Updated: May 27, 2020
It's week 2 of the Intermittent Fasting Challenge and you mayyyy be noticing that you aren't as hungry as you used to be. I've been getting questions about whether "not feeling hungry" is normal with intermittent fasting and if it's something to be concerned about.
Short answer: yes it's normal, no it's not concerning.
Long answer (you know I can't NOT give you the science-y deets 🤓)...
Your Cells Are Getting Flexible
Metabolically flexible, that is. Our body has stored fat that it can generally always tap into for energy, even if you have a low body fat percentage. BUT if you're used to eating carbohydrates throughout the day (and not used to proper nutrient timing discussed in The 21 Day Intermittent Fasting Program), then you'll feel hungry every 1-2 hours as a result. By utilizing proper nutrient timing, your body is able to strategically shut off hunger and storing hormones and tap into fat burning mechanisms that use the more sustainable energy source ~ stored fat. If you're interested in why your body may not be using fat as fuel and the difference between carb burning vs. fat burning, I really dive into exactly how this works HERE.
Should You Eat When You Aren't Hungry?
You probably have a whole lifetime of habits formed around the idea of eating every few hours. So the idea of NOT eating even if you don't feel hungry may feel odd or downright wrong. Breaking habits can be difficult, even if it's in our best interest. There are a few important factors in determining whether or not you should eat:
1. Are you hungry?
Unless you are losing weight at an alarming rate, then worrying about eating enough shouldn't be a concern. After following proper nutrient timing* and utilizing IF, it will become a LOT easier to listen to what your body needs. Are you feeling hungry? Then eat! Not so much? Then don't! It's as simple as that!
2. Repeat step 1.
Seriously. Your body knows what's best, so listen to it. Make sure that whenever you DO eat, you always eat until satiated. If you DON'T, then your hunger hormones will still be left on and this will cause your body to crave sugary treats and snacks. And as you know, snacking causes bloating as well as a number of other issues. Plus, not eating enough and reducing your calories can also have a negative side-effect on female hormones. Learn how to eat until satiated HERE.
*Find out ALL the deets on exactly how to do this with The 21 Day Intermittent Fasting Program!
Eating Less Often May Be Best For You
Something that many of my clients and AENpeeps following The 21 Day Intermittent Fasting Program start to experience is that they only really feel like eating two big meals with a small meal in-between during their eating window. This is absolutely FINE and in fact, I follow this strategy often for myself too! Again, making sure that you eat until you are completely satiated and practice listening to your hunger cues will help to determine if 2 large meals + 1 small meal or 3 medium sized meals will work best for you, your schedule and your goals. Use the meals within the 21 Day Intermittent Fasting Program and Level Up Guide to determine WHAT you should be having, and try combining meals together (ie, break-fast + lunch or lunch + dinner) if you choose to utilize the 2 large, 1 small meal strategy.
If you're new to Intermittent Fasting or getting ready to start your Intermittent Fasting journey, I highly recommend that you read my 7 Intermittent Fasting Tips for Beginners. Remember, knowledge is power. The more you know how and why your body works, the better you can fuel it to achieve your goals and feel GOOD.