Intermittent fasting is a concept that I truly preach, and you will know if you’ve read some of my other blog posts. Personally, my experience with intermittent fasting has been very positive and it has been extremely beneficial for multiple reasons. In this article, I will not ramble about everything that I love about IF, but if you want to get more insight into my thoughts on IF, and what IF is all about check out these previous articles of mine:
- Meal Timing & Intermittent fasting (my thoughts)
- My top 5 tips to make fasting effortless!
- Mental clarity & why our bodies are used to fasting
Now let’s get into what I want to discuss in this article which is decreased cravings when intermittent fasting. Keep in mind that I have been doing IF for about 1,5 years up to this point, the first about 5-6 months I used it as a tool for weight loss and ever since that I have adapted to the lifestyle.
I have to say that ever since converting to IF I have a lot fewer cravings for calorically dense foods than I had previously. More importantly, and what I really want to touch on, is that I don’t rely on calories as an immediate energy source like I used to do. What I mean by that is that I don’t ever have the urging desire to buy a Snickers and a bag of candy after school because I was feeling drained and fatigued, which I used to have back in the days. Throughout the day I would always get in these periods where my energy was completely depressed and I would start craving foods high in fat+sugar like candy bars, soda, chips etc. to give me that immediate spike in my energy levels. I guess you could use the term “hungry”, as what i would experience throughout the day. This was also the reason why I had such a hard timing losing fat for such a long time before discovering intermittent fasting.
I have 2 primary theories of what think is the reason why i don’t experience “blood sugar rollercoaster” throughout the day anymore, and that i don’t really have any cravings:
1. Improved insulin sensitivity
There have been studies showing that intermittent fasting improves insulin sensitivity, which can be one of the reasons why I feel a lot let cravings when I do intermittent fasting. Now that my body is used to going longer periods of time without eating, and it has adapted to consuming most of its calories in a shorter time frame, it knows that it doesn’t need food as an immediate energy source throughout the day, because it is aware that the food is going to be consumed sooner or later. Do I make sense? My insulin levels are not jumping up and down like a yo-yo throughout the day and are only spiked during my “eating window” at night. So my theory is that the reason I don’t get any cravings, or feel any hunger at all throughout the day, is because my body is knows that it is going to be fed at night because it happens every day. Do not have any science to back this up, it is just a theory that I have built on logic and experience.
2. No food restrictions
If you don’t already know, I track my macros and calories on a daily basis. This is also something that I have done for over a year now, and I have created a very good comprehension of which foods contain what amount of calories and macros. The reason I think that this plays a role in my decreased cravings is that I know that I can eat the foods that I used to be craving. Back in the days when I didn’t know much about nutrition, and I desperately wanted to lose weight I always thought that it was required to cut out all “junk food” from your diet and eat very clean and low carb/low fat to lose weight. As I discovered intermittent fasting I also discovered the importance of calories in vs calories out and that you can eat pretty much whatever and still lose weight if you stay in a caloric deficit. I started to incorporate more of what I previously would have referred to as “dirty foods” into my diet while dieting, and it quite frankly made it a lot easier for me because I could still satisfy my craving while losing weight. When I was trying to lose weight before, I would always fail because I didn’t think that I was allowed to eat things like chocolate, candy etc. so whenever I took one bite of these things I would think “now I’ve ruined everything” and from there I would eat everything for a couple of days before going back on one of these extremely restricted diets and it became a circle. Usually, i actually ended up gaining weight instead of losing it because I would eat so much during the days in between my crash diets.
This is why is think that learning and understanding calories and macros are the nr. 1 biggest favor you can do for yourself, whether your goal is fat loss muscle gain or just being a healthier and more functional person (everyone has some sort of fitness goal right?). Literally just taking 2 weeks out of your life, and dedicate them to track every single thing that you eat, and you will already have learned probably more about food and your body than you did your whole life. After two weeks you will have such a good understanding of foods that you won’t even have to track anything after that because you pretty much know what and how much you should be eating, and which foods contain what amount of calories.
For more info on tracking macros and calories: What is IIFYM & my thoughts
Let me just clear up. The feeling of cravings and hunger is something that our body feel because of instinct and because we need food to live. These feeling are never going to disappear completely! By satisfying those cravings and by increasing our insulin sensitivity, we can live a life where cravings don’t control us, and that is the message of this post!
For more insight in my life, an my approach to fitness/nutrition check me out on Instagram @ifandiifym
If you’ve read this far, thanks, i highly appreciate it. Make sure to leave a comment, love getting feedback (good and bad) and i hope you’re having a great week!!