How to Reduce Food Cravings with Intermittent Fasting

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You’ve just had lunch but are overwhelmed by a craving for sweets? Or when watching TV in the evening, you can’t do without a bag of chips? You probably know this situation!

Usually these kinds of cravings are not linked to real hunger! In this blog post you will learn more about how food cravings emerge and will get the best tips to successfully fight and prevent them.

 

The causes of food cravings

Usually, cravings do not reflect physical hunger. After all, natural hunger builds up slowly and gradually. Why is it then that our body signals us the immediate need for chocolate, fast food & co.?

One important factor are your blood sugar levels or rather their control center in the hypothalamus. This part of the brain regulates the release of hormones, for example. If the blood glucose level drops below normal our brain triggers an alarm and sends this message: Give me energy! Actually, this is a good emergency system for bad times. In everyday life, however, this is usually a false alarm because there’s plenty of energy – especially in the form of body fat.

Cravings can have physical, but also psychological causes. Here are some examples:

1. “Wrong” way of eating

An unbalanced diet but also crash diets can lead to a lack of vital nutrients (especially vitamins and minerals). The body might then demand them quite heavily – the well-known cravings.

It might also happen that the pancreas overreacts and produces too much insulin after a meal rich in simple carbs (e.g. from sugar or white flour). Your blood sugar levels then drop too much and your body call for immediate energy once more. Satisfying this “need” with fast-acting carbs will lead to a blood sugar roller coaster. A vicious circle.

In the long run, this can not only be a problem for your shape (insulin is a fat storage hormone!), but also for your health!

2. Not drinking enough water

We often confuse hunger and thirst. Water is the basis of so many important processes in our body. If we don’t drink enough water, everything becomes more difficult and the body doesn’t work properly. Of course, this also applies to losing weight.

3. The power of habits

Many of us often automatically reach for unhealthy snacks when being bored, stressed or sad. This is not surprising. After all, we often got a lollipop as a child for comfort. This has become deeply ingrained in our brains and makes us subconsciously do things we don’t really want to do.

4. Bad sleep

Sleeping badly and too little can have an impact on our hormones. Scientific studies have shown that this can result in a low level of leptin, which in turn controls the feeling of satiety. In other words, if you don’t sleep well, you’ll be hungrier. Without quality sleep you’ll lack the energy your body needs to resist “normal” hunger.

5. Diseases

Malfunctions of the thyroid gland, intestines, liver, etc., but also of the soul can be underlying causes as well. If you feel that your hunger pangs are unusually frequent and severe, please talk to your doctor about them. Nothing is more important than your health!

As you can see, cravings can have very different causes. The good news is: There are great ways to control them!

 

The best tips against food cravings

Here are the best measures and tips to prevent and counteract them:

1. Drink enough water, at least 2.5l (85oz) /day!

A glass of water often helps immediately. A cup of (peppermint) tea can also provide quick relief. Feel free to also read our blog post!

2. Favor complex carbohydrates!

Wholemeal bread, pasta or brown rice allow your blood sugar level to rise much more evenly than products with a lot of sugar and white flour. Make sure to prefer mostly natural sources of carbohydrates. These include oatmeal, potatoes and vegetables. A nutrient-rich diet with lots of vitamins, trace elements and bitter substances prevents cravings!

3. Eat more protein!

Protein are your ally in the fight against cravings:

  • Increased protein intake can reduce your cravings.
  • More protein can curb your appetite, especially late at night.
  • Protein keeps you full longer.

4. Practice mindfulness!

Mindfulness can help you get back on track with your body’s signals. Often it’s enough to stop for a moment when your belly starts to rumble and ask yourself:

Am I really hungry right now or do I just need a break? Or a nice chat, a hug or something else?

That’s how you learn to recognize your real needs.

5. Make sure you have a relaxing sleep environment!

Getting enough and good sleep is a great way to prevent cravings. Here’s what you can do to improve your sleep quality:

  • Refrain from eating heavy meals in the evening.
  • Put your cell phone away at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature.

6. Use specific strategies in case of emergency!

Do your cravings become noticeable after a meal? Make brushing your teeth a closing ritual. Do you unconsciously grab something from the snack box? Give away your provisions to friends. Be creative!

7. Change your focus and distract yourself!

Cravings have a special psychological element. If you give them a lot of space and focus on them, they usually get worse! Distracting yourself is the way to go.

Try playing a game on your smartphone, for example. A study suggested that playing Tetris on a smartphone for just 3 minutes was shown to curb several types of cravings, including food cravings.

 

Intermittent fasting helps you fight cravings

With intermittent fasting, you don’t have to worry about unbearable hunger. Your body gets used to the change after a short time.

The regular breaks from eating give your body a time-out: This allows blood sugar and insulin levels to normalize. You’ll learn to distinguish real hunger from cravings. You will be less hungry and get full faster.

Another benefit is the increased ability to master your hunger. In return, you’ll enjoy the food more consciously in your eating window, no restrictions at all.

 

Back to a natural sense of hunger with intermittent fasting

As you can see, cravings can have various causes. But you don’t have to resign yourself to it if you know this feeling.

