how to not feel hungry when fasting
Carmen Van Rensburg - Accredited Exercise Physiologist
Carmen Van Rensburg is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist with a wealth of experience, spanning over 12 years in the field. She has demonstrated expertise in devising exercise-based rehabilitation services that promote wellness and recovery. Her instructive techniques in conducting safe and effective exercise sessions have significantly aided individuals in various areas. These include weight loss, improving muscle strength, optimizing cardiovascular function, enhancing body composition, increasing flexibility, and facilitating recovery from chronic diseases, disabilities, and injuries.
28.08.2023

How To Not Feel Hungry When Fasting: Controlling Your Hunger and Cravings

Intermittent fasting
Table Of Contents

Introduction

Do you often find yourself feeling ravenous while fasting? Overwhelmed by hunger and cravings, it can be hard to focus on anything else — let alone commit to a long-term lifestyle change. 

Yet there are simple strategies that you can use to help still your stomach’s roar and get back in tune with the spiritual or physical reasons for participating in this practice. In today’s blog, we will offer several practical tips for calming your appetite and fasting to reflect on the many aspects of wellness: from nutrition to sleep health and beyond! 

Read on to learn more about how to avoid feeling hungry while fasting without sacrificing the profound benefits of fasting.

Why Do You Feel Hungry While Fasting?

Your appetite is essential: it lets you know when your body needs nourishment to stay alive. However, not all hunger signals are genuinely beneficial. For example, it’s common to experience hunger shortly after a meal or feel your stomach rumble at the sight of your favorite food, even when you’re not truly hungry. But why does this happen when you’re not at risk of starving?

The truth is our body’s hunger signals have yet to evolve to keep up with the constant availability of food in modern life. As a result, our brains haven’t fully adapted to distinguish between genuine hunger and the urge to eat simply because food is readily accessible.

Sometimes, some people never experience that true hunger because their appetite keeps them consistently satisfied. Appetite is that desire to eat, and hormones can influence it, our senses (like seeing, smelling, or hearing food), or even emotions such as boredom or stress. 

how to not feel hungry when fasting

On the other hand, true hunger is a physical need to eat, often accompanied by stomach grumbling and discomfort. It’s important to recognize this distinction because understanding why you feel hungry puts you in control of the situation and empowers you to manage your hunger more effectively.

Dealing with these hunger signals requires us to develop new strategies. One approach is to change what we eat, opting for nutritious and satisfying foods that provide lasting energy and help us feel fuller for longer. Another method is to change how we respond to hunger, finding ways to manage and redirect our cravings without necessarily giving in to them.

Also, read – Can You Eat When You’re Fasting?

What Happens in Your Body When You Stop Eating While Fasting?

Feeling hungry while fasting doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong or failed. It’s simply because your glucose levels decrease during fasting, which can trigger those hunger pangs. However, the good news is that as your body becomes accustomed to intermittent fasting, these fluctuations in glucose won’t affect you as strongly. In other words, you will feel hungry only sometimes you fast. Once you establish a good rhythm with fasting, that urgent “I-have-to-eat-right-now” feeling will likely diminish.

Your fantastic body and brain are great at reminding you to find nourishment, sometimes even more than you actually need. It’s all part of a fascinating ” food-gut-brain-axis ” system that involves hormones, physiology, and your emotional response to food.

The process starts in your gut. Once your stomach, large intestine, and small intestine have emptied after your last meal, a hormone called motilin is released, triggering another hormone called ghrelin. Ghrelin can be removed when you anticipate mealtime, regardless of whether you’re full. That’s why you may feel hungry when you see mouthwatering food or think your portion size isn’t satisfying enough.

This urge to eat despite not needing more energy is known as “hedonic hunger,” and scientists are still trying to understand it fully. It’s likely connected to the reward system in your brain, which can interfere with your perception of being full. Hunger can be both a physical and emotional experience. The good news is that there are effective ways to curb both aspects of hunger.

How to Stop Feeling Hungry While Intermittent Fasting and How Mindful Eating Benefits You

Intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular. Research shows it can help reduce hunger, burn fat, and even improve mental clarity. But, when you are in the midst of a long fast, it can be hard to keep your mind from wandering toward food. That is why it’s vital to employ mindful eating tactics to suppress hunger during intermittent fasting. 

Mindful eating is about awareness of food consumption’s physical and emotional sensations. It involves being present and conscious of what you are eating and how it makes you feel; mentally, physically, and emotionally. 

  • This type of self-awareness helps suppress hunger during intermittent fasting by separating the need for nourishment from emotional cravings or habitual behaviors surrounding food.

One of the main benefits of mindful eating during intermittent fasting is that it helps you distinguish between true physical hunger and cravings or emotional triggers. So often, we mistake these signals and consume more food than our body needs. 

  • By being mindful, you can tune in to your body’s sensations and recognize whether you’re experiencing genuine hunger or if it’s simply a desire to eat out of habit or in response to external cues.

