Thoughts of food are likely to occupy your mind non-stop while fasting. Although this might be especially true when first starting a fasting practice, controlling your thoughts around food does get easier. We have collated strategies to help you better manage your mindset when fasting.
A recurrent thought during fasting is, as expected, food. Stopping yourself from thinking about food on fasting days can be challenging, especially if you are feeling bored and hungry. Activities that might keep your mind off of food — but don't use up too much energy — include walking and meditating. However, there are many other things you can do to keep your mind off of food. Here are some easy ways to switch your focus and stop thinking about food.
Get out of the house and go for a walk and get your mind to focus on something other than food. If your energy levels are up for it you can also try some other form of exercise.
Exercise has been associated with reduced food cravings. Perceived hunger might originate from boredom, so going for a walk or moving your body in another way may help distract and entertain the mind.
Sometimes all your body is asking for is a bit of movement. When your mind starts to gravitate towards food, grab your trainers and get moving.
Sometimes a change of location can help your state of mind. If you are in the kitchen trying to avoid thoughts of food, good luck. Best is to relocate. Going out is ideal, however, if that is not an option try a window that is cozy for you as sun exposure will also help take your mind off food thoughts.
Reading helps to control food thoughts.
Probably the easiest way to take your mind somewhere else is to grab a book. This can help you by teaching you something new, or transporting you to a new location, or by revisiting a story you’ve loved in the past.
Audiobooks and podcasts are a great option. Your mind will drift as it listens and you will immediately stop thinking about food. Plus, this strategy can easily be combined with movement, putting your walks at another level.
This can be a quick call or a full on video conference. Call your friends, call your family, call your mentor or anyone who is there to support you. Just so you know, you will always find support in our dedicated community designed for fasting women ! Before those food thoughts get any louder, pick up the phone and call someone you trust.
To stop all food-related internal dialogues and any feelings of anxiety that may pop up with fasting, pick a form of meditation and go for it. This will immediately put a stop to that internal chatter and anxious feeling.
Meditation might be done in a classic form of sitting on the floor in silence, however it can also take the form of moving meditation, loving-kindness meditation, or many others. The beautiful thing about it is that it can be done anywhere, anytime and in a form that works best for you. You can even try a meditation app to help you with this one.
This can be anything from learning a new language to learning how to paint your nails properly. Get creative, now is the time to explore. Maybe you have secret talents waiting to be discovered.
Taking an online course is an option. You can also attend a live course, or teach yourself by watching a tutorial. Your brain will be so engaged that any food thoughts will be forgotten.
Dust out your childhood favorites, or get yourself the latest game. Either way, you can play alone or invite your friends. With entertainment you will be able to keep your mind on the game and away from food.
Journaling is an easy way to direct your mind to where you want it to go. By first brain dumping all your thoughts onto the pages of your journal, you clear your mental space.
Then, you can make action plans or lists that get you to focus on what is to come, what you want to achieve, and even the reason for why you are fasting, in case you need a reminder to stay strong.
Sometimes our bodies are so low on oxygen that it can make us tired and hence trigger thoughts of food in a desperate attempt to get some energy. This lack of oxygen can result from holding our breath or from shallow-breathing. One thing we can do to steady our thoughts and strengthen our mind is to take deep slow breaths. Simple.
People fast for different reasons, and remembering what those reasons are can help you stay motivated and focused on your fasting target. If your fasting practice allows for liquids you can also drink some water, tea or black coffee to keep your mind off food. If these are also not an option you can try any of the strategies mentioned above. Remember that fasting is a lifestyle and adjustments need to be made as required.
Like anything that is worth pursuing, fasting gets easier the more you do it. When you feel a hunger episode coming on, remember why you are doing what you are doing. Fasting has so many benefits that it is worth the effort of becoming familiar with the practice. Stick with it, the thoughts of food will pass, the gains of fasting will stay.
If you need help with intermittent fasting, join our intermittent fasting community for women only. There, you get all the support you need!
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