- Hunger pangs can be manageable during fasting if you do interventions to help them. After 2 day fasts, most people don’t feel hungry at all.
- Hunger comes in waves throughout the day and has its own circadian rhythm.
- Hunger is a learned phenomenon.
- Incorporating IF(intermittent fasting) on a regular basis will help to reduce hunger.
- Both intermittent fasting and long fasts can improve sleep.
- Strategies for hunger:
- # 1- Use Coffee/ green tea.
- #2-Use cinnamon to help decrease hunger with fasting.
- #3- Take an Epsom salt bath or Sauna treatment to help ward off hunger and detoxify your body from fasting.
- #4- Fast with a buddy to help!
- #5- Do the Keto diet first and get into ketosis before fasting to help ward off hunger.
- #6- Increase your water intake.
- #7- Meditate and focus on your Solar Plexus chakra for willpower to help decrease hunger.
- #8- Consume broth when fasting.
Does hunger keep you from wanting to fast?
So maybe you have heard of people talking about their fasting experience, and you thought, ” How is it that someone can go that long without food?” I get it; I believe many reasons people avoid fasting are because they are afraid of being hungry. In this article, I will examine eight effective strategies for how to reduce hunger pangs while fasting. These methods I am going to mention are strategies I have implemented in my own life, so I would like to share them with you! I hope you enjoy them and then can be more confident on your next fast!
Some common questions related to fasting
Okay, so before I dive into how to reduce hunger pangs while fasting, I want to answer some common questions. I think many of us hear many different things from different people, and sometimes we need some good solid answers. My responses to these questions are based on research and from credible references.
When do hunger pangs go away while fasting?
Ahh, the hunger pangs question. Such a common question! You are on a fast, and all of a sudden, you ponder the following, ” Will this hunger disappear? ” Okay, so here is your answer. Unless you take on a long fast for greater than two days, hunger doesn’t completely disappear. However, there are numerous ways to reduce those hunger pangs and make them manageable! Once you understand how your body operates the whole act of being “hungry,” you can employ different coping mechanisms.
First, understand that hunger comes in waves.
When we are taking on an intermittent fast, hunger tends to come in waves. Did you realize that hunger has its own circadian rhythm? Yes! Ghrelin, the hunger hormone, rises and falls in a natural circadian rhythm, with a low at 8:00 AM and a high at 8:00 PM1.
If hunger were simply due to lack of food, we would consistently be hungry in the morning after a long overnight fast. However, studies show that appetite is lowest in the morning, and breakfast is the smallest, not the largest meal 2.
When you encounter a “hunger wave,” you need to ride it out throughout the day! One of the main reasons I wrote this article is to help give YOU different methods to deal with these hunger waves. You are going to use all of the interventions I mention below to help you out!
So how long is the hunger wave?
Hunger is not a continuous growing occurrence. The one thing you must understand is this; hunger will build up, peak, and then dissipate. All you have to do is ignore it – one thing you must realize when intermittent fasting is that it will return3. However, after you learn the different ways to deal with hunger, you can keep your mind occupied when the hunger returns. If you are mindful of hunger itself, it will help you deal with the “hunger waves.”
Next, understand hunger is a learned phenomenon
Even when we don’t think we’re hungry, smelling something yummy in the kitchen will prompt us to be ravenous. Did you remember learning about Pavlov’s theory in college? I do! In the 1890s, the Russian scientist Ivan Pavlov was studying salivation in dogs4. The whole premise was that dogs salivate when they see food and expect to eat. This reaction will occur naturally and without training5.
In his experiments, the lab assistants fed the dogs, and the dogs soon began to associate lab coats with eating! Nothing is appetizing about the lab coats; however, the dogs were fed by the men wearing the lab coats, and food became paired in their minds6!
What is the takeaway? Well, there may be learned behaviors in our life which may prompt us to be hungry! For example, whenever my husband comes home from work around 5:30 PM, I am always hungry. Now you may be wondering, “why does your husband make you hungry?” It’s not that he makes me hungry; it is because we usually eat when he gets home. So, when I am fasting, I find that I have to make an extra effort to ride that hunger wave whenever he walks in the door! This association is Pavlov’s theory working full force on me!
Incorporating intermittent fasting regularly will help to decrease hunger.
Surprisingly, practical experience with hundreds of patients report that they most often see their hunger diminish while they’re on an intermittent fasting regimen, not increase. They often say that despite their expectation, they are eating less than half their usual amount of food daily, yet they feel full7.
Do you eventually stop feeling hungry fasting?
The answer to this question is “yes.” Do you wonder how someone could do a long fast for over a day? Well, it just so happens that hunger will dissipate after the second day. Appetite tends to come on quite strongly during the first one or two days of fasting, generally peaking on day two 8. So if you can make it after the second day of fasting, then you are on the home stretch!
How do you sleep when fasting?
