Let’s face it, fasting is hard! Especially Extended Fasting. But don’t let that stop you!
We’re here with our top 10 hacks to help you push through and make the journey a little more pleasant.
We’ll start with some of the obvious ones, and then move onto some you might not have thought about.
Fasting Hack #1 – Go Low-Carb in Preparation
If you are not already on Keto or low-carb, try it for a few days before your Extended Fast.
Lay off the carbs and fill up on healthy fats, like avocados, eggs, fatty fish, butter, full-fat yogurts.
This will bring you closer to ketosis – a metabolic state when your body burns fat for fuel instead of carbs, including fat stored in your body cells. Ketosis makes it much easier to cope with hunger and increases your energy.
If you can switch to ketosis from day 1 of your EF, those first few days will be much easier.
Fasting Hack #2 – Maintain Your Electrolytes
Unless you’re brand new to fasting, you probably already know you should do this. But are you doing it?
Besides the physical symptoms that can come when you get low on electrolytes (dizziness, fatigue, heart palpitations, nausea, weakness, etc.), getting low on sodium, magnesium, and/or potassium can make your hunger and cravings way worse.
Your body is trying to tell you that it needs something. But you’re interpreting that as hunger signals.
So don’t make it harder than it has to be – take those electrolytes!
Fasting Hack #3 – Stay Hydrated
Often hunger signals are really just thirst.
Drink plenty of water throughout the day. At least 2L but some people go as far as double that and above.
Your fluid balance will shift rapidly, especially in the beginning of your fast. It’s easy to get dehydrated without even realizing it.
You can also drink unsweetened teas and coffees. Those will satisfy you and keep hunger away.
Fasting Hack #4 – Know Your Why
If you’re going to go for days without food, you really need to know why you’re doing this.
Why is it important to you to fast for five, or seven, or ten days?
This needs to be a strong why. Something deep that means a lot to you.
Although weight loss does come with fasting, it’s often not a strong enough why.
Sit down and think about your why.
And if your why is just weight loss, go a little deeper. Why do you want to lose weight? Why is it important to you?
Write your why down and keep it somewhere that you can see it everyday.
Fasting Hack #5 – Pickle Juice
I say this all the time to my clients. When you get hungry or have cravings, go take a few sips of pickle juice. It’s like a secret weapon!
First of all, it’s sodium, which we already know that we need. Secondly, the salty flavor can really make your mouth feel good and satisfy your cravings.
Check your labels to make sure there’s no added sugar. And don’t eat the pickles!
Fasting Hack #6 – Get a Fasting Coach
Seriously, I can’t even stress enough how helpful this can be.
They can’t do the fasting for you (wouldn’t that be nice?). But they will provide you with support and motivation.
And also, there are so many things that come up during an Extended Fast—questions, worries, fears—it’s comforting to know there’s someone there who can help you with those concerns.
If you’re looking for a good coach be sure to check out our Fasting Coaches in the Official Fasting for Weight Loss group, we’d love to help you.
Fasting Hack #7 – Make Peace with Hunger
You’re going to have to do this. It will make this journey so much easier for you.
What most of us experience is not true hunger anyway. It’s just the brain getting a little worried because it’s dinner time and you’re not eating like you normally do.
And hunger does not stay constant. It comes and goes. Usually it will fade away after about 15 minutes or so and maybe resurface later, only to go away again. You have to ride those waves!
It helps if you can understand that hunger is just a feeling, like any other feeling. It’s not going to hurt you, and it doesn’t have to mean something negative.
Try thinking of hunger as a sign that your body is burning fat (yay!), and work on being more comfortable with that feeling.
Fasting Hack #8 – Write Down Cravings
If you have a specific craving that just will not leave you alone, write it down!
Grab a notebook or a journal and write something like, “I would love to have _____ (fill in the blank with whatever your craving is). When my fast is over, if I’m still craving it, I will have some.”
There’s something about writing it down that makes the craving go away. It’s like you’re letting the brain know that you’re aware of the craving and you are okay with it.
Fasting Hack #9 – Have a Positive Mindset
Do you think of fasting in terms of deprivation? Maybe it feels almost like a punishment? That needs to change!
We’re all hardwired to resist when we’re being forced to do something. It’s in our nature.
So instead of focusing on what you are missing, remind yourself of all the amazing benefits you are getting through fasting.
Fasting is a gift you give to your body, not a punishment. And mindset is everything.
Fasting Hack #10 – Do Something Creative
Did you know that when you are engaged in a creative activity, you experience a state called “flow”?
When you are in the state of flow, you become more happy and content. You’re not even aware of the time anymore.
Creativity produces powerful neurochemicals like dopamine, anandamide, serotonin, norepinephrine, and endorphin.
Interestingly enough, some of these chemicals are also produced when we eat. So engaging in creative activities can be as fulfilling as eating.
This is my favorite hack to not only pass the fasting time, but to curb those cravings and hunger waves.
Enjoy the Journey!
Yes, Extended Fasting is hard. But you can do hard things.
We hope our hacks will help you have a more pleasant Extended Fast!