Intermittent Fasting: How to Curb your Hunger
"Ok, so I’ve heard about all the benefits of Intermittent Fasting and I really want to try it, but I have no idea how I’m going to last 16 hours without eating!”
Does this sound like you?
Don’t worry! You’re not alone! It is a question I get asked ALL THE TIME!! Most of us have become so accustomed to eating throughout the day that the thought of “fasting” is A LOT!
Currently, you have your routine:
7 AM: Wake Up
7:45 AM: Go to work
12 PM: Have lunch
3:30 PM: Have a snack
5:30 PM: Go for a run
7 PM: Have Dinner
10 PM: Head to Sleep
However, when you start fasting and you skip that 7 AM meal, (especially during the first few days) your body is not anticipating a change and still expects it will be receiving food! So in preparation for your “breakfast” your body released enzymes and acids to break down your meal, which never arrives — that’s hunger.
Although you have MORE THAN ENOUGH nutrients from last nights meal (assuming you ate a nice tasty Lean Meal/Refuel) to make it to 12 PM, you still feel hungry!
Don’t worry, THIS IS NORMAL, and I do have a few tips and tricks to help curb your hunger and get your body used to a fasting schedule!
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1. DRINK COFFEE / TEA
Drinking coffee and tea is a great way to help curb your hunger while fasting. Before getting into the “HOW”, first let’s clarify what kinds of coffee and tea can be consumed without breaking a fast. When looking at coffee, any kind of BLACK coffee will not break your fast!
Black Coffee = No Creamers, Milk, or Sugar!
If you really don’t like black coffee and need some sweetness in it, you can add any 0 CALORIE sweetener in small amounts, such as Stevia. When it comes to tea, the same rules apply; your tea must be BLACK in order for you to stay fasted!
It is also important to note that any HERBAL TEAS which include FRUIT are a NO GO while fasting! Fruit contains glucose which will definitely break your fast! Any black or green teas are good to go, also any spice based teas (ex. ginger) are safe as well.
How does coffee and tea curb your hunger? Caffeine naturally has the ability to make you feel satiated or “full” when consumed. It also helps with the mobilization of fatty acids in the body, meaning it helps move stored fatty acids into the mitochondria, turning it into energy, therefore giving you more energy. Having more energy will help you stay productive and distracted throughout your fast.
Green Tea: Let’s take a quick look at green teas: Green tea can help decrease the hormone responsible for hunger in our bodies, called Ghrelin. Throughout my rugby career, when fasting, I would steep green tea in a water bottle overnight in the fridge. (Big Lean tip) When I woke up in the morning, I would drink the whole bottle before breaking my fast. This helped me to feel more energized without feeling hungry throughout the morning.
2. DRINK TONS OF WATER!
The average person should be drinking around 2 LITERS of water a day, and most of us don’t even get CLOSE to that! Drinking the right amount of water is super important for our bodies to function properly. When we are dehydrated, we can tend to feel low energy, tired and HUNGRY. That’s right! You have probably heard it before, but our bodies don’t have “as clear” of a signal to tell us that we need more water (sometimes a headache), so instead, we feel HUNGRY, when really it is WATER that we need! Drinking tons of water during our fast can not only help us avoid feeling hungry, but it will also help keep us hydrated and feeling GOOD! During a fast, you have the opportunity to really monitor your water intake, making sure you are staying hydrated with the proper amount of water!
3. CARBONATED WATER
Carbonated water can be a GREAT help when you are feeling hungry during a fast. Any plain carbonated water or 0 calorie sweetened carbonated waters are safe to drink while fasting (ex. Le Croix, Bubbly). Carbonated water can make you feel more full than regular water because it contains carbon dioxide! Carbon dioxide fills up your tummy super fast and can really help if you are having intense food cravings!
4. APPLE CIDER VINEGAR (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar (ACV) has a TON of health benefits related to digestion and weight loss, among these benefits is that it can help you stay satiated while fasting without breaking your fast! ACV is great to take near the end of your fast or in the morning. Try a teaspoon or 2, and get the full advantages of taking ACV! ACV is unique in the way that it helps you absorb minerals into your body from meals you had previously eaten before your fast which can help you feel healthy and full. ACV also helps to enhance the positive effects Intermittent fasting has on your body.
Mindset is SUPER important while practicing intermittent fasting. If you are constantly thinking about the fact that you haven’t eaten in hours, or about how hungry you are, OF COURSE YOUR GOING TO FEEL HUNGRY! Our mind is the MOST POWERFUL organ, that half the time we think we are hungry, it is literally just us THINKING that we are hungry. A great way to combat thinking your way into hunger is by replacing those negative thoughts with positive ones. Instead of thinking about “hunger” replace that thought with other words and processes happening inside your body, such as REJUVENATION, FAT LOSS, and CLEAN ENERGY! Think about the fact that you are giving your digestive system a well needed rest, and focusing on bettering your overall health. Focusing on these positive aspects of fasting can be super helpful in preventing you from feeling hunger.
6. DISTRACT YOURSELF
KEEP BUSY! A great advantage of fasting is the heightened energy and productivity levels you get from it. Now that you are not spending as much time focused on eating, you have time and the energy to focus on BEING PRODUCTIVE! Whether you are at work or at home, try to do you best to STAY BUSY. Get moving, write down a list of tasks and start checking them off! Before you know it, it will be time to EAT!!
7. SLEEP EARLY
For all those night snackers out there, here a great tip for you; GO TO BED EARLY! The average amount of sleep we should be getting every night is 8 hours, but the reality is, most of us (especially those who work 9-5 jobs) don’t get the proper amount of sleep every night. Going to bed early can help stop those night cravings because you need to be AWAKE to feel hungry! On the 16:8 method of fasting, a typical fast is around 16 hours and therefore, by sleeping for 8 hours, you’ve already got through HALF your fasting time! Most of the time, we stop eating a few hours before bed, so that will only leave you a few short hours to go!
8. CHEW GUM
Chewing gum is a LAST RESORT! If you really need the FEEL of eating something, sugar free gum would be your best option without breaking your fast. The reason I say this should be a last resort is because although it may satisfy your hunger temporarily, gum can actually make you feel MORE hungry later on in your fast. This is because you are giving your body the sensation of chewing, so your body thinks you are going to be getting food soon. If you don’t get any food within the next couple hours, you can actually cause yourself to get hungry! If you do decide to chew gum, I would suggest having it near the end of your fast. It is also important to limit the amount of gum you are eating (no more then 2 pieces) during your fast, because too much gum CAN cause an insulin spike!!
There you have it Squadies! Some of my tips on how to CURB YOUR HUNGER and stay in a fasted state while practicing IF!