eat them in 12 hours, or if I eat them in 10 hours, does it make any difference?
Matty: That's a great question. So it does, it does.
Matty: And particularly when it comes to sugar and carbohydrates, so there's a, there's a lot of avenues for this conversation to go, but like a lot of people would want to do it for weight loss, because it's the closest thing to making sense of all of the, the reasons you might do it, which is like, if I donate for a longer period of time, then it's most likely that in that time I will use my body fat as as fuel, which is, which is the idea basically from a fat loss perspective.
Matty: So basically you want to be. But the longer the, the fasting window, generally, the more likely you're going to spend time using your body fat as fuel. And that means that it breaks that fat down to ketone bodies. And we use those ketone bodies in the mitochondria, which is in the cell, the little energy center of the cell in order to produce energy.
Matty: And then as soon as we add food back in, we switch out. State and we go to the food. However, like I said before, like more fasting is not always better because there can be a hormonal cost to fasting too long. So we want to really balance that. And one of the really useful paces of intimate fasting is it's usually best coupled with low carb or ketogenic diets.
Matty: And the reason for that is because most people have lived in a very high carbohydrate, high refined sugar, and carbs that sort of diet plan for most of their lives. And so every time you eat. Your blood sugar goes up and what follows that is a hormone called insulin and insulin is a fat storage hormone.
Matty: So it takes the sugar out of the blood because if it stays there, it can become toxic and it puts it into fat stores. And not only that, when insulin is up, it's actually a fat maintenance hormone in the sense that it has. Prevents you from accessing those fat stores. So like, it's kind of like a security guard.
Matty: So when the insulin's up, it's like, we're not going to burn this bat. There's plenty of fuel in the blood use that. And so if we have more time in the time in between the periods that we eat carbohydrates, and that includes like vegetables as well, but it means that the insulin spends more time lower, which means that we've got more access to the body fat and that, so that's, that's.
Matty: One kind of benefit of the inttermittant fasting than the other is autophagy. That's the really, really big benefits. So autophagy is basically cellular recycling. So the cells in your body need to be recycled because over time they get worn out and tired and lots of misfolded proteins happen, which mean that the cells aren't quite doing their job properly.
Matty: And during fasting, we enter. Stage of autophagy. So autophagy is always happening on a really low level, but once we actually switched the digestive system off and give it a full time break, rather than running all of the time from all of the food, it actually begins to replace a lot of the cells in there.
Matty: And you can also achieve autophagy from high, intense, intensive Training. So there's a number of ways that you can trigger it. But there's a lot of benefits to yeah. Your hormones to your to your burning, your fat stores and also regenerating new cells. And it can encourage the regeneration of brain cells lots of different cells.
Matty: However, there's also a cost of doing too much. So we've really got to find the sweet, sweet spot for us. Okay. So
Dr Orlena: it's a bit like going round with the vacuum cleaner hoovering up all those big broken cells that we don't want.
Matty: Yeah, absolutely.
Dr Orlena: Perfect. Perfect. And so in regards to weight loss, is it that you get a benefit because you've reduced your calories or is it actually the intermittent fasting?
Dr Orlena: So if you look at people who are eating the same amount, one of them is fasting and one of them isn't. Are they having the same amount of weight loss or not?
Matty: That's a good question. So I think if you couple it with a low carbohydrate diet or even a ketogenic diet, you'll find that you you're, the calorie thing goes out the window and I really am not a fan of the calorie conversation.
Matty: Cause it's just real one it's messed up about, you know, 95% of diet is
Dr Orlena: exactly. That was going to be my next question. How do you balance this? But it's just from a science point of view, like, is it the intermittent fasting that you're getting benefits from? Is it reduced like actual calories or is it a bit of.
Matty: Yeah, no, that's that's. I would say it's probably a little bit of both. But at the same time, people find that on a low carbohydrate diet doing it correctly or keto, or even even a normal sort of wholesome diet, if you're eating the right foods, Loads more calories then, you know, your diet plan might say, and you don't store the body fat.
Matty: And that's just because of the way the hormones respond. The fact that you're, you know, you're not no longer eating refined foods. So the insulin response isn't as severe. And the way that, that. Those calories are partitioned is different too. But when we've got these fake foods that, you know, trick, trick the body into thinking that a certain amount of nutrition has arrived when it has not that's when it very rapidly goes into fat stores and you can actually be in a situation where you're under eating.
Matty: And gaining weight. And I know plenty of people that have been in that situation, because again, they're not, they're not eating the right thing. And so they're tricking their, their hormones and their digestive system. And so when you eat correctly, the opposite can actually happen, which is eating too many calories and not gaining weight.
Dr Orlena: Yeah. Okay, perfect. So what does it feel like to be doing intermittent? Fasting my own personal experience and I don't do heat. Well, I do obviously do my 14 hours and then quite often in the summer I'll get. Go swimming, do some exercise. And you know, I'm just in a habit where it doesn't really bother me.
Dr Orlena: I don't think, oh my goodness, I have to eat before I do it. I've just got into the habit of not doing that. If I extend that longer, I find that I feel like I have more energy, but I also feel like I have heightened emotions. Is that something that is documented?
Matty: Yeah, I would say yes. So more energy definitely.
Matty: And the increase in emotion. I've definitely heard that of that with clients. That's I mean, it's documented, but the cause as to why is, is relatively unknown, that could simply be a, an awareness. You know, like your reptilian brain being wondering when the next meal is coming, which happens with water fasting.
