Sure, intermittent fasting works if you’re willing to give it an honest try, but let’s face it – sometimes you’ll be downright hungry. At least at the beginning.
So if you’re wondering how to stop hunger when fasting, this post is for you!
I’m going to share everything I’ve learned about curbing hunger on an intermittent fasting plan so you can lose as much weight as you want without all the fuss!
Foods to curb hunger while fasting
First things first, let’s talk about some of the best things you can eat during your feasting window that can help you avoid feeling hungry while fasting. Then we’ll talk about what to do if you’re hungry during your fasting window in a bit.
1. High-fiber foods
High-fiber foods like oatmeal, berries, beans, and legumes are all great options for keeping your hunger at bay during the day. The fiber in these foods helps to slow digestion and keep you feeling full longer. Plus, they are typically low in calories and can help you reach your daily fiber goal.
2. Protein-rich foods
Protein is an essential macronutrient and can help you feel full for longer. If you’re plant-based or vegan, then foods like tofu, tempeh, and lentils are great sources of plant-based protein. If you consume animal products, then lean meats, eggs, and fish are great options as well.
3. Nourishing fats
Nourishing fats like nuts and seeds are important for keeping your hunger under control while fasting. They provide slow-burning energy that will help keep you feeling full and satiated throughout the day.
4. Low-calorie snacks
If you find yourself still feeling a bit hungry during the day, then it’s ok to have low-calorie snacks like vegetables and fruits. Just make sure to keep your portions under control so you don’t go over your calorie goals for the day.
5. Green smoothies
Green smoothies are great for adding fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to your diet. If you break your fast with a smoothie every day, the water will help keep you full and the vitamin and mineral content will help keep hunger at bay.
Much of the time when we are hungry it’s because our bodies haven’t absorbed the nutrients from what we’ve eaten.
Smoothies can help with the digestive uptake and this can help you feel more satiated.
How to ignore hunger when fasting
Now that you know the best things to eat when you’re supposed to be eating, let’s talk about how to ignore hunger when fasting.
So, I’m going to be honest with you.
During the first few days of fasting your body will likely protest in the form of hunger.
If you’re used to eating whenever you feel the slightest hunger pang, then out of the blue you change your eating pattern, you can’t expect to feel nothing.
I promise you – this will pass.
Usually by day three or four your appetite levels out and you might actually forget to eat!
But here are a few tips for how to ignore hunger when fasting.
1- Drink plenty of water
I know, I know. You’ve heard this a million times before, but it’s so worth repeating.
Water really is your absolute best friend while intermittent fasting.
You need to drink a LOT of water both during your fasting window and even during your feasting window.
So many times, we think we’re hungry when we’re actually just dehydrated.
Prioritizing drinking water will help you see swift change in your intermittent fasting appetite.
A Tip To Drink More Water
Some people really get bored with drinking plain water. Believe me, I understand.
One thing I do is add a few Mio Drops to my water, and it makes a huge difference!
If you don’t know about these, Mio Drops are zero-calorie, zero-carb, sugar-free water enhancers that come in a tiny squirt bottle.
You just squeeze a couple drops into your water and you’re good to go!
You can find them at grocery stores, but I just buy mine on Amazon because it’s like a dollar cheaper per bottle.
I grab many at a time because I like to have different flavors. The Black Cherry is the best one, imo, but I also like the Fruit Punch flavor a lot too!
Will Mio Drops Break Your Fast?
There are generally two camps when it comes to what beverages break your fast during intermittent fasting.
I wrote a fairly detailed post about this – clean vs. dirty fasting.
But really quickly, clean fasting is when you have nothing but water, unsweetened herbal tea and black coffee. Dirty fasting is when you allow very low (less than 5 calories or so) of things like artificial sweeteners, fruit infusions or apple cider vinegar and such.
This is a personal decision and you’ll have to see what’s right for you.
I’ve tried it both ways and found that I still lose the weight I want to lose when I use artificial sweeteners. Plus, it’s really hard for me to suck all the joy and flavor out of my life for those 16 hours (sometimes more) that I’m fasting.
