Tuesday, October 2, 2012

How to avoid hunger during fasting

I had a comment from a reader asking how I avoid hunger now that I am water fasting for two full days every week...

Well, here is the secret people...it is all in the mind!

Water and tea with Stevia (which is a natural sweetener as well as an appetite suppressant) are what I use to help me through, although I find that I only feel hungry when I let my mind take me there...

The power of the mind is amazing. You have to make a decision in your mind that is firm and once you do that, once you KNOW that you will fast until the end of the set time, it really is no problem. The hunger is gone.

When I have my regular eating days, I start getting hungry around 11. When I am on a fasting day, it is 12:30 and I am just realizing that I haven't felt hungry at all.

That is because on my normal eating days I KNOW that I am going to eat at NOON...so around 11am my body starts anticipating this and sending signals in the form of hunger, looking forward to the food.

On my fasting days I KNOW that I won't be eating and so my brain doesn't bother with that...no signals, no hunger pains.

When I pass a sign with a juicy hamburger on it and I am fasting, I will get a pang of hunger. Here is the interesting part, the hunger pains are stronger when I feel tempted and mild when I feel strong.

It is all in the mind. Work on your thinking.

The other thing is to work up to the fasts. Start small and gradually increase. I first began with the every other day way of fasting. Eat whatever you want one day and eat nothing the next day.

I found that to be very challenging at first. I cried at the end of the day the second time I did an all day fast. It was really hard. That is because I just jumped in and didn't work my way up to that point. It was too much to take all at once.

We need time to adapt. The body is amazing at adapting to change but it is much easier if it is a gradual change. I switched to the Fast 5 way of eating shortly after and still struggled in the beginning because I tried to have my eating window at 5pm. This meant that I was doing most of my fasting all in one big chunk, from 10pm to 5pm the next day. It was only when I switched my window to 12pm-5pm did I notice that it got easier for me. I was then able to eat in the middle of the day and fast a little before and a little after with sleep taking up a good amount of my fasting time.

Then I slowly added in a one day fast during a time when I was really busy (I take a pottery class and stay for an open studio once a week that keeps me busy for 7 hours)  and now after almost three years of fasting regularly I am able to do a fast for two whole days once per week. (one of my all day fasts is still during my pottery day so that helps to keep my mind on other activities)

So take your time and work on your thinking. Slow changes over time = long lasting results.


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