Dear Kate: I get cold on a Fast Day

Dear Kate,

I’ve started fasting and find it easier than I expected except for one thing: I get so cold on fast days! Is this normal, and is there anything I can do?


Dear Mel,

I’m writing my reply with a throw on my lap, a pair of my thickest socks on my feet, and a mug of hot coffee at my side. Yes, it’s a Fast Day, it’s -2 degrees and there’s freezing fog outside, and it doesn’t feel much warmer inside either.


Feeling colder than usual on a fast day is really common: some people get used to it while others (like me) just take steps to make it feel better.

There are different reasons why you might feel colder. Firstly, your body creates heat when it digests food. So on a Fast Day when you’re eating less, you’re not generating that ‘central heating.’ Also, your body is very good at protecting your vital organs, which means if you’re not eating as much, it may sense that and prioritise them, so your extremities (hands and feet) cool down.

The good news about being cool…

The good news, is that your body actually burns calories maintaining a stable temperature, so you’re likely to be using energy that way. This fascinating Dutch research even suggests that turning down the central heating could help us stay slim.

Down with cold – tips to warm you up again

Stick on the kettle

Hot drinks warm your hands and your insides too. Black coffee, herb teas, or especially a lump of fresh ginger and a slice of lemon in boiling water will soon make you toastier.

Pull on the socks (and the gloves) 

Your extremities are left to fend for themselves, so help them out with warm socks and, if you do a desk-based job, even fingerless gloves can help (I use these if I don’t want to stick the heating on as I work from home).

Jump around!

Being active helps get the circulation moving again. Getting up from your desk every hour and walking for a few minutes will help, or dancing to the radio. Better still, a walk outside (wrapped up warm) will energise you too.

Want more tips and down to earth advice? 

You can read much more about my journey, fasting tips and weight loss science, in The 5:2 Diet Book.