You know that feeling you get when you’re super hungry? Your stomach is growling and you feel like if you don’t eat right now you will definitely lash out at someone, or bite the head off of the person sitting beside you? This is what hangry feels like, and based on the questions I receive from people lately, so many have experienced this before.
Yes, feeling ‘Hangry’ is real! And it usually happens when we stop eating; either because we’re neglecting food, or trying not to eat for a long time, for whatever reason.
Because we are always too busy, sometimes we even intentionally don’t act on our body cues, we let our stomachs give us the hungry feeling for a while. What happens next is that our brains start to feel fatigued, they start signaling to us that we are hungry through our nervous system, and they release hunger hormones to our body so that we go and eat.
You are not you when you’re hangry
What happens on the outside as a result of ignoring those hunger cues? Well, it starts with feeling tired, loss of focus, decreased awareness, impulsivity, and irritability, leading up to, of course, anger. So, the famous Snickers’ campaign tagline ‘You are not you when you’re hungry.’ was quite spot on.
What can we do to avoid being Hangry? Here are a few tips:
Tip#1 Don’t ignore your hunger
Practice tuning in to your hunger, once you feel your stomach is empty, don’t ignore that feeling. Your body isn’t concerned with the reason why you’re not eating, it’s helping you survive. Listening to your body will definitely help you reach your health goals much better than you think; our bodies are working for us, not against us. Direct your attention to your stomach and see if you’re feeling like it’s empty or growling. If it is, eating will be the best option to avoid dizziness and crankiness stages.
Tip#2 Understand your feelings
Allow yourself to listen to your emotions more often. Take a deep breath, and as you let it out, ask yourself how you are feeling right now. Accept that feeling, and try to do this exercise more often, the more in-tune you are with your feelings the better you will be at knowing when you are hungry.
Most of the time, what holds us back from self-care is that we’re too shy or afraid to communicate how we feel to others, especially to close friends and family who may not necessarily share the same eating habits as we do. Finding a comfortable non-violent way of communication will help. For example; if you’re feeling hungry, and people at home don’t feel that it’s time to have a meal yet, it’s okay to take care of your needs. Letting them know that your meal times need to be different than theirs is an act of self-love that your body will thank you for.
Starving our bodies, or leaving ourselves feeling hangry, will only lead to harm. Self-understanding, self-compassion, and communication with others are key to avoiding the much stress and pressure we may all be feeling around food.
Merna Fawzy is an ICF certified Health Coach, former amateur Boxer, and yoga practitioner. Her passion for helping others through mindfulness and self-love encouraged her to pursue Health Coaching after working in the Digital Marketing field for 4 years. She finds herself in writing, it’s her favorite way of self-expression. A cup of coffee and a good book are her typical go-to for quality, meditative time.