Mio Drops help me to fast longer, which helps me lose weight.
Mio Drops won’t break my weight loss, but the food I’ll eat prematurely if I don’t get some flavor into my life, might.
Your mileage may vary.
Trial and error will be your best friend in this case.
If you have issues with chugging plain water and really want to curb your hunger, see if using Mio Drops helps you fast longer and if you start to see the scale move in the right direction.
Distract yourself with activity
Exercise or activities like walking can help take the focus off food and get your mind off of your hunger.
It might sound counter-intuitive, but walking in place for five minutes or so (if you can) can really help!
I swear by it and it’s one of the secret weight loss hacks that I’ve used to keep weight off long-term!
3- Try caffeine
Caffeine is a natural appetite suppressant, so if you drink coffee or tea it will likely help you ignore hunger for a while.
Best appetite suppressant while fasting
All of the tips above can help you curb or ignore hunger while fasting, but I have a secret tip for you…
If you’re really struggling, dab a tiny bit of salt in your hand and lick it!
I swear it works and will help you make it until the end of your fasting window!
Should I eat if I’m hungry while fasting?
One concern you may have is if you do get hungry during your fasting window, should you eat.
The answer is somewhat complicated and you’ll have to discover what works for you.
If you’re just starting out and you set a goal of 16 hours and you’re feeling extremely week, headachy or otherwise pretty bad and you’re far from your 16-hour window, you may need to eat.
But you don’t necessarily need to give up on your fast!
If 16 hours is too much to start with at first, it’s perfectly fine to start with fewer.
I’ve had amazing success fasting just 12 hours a day!
Some effort is always better than none – and you can always add an extra 30-minutes to an hour of fasting time each week until you’re more comfortable with 16 hours!
If you’re feeling hungry but you’re pretty close to your cutoff, then I say try to stick it out.
One of the benefits of fasting is that if you give your body the chance to adjust, you will soon discover that what you formerly thought was hunger was just boredom, habit, or thirst.
Once you pass the initial adjustment period, it will be much easier for you to make it through your fasting window with minimal discomfort.
And remember – if all else fails there’s always my go-to tip of licking some salt!
It’s surprisingly effective at helping you ignore hunger when fasting.
Should I eat if I’m NOT hungry while fasting?
If you’re struggling with hunger during intermittent fasting you may wonder why anyone would ask this question.
But I promise – if you allow your body the chance to adjust, you will reach a point where you aren’t hungry at ALL.
And your fasting period will end… you may forget to eat even!
So should you force yourself to eat?
That’s up to you!
I personally tend to listen to my body and only eat when I’m truly hungry. I’ve found that paying more attention to my body’s natural cues (now that I know what true hunger feels like) is much more effective than paying attention to the clock.
I can routinely go from 17 to 19 or even 20 hours without feeling a pressing need to eat, and I find that so liberating!
I used to obsess over food, but not anymore!
So take comfort in knowing that intermittent fasting may help you heal your relationship with food.
And as you lose weight and grow more in alignment with your body, you will find that you naturally need a lot less food to feel amazing than you even imagined!
Going to bed hungry when intermittent fasting
The next thing you may be wondering is what happens if you stop eating around 7 or 8 pm and you’re going to bed but you’re still hungry?
This is totally normal in the beginning and I am here to tell you that yes, it’s ok to go to bed a little hungry.
You may not be used to this feeling but if it’s something that occurs and is a small nuisance, try to ride it out.
You will discover over time that your body adapts.
We humans are so adaptable and your body will feel so good once you get used to cutting off eating at an earlier hour.
Your digestion will improve, you will sleep better eventually, and you will wake up feeling refreshed and more energetic than you thought possible!
Overall, every single change you make to your life will require you to meet some resistance at first.
We humans don’t enjoy change, but we adapt so spectacularly!
Your challenge is to give yourself the time to see how you do!
Push through those initial uncomfortable parts and allow yourself to get to the other side where you are free from hunger and feeling fantastic.
It’s a journey that you will be so glad you took!
Good luck on your intermittent fasting journey!
You’ve got this.