Fasting has risen in popularity in recent years in the fitness and wellness world, but it’s been a centuries-long practice for many religions and cultures, with these fasts typically ranging from 24-72 hours.
Intermittent fasting, however, is a much more scaled-down version of this that can be incorporated into your daily life to assist with weight loss, control blood sugar levels, and lower cholesterol, among many other things. It’s a beneficial system for many that can create a healthier relationship with food and health when done right and safely.
If you’re just starting out with your fasting journey or are currently experiencing a bit of a slump in your intermittent routine, here are some easy ways you can improve it.
Stay hydrated with water and other calorie-free drinks
Drinking a lot of water is a proven way to feel fuller for longer, whether or not you’re on a fast. Many people confuse thirst for hunger, which is why staying hydrated is incredibly crucial during your fasting window to keep you from feeling sluggish or craving.
It’s also important to note that you can drink fast-friendly drinks that are free from calories such as black coffee, unsweetened tea, and flavored or sparkling water. Going for calorie-free drinks with flavor won’t break your fast, but can help eliminate the desire for snacking.
Lessen your carbs
While intermittent fasting usually allows for a less restrictive diet in comparison to other meal plans, eating too many carbs can actually make your fasting period more difficult for you.
Carbohydrates cause blood sugar levels to spike and drop later on, with this drop causing hunger and triggering your body’s need to raise your blood sugar, which can cause cravings for even more carbs. This is especially true for refined carbohydrates like white bread, white pasta, and most breakfast cereals, among others. These lack filling fiber that promotes fullness, and so your body digests them quickly and is a major cause for frequent hunger.
Keep yourself busy
While choosing the right foods during your eating window is the key to feeling full and energetic throughout the day, filling your hours with activities that occupy your mind also helps keep you from feeling cravings and hunger.
Cut out certain habits during your fasting window and replace them with hobbies that require your full attention or that make eating difficult, such as going for a walk in nature or finding a craft that requires both hands. Not only will you improve your health and skills by adding these to your daily regimen, but you’ll also feel less desire for food until your eating window.
Choose a fasting schedule that suits your lifestyle
The best thing about intermittent fasting is that you have different options to choose from, with some diets having a larger eating window or a larger fasting window. When you’re starting out, you may feel tempted to choose whatever system is most popular, even if it’s not right for you and your body has yet to acclimate to fasting. This can lead to severe increases in hunger, disordered eating patterns, and weight gain.
Start with a larger eating window and decrease gradually from there to let your body get used to the transition. If you’re someone with a very active lifestyle and you burn a lot of calories throughout the day, then something like the TRF diet plan, wherein you have a much larger eating window of 10-12 hours, may also be more effective.
Take natural appetite suppressants
Eating foods that are high in nutrients can help you feel fuller for longer, but you can also look to other natural remedies that can help you suppress that hungry feeling. Green tea extract, yerba mate, coffee, and apple cider vinegar are popular choices that won’t break your fast.
Additionally, if you’re someone who doesn’t like the taste of these remedies or is just looking to take it in a more convenient form, you can find them in supplements that provide the same amount of benefits.
Fasting can be tricky, both when you’re starting out and have been doing it for a very long time. It’s common to experience a slump in your routine, but luckily, there are a handful of remedies and tricks out there that are affordable, accessible, and easy to follow, all without having to risk a break in your fast.