Fasting both long-term and intermittent can improve your sleep! According to an open pilot study by A Michalsen there was data that demonstrated that showed along with a decrease in sleep arousals; a 1-week fasting period promotes the quality of sleep and daytime performance in non-obese subjects 10.
Intermittent fasting can also improve your sleep! Intermittent fasting causes insulin levels to drop and melatonin levels to rise. Melatonin is your body’s primary sleep-promoting hormone and can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer. Fasting also promotes the release of human growth hormone, one of your body’s vital resources for repairs while you’re asleep 11.
Now, let’s talk about strategies on how to reduce hunger pangs while fasting.
Now, let’s talk about how to reduce hunger pangs while fasting! Again, these strategies that I mention are methods that I have incorporated into my own daily life.
Last year, when I first started this blog, I wrote an Intermittent Fasting Health Benefits article. You can click here to read it! In this article, I included the benefits that I have noticed in myself. The cool thing is that fasting encompasses even more benefits than what is mentioned in this article!
Strategy #1: Use coffee or green tea to help.
Coffee is very effective in reducing your appetite during fasting! Coffee has been shown to decrease appetite, delay stomach emptying, and influence appetite hormones, all of which can help you eat less. Caffeine can also increase fat burn and aid in weight loss 12.
If you can’t drink coffee, then consume green tea to help with hunger pangs. Green tea is full of antioxidants and polyphenols and is another great aid for dieters13.
When I am fasting, I drink coffee and have found that it helps with hunger pangs. Now, if it is in the afternoon after 12 PM, I usually try to avoid it. If I am struggling and feeling ravenous, I will make decaf coffee so I don’t interfere with my sleep.
Strategy #2- Use cinnamon.
Did you realize that cinnamon is very effective for helping to suppress hunger? Yes, it is! Cinnamon is one healthy spice that curbs hunger cravings, control blood sugar levels, and makes you feel fuller for longer. It also increases the body’s metabolism, lowers bad cholesterol, and cleans the arteries13.
When I am fasting, I like to add cinnamon to my coffee or tea. I find that it helps tremendously with warding off an oncoming hunger pang!
Strategy #3- Take an Epsom salt bath or sauna treatment.
Now, an Epsom salt bath or sauna treatment doesn’t directly decrease your hunger. However, I have found that both are very helpful in reducing the stress of being hungry and helping to get you through the “hunger pang.” When I do a nice Epsom salt bath or sauna treatment, the heat makes my heart rate go up a little bit. As a result, I don’t feel hungry!
Have you ever noticed that after your done exercising, your heart rate higher tends to make you not so hungry? Well, an Epsom salt bath or sauna treatment has the same effect on you! I love these interventions because I get the same appetite suppression effects that I do after exercise, without doing exercise. You can find my Epsom salt and sauna recommendations here on my Resource Page.
Let’s face it, the majority of us don’t want to do any strenuous exercise when we are fasting. Why? Well, the biggest reason is it will make us hungry! If you’re going to do a little activity during fasting, I suggest light yoga or a light walk. Other than that, try to avoid a lot of physical activity when fasting.
Aside from helping with hunger suppression, a sauna is also essential for helping with detoxification from fasting. When you fast, you burn ketones from fat that contains stores of pesticides, BPAs, and more! These are all things that your liver will have to process. However, if you use a sauna, you are helping your liver out by sweating out these toxins.
If you are interested in reading more about sauna therapy, please go to my article, called Seven Ways Sauna Therapy Will Heal Your Body. If you are interested in purchasing one, I recommend you go through SaunaSpace because they have near-infrared saunas, which provide better healing for your mitochondria. If you sign up for my email list, I regularly send out coupons for SaunaSpace, so I would encourage you to do that!
Strategy #4-Grab a buddy to fast with you!
I frequently fast with a buddy, and it works well for me! If you want to do this, I would suggest that it be someone other than your spouse. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve told my husband, “man, I don’t feel like fasting today and caved in.”
There is something about a spouse that makes you hungry-just saying! When I fast, it is helpful to call “my buddy” and get words of wisdom such as, “You can do it, or we got this.” Words are so powerful for motivation! If you can’t find anyone to fast with you, go online and look at forums where people fast. Maybe joining a fasting group, read a good fasting article, or even consider purchasing a book on fasting to assist you.
Strategy #5-Take on a fast when you are already in ketosis.
There is a reason why many people tell you to do keto and burn ketones before taking on fasting. It is because ketosis in itself is a natural appetite suppressant. How do you think cave dwellers went so long without food in the prehistoric days? Think about it. There may have been days or even weeks before they could find an animal to kill for food or berries and nuts to eat. Due to fasting from the lack of food, they probably stayed in ketosis, which helped to suppress their appetite!
So, if you want to start fasting and haven’t been following a keto diet, that is okay. What I would do is plan out your fast for a week out and plan on keeping your carbs low (under 20-30 total carbs) for the week before you begin the fast. Ketogenic diets (KDs) have been shown to prevent an increase in ghrelin secretion, otherwise seen with weight loss, as well as to reduce hunger and/or prevent hunger14.