A balanced diet combined with good sleep, mindfulness and intermittent fasting is a great strategy to bring unpleasant cravings under control in a permanent way.

 

You have never fasted before or need support? Download the free BodyFast app now and give it a try!

Download_free_BodyFast_intermittent_fasting_app

 

26 thoughts on “How to Reduce Food Cravings with Intermittent Fasting

  1. ilham Reply

    “You’ll learn to distinguish real hunger from cravings. You will be less hungry and get full faster”.
    So true, The same portion I was eating before I cant finish it any more! by craving are not for pain au chocolate or bread any more…I’m only on my second week of fasting …!
    This is a true statement from my own experience..

    PS: I lost 1.7 kg in 8 day of fasting and moderate workout !

    • Valerie Dratwa Reply

      Hello, thank you for sharing your amazing experience with us. It is always awesome to hear success and experience stories from BodyFasters around the globe. 🙂
      We are happy that BodyFast is supporting you on your Intermittent Fasting journey and helps you to achieve your goals. 🙂

    • Jenny M. Post authorReply

      Hola Javier 😊

      También puedes suscribirte a Coach a través de nuestro sitio web y luego iniciar sesión en la aplicación con tus credenciales.

      Si todavía no tienes una cuenta, utiliza este enlace: [http://my.bodyfast.app/

      Si ya te has registrado en la aplicación, este es el enlace correcto: https://my.bodyfast.app/login

      Si necesitas ayuda, no dudes en ponerte en contacto con nuestro servicio de atención al cliente: info@bodyfast.app

  2. Punam Sinha Reply

    Although I have been sincere, I am not able to lose weight. I start getting reeling of head on getting up & I cannot start eating at 6 am so changed time a bit from 2pm to 4 & from 6 am to 8 am. How to lose weight. I am 65 & weigh 71.5 kg. I was on medication for high d dimer. Apixabain 5 mg twice daily. Please help. I am vegetarian & take rice dal roti vegetable milk paneer & curd. Can I take coconut water during fasting period.

    • Jenny M. Post authorReply

      Ciao Debora!

      Il digiuno intermittente non di indica cosa mangiare e cosa no. Naturalmente, puoi sostenere il tuo successo con una dieta equilibrata.

      Ecco perché abbiamo sviluppato le ricette BodyFast. Sono ideali per il digiuno intermittente.

      Chiediti invece quali cose salutari puoi aggiungere ai tuoi pasti.

      Ecco alcuni consigli generali:

      * Mangia cibi freschi e non trasformati.
      * Mangia cibi ricchi di fibre come verdure e cereali integrali.
      * Mangia poco zucchero e dolcificanti.
      * Mangia cibi ad alto contenuto proteico come carne, pesce, uova, latticini o prodotti a base di soia, noci e legumi.

  3. Cande Collins Reply

    I take vitamins daily—morning & night. But I can’t take them on an empty stomach. Any thoughts on how to take my vitamins on fasting days?

    • Valerie Dratwa Reply

      Hello Cande,
      medication should always be taken as prescribed by your doctor. Regarding vitamins, we suggest to have them in your eating window. Some may contain ingredients that can break a fast, others simply work better when taken with meals (e.g. fat-soluble vitamins).

  4. Kat Reply

    Does Stevia break a fast? What about sugar free chewing gum with Xylitol. i have read that neither raise blood sugar.

    • Jenny M. Post authorReply

      As studies about this topic are still quite rare and different people react to different things differently, the best way is to stay on the safe side and avoid sweeteners in your fasting period 🙏🏼

  5. Caron Reply

    Bonjour , moi depuis 3 semaines je fais le jeûne intermittent. Le matin je prend 2 café et bois beaucoup d’eau , vers une heure et normalement j’ai pas fais alors je soupe légume poulet viande patate je varie et même mes assiettes ont beaucoup diminuer . Je poids était 34 livres et arrivais pas depuis plusieurs année à baiser , depuis je pèse 130 livres et je suis très heureuse . J’ai un sérieux problème que je désir régler ( foie très gras ) avec votre aide je souhaite du moins régler cette situation . Merci

    • Valerie Dratwa Reply

      Bonjour Caron, merci pour vos commentaires ! BodyFast vous propose des plans hebdomadaires, vous envoie des rappels et vous permet de suivre vos progrès. Cela vous donne une structure et une motivation pour atteindre vos objectifs. Nous sommes votre compagnon personnel de perte de poids et nous vous aidons à adopter un style de vie durable. Avec des recettes saines et l’aide d’experts, vous atteindrez vos objectifs encore plus rapidement. Vous serez ainsi en meilleure forme et plus énergique. 🙂

  6. Amna ElGendy Reply

    Bonjour et merci pour vos commentaires ! vos motivations pour atteindre nos objectifs. vraiment j’essaie de perte de poids et changer mon style de vie avec des recettes saines et a l’aide de quelques exercices mais j’arrive a un point ou parfois je peux atteindre mon objectif et je ne continnue plus mais je vais essayer de suivre vos conseils Merci

