I was once in a relationship where we exclusively had arguments when we were both REALLY hungry.
Hanger is real. Hitting that hunger level where your lizard brain takes over is a huge obstacle when it comes to making healthy, mindful, dietary decisions.
It feels like a completely different person has taken over. Control? Gone. Never heard of it.
After unhinging your jaw like a python and swallowing a cheeseburger in one bite, your pupils constrict (also like a python! GET IT?!) and you wake up.
Being hangry is more than just unpleasant. It can be a highway to the Dangerzone.
When I’m hangry I don’t care what I eat AT ALL. I just want to eat.
I'll literally eat whatever is in front of me. It could be a burrito or a lawn mower. Doesn't matter.
This is a problem if you’re trying to lose weight.
Fat loss is all about manufacturing favorable odds. You want to make your task as realistic and doable as possible.
Hanger decreases the likelihood of making good decisions. Now, I don’t want this to be interpreted as a justification for losing control and being an asshole because you didn’t have breakfast.
That said, when hunger gets to that level, it’s hard to think straight. Or at all.
Hunger and sleep are pretty simliar in that way.
Missing an hour or so of sleep isn’t ideal, but you can still function. But, when you only get 3 hours of sleep, you’re much more irritable and dysfunctional.
Same thing with hunger.
Hunger isn't the enemy
Hunger tells you when to eat! You want to feel hunger sometimes. Avoiding hunger completely is an easy way to overeat calories.
When hunger mutates into hanger, however, things get tricky. Being hangry is like getting 3 hours of sleep. If you’re feeling hanger or getting 3 hours of sleep everyday, that's have a problem.
I used to never see hanger coming. I’d be out and about doing fun things. Next thing I know I’m in a heated arguement with my then girlfriend about which Thai place to go to.
Being mindful of hunger cues could have solved this.
If I would have been listening to what my tummy was telling me, I would have eaten something earlier, probably avoiding the whole shitstorm.
By listening to hunger cues, you can take back control. You can make smart decisions in advance to keep the sleeping giant of our hangry alter ego rapt in in the shackles of slumber.
So in a perfect world you’d never have to duke it out with hanger. You’d eat 3 solid meals and one snack at the times that work best for your schedule and your body.
This is the best way to keep your alter ego in check. Avoid the jerk altogether.
This isn’t always an option unfortunately. Sometimes life doesn’t allow you to fulfill your needs.
So what do you do?
Make healthy decisions as easy as possible, when possible, so you can stock pile willpower for when you need it.
Here are 3 tricks my online clients use to make fat loss easy and stress free and conserve willpower:
- Only keep healthy foods around the house. If you don't have it in the house, you won't eat it.
- Make all your meals ahead of time. If you have 5 days worth of healthy food ready, you probably won't want to waste them by eating something else.
- Use something that's already a habit to remind you to practice a healthy behavior you'd like to implement.
Your environment influences your actions A TON. So a good strategy is engineering an environment friendly to fat loss, like my clients do.
Sometimes you’re out of your element. But, if you've saved up willpower, you're mentally in a better place to make healthy, fat loss friendly decisions.
It's like your secret weapon you save for when you absolutely need it. Or it's like being a charge character in Street Fighter. Whichever analogy makes more sense to you :)
Another tactic to give your hangry alter-ego less power is reminding yourself of what is actually happening. Saying something to yourself like, “I’m being really volatile and emotional becauses I haven’t eaten in 8 hours. A chemical reaction in my brain based on millions of years of evolution is making me feel like this” has been a really helpful exercise in mindfulness. Because that is literally all hanger is.
This tactic has helped me be better to the people I care about when I drink to much coffee and forget to eat (which is a lot). Because this strategy in particular means a lot to me personally, I'm really happy to share it with you!
So now you have everything you need make healthy decisions that support your health and fat loss goals when you forget to eat and get super grumpy.
I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences with this stuff! Shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org because I really want to hear what you have to say :)