Strategy #6- Increase your water intake!
Alright, so I know you’ve probably heard this statement before, “If your hungry, just drink more water!” Old school, I know, but it has been tried and true. If you feel hungry during a fast, then down a total of 16 ounces of water each time you get a hunger pang. It does work!
I like to put lemon in my water. Not only does it make it more palatable, but it is suitable for detoxification. I want you to remember one phrase about water, “the solution to pollution is dilution.” If you remember these words, you will want to increase your water intake to help eliminate toxins in your body.
Strategy #7- Meditate and focus on your Solar Plexus Chakra while fasting.
Did you realize that your Solar Plexus Chakra alignment is critical for willpower and then helping you to lose weight? Yes, it is. I wrote an article last year on how balancing your Solar Plexus Chakra can help with weight loss. To get a better understanding of how this occurs, I would encourage you to read it here.
Anyways, if you want to improve your willpower during your fast, then I would work on balancing the Solar Plexus Chakra! A great way to do this is to do a meditation to help align this chakra. If you aren’t sure how to do a meditation for the Solar Plexus Chakra, then let me help you!
This is how I meditate for the Solar Plexus Chakra.
The first thing I do is find some meditation music on YouTube (or anywhere) to play in the background (you can use my Solar Plexus Chakra meditation, which can be found here). After I put on the music, I put Solar Plexus chakra-specific essential oil in my diffuser and find a specific stone for balancing the Solar Plexus Chakra. If you are looking for a good starter kit with stones and essential oils, I recommend The Chakra Set by Elixir. You can find it here on my Resources Page.
After I get the music playing, essential oil diffusing, I lay down in bed and place the stone on my Solar Plexus Chakra region( this region is located from your navel to your sternum). After I’ve laid down and put the stone on the Solar Plexus region, I then use an eye mask and close my eyes. While I’ve got my eyes shut, I say affirmations such as, ” I can make it through this fast, I have willpower, and I have self-esteem.”
After I get up from the meditation, my hunger dissipates, and I feel a lot better! Now, if you are someone who fasts during a workday and can’t do this, then no worries. When you feel a hunger pang or something smells good, repeat those affirmations that I mentioned and drink water or coffee. You will find that these things will make the hunger pang pass easier!
Strategy #8- Consume broth while fasting
Broth is excellent when it comes to ways how to reduce hunger pangs while fasting! I don’t fast without it! I think one day I will take on a total water fast with no broth, but until then, I’m going to have broth! like to use bone broth or vegetable broth, and I add in seasonings such as salt, pepper, and even some lemon juice. After I have the broth, I find that I am delighted and happy!
A little note about water fasts
Water fasts offer a quick detox and the most potent therapeutic effect; however, they involve a great deal of preparation15. If you are interested in a water fast, then I encourage you to read up on it first. I have a good article on water-fasting versus bone broth fasting, which you can read here.
Pick the hunger-reducing interventions that work for you!
In general, there are multiple ways on how to reduce hunger pangs while fasting. You have to pick the ones that work for you! As long as you achieve good ketosis during your fast while keeping your hunger at bay, then you are on the right track.
Fasting should be fun.
Another important thing to remember is that fasting should be enjoyable. If you are dreading a fast, then maybe you should re-evaluate your choice to fast for that day or time period. You should never feel like you have to fast to be healthy. It is completely your choice!
Overall, I think it is great that we do have this option for improving our health. I try to look at fasting as a decision I am making to clean my body. I don’t look at it as a weight-loss tool (even though it does help in that department).
In conclusion, I am a big fan of fasting, and I want you to experience healing from fasting too! That is why I wrote this article on How To Reduce Hunger Pangs While Fasting. I have found fasting to be liberating, and it has allowed me to enjoy food more! I encourage anyone to take up fasting, as long it is suitable for you both medically and emotionally.
If you want to get updates from HKG in your inbox and want discounts and other information for your health, then sign up for my email list! I want to help guide you every step of the way toward your health journey! Also, I encourage you to join my Healthologist community as a great way to commune with like-minded people. You can sign up here!
[toggle title = “References”]
Fung, J., & Moore, J. (2016). The complete guide to fasting: heal your body through intermittent, alternate-day, and extended fasting. Las Vegas, NV: Victory Belt Publishing1-9,13.
Michalsen A, Schlegel F, Rodenbeck A, Lüdtke R, Huether G, Teschler H, Dobos GJ. Effects of short-term modified fasting on sleep patterns and daytime vigilance in non-obese subjects: results of a pilot study. Ann Nutr Metab. 2003;47(5):194-200. doi: 10.1159/000070485. PMID: 12748412 10.
Deemer SE, Plaisance EP, Martins C. Impact of ketosis on appetite regulation-a review. Nutr Res. 2020 May;77:1-11. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2020.02.010. Epub 2020 Feb 20. PMID: 32193016 14.