Intermittent Fasting Tips: 7 Ways to Combat Hunger
Intermittent fasting - not eating for 16-36 hours a few times a week - is a safe, effective way to lose fat and improve health overall. The wonderful thing is that after fasting several times, hunger greatly diminishes on your fasting days, often disappearing completely.
But if hunger is ever bothersome for you, particularly if you're new to intermittent fasting and going through the adaptation period, here are 7 tips that can help:
1. Try to avoid eating a high carbohydrate meal or snack right before you start your fast. Some people find that a high carb meal/snack stimulates hunger shortly afterward making it more challenging to continue with the fast. A meal/snack that emphasizes protein is a better choice.
2. Keep busy. The more you do things that distract you from thinking about food, the better. Many people eat when they are bored or because they are conditioned to eat based on what time it is, so if that describes you, be aware of it and try to do something that interests you so you wont be swayed by old habits and conditioning.
3. Remind yourself that your body doesn't actually NEED food to function during a short-term fast. You are not in danger. Energy will be drawn from food that is still digesting during the the first part of your fast. When that runs out, energy will come from the fat stores on your body. No matter what size you are, you usually have enough fat reserves to safely draw from during a short-term fast.
4. Remind yourself that your body has been trained to expect food at certain times and in certain situations, so hunger may rev up at those times during the fast. Again, you don't NEED to eat, your body is just telling you that it expects food. This will change the more you do intermittent fasting - the body will stop its non-emergency grumbling.
5. Keep hydrated. Have your favorite non-calorie drinks on hand (water, black coffee, green tea, herbal tea, sugar free soda, etc)
6. Sip on drinks that contain caffeine (coffee, tea, sugar free cola) because caffeine helps to suppress appetite. Its important to consume the drinks slowly, over the course of the day, because if you take in too much caffeine in a short period you will probably have a dramatic energy drop later on which can stimulate appetite.
7. Exercise. Its very safe to exercise on a fasting day. If its intense exercise (a sprint, for example) it will usually kill appetite for a while.
Sometimes people feel light-headed or get headaches when they're trying intermittent fasting the first few times. This isn't due to blood sugar dropping too low - that's a myth that studies and intermittent fasting enthusiasts have disproven countless times. The feeling is likely because the body is burning its own fat for fuel, which it rarely has to do when you're eating frequently and drawing on food for fuel. You may find that a brief burst of exercise works very well to combat this, giving you a nice boost in energy - the opposite of what you'd expect!
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