Welcome to The Fast Diet › The official Fast forums › Mind › Coping strategies for hunger › Finding fast days very difficult – don't want to give up!
This topic contains 6 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by dykask 3 years, 10 months ago.
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4 Sep 17
Hello everyone 🙂
I’m a 33 year old woman living in Melbourne, Australia, and I’ve been trying to do the 5:2 diet over the last few weeks to lose around 8 kilograms I’ve put on over the last few years..
I’m finding the fast days really hard, and dread them! I haven’t been able to stick to 5:2 throughout the four weeks I’ve tried to because I feel so grumpy, emotional, light-headed and flat (and hungry!!) on fast days and because of this feel like I should give up so I do…!
I’d like to keep trying, but wondered if anyone has any tips? I eat mostly plant-based except for eggs, and usually eat fairly well, but I’ve put on weight due to some issues with alcohol (no longer drink at all) and personal stuff getting in the way of mindful eating..
Thanks in advance!!
People have a lot of different approaches to their fast days (FDs), some just have water some have 500 cals, some eat 2-3 small meals and some just one. I found that over the first month I needed to experiment with the options to find the format that worked for me. The things that helped:
– after experimenting I found that my best option is to delay eating for as long as possible. If I don’t it’s a very difficult FD as my appetite seems to kick in as soon as I start to eat. I usually have a small snack early-mid afternoon (eg piece of fruit, hot milk cocoa, cup of soup). Then I have a low calorie but large volume dinner that always includes lots of vegetables and some solid protein (eg meat, legumes or eggs). I don’t eat grains on fast days as they always make a FD harder for me.
– access to drinks that I could have instead of eating. For some this will be herbal tea, black coffee or water. I actually allowed the calories for a cup of LF milk so I could drink cups of milky tea made the way I like it. I find this a good replacement for meals.
– I need my FDs to be busy but not too busy. If it’s a slow day I’m tempted to snack, but if it’s too busy I start to feel tired and in need of energy. So something in between works for me. My FDs vary week to week so I can choose the most suitable days.
– As with you, mindful eating is important. Eating slowly and enjoying the food I eat makes a difference to me feeling satisfied. A part of this for me has been to stop thinking of mealtimes. Eating in relation to genuine hunger rather than the time on the clock was an essential change for me and I try to do this every day. The end result of this is that I eat one meal and a snack on FDs and usually 2 meals and a snack on the other days. This would not be a pattern that works for a lot of people but it really does for me and I only discovered it by listening to my body.
Forum discussions that might be useful for you to read:
Find an appropriate forum group and join, it does help to have the daily support. Some options that might be suitable for you:
I hope things improve for you.
I kind of sounds like you are experiencing mild withdrawal symptoms on your fast days. What are you eating on your non-fast days? Maybe there is some type of food causing problems.
In my case it was refined sugar. I used to suffer from raging hunger and when I finally cut back my refined sugar consumption to around 20g / day or lower, my hunger went away. I actually eat a lot less then 20g of refined sugar most days, but I call it 20g because sometimes I allow myself to have some ice cream. However in general I watch it pretty closely. Anyway once I had my diet under control I was able to start fasting.
Now I mostly do just water fasts. The reason for that is if I start eating I have much more hunger than if I don’t eat. Also in general hunger comes is waves, with some effort you can learn to ride out the waves of hunger. Sometimes just drinking a glass of water is enough, other times you just have to suffer through it for 20 minutes or so.
I hope you can figure out something that works for you. @ljoyce provided a lot of good information too! 🙂
Hi laurahelenmb – wondering if 16:8 might work better for you? Then you are more or less doing your fasting through the night, rather than daytime. Could be worth giving that a go, rather than giving up?
LJoyce and dykask have given excellent advice so I’ll just add my personal observations.
It took me a few weeks to get into fasting.
I decided that the best thing to do was only eat dinner as I could make a decent sized dinner with 400 calories and use the other 100 for milk in my teas and coffees, and it meant I didn’t go to bed hungry.
I also realised that if I ate a lot of carbs/sugar the day before, my fast was more difficult as I would be craving certain foods which is even worse than hunger pangs IMO.
If you can narrow your eating window on fast days it’ll help. I rarely eat before lunchtime on non fast days and it definitely help me to avoid over-eating (most of the time!)
As time has gone on I’ve changed to food free fast days as I discovered it is easier not to eat at all rather than having a small meal.
@laura. Id feel like that if I lived in Melbourne as well. 🙂 OK seriously now. When you say plant based what do you mean? Sugar is plant based. Bread is plant based but Id consider them both crappy foods. Consumption of sugar and refined grains will make your fasts real hard. Go for plant based whole foods. Avoid sugar, bread, pizza, pasta, biscuits, breakfast cereals (pure crap by the way) etc. If its grain based and processed avoid it. Eat lots of cruciferous veggies, legumes, beans, some nuts like almonds, brazil nuts, pecans, walnuts. Some quality cheeses. Dairy like high fat low sugar Greek yogurt. I find Jalna to be good. Some fruit like berries or a tart granny smith apple.
Buy some Marzetti apple cider vinegar. Drink 2/3 tablespoons before each meal or when you feel hunger coming one. The acetic acid will curb hunger, slow down digestion, satiate you for longer. Backed up evidence and by science. Good luck.
5 Sep 17
As one can see we have a lot of different approaches. We are all a little different, you just have to find what works for you. I think learning about your body and health in general and experimenting with your diet are keys.
I’ve almost forgotten how difficult the fasts used to be. It was probably a few months before I could sleep through the second night on a 36 hour fast! No problem now, fasting does get easier as your body gets used to it.
Another thing that has helped me is learning to eat really slowly. Also to take rewards. For example I don’t eat while fasting, that is really cheap so I reward myself by buying some foods I like but I would normally avoid because of the cost. After all fasting isn’t about starving it is about eating in a healthy fashion.
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