Fasting is a form of body cleansing treatment in which food and water are limited. The logic of fasting emphasizes control over your habits. Hunger, more than anything else, is a motivated state of mind. Because hunger functions outside of consciousness, it is difficult to manage. This could explain why obesity is such a difficult issue.
Take note that hunger is a process that is constantly present, always running in the background, and very rarely comes to the fore. It’s more of a feeling. When it gradually rises or falls, even when it is unconscious, it affects our decisions.
This article will guide you on how to lessen the effects of being hungry during intermittent fasting. Let’s dive into the several ways you can do to manage it:
Intermittent fasting is a type of eating habit that is rapidly gaining popularity and is quickly becoming a favorable way to lose weight. Intermittent fasting, as the name implies, is an eating regimen in which you fast for a specified period of time during the day.
This is usually between 16 and 20 consecutive hours. You eat in between the other 4-8 hours of the day. You can eat and drink low-calorie or no-calorie foods while fasting. The more time you spend fasting each day, the better your results will be.
Hungry During Intermittent Fasting
You’ve heard powerful testimonies and done extensive research on the benefits of intermittent fasting. You are certain that this is a fantastic approach to boost your general health and well-being. However, one roadblock stands in your way: hunger pangs.
Hunger is unavoidable during intermittent fasting, and you might expect it to be even greater during genuine fasting. This, however, is not always the case. People are unaware that hunger lasts approximately 20 minutes since they do not wait to find out.
Some people never experience true hunger because their appetite leads them to eat and be full all of the time. True hunger is caused by the bodily need to eat, which causes stomach grumbling and discomfort. It is natural to experience hunger during fasting and it’s normal to imagine your next meal while doing so– though both make it a lot more challenging. The good thing is that hunger is a conditioned stimulus-response that can be trained1.
Causes Of Hunger
Appetite is defined as the desire to eat that is fuelled by hunger hormones, senses, or emotions. When you are hungry, your appetite sends signals to your brain, but not all of these signals are beneficial to you. Even after you’ve eaten, the sight of great food may cause your body to crave it.
So, what causes hunger? Hunger is caused by the hormone ghrelin. When your body anticipates a meal, it secretes ghrelin. Ghrelin is mostly released by the stomach, although minor amounts are also released by the pancreas and small intestine.
When the hunger hormone is released into the bloodstream, it operates on the hypothalamus, which is positioned behind the eyes and beneath the midline of the brain. This makes a person feel the urge to eat. The hormone influences food intake by up to 30%1.
Ways To Fight Hunger While Fasting
When you start intermittent fasting, the body does not expect the change because it is accustomed to regular meals. The brain’s reward system is linked to the desire to eat. You feel hunger not only on a physical level but also on a psychological level.
Controlling your appetite aids in strengthening your fasting. Fortunately, there are several methods you can use to combat hunger when fasting1.
1. Consume a low-carb, high-fat diet.
When and what you eat are equally significant. Remember that intermittent fasting is not a license to eat bad food. Rather, use it to optimize your nutrition and wellness.
In between fasts, it is recommended to eat high-quality, low-carbohydrate, high-fat, moderate-protein meals. This will help to stabilize blood glucose, enhance satiety, and make fasting run more smoothly.
Intermittent fasting is typically a natural progression from a well-established low-carb diet, as decreased hunger is usual. Whatever your motivation for intermittent fasting, a high-fat, low-carb diet can improve your outcomes and help you attain your health goals faster2.
2. Adjust to a low-carb and be fat adapted.
Following on from the previous point, a low-carb diet is an excellent approach to begin intermittent fasting plan. When you’ve fat acclimated (efficiently using fat for fuel rather than glucose), your appetite will have decreased dramatically, and fasting will feel instinctive and effortless. Allow at least two weeks to modify your diet before experimenting with intermittent fasting2.
3. Reduce your stress, get enough sleep, and avoid alcohol.
Sleep deprivation, stress, and alcohol consumption all have a negative impact on appetite by interfering with hormone and blood sugar balance. By enhancing your sleep quality, adopting stress reduction strategies, and limiting your alcohol use, you can avoid these sugar and hormone-induced hunger pangs.
A good night’s sleep will most likely have a positive impact on your stress levels. You can also use stress-reduction practices such as yoga, meditation, exercise, journaling, and counseling to boost your serotonin (happy hormone).
To avoid unpredictable hormones and blood sugars, try to minimize alcohol consumption as much as possible, especially the day before a fast. If you must drink alcohol, pick low-carb alternatives in moderation2.
4. Keep yourself hydrated.
Thirst and hunger are frequently confused, so drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Drink one to two glasses of water when you first get up to get a jump start on hydration. Drinking too much water will wipe out vital electrolytes, so don’t go excessive.
Drinking water can also provide a physical sense of fullness, which can aid in the relief of actual hunger sensations. Water is your weapon during a fast, no matter how hungry you are.
If you have trouble drinking water, especially in the morning, consider altering the temperature – depending on whether you prefer warm or cooled water, this will make it more palatable. If it doesn’t work, try sparkling water infused with mint and lemon2.
5. Consume salt and replace electrolytes.
Electrolytes are essential for health and well-being, you are urged to maintain optimal levels before symptoms develop. You can restore electrolytes by drinking bone broth and liberally salting your food throughout your eating window.
A magnesium and potassium supplement can also assist (you can take these while you fast). A pinch of salt might also help to clear your palate and satisfy your appetite2.
6. Make yourself a cup of tea or coffee.
If you’re truly battling with hunger and intermittent fasting, try bulletproof coffee, which contains extra fats like butter, coconut oil, MCT oil, and ghee. The fat will keep you full while supporting ketosis and autophagy, two crucial processes that support fasting and its advantages.
Consuming a single calorie will break a fast for the fasting purist; but, if adding fat to your coffee helps to stay in your fast or makes it easier, it would be well worth it.
7. Divert your attention.
Plan exercise, activities, and visits with friends during times when you would ordinarily eat or if hunger strikes. As previously noted, ghrelin levels will spike around mealtimes, so plan ahead of time and make sure you have something enjoyable to do. You’ll be so engaged with having fun that ghrelin-induced hunger will pass you by without you even realizing it2.
Other Methods To Curb Hunger
Practitioners disagree on whether taking a few calories during the fasting time breaks the fast. If you’re having trouble sticking to a strict fasting routine, you might want to look into any of these alternatives3:
- Eat healthy fats. Fasting purists argue that even a single calorie consumed breaks the fast. If you want to lose weight and are experiencing hunger, you should consider eating healthy fats during your fasting period. By doing so, you maintain another fat-burning condition previously stated as ketosis, which can help you extend your intermittent fast for a few more hours.
- Drink bone broth. Bone broth, like healthy fats, may technically break the fast but still allow for many of its benefits to occur. It contains a variety of beneficial minerals and vitamins that might help you feel full and lessen hunger cravings.
- Drink some apple cider vinegar. Apple cider vinegar contains antifungal qualities and is an excellent way to raise stomach acid and aid digestion organically. It’s also been demonstrated to help with appetite suppression. Even though it has few calories, you might use vinegar or any of the aforementioned to delay your first meal.
Intermittent fasting becomes effortless with practice and with time. It departs from your normal eating habits, but the more you do it, the simpler it becomes.
Fasting should eventually seem natural, and sticking to a strict fasting schedule allows your brain to adjust to the new normal. You will feel more satisfied and experience fewer hunger pangs.
Learn what your hunger signals or cues are while working your way through the process. When necessary, adjust your fasting regime and do as you see fit until you finally have it right.