What should you do when you feel hungry while fasting? I know this seems like a silly question, but every single one of us who’ve fasted know exactly what this feels like. One of the most overlooked aspects of fasting is how we can preemptively create a strong fasting mindset and action plan. Here are 9 ways to help you overcome feelings of hunger while fasting:
Here are 9 ways to overcome hunger when fasting:
1.Stabilize blood sugar
One of the first things to help you overcome hunger is before you begin fasting, make sure that your blood sugar is stable. I can tell you that it won’t be very productive to load up on unhealthy foods right before a fast. When you eat a high carbohydrate diet or a diet full of bad fats, you become insulin resistant and you end up riding a roller coaster of blood sugar.
For the couple days leading up to your fast, increase your good fats and bring down your refined carbohydrates, like pasta, break, crackers, chips, cookies, etc. Good fats I recommend are avocados, seed oils, ghee, nuts and nut butter, flax, hemp and chia seeds, raw butter, cream and cheeses. Bad fats to avoid include vegetable oils, commercial dressings and sauces, margarine, etc.
2. Decide how long you are going to fast ahead of time
If you tell yourself, “well, let’s just see how long I can go with fasting today”, you’re setting yourself up for potential failure. Inevitably you will feel hungry, and your mind will want to talk you out of fasting, making you doubt whether you should stick it out. The better strategy is to decide how long you are going to fast before you start the fast, this way you have a clearly set goal and timeline.
3.Food affects your mental state, so find other ways to get happy.
Food is a major mood changer. When we eat, a dopamine reaction occurs in the brain and dopamine is our happy hormone. When we are unhappy or uncomfortable (as can happen with fasting), we have a tendency to look to “comfort foods” to make us feel better. So what you need to do is have a toolbox of non food-related mood changers to help you get that dopamine boost. Some suggestions are to go for a walk, bike ride, dance, take a bath, watch a funny movie, call a friend, etc. Remember, these moments of discomfort are temporary.
4. Stay busy
Makes sense, right? Get your mind off of fasting and distract it with other things that keep your mind occupied. For me, fasting on days that I know I’m going to be busy at work is ideal and fasting days tend to go by quickly compared to days that I’m fasting at home.
5. Know your hacks
There are several little hacks that can help with the physical discomforts that come with fasting. It helps to understand what’s happening in the body when you fast. See, fasting causes cells to go into a hyper repair state. In repairing themselves, they spit off free radials. Free radicals cause healthy cells to turn into cancer cells and they speed up the aging process. They also don’t make us feel very good. FasTonic is a hydrogen water product that can help move free radicals out of your system and help relieve discomfort. The other hack I like is ION Biome, which helps improve communication in the microbiome, which controls blood sugar levels. My personal ‘feel good’ hack is treating myself to a wine glass of my favorite mineral water!
6. Watch your mindset
When you fast, negative thoughts and limiting beliefs about your health can bubble up to the surface. You may doubt your progress, if your efforts are “working”, whether you’re doing it right or are worthy of the results you’re hoping for. By the way, I believe in you! When these feelings surface, it can feel uncomfortable, however what I want to urge you to do is use this as an opportunity to transform them into new, more useful beliefs.
7. Track your progress
Measuring your ketones and blood sugar can provide you with reassurance that you’re on the right track. Watching your ketones go up, while blood sugar goes down can be the motivation you need to keep going. Watch this video on when to test your blood sugar and ketones during a fast. Of course, you want to make sure you stay within safe levels of ketones and blood sugar.
8. Know how to break your fast
Knowing how to break the fast will help calm your mind and create clear next steps for when it is time to end the fast. For shorter fasts, I like using good fats to break the fast, such as avocado, olives, a spoon of Andreas seed oil (use code PELZ for discount), nut butter or ghee. For longer fasts, especially, 3-5 day water fasts, use this 3 phase approach to breaking the fast.
Last but not least, reward yourself. Fasting can be mentally, emotionally and physically challenging. It’s important to celebrate your wins. Create ways of motivating yourself with healthy rewards at the end of the fast. Some of my favorites are a massage, facial or glass of biodynamic Dry Farm wines.