You know fasting is healthy. It increases your health and longevity. It will help you get past that weight loss plateau. But maybe you are struggling, you keep succumbing to hunger cravings. How can you curb hunger cravings when fasting? Find out with these 7 tips that will help you stick to fasting and reap all the benefits.
How To Curb Hunger Cravings
Before we get into the practical tips that will help you curb hunger cravings when fasting, let me just remind you that fasting will help you get into ketosis. When you are in ketosis, your body uses ketones instead of glucose for energy and you feel much less hungry. Remember, no matter what, time is your ally.
Coffee is the number one way to curb hunger cravings. Depending on the type of fasting you are practicing, you can have black coffee or coffee with fat in it (like MCT oil and full-fat coconut milk). Most people who are experienced with fasting would recommend black coffee saying that any calorie intake will break your fast. Technically, they are right. However, you need to realize that everyone is different. For some people, even black coffee will cause an insulin spike. For others, black coffee with coconut milk won’t (that’s true for me).
How does coffee curb hunger?
The main hypothesis is that coffee contains phytochemical compounds called chlorogenic acids. These acids have the ability to control hunger.
What about caffeine?
If you are worried about consuming too much caffeine, I have good news for you: Decaf coffee seemed to have more of an appetite suppressing effect than regular coffee by increasing the satiety hormone PPY.
I find that any tea helps when the hunger gets too intense. I enjoy black tea and herbal teas, but green tea is the one that appears to have the ability to suppress appetite. Researchers believe that ECGC, a compound found in green tea, has an effect on catecholamines that reduce appetite.
Many times, when you feel hungry, you will notice that drinking a tall glass of water is all you need to get past the hump. Scientists have found that drinking 500 ml of water is enough to stretch the stomach enough to send fullness signals to the brain.
If you struggle with drinking plain water, try carbonated water. It has zero calories, so it doesn’t break your fast. You can try flavored options that will make you feel satisfied. Moreover, the carbon dioxide in the water will contribute to making you feel full.
4. Keeping Busy
Keep your mind off your hunger by keeping busy with chores, gardening, errands, creative pursuits, etc. You will find that when you are out and about, you don’t notice your hunger nearly as much. Going for a walk is another excellent idea that will help you curb hunger when fasting. Fasting increases productivity and energy levels, so take advantage of it! Going for a walk is one of the most effective ways to get over the food cravings. Try it!
Fasting is not just a health practice. It has been a religious one for thousands of years. Prayer and meditation can effectively reduce your desire to eat. With practice, you will learn to accept the feeling of hunger and even embrace it. Mindset is really important when it comes to fasting.
If your lifestyle allows you to take a nap, great! Go for it! It will reduce your hunger and get through it. However, even if you cannot sleep during the day, making sure you get a good night sleep will also help balance your hormones and reduce food cravings.
For some people, chewing gum is an effective way to curb hunger cravings when fasting. Just make sure you pick a chewing gum without sugar. Pick a brand that uses a sweetener like xylitol or stevia and a flavor like mint for example.
How to Curb Hunger Cravings At Night
Many people will find that night time is the most difficult time for cravings. I am one of them! Ultimately, I decided to push my eating window further, to allow me some snacking in the evening. I usually eat until 8 or 8:30 pm, and that’s enough to help satisfy my nightly cravings. You can do that as well if that works with your lifestyle.
You may also identify your triggers and avoid them as much as possible. For example, if you keep snacks in the house that you can’t resist at night, don’t! If watching TV makes you want to eat, do something else! Create a routine that will help you avoid hunger cravings at night.
How to Solve Specific Food Cravings
A lot of what I discussed in this post relates to just wanting to eat food in general. However, many times, you may noticed you are craving specific foods. Did you know that certain food cravings may be related to specific nutritional deficiencies?
For example, if you crave chocolate, you may need more magnesium. Here’s a chart to help you determine how to deal with specific food cravings:
How to Curb Your Appetite
If you practice intermittent fasting, you may find that you tend to eat more than you need to during your eating window. After fating for, say, 16-20 hours, you may find yourself reaching for food during your eating window even when you are not hungry. Simply because you are in your eating window, you want to eat! Here are some practical tips to help you curb your appetite:
- Eat more healthy fats.
- Eat enough protein (enough to fill the palm of your hand).
- Eat plenty of fiber (eating tons of vegetables is the best way to do that).
- Drink water before your meal (I like to drink my Power Shake and follow it with a large salad).
- Exercise or go for a walk before your meal.
- Eat mindfully and chew slowly.
- Don’t stress about it! If you are practicing intermittent fasting and eating whole foods, a bit of overeating during your eating window is not a big deal! It will not nullify all your efforts!
Learn more about how I used intermittent fasting to kick the food cravings and lose 20 lbs in my Intermittent Fasting 101 Workshop.
How to Stop Food Cravings While Fasting Video
How to curb hunger cravings is mostly about practice. The more you practice fasting, the better you will be able to deal with hunger and food cravings. Not only that, but once you achieve a state of ketosis, you will find that hunger becomes much more manageable. In the meantime, experiment with the 7 strategies in this post and see what works best for you.