If you feel genuine physical hunger, honor it when it’s time to break your fast. However, if you notice that your appetite is driven more by external triggers, emotions, or boredom, mindful eating techniques can help you navigate those situations.

Also, read – 12/12 vs. 16/8 Intermittent Fasting: Which is Better?

Practicing mindfulness during meals helps you tune in to your body’s satiety signals. As you eat, periodically check in with yourself to assess how full you’re feeling. Then, pause between bites and give your body a chance to communicate whether it needs more food or is satisfied. This mindful pause allows you to make conscious decisions about continuing to eat or stopping when you’ve had enough.

Remember, mindful eating is not about strict rules or restrictions. It’s about developing a compassionate and attuned relationship with food and your body. By practicing mindfulness during your eating window, you can become more in tune with your hunger cues, make informed choices, and prevent overeating or mindless snacking.

How Can CBT Help You Control Hunger Pangs During Intermittent Fasting?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) can help reduce hunger sensations during intermittent fasting. CBT focuses on the relationship between our ideas, emotions, and behaviors and can be used to manage hunger cravings and keep a good mentality when fasting.

Recognize and Reframe Negative Beliefs

The first step in using CBT to control hunger pangs is to become aware of any negative thoughts or beliefs you may have about hunger or fasting. So often, we tend to view hunger as something hostile or unbearable. You can change your perception of hunger by challenging these negative thoughts and reframing them more positively and realistically. For example, instead of thinking, “I can’t handle the hunger,” you can reframe it as, “Hunger is a natural part of the fasting process, and it means my body is using stored energy.”

Use Positive Self-Talk

How to Distract Yourself from Food While Fasting? So, remember that how we speak to ourselves can significantly impact our experience of hunger. Practice positive self-talk by using affirmations and encouraging statements. Remind yourself of your goals, the benefits of intermittent fasting, and your ability to overcome temporary hunger. 

For instance, you can say, “I am strong and capable of managing my hunger,” or “This hunger is temporary, and it means I am making progress towards my health goals.”

Engage in Pleasant Distractions

When hunger pangs strike, engaging in activities that divert your attention away from food can be helpful. Identify hobbies, interests, or tasks that you find engaging and enjoyable. Whether reading a book, going for a walk, practicing a hobby, or spending time with loved ones, engaging in positive distractions can shift your focus away from the sensation of hunger and help you maintain a more positive mindset during fasting.

According to research, CBT helps break the cycle of negative thoughts and behaviors associated with overeating by assisting individuals to identify and target the sources of their hunger pangs. It also teaches them new ways of thinking about food and better coping strategies for dealing with their physical sensations.

Also, read – Signs of Autophagy: Health Benefits & Symptoms

Fasting Made Simple: Nutritional Strategies to Increase Satiety

Making fasting more effortless and sustainable involves implementing nutrition strategies that boost satiety, helping you feel fuller and more satisfied during fasting. Focusing on the right foods and incorporating critical nutrients into your meals can enhance satiety and make your fasting experience more enjoyable.

Rule 1 – Get More Protein

Ensuring you have enough protein in your daily meals can make a real difference in how satisfied and less hungry you feel. Protein has this fantastic ability to keep you feeling full and content after a meal. 

When you include protein in your meals, it activates the release of certain hormones that send signals to your body and brain, letting them know that you’re satisfied and have had enough to eat.

Rule 2 – Take Fewer Simple Carbohydrates

Did you know that refined carbohydrates, like white flour and sugary foods, might fill you up temporarily, but they won’t keep you satisfied for long? This is because when you consume them, your blood glucose levels shoot up, leading to a release of insulin to bring down the sugar levels. 

But here’s the catch: this can cause you to crash later on and feel a bit hypoglycemic. That’s when your body releases hunger hormones, making you hungrier.

Rule 3 – Consume More Fat

You might be surprised that eating fat doesn’t lead to weight gain. Previous studies show that a food’s palatability and sweetness significantly impact weight gain more than its fat content. In addition, fat can be satisfying and has been shown to reduce calories consumed during your next meals.

When Do Fasting Hunger Pains Disappear?

In the initial stages of fasting, especially if you’re new to it, you may experience frequent hunger pangs. This is because your body is used to receiving regular meals, and it takes some time to adjust to the change in eating patterns. However, as you continue your fast, you’ll likely notice these hunger pains gradually diminish.

  • Typically, your body takes 12 to 24 hours to deplete its glycogen stores and transition into ketosis. 

Ketosis is a metabolic state where your body uses stored fat as its primary energy source. Once you reach this stage, you may notice a significant reduction in hunger as your body becomes more efficient at utilizing its fat stores.

Around the 48-hour mark, many individuals experience a significant decrease in hunger. This is because your body has fully transitioned into ketosis, and your appetite-regulating hormones, such as ghrelin, have begun to stabilize. You might be pleasantly surprised to find that your hunger levels have noticeably decreased by this point.