Matty: Like you can, you know, you have issues where you can't sleep because your cortisol is so high. Which is, which is potentially another reason why women need to fast differently because hormones play out every single day in a very, very different way. And a lot of the reasons. For this type of thing and medicine and health in general is, is men and women are not little men.
Matty: There's something very different about them, right? So, so a lot of those situations pop up that's present differently to men. So so yeah, but the, the energy is really big. And if you think about it, like your, you know, your digestive system, your gums to bum, that whole process can take up to 40, you know, 40% of your blood supply.
Matty: So it's when it's fully engaged. A lot of your energy is being used there. And which takes us back to a calorie conversation, not all calories, just go to body fat. There's plenty of work in the body to, you know, for them to expand. So when that energy, when that system's not requiring that energy you find that you've got a lot more cognitively alert, a lot more present, a lot more aware which is a really common side effect, a great side effect of doing some intermittent fasting, any negative side.
Matty: Well, I think the negative side effects come when you go in too hard and you do it too much. So because as I said, humans have been doing this for all of human history. So, but if you're doing it correctly and you're doing one tweak a week, you're just making small changes and letting your body adapt and there shouldn't be any issues.
Matty: However, if you do go into hard. As of Monday, I'm going to go straight to 16, eight, or whatever, you know, whatever you do, if there's a big jump. And, and we see this with all diets, which is like on Monday, I'm going to buy 400 kilograms of kale and never eat chocolate again. And people, women can lose their cycle or, you know, severely under eating, which is.
Matty: A problem. I see all the time. One of the things I need to do with most of them is bring their food up because this diet culture has gotten them to the point where they've got this food fair. So if you go into any dietary regime, intermittent fasting or not too hard, your yeah, your hormones and your body will respond.
Matty: Your genetics, your preservation genetics will respond. It'll lock down fat stores so that they stay here for good, because you've threatened the system in an extreme ways. So nurture your body, listen to your body and make sure that you're getting all the food and nutrition that you.
Dr Orlena: Perfect. And so how do you get the balance?
Dr Orlena: Right. Like, you know, I totally, we've had a conversation about this, about the diet culture and how we don't want to be obsessed by food. How do you balance that with intermittent fasting? How do you do intermittent fasting in a way that isn't just exacerbating that problem?
Matty: Yeah. Well, I think it's a combination of the one tweak a week and listen to you and learn the firstly, learn the feedback of your body and then listen to it.
Matty: So some people might go through the process and get to a point where they're like, oh, I actually felt better. You know, if I, if I did a little bit less fasting and so that's great. Cause we're learning what feels good to you. And then we go back to that. So I think, yeah. Be progressive and make sure that we're doing the right thing by the body and the body is progressing in the direction that you want it to.
Matty: But without being obsessive, knowing as well from day one, that this is a multiple year commitment to being healthy, to being a healthy person, to having a different lifestyle. It's not one of those. I've got a wedding in four weeks type scenarios, which is just going to damage your metabolism and your weight loss capable.
Matty: You know, severely even more. And so knowing that it's like I'm here to become a healthier version of myself and step into the new me. That's a totally different approach to, I just want to look better in the mirror or, you know, better naked, which is essentially old diet marketing, which is like, you should look like this 25 year old.
Matty: You know, which we, none of us can because we're not 25 anymore.
Dr Orlena: absolutely absolutely focus on the things that your body can do. Do you know, I think my body can do more running than it used to be able to do when it was 25.
Matty: I love that.
Dr Orlena: It's not all about how you look. It's definitely.
Dr Orlena: Well, for me, it's definitely about how we use our bodies and how amazing our bodies are.
Matty: Totally agree.
Dr Orlena: Perfect. Any last words of wisdom that you would like to share with.
Matty: Words of wisdom. Good question. I think gave just along, along the lines of the conversations we've had, which is just. No, that this is a lifestyle that you need to move towards and dramatic change will shock your nervous system into bouncing back to what, what it used to know.
Matty: And so small steps, one tweak a week change one thing at a time, and that might be just breakfast. It might just be like, okay, for the next two or three weeks, I'm going to make breakfast different, not all the meals throughout the day. And then once that becomes normal and feels kind of comfortable, then move on to lunch and just do this one thing at a time.
Matty: And yes, it means results happen slower. Means they're more sustainable. They're more long-term and you'll be a much happier person to be around in five years. Then you will be in 12 weeks when the diet failed. So yeah, just one step at a time. Perfect.
Dr Orlena: Perfect. I absolutely love it. And I'm just going to remind everybody that you use the word transformation and I think it is a transformation.
Dr Orlena: And as we talked about in the last podcast, it's not scary. It's an amazing transformation. Like, think about it as going on an amazing adventure, traveling all the way to Australia or wherever it is. You've always wanted to go in your life. And yeah, there is a little bit of trepidation and, oh my goodness, what's going to happen.
Dr Orlena: It's all going to be great things. Well, okay. I have lots of stories to tell about traveling and border crossings and money exchanges and things like that. Aren't they make great stories. When you come out the other end at the time you're sitting there going, oh my goodness. I'm in the middle of nowhere.
Dr Orlena: And how am I ever going to get to the nearest city, but an amazing adventure. So, yeah. Transformation and amazing adventure. Matthew, would you like to tell people where they can find.
Matty: Yeah, absolutely. So I also have an amazing podcast, which is called how to not get sick and die. So feel free to come and hang out there on any and all podcasts that, and if you're a mom that wants to get healthy, then I have a Facebook group called the busy moms collective and my website, which is just Maddie lansdowne.com.
Matty: Perfect. Thank you so much. Thanks Orlena .