I found out something pretty interesting last week.
If I workout, I get hungrier.
Last week, I called myself jumping right into working out six days a week during my second week of intermittent fasting. I figured since I’ve been eating a primarily low carb diet for a few years, I could handle workouts on an intermittent fasting schedule. Even after a week.
I was hella wrong.
After my first workout, my hunger increased during my fasting window. By mid week, hunger went from being something I could manage to something that took over my thoughts. Food stayed on my mind and by the second day of working out, I was breaking my fast earlier than scheduled.
I was also eating things off of my plan like cheese, peanuts, bananas, fruit, and salad dressing with industrial oils. And by the end of the week, I was allowing myself to have rice and corn shells. I ate out on Thursday and on Friday despite having meals prepped at home.
The appetite was like the one I felt with the munchies. I wasn’t really hungry, but the desire to eat was there and it was strong. It was the munchies all over again. I just wanted to eat.
Luckily I got some control on that beast by Saturday.
Expert Advice and Experienced Advice
Then yesterday I was watching YouTube videos on intermittent fasting and intermittent fasting for women. Both discussed when is the best time to start working out with intermittent fasting. One was from a doctor’s perspective while the other was from a woman on day 46 of intermittent fasting.
In Dr. Eric Berg’s video – Intermittent Fasting & When Do I Exercise – he explains how doing exercise too soon increases hunger. In a few other videos of his, he also explains how it is best to start exercising when the body is used to intermittent fasting otherwise fat lost will be stalled and the likeliness to sticking to intermittent fasting is decreased.
Which is what happened to me. Because I jumped into working out too soon, my hunger increased and that made it too difficult for me to stick to my fasting windows. And when I say I jumped into working out I mean I seriously went back to lifting weights and doing HIIT cardio.
That was way too much exercise for a body that isn’t used to intermittent fasting regardless of previously being on a low carb, paleo lifestyle.
The second video is by Manolya Rowe – Q&A OMAD Day 46 – where she answers five questions about doing one meal a day and explains what that looks like. At 4:09 she begins to discuss when she started working out.
She waited 30 days to adjust to intermittent fasting (she does one meal a day) before working out. Her suggestions for measuring if someone is adjusted to intermittent fasting was hunger during the fasting window and thinking about food while fasted.
If you’re hungry and thinking about food a lot or experiencing the jitters, you’re not adjusted to intermittent fasting enough to start working out.
Manolya also points out that she started slow with her workouts after 30 days of intermittent fasting by implementing very short, light workouts.
Again, I did not allow my body to adjust to intermittent fasting before working out regularly. I also did the same workouts I was doing when I wasn’t doing intermittent fasting.
So what to do about it?
Stop Exercising… For Now
Although I want to keep working on building my booty and thick legs, I’m going to stop working out for the next 30 days. Or however long it takes for my body to get used to intermittent fasting.
Instead, I’m going to walk during my lunches at work and then take a short walk 30 mins after my meal to lower my blood sugar. Check out The Model Health Show podcast, episode 255: Reduce Body Fat & Increase Your Lifespan: The Surprising Benefits of Walking for good info on walking.
I don’t think this’ll make me hungry, but we shall see.
If you’re also having a hard time sticking to your intermittent fasting windows, try cutting out the workouts or at least reducing them a great deal for a bit.
Pay Attention to Hunger and Thoughts to Determine If Ready to Workout
Secondly, I’m really going to pay attention to my hunger and thoughts.
Funny how I can tell how hungry I am and what type of hungry I am depending upon my thoughts.
Surprisingly, if I’m fasting, thoughts about food, what I want to eat, and being hungry barely come up. I don’t obsess about food if I’ve been fasting. When I hit that 12th hour, I might say something about how hungry I am, but that thought does eventually go away.
It’s easier for me to forget those thoughts about food when I’m fasting and having the physical feelings of not eating for twenty hours.
When hunger is actually a craving, the munchies, or as the result of working out, I obsess about food, what I’m going to eat and the thought about eating gets so strong I feel as if I have to silence it with food.
I’ve actually experienced times where I’ll get so bombarded with thoughts of food and hunger that I’ll feel forced to eat just to get my mind off of food, eating and hunger. Then I eat, the thoughts go away, and I can get back to concentrating on work.
Yes, it’s that bad.
Pay some attention to your thoughts when you’re feeling hungry. You might notice a difference also after you make yourself aware of your thoughts when you’re hungry. It’s a pretty interesting exercise.
I’ll like to see how my hunger and thoughts with food change after 30 days and will that actually be a solid indicator to if I’m ready to workout. I will be ready to workout when I’m not hungry during my fasting window.
This’ll be interesting.
When intermittent fasting, it’s best to let your body adjust to the schedule before starting a workout routine. This increases your chances of sticking to intermittent fasting because your hunger isn’t increased with the workout.
You’ll be able to tell you’re ready to workout if you’re not hungry during your fasting window or thoughts of food and eating aren’t strong when you’re fasting. Give your body at least 30 days to get used to intermittent fasting before working out. This increases success.
Good luck! I’ll share how this goes for me on my social media accounts below. Let’s do this!
Weight Loss Transformation Resources
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Weight Loss Transformation Journal + Workbook
How I IF on Keto Free Guide – 3 things you can do today to improve your weight loss results with intermittent fasting
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