However, it’s important to note that everyone’s experience with fasting is unique. For example, some people may find their hunger subsides sooner, while others may require more time. Therefore, listening to your body and giving it the nourishment it needs when you break your fast is essential.

Remember, the discomfort you may initially feel during fasting is temporary and part of the adjustment process. Your body is incredibly adaptable, and over time, it becomes more efficient at managing hunger signals.

Also, read – The Benefits of 24-Hour Fast Once a Week

Can Going To Bed Hungry While Intermittent Fasting Cause Health Problems?

Feeling hungry before bedtime is often okay and a sign that you’re on the right track with your nutrition goals.

Feeling a bit hungry before you sleep can signal that you’ve given your body the nutrients it needs and allowed it enough time to digest and process the food you’ve consumed throughout the day. It can also indicate that your body is utilizing its energy reserves effectively.

Note: feeling extremely hungry or excessively restricting your food intake is not healthy or sustainable. Balancing and meeting your body’s nutritional needs throughout the day is crucial. If you consistently find yourself going to bed ravenously hungry or feeling deprived, it may be a sign that your overall eating plan needs adjustment.

5 Proven Ways to Stop Feeling Hungry While Fasting

1. Drink like a Fish! 

Hydration is essential, folks! Guzzle down water like a thirsty desert wanderer stumbling upon an oasis. Staying hydrated not only keeps you refreshed but it also helps curb those annoying hunger pangs.

2. Tea Time Magic!

Brew yourself a delightful cup of herbal tea. Whether it’s soothing chamomile or zesty ginger, tea is a fantastic hunger-slayer. So sip on this warm elixir and let it whisper to your tummy, “Hush now, my dear, no need to grumble.”

3. Spice it Up!

Add some pizzazz to your meals with a dash of spicy goodness. Cayenne pepper, chili flakes, or hot sauce can help suppress your appetite. Plus, they bring a fiery excitement to your taste buds and make you feel like a flavor explorer on a hunger-stopping quest.

4. Chew, Chew, Chew: Slow down, my friend! 

Take your time to chew your food thoroughly. Not only does it aid digestion, but it also gives your brain time to register that you’re eating. As a result, you’ll feel more satisfied and less tempted to raid the pantry by savoring each bite.

5. Catch Those Zzzs!

Don’t underestimate the power of a good night’s sleep. Your body functions optimally when well-rested, and your hunger hormones stay in check. So, tuck yourself in, close your eyes, and dream of a hunger-free world.

how to not feel hungry when fasting

Also, read – Can You Drink Tea While Fasting

Supplements and Herbal Remedies to Stop Stomach Growling While Fasting

Glorious Ginger

This zesty root is not only known for its digestive powers but also for its ability to calm an unruly stomach. Sip on some ginger tea or a supplement to soothe your belly and keep those growls at bay. It’s like giving your stomach a gentle massage and saying, “Shh, no need to make a fuss!”

Marvelous Mint

Whether it’s in the form of fresh mint leaves, mint tea, or a mint supplement, this herb works wonders to calm an agitated tummy. It’s like giving your stomach a minty hug and saying, “Chill out, buddy!”

Trusty Turmeric

This golden spice is a culinary delight and a potent anti-inflammatory agent. It can help soothe an irritated stomach and prevent those loud growls. It’s like giving your belly a golden shield of protection and saying, “No growls shall pass!”

Magnificent Magnesium

Magnesium is not only essential for your overall health but also plays a role in keeping your stomach calm and happy. So grab a magnesium supplement or indulge in magnesium-rich foods like spinach, almonds, and bananas. 

Probiotic Power 

Ah, the wonderful world of probiotics! These friendly bacteria can work wonders for your digestive system. Pop a probiotic supplement or enjoy fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut, or kimchi. They’ll help balance the bacteria in your gut and keep your stomach quiet as a mouse. It’s like throwing a probiotic party in your belly and saying,

Conclusion – Stop Feeling Hungry While Fasting

Finally, when fasting, it is critical to listen to your body. Everyone has different needs and methods for feeling full while fasting, so don’t be afraid to experiment a little.

Drink plenty of water throughout the day, snack on healthy and light treats, and try getting creative with your meals if necessary. With time, you’ll learn which methods work best for you, and allowing yourself some wiggle room can make all the difference. 

Fasting can bring loads of excellent benefits for mind and body alike, as long as it’s done safely and responsibly!

Carmen Van Rensburg is an Accredited Exercise Physiologist with a wealth of experience, spanning over 12 years in the field. She has demonstrated expertise in devising exercise-based rehabilitation services that promote wellness and recovery. Her instructive techniques in conducting safe and effective exercise sessions have significantly aided individuals in various areas. These include weight loss, improving muscle strength, optimizing cardiovascular function, enhancing body composition, increasing flexibility, and facilitating recovery from chronic diseases, disabilities, and injuries.

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