Intermittent fasting isn't for everyone, but most people will find it has many benefits for weight loss, overall health and mental focus. However, the biggest hurdle for many people while trying this diet, is handling the hunger that comes with it. We are trained to listen to our bodies, so ignoring a grumbling tummy can put some people off.
When you start intermittent fasting, you will inevitably feel hungry during a fast period, but there are plenty of ways to manage your cravings. If you have been asked to fast before an operation or blood test, you might find this advice helps you, too.
Getting used to feeling hungry can be hard even though it gets easier over time, so here are our top tips for getting through the day.
1. Drink some water
Water fills your stomach and helps you feel less hungry. Some dieters also suggest trying fizzy water as the bubbles make you feel even fuller.
2. Distract yourself
Hunger pangs tend to come and go, so if you can distract yourself, you’ll probably find that they will go away. Try reading a book or doing a puzzle – anything that engages your brain so you don’t think about your hunger.
3. Plan ahead
If you have been feeling very hungry on fast days, make sure that you’re eating enough the day before. Plan your last meal to have lots of protein and fibre to keep you fuller for longer.
4. Have a coffee
Coffee can help restrain your appetite and make you feel less hungry. Have it black if you can and don’t add sweetener. Invest in a filter coffee machine to keep you well-fueled throughout the day.
5. Do some exercise
Some gentle exercise can help with hunger pangs – go for a walk or, if you’re at work, try just walking up and down the stairs or over to a colleague’s desk. A fitness tracker will motivate you to move. See deals on one of our favourite models below, or see all Fitbit deals.
6. Have a nap
It’s not always practical, but if you happen to be at home, you can have a short nap, which can give you some energy back to get through the day.
7. Think ahead
Motivate yourself to keep going by planning your next day’s meals. Having something to look forward to and knowing it’ll be worth it can keep you on track.
8. Join a community
Join a Facebook group for your chosen diet, as then you can chat to like minded people who are doing the same thing as you for support.