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‘Hangry’ – what really happens and how to overcome it

avoid hangry

‘Hangry’ is often something that my clients find themselves experiencing – feeling bad-tempered or irritable as a result of hunger.

This is because they deny their biological hunger for so long only to have it backlash which results in an urgent and intense desire to eat.

It is a bit like holding your breath underwater for so long then coming up for air – you don’t do it gracefully, you gasp with desperation.

Not a pretty sight!

It leaves you in a bad mood with a short temper, snapping at your employees and clients who all know why!

‘Watch out, the boss hasn’t eaten again…’

You cannot make a good decision for the life at you, at work or home, because you just can’t focus

And it leads to poor quality time with your family – you find yourself hiding from them, sleeping in and not being able to engage in any activities.

You probably even experience physical pain, in your stomach, head, neck….

Then when you do actually eat, nothing seems to satisfy you and you never know when to stop!

The only way to avoid this is to keep your body fed with adequate energy and carbohydrates by learning to respond to the first biological signs of hunger.

But the problem is, if you have ignored them for so long, this can be hard work. It is often why people say to me ‘Becky, I just don’t know how to eat anymore!’

Ignoring your hunger erodes trust in your body and the only way to rebuild this is by listening to the first signs and eating when hungry, not when you think you should

But this takes time and, quite often, expert guidance.

With that said, there are some things you can start doing today.

How I eat/structure my meals to avoid becoming ‘hangry’

I am not nice to be around and I feel completely overwhelmed with even the smallest task when hangry. This is why I make sure that I structure my day to make sure that I am meeting my energy needs as best I can.

Mornings are always hectic so to set me up for success, I usually make a batch of my favourite baked oats at the weekend so that I have something super quick and simple to eat. This takes away the ‘what do I eat, I have no time to think’ barrier…

Working from home has made it easier to structure the rest of my day but I do have to make sure that I allow time for a morning snack, lunch and afternoon snack throughout the day. If I don’t, it catches us with me with a mid-afternoon slump and then cravings in the evening. I do this by blocking out just 10 mins am and pm and 30 mins for lunch. Again, I have things that are quick and easy to hand that will satisfy me for more than 10 mins! This usually means a balance of carbs, protein and fibre.

You can make all the excuses under the sun but trust me, if you don’t let yourself eat AWAY from your computer, you are en route to burn out and I can bet you are not as productive as you could be.

My evening meal then depends on what kind of day I am having. If I don’t have late meeting and the kids don’t have clubs, I will cook something from scratch.

If I have a busy one, I take something out of the freezer the night before or on occasion will have a convenience meal. It is quite flexible BUT I do always give it some thought the night before.

How do you make sure that you are staying energised and focussed through food?