If you’re wondering whether you can fast with a hangover, the short answer is that you’ll make life much tougher if you do so and might set yourself up for unnecessary failure.
You’ve probably heard of the myriad of benefits of intermittent fasting, but the greatest way to enjoy fasting is when you support your body for the fast correctly.
Whether you choose to drink vegetable broth while fasting, or to do a pure water fast, fasting doesn’t need to be hard.
But if you rush into it with a hangover, it most likely will be.
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Bottom Line: Can I Fast with A Hangover?
When you’re experiencing a hangover your body is dehydrated and you will have low blood sugar levels, meaning you will most likely start to crave carbohydrates. This will make it much more difficult to succeed in fasting, and can lead to an epic fail in the fast, or binge eating once you’ve finished your fasting window. Much better is to prepare for your fast, so that you can complete the fast without any cravings or ill effects. In other words, if you’re going to fast, do the preparation and do it right so that you can get the best out of your experience.
Why Shouldn’t I Fast With A Hangover?
When you have a hangover your body’s dehydrated, low in blood sugar and is busy trying to eliminate the toxins from your blood stream.
The low blood sugar will make you crave food in the form of carbohydrates, increasing your desire to eat. You may wonder when you will stop feeling hungry on a water fast, but the truth is, you may experience much more difficult hunger pangs if you’ve just been drinking alcohol.
Not only that, but you might experience brain fog, fatigue, headache, vomiting and general malaise.
While it is in this state it’s important to drink lots of water and to allow your body to do its job. You’ve put your liver under stress so instead of adding to it, give yourself time to recover before you start your fast.
If you add a fasting state to this situation, while it won’t actually create more damage, it will make the situation much worse for you. And it will set you up to fail.
What Happens During a Hangover?
For a more detailed look at what happens during a hangover, take a look at this article over on Quartz.
How to Handle a Hangover
The best way to handle a hangover is to drink plenty of fresh water both during your alcohol window, before you go to bed, during the night and when you wake up.
To reduce the strength of the hangover, make sure you eat a solid meal with carbohydrates before you start drinking, which will slow the absorption of the alcohol and help the body to process it.
Alternate your drinks with water and if possible, choose lighter coloured drinks as they’ve been shown to cause less severe hangovers than the darker drinks.
When you wake up craving food, eat. Eat some carbs and allow yourself the luxury of indulging in less healthy foods. After all, drinking too much alcohol isn’t a healthy choice in the first place, so the least you can do is help your body to clean up your mess after you’ve created it!
It isn’t necessary to eat fatty foods the day after the drinking though, as the fat does nothing to help clear the hangover.
If you’re interested in changing your relationship with alcohol or breaking off the love affair with alcohol, you may be interested in these tips on giving up alcohol more easily.
Setting Yourself Up for Success When Fasting
Even before you fast you want to rid yourself of any refined sugars in your diet. So spend a few days not drinking alcohol or eating sweet things or white bread, pasta and cake.
By breaking the sugar addiction before you start fasting, you’ll save yourself the problem of sugar-cravings during your fast.
As well setting yourself up physically by breaking the sugar cycle, you can also set yourself up for success mentally.
Visualise yourself being extremely happy in your fasted state – proud of yourself for not eating during your fasting window.
You can eat again whenever your set fasting time is completed and you’ll get all the benefits of autophagy and the health benefits that come with it, including weight loss.
As well as visualisation, you can practise self hypnosis to change your inner beliefs around eating. One of the main reasons for struggling with fasting is if you believe that you’re missing out. Once the subconscious mind is convinced that it’s totally cool to not eat, it will accept the fasting state with much more ease.
I wrote about my experience with a 5 day fast in this article.
Final Thoughts on Fasting With a Hangover
In my opinion there’s no reason to fast with a hangover. It’s just like trying to sabotage your own progress. If you’re planning to start a fast and unwittingly end up with a hangover on that day, you’d be much better postponing the fast until you’re feeling fit and well.
That way you get the success you’re looking for and have a great experience with fasting, whether it be a prolonged fast or and intermittent fast.