A Complete Guide to Handling Hunger

Hunger is usually the top concern for most people as they embark on their fasting journey. They believe that a fasting lifestyle means that they’ll feel hungry and starving all the time. However, this is far from the truth. Here we’ll reveal the scientific facts about hunger, as well as provide step-by-step guidelines to help you handle hunger in the best way possible.

Before Fasting …

1. Prepare Yourself To Avoid Hunger

You need to prepare yourself both physically and mentally to minimize the feeling of hunger. Physically, you should eat high-quality and nutritious food that will keep you feeling full and provide your body with the necessary calories. Refer to our article for some ideas on What Should Your Last Meal Before Fasting Include?.

Mental preparation is crucial before fasting, too. You need to set up a clear fasting goal in advance. It will help you overcome challenges, including hunger, more easily.  For example, you may want to aim for daily 12 hours of fasting for the first week, and then transition to 14 hours for the next week if everything goes well. In the FastingQueens app, you can easily create a fasting schedule every week that will help you prepare yourself mentally to overcome challenges and hit the target.


Although setting fasting goals is important, the goals need to be realistic. FastingQueens’s monitoring tools such as Body Reaction Checklist and Period Cycle Recorder are created to ensure your goals aren’t too aggressive. You can keep track of your results and move on to the next level when your body is adjusted well.

2. Check Your Environment

Another thing you can do before fasting is to plan to avoid triggering hunger or cravings during your fasting window. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Will you be watching other people eat while fasting?
  • Will you see images of food on the Internet or social media?
  • Can you ask your coworkers or family members to avoid offering you snacks or drinks?
  • Are there smells or reminders of food around you during your fasting window?

All these factors have a significant impact on hunger levels and cravings. If you notice increasing hunger due to the sight or smell of food, take action to reduce it. Try to put snacks in the cabinet, mute certain accounts on social media, remind friends and family about your fasting window, etc. 

During Fasting …

1. Determine Whether or Not the Feeling of Hunger is Just an Emotional Craving

When the feeling of hunger hits you, you’ll want to know whether or not you are physically hungry or just experiencing a craving (emotional hunger). Here are some basic signs to help you distinguish between the two:

Signs of Emotional Craving Signs of Physical Hunger
Craving pops up quickly Hunger comes on slowly
Caused by stress, boredom, sadness, etc. Caused by “real”, “physical” hunger
You are trying to satisfy emotional needs  Your body needs the food instead of you simply wanting it.
You crave specific foods You are open to different food options
You experience an intense desire to eat immediately  You’re able to wait to eat
Your stomach gives no signals You experience stomach pangs and sounds

If you determine that you are experiencing emotional cravings, the following article may help you handle it more effectively: How to Stop Stress Eating.

However, if you verify that it is a physical hunger, read on for some tips on how to handle it.

4. Handle Physical Hunger

First of all, don’t panic. You will want to understand the scientific facts behind hunger. The human body’s hunger level will not keep increasing. In fact, the feeling of hunger comes and goes because that’s how ghrelin (the hunger hormone) works, as illustrated below:

That’s the good news! You might feel hungry for a bit, but the hunger won’t continue to spike.  You can simply wait for 15-30 min for ghrelin to drop. After that, you won’t feel particularly hungry.

There are several methods to help you get over the 15-30 minute hunger period:

  1. Drink water.
  2. Add cinnamon to the water, or drink water with sea salt. Cinnamon or salt will reduce your appetite.
  3. Drink green tea as it is another natural appetite suppressant.
  4. Do light exercise like walking, stretching, yoga, etc.
  5. Keep yourself busy with work or chores.
  6. Distract yourself and do something enjoyable.
  7. Take a deep breath.
  8. Meditate or pray.

5. Remember That You’ll Feel Less Hungry After Your Body Becomes Fat-Adapted

For most people, when they’ve successfully fasted for several weeks, the feeling of hunger will become less and less bothersome. That’s because the body becomes fat-adapted after a period of time; it has learned to use fat as an energy source. As a result, you’ll burn excess fat while enjoying the process. 

Therefore, before your body is adjusted, it’s important to just press on, especially in the beginning. Soon you will realize the feeling of an empty stomach is not bad at all. Digestion actually takes a lot of energy and blood flow, so fasting gives you more energy and a clear mind while reaping all the health benefits that come with it. That’s why many people stick to intermittent fasting for the long-term even after achieving their weight goal. 

6. Know When You are Too Hungry and Should Break Your Fast

If you find that your hunger doesn’t go away after 30 min, that probably means your body actually needs food. In this case, don’t feel guilty about having to eat. Remember that eating in this situation doesn’t mean that you don’t have self-discipline. It may be because you aren’t well-prepared, or you are suffering from unusual exhaustion or stress. Or perhaps you didn’t train your body to adapt with shorter fasts before moving on to longer ones. Try a milder fasting plan tomorrow. Eat enough nutrients (good protein, good fat) before fasting, and get enough sleep. 

Remember that everyone is different and your body may react to the absence of food in different ways each day. You can always come back and train your body again with a better fasting schedule.

If you experience nausea, poor concentration, fatigue, or irritability, you might have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) and you should  STOP FASTING IMMEDIATELY. Consult with your physician before fasting again.