In Episode #35 about “Specials,” Donna Reish, blogger, author of over 100 language arts and writing curriculum books, and Intermittent Fasting teacher, discusses how to decide on, navigate, and carry out “special” days with Intermittent Fasting. Donna begins with her and her husband’s one year anniversary with IF and how close they are to their goal weights, as well as some of their goals for the coming year. Then she explains the concept of “specials,” including her mantra from thirty-two years of homeschooling her seven children: “Every day is special, but every day can’t be a special day!” She explains how our mindset has to shift if we want to make IF a lifestyle—we have to get out of the “go off and on” and “how can I find a way to take days off” and onto the “I want to do this for my health, my goals, and my life.” Next, Donna explains how to select times that truly are special occasions and how to tweak your fasting hours rather than going off and on for days that are special but you still want to keep going towards your goals. She teaches specific steps for how to make little tweaks in your fasting schedule in order to have an earlier, later, shorter, or longer eating window later in the week. She talks about how to end your eating window even when others are continuing and how to use non-food activities rather than using food all the time. Donna explains her two favorite self talk mantras that help her through specials, exercise, and any occasion that she wants to strengthen her mind and will. She then goes on to explain what to do after special occasions—how to avoid punishing yourself, how to get back into fat burning quickly, and how to live this lifestyle all the time. Today’s Plexus product sponsor is Vital Biome, a probiotic supplement that is clinically shown to improve health and mood, reduce anxiety and anger, and much more.










A. Our Journey

1. One year anniversary for hubby last weekend
2. Over one year for me
3. Definitely lifestyle
4. Weight goals—18 pounds away for me; 26 pounds away for him
5. Other goals

a. Consistency in fasting hours (averaging 19)
b. Eating more real foods
c. Saving treats for end of window when full
d. Consistency in fitness—working out 40 times from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day!
e. Teaching others this way of life
f. Learning every day/study


B. General “Special” Concepts

1. Homeschooling for 32 years, kids always wanted everything to be “special” –to get out of this or change that schedule, etc.
2. “Every day is special, but every day can’t be a ‘special day’!”
3. Different mindset from old diets where we sought for specials and looked for ways to “go off and on” and ways to “stay off” longer
4. When I talk about specials, I am talking about two areas for myself:

a. Specials that alter my fasting schedule—in which I am not doing OMAD or 19:5
b. Specials in which I will eat differently than I typically do (i.e. heavier foods, flour/sugar/fat desserts, eating out, etc.)


C. Choosing Specials That Will Alter Your Fasting Hours

1. Choose the things that truly matter to you

a. Don’t go “off” of your fasting hours for something that is not truly special
b. Special things are big events—and shouldn’t happen weekly
c. Evaluate upcoming events and rate them according to their “specialness”
d. Count something to help you during special occasions—calories, carbs, etc.

2. Vacations, weekends away, one day events, holidays, etc.

a. What we do

i. Vacations 16:8 average
ii. Weekends away 17:7 or 18:6; 2MAD
iii. Special days—16:8 usually solves any special days like Christmas day, Thanksgiving, birthdays, etc.
iv. A recurring day is not special! The weekend comes every week!

3. Don’t look for ways to go off and on

a. Staying on will mean that you don’t have to work to get back to fat burning as hard (a little will be needed anytime you fill your glycogen stores from a long eating window or lots of extra food!)
b. It will be simpler to jump right back into fat burning if you minimize your times off/stay as low in eating hours as you can
c. Look for ways to stay on, not go off! Looking for ways to go off is a diet mentality and not a lifestyle mentality
d. Look for ways to guard your fasting times! They are for you…something you do for your body, your health, your mental well being, your aging process, your autophagy, your strength and vitality


D. Preparing for Specials and Making Little Tweaks

1. Plan for the special day earlier in the week

a. Look ahead at schedule
b. See what your altered schedule will be like
c. See if you want to keep your average up for the week and have longer fasts earlier
d. Move window around a little in the beginning of the week so that you can have a later window or whatever is needed for that special in order to still keep your fasting times
e. Watch out for 2MAD too often if you are doing OMAD—these will often slow down your weight loss
f. Consider no carbs during the day or the day before (mimicks fasting)
g. Beware that “averaging” fasting hours will not always get same results as consistently fasting for 18-20 hours

2. Make your plan and stick with it

a. No guilt for a planned occasion
b. You are still in control of your eating!

3. Go into special occasion strong

a. Trips
b. Holidays
c. Don’t throw in the towel because a special occasion is coming—just the opposite…go into it STRONG!


E. During the Occasion

1. Substitute non food things and activities
2. Eat food that is worth it to you—be picky!
3. Use self-talk to get to the eating window and to stop eating

a. How will I feel XXX?
b. If I just go to bed now……


F. After the Occasion

1. Get right back to it! You will likely be full so try to get back into ketosis in one of the three ways

a. Exercise ketosis
b. Fasting ketosis
c. Keto diet ketosis

2. Don’t punish yourself
3. Make a plan and do it—not a drastic punishment but rather a “this is my lifestyle” approach
4. Exercise before, during, and after the occasion


G. Build Consistency

1. What can you do forever? Other approaches, not so much…but fasting, yes!
2. Whatever we are doing to get to our goal weight is what we will need to do to keep it


H. Plexus Sponsor—Vital Biome

1. General

a. Probiotic supplement
b. Contains 8 clinically-studied probiotic strains
c. Helps improve health and mood
d. Reduces feelings of stress and anxiety

2. Gut-Friendly Microbes

a. 70% of immune cells live in your gut
b. 90% of your body’s serotonin (mood boosting neurotransmitter) is produced in your gut
c. Gut microbes secrete neurotransmitters like GABA and dopamine
d. Certain gut microbes have the ability to actually reduce stress and anxiety

3. How Vital Biome Works

a. Eight clinically studied probiotic strains with over 279 scientific studies that support improved health and mood
b. 20 billion live probiotics (CFU’s—colony-forming units)
c. Clinically proven levels at the time of expiration
d. Delayed release capsule protects living organisms from stomac acid
e. Gluten free, non-gmo, 100% vegetarian
f. Improved mood and stress reduction within 30 days
g. No need to refrigerate due to the protective delayed-release capsules
h. Decrease levels of anger, moodiness, anxiety, and stress between 25-37% percent in clinical studies



Below are a couple of links to books I use and love. I am an affiliate for If you click on the links below I will earn a small commission. Thank you for your support of this blog!

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1) “Delay, Don’t Deny” book (amazing!)

2) “The Obesity Code” book

3) “Feast Without Fear” book

4) “The Complete Book of Fasting” (Jason Fung)

5) “Appetite Correction” book

6) “9 Facts About Plexus Slim” article

7) Free sample Plexus Slim

8) Our Plexus store

9) “Fasting Inferno” blog post with fun YouTube song and lyrics!


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