Will I feel hungry, weak, tired, cold, dizzy and get headaches from fasting?

Simply put: yes, maybe, maybe, maybe and maybe!

But, that’s just in the early days – your body needs time to adjust to fasting and you may well experience things which you are not accustomed to – we’re all so used to just having something to eat when we feel hungry, most of us have forgotten what true hunger feels like. Many are afraid of it, but there’s nothing to be scared about.

The vast majority of ‘fasting side effects’ will pass within a few fasts. Just stay determined and you’ll be fine!

If you feel hungry when fasting, it will pass. Hunger does not get progressively worse and worse – it will usually pass within a few minutes and can often be helped on its way by a nice glass of water.

If you feel weak or dizzy when fasting, it’s probably just your body complaining about a lack of food (in particular, sugar) when it’s been used to regular feeding. In the early days of fasting you may want to split your calories up throughout the day and allow yourself something to eat or drink if you feel weak.

If you feel tired when fasting, more often than not this is a sign of dehydration. Most of us don’t drink enough clear fluids in general, and this becomes more obvious on a fasting day. Make sure you drink plenty of water or low calorie liquids to keep yourself hydrated. It’s amazing what a difference a glass of water can make!

If you feel cold when fasting, this is quite normal especially for women (and all the worse during our menstrual cycles!). A salty drink will help to warm you up, perhaps a low calorie soup or better yet a stock cube/bouillon or marmite drink for a really low calorie alternative to do the trick.

If you get headaches when fasting, this can also be a sign of dehydration and can be remedied with a nice glass of water. You can take paracetamol if the headache persists (don’t have aspirin on an empty stomach) as well. Another possibility is that the headache is a withdrawal symptom from something you would usually consume such as caffeine. In this case, don’t cut the caffeine out of your fasting days, but find a way to enjoy it in a low calorie version, i.e. black coffee or black tea. If you’re going to add milk or sugar (maybe Stevia, although expensive it is calorie free) make sure you account for these as part of your calorie budget for your fasting day.

Before long you’ll be used to the feeling of hunger and won’t even notice it. Most days will be quite easy, although as with all things in life there will be exceptions – I still have an occasional fast which I find challenging. Once in a while I still get a headache and I certainly feel the cold more on my fasting days.