Hunger seems to be the most important focus when we talk about fasting.
Tim Russ said, “We often fear what we don’t understand; our best defense is knowledge” so here’s some knowledge to encourage you to forget about hunger and concentrate on a functional fast ie Intermittent Fasting.
We general grow up with the myth that the longer you have not eaten, the more hungry you become. It’s a bloody myth. Let me explain why!
Ghrelin is the hormone that reminds your body that you need to eat ie hunger! Ghrelin is just that! An “eat food reminder”.
In his blog Intensive Dietry Management, Dr Jason Fung shows that while subjects went 3 days without food, the hunger hormone, Ghrelin gradually and continually decreased. “Over 3 days of fasting, ghrelin gradually DECREASED. This means that patients were far LESS hungry despite not having eaten for the past 3 days. This jives perfectly with our clinical experience with patients undergoing extended fasting. They all expect to be ravenously hungry, but actually find that their hunger completely disappears. They always come in saying ‘I can’t eat much anymore. I get full so fast. I think my stomach shrank’. That’s PERFECT, because if you are eating less but getting more full, you are going to be more likely to keep the weight off.”
THis is because the hunger hormone comes in WAVES. You don’t get more hungry because you have not eaten. As a plot twist, your body actually adapts to your new routine. It’s the reason why if you stuck with a strict food schedule, your body will remind you of hunger at the appropriate times. Do you now understand why you get hungry at 12.30pm when your body knows you go out for lunch at 1pm.
In this study of subjects participating in a 33 hour fast despite the early morning when people have stayed the longest without eating, Ghrelin was the lowest suggesting they are the least hungry in the morning. In fact, Ghrelin rose close to eating times lunch, dinner and breakfast even though they didn’t eat.
So, yes your body adapts closer to your eating times and you will be less and less hungry when you fast. For me and for most other people I have heard from, the first 4 days of fasting are the hardest.
So why may you feel increased need to eat if it’s not a Ghrelin thing? Well, most times, your sugar levels that drop as a result of little sugar/carbs make you feel weaker. When Ghrelin greets around this time, you feel like you are dying of hunger. Like me who gets dramatic sometimes, you feel like you may just collapse anytime. But it’s just a craving. In 5 days, your body will shut up all by itself.