  7. Nanci Difilipo Reply

    Hola, buen día. Me suscribí al coach, pero encuentro respuestas generales, necesito orientación de ejercicios pertinentes para no perder masa muscular, al contrario, para incrementarla. Hay muchos alimentos que en argentina son muy caros o no se consiguen. Necesito recetas con carnes, huevos, verduras, quesos. Pescados no consumo demasiado, el salmón que es el que me gusta es muyyy caro. Gracias

    • Christian Mall Reply

      Hola Nanci, recientemente hemos publicado un artículo en el blog que contiene algunos consejos para ganar músculo mientras se hace el ayuno intermitente. Esperamos que te resulte útil. Puedes consultarlo aquí: https://www.bodyfast.app/en/how-to-gain-muscle-with-fasting/ En cuanto a las recetas, puedes utilizar nuestra función de filtro para filtrar las recetas por diferentes etiquetas como carne, pescado o vegetariano. También puedes probar la función SOS en la pestaña de ayuda de la aplicación para enviar un correo electrónico a nuestro equipo de expertos de BodyFast. Por favor, no dudes en cambiar algunos ingredientes y ser creativo si ciertos ingredientes son difíciles de encontrar 😊 Por ejemplo, puedes probar con diferentes quesos o proteínas. Aunque ya ofrecemos una gran variedad de recetas diferentes, por supuesto, intentamos constantemente mejorar nuestra aplicación, por ejemplo, proporcionando aún más recetas en el futuro.

  8. Hannia Castillo Reply

    Yo padezco d hipotiroidismo, y anoche empecé mi ayuno x primera vez , en Costa Rica la situación económica está muy dura y uno no se puede dar el lujo d poder comprar Canes seguido , me encanta comer mucho huevos , será q eso me podría afectar , tengo 52 años y no sé si me resultará este ayuno x el hipotiroidismo 🥺🥺 vi en facebook q una buena opción si no se tiene los medios económicos para poder llevar dietas balanceadas es comer huevos cocidos , plátano maduro también cocido y una tajada d queso blanco , dicen q si se puede todos los días y las veces q se quiera , será q si es bueno ????

    • Christian Mall Reply

      Hola Hannia, asegúrate de consultar con tu médico si el ayuno intermitente puede ser una opción para ti y en qué medida, para estar seguros 🙂 En cuanto a tu pregunta sobre la comida: Durante el periodo de alimentación puedes comer prácticamente todo lo que quieras. Pero siempre recomendamos mantener una dieta equilibrada y variada; con un poco de creatividad e investigación esto es posible incluso con un presupuesto reducido. Puedes intentar optar por alimentos regionales o congelados. Por ejemplo, las verduras congeladas suelen ser más baratas que las frescas, pero no por ello menos sanas 😊 Si eres suscriptor del Coach, puedes acceder a nuestras más de 100 recetas y utilizar también nuestra función de filtro, que te permite encontrar las comidas más adecuadas para ti. ¡Te deseamos lo mejor!

  9. Guido Reply

    Hola
    Inicie con el ayuno hace 5 semanas y he ido perdiendo peso en un rango de 600gramos semanales. Me ha sentado bien, quiero preguntar sobre lo que puede alterar el ayuno. En mi caso, tomo 1 cucharada de vinagre de manzana y ademas electrolitos de la marca Nuun, una tableta por dia durante la mañana antes de la sesion de gimnasio (ejercicio funcional 1 hora).
    Aunado a esto, estoy realizando una comida abundante al inicio de la ventana de alimentacion y a veces lo que como despues es muy poco. Es esto normal?
    Saludos

    • Christian Mall Reply

      Hola Guido, gracias por tu comentario y enhorabuena por acercarte a tus objetivos en las últimas semanas 😊 Lo más importante es que tu rutina te funcione personalmente, así que si ya estás viendo un éxito, por supuesto que puedes seguir así. Si quieres un poco de desafío, puedes intentar variar la duración y las horas de tus períodos de comida y ayuno. Esto tiene un efecto positivo en tu metabolismo, ya que no se acostumbra a un patrón de alimentación específico, por lo que trabaja con mayor eficacia. Asegúrate de comer lo suficiente durante tu periodo de alimentación. Al hacer el 16-8 recomendamos 2 comidas ricas en proteínas y nutrientes. Si todavía tienes hambre, también puedes tomar un tentempié. Te deseamos lo mejor en tu viaje de ayuno! 😊

  10. Helena Reply

    I’m just back from holiday so my first week I didn’t complete as well as I could’ve done, so I’ve changed the times on the second week slightly to best sit my daily routine is that ok?

    • Christian Mall Reply

      Hi Helena, sure, that’s perfectly fine. The most important thing is that your fasting routine works for you personally. So please feel free to adjust the times, so that intermittent fasting best fits into your daily life. Happy BodyFasting! 😊

  11. M Reply

    Hi Stefan
    Thanks for nice advice that helping me as a guide structure. I hope by this healthy diet can loss weight shortly.
    Tnx for your supportive emails.

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