Here are a few tips that will make daily intermittent fasting a little easier:
1. Drink lots of water. Drinking enough water is essential for everyone but particularly for those who fast. You may find that drinking water on a empty stomach causes your stomach to grumble. This reaction is one form of somatic hunger – a feeling of discomfort in the belly. Out of habit you may psychologically interpret a grumbling stomach with an urge to eat. Don’t panic. Let your stomach grumble, keep drinking and stay hydrated. Eventually you’ll become more adept at letting the sensation of somatic hunger pass until you’re ready to break your fast.
2. Plan your break-fast meal. Try to plan your meals ahead of time. Don’t let the moment its time to break fast be the time you try to come up with a nutritious meal. One helpful suggestion is to break your fast with a small nutritious snack which will give you enough fuel to then prepare a complete meal. For example, you might break-fast with a protein bar (or even a bite of a protein bar) which will then give you enough of a boost to make dinner.
3. Wait 20 minutes after eating your break-fast meal. When it’s time to break your fast it’s tempting to want to overeat. One way to combat this is the 20-minute rule. Break your fast with the most nutritious meal possible, then wait 20 minutes, after which you can eat anything you want. You might find this tip particularly helpful if you struggle with feeling deprived. You’ll probably find that after giving your stomach enough time to communicate fullness to your brain, you’ll no longer be anxious to eat more food or the wrong foods.
4. Slow down. If you’re like most fasters, the hour or so before breaking fast has you salivating like Pavlov’s dog. At that time you have one thing in mind – food. This one track thinking can give way to “brain fog” as tasks that are usually relatively simple suddenly aren’t. This is the most critical time to slow down and to be careful.
5. Recognize “hanger.” Hanger is irritability due to hunger (anger + hunger) and although it is a symptom of becoming fat-adapted that usually diminishes over time, you may still find it rearing its ugly head from time to time. Stop and recognize yourself being a little quick to anger or impatient and remind yourself, that’s hunger talking. Your friends and loved ones will thank you.