Fasting and losing weight makes you want more food!
Reducing calories is part of the equation for weight loss, so fasting and losing weight should go together, right?
More reasons why fasting and losing weight are not good for you.
Wrong! Fasting will put your body into starvation mode, and further research has also found that if you restrict your calories too much, you also increase your hunger and stimulate your appetite!
The body needs food, it's way of telling you this is to make you feel hungry, and increase your appetite. The way to get rid of the hungry feeling is to feed your body.
So when fasting and losing weight, your body sends out the hungry signals as a way of telling you that you're not eating enough, and it demands more! More than usual
You don't even have to be fasting, if your energy intake is too low, you'll find the hunger response kicking up a notch.
If you're hungry...eat!
If you've cut your energy intake back heavily and abruptly, you will increase your hunger response.
There are however a couple of ways to combat this.
1. Give yourself one or two days where you don't restrict your calorie intake. Now this doesn't mean you go on to the high fat, high sugar, energy dense foods. What it does mean though is that you give yourself one or two days where you eat healthily, but don't worry about restricting the intake.
With fasting and losing weight you're not only starving your body of the nutrients it needs to repair tissue and function, but you're body is going to make it hard for you to continue by reminding you, frequently, just how hungry and starved it is.
Don't fast! And giving your body a break from restricted intake sometimes, will help control the hunger over the remaining days of the week, and the appetite for even more than the body would normally need.
Mentally it's also good to know that you're giving yourself a day off. Yeh! A day to eat as much as you're body needs. It's also great for getting in touch with what hunger feels like, and when you don't have it.
It's also great for reacquainting yourself with the difference between, "I've had enough" and "My Goodness, I've over done it".
2. With restricted calories, sometimes the hunger will hit at just a certain time of the day...3 or 4 o'clock is when I'm most likely to be ready to eat the apple and the core too...followed by a packet of chips, a sandwich...you get the idea.
But I've figured it out! I only get this hungry at this time if I've not eaten enough earlier in the day. If I've got busy and missed snacks, or breakfast (which really puts me off for the day), because I've run out the door without even noticing that I haven't eaten, even if I eat a really good lunch...by 3 o'clock I am starving, cranky, and my body has kicked the hunger pangs into fifth gear.
So, I try and make sure that I eat a large portion of my calories in the morning. Breakfast, two lots of snacks and lunch - all before one o'clock. I still eat again at three, but I'm not so hungry that I need to 'pig out', a piece of fruit, or a corn thin with light cream cheese, and I'm fine till dinner.
My body already thinks it's fasting and losing weight if I don't eat enough in the morning, as long as I eat well in the morning, then I don't get to that starving stage.
The other thing with the starving stage...is have you noticed that when you restrict calories or fast...you start to crave fatty, sugary foods? And that once you start you can't stop? Welcome to an increased appetite!
Yep! Another lovely (sarcasm here) side-effect of fasting and losing weight.
Fat and sugar are high energy foods, and we need some of them. When we restrict calories too far, our body doesn't only send out the hunger cry...it sends it out for the high and fast energy foods. We start to crave, it can become nearly unbearable!
In fact, unwittingly I forgot to have breakfast and snacks one day, it got to 2 o'clock and I realized I also hadn't had lunch. I was feeling a little weak and very cranky by then. Inadvertently I had starved my body and fasted, and it was gradually increasing the pressure on me till I fixed it!
Worse still...after a big sandwich of grain and seed bread, avocado, baby spinach, tomato, lean ham, grated carrot, an
apple and a nectarine...I was still hungry! I craved salt and vinegar chips, and chocolate. I even considered eating the chocolate chips I use in baking!
I got busy doing other things and had some more lean ham, an orange, (and 6 of my son's chips...I couldn't hold out), over the next hour. But not giving in to the temptation and actually going out and buying a huge block of chocolate was excruciating!
In fact, I hadn't nearly derailed myself in one sitting like that since I was "dieting" at university, and I vowed not to do it again. So, I've made morning eating habitual. Not ideal, to eat and get everything I want done before we all leave the house means that I eat standing up, or walking around the house, not ideal, but heh, that's my life at the moment.
I put fruit next to my handbag in the evening when I'm tidying the kitchen, so that I don't forget to grab it as I fall out the door, pushing the troops in front of me!
I tried fasting and losing weight a couple of times, in my late teens and early twenties, never again. Even then the less I ate, the more I wanted when I finally did eat. My appetite seemed insatiable.
Now just doing it accidentally reminds me that my body needs nutrition and if I don't keep it reasonably satisfied, it is going to demand high calorie, quick fuel...and it won't let up until it gets it, and lot of it!
Does that mean I'm never hungry? Of course not. In fact, over the years since I started losing weight and keeping it off permanently, I've started paying a lot more attention to my body (most of the time). I can now tell the difference between peckish (light snack), hungry (something more substantial, usually protein and fruit or vegies) and downright ravenous (danger, danger Will Robinson!).
Fasting and losing weight...there is no good side!
So, we know that fasting, or severely restricting calories is detrimental to our health - because we're starving our body for nutrients, leaves us tired and cranky, and effects our ability to do what we need and want to do during the day; is detrimental to our long term weight loss efforts - because living in a state of hunger, when there's food to be had - is not maintainable!
So, if you're restricting your calories quite substantially, trying to move some pounds fast, remember that you will become more hungry, so give your body a break from it. Either eat more of your calories early, so you're less hungry later...or give yourself a day off a week to assuage that hunger feeling.
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