By now I'm sure we have all heard of this term, "hangry." You know...when you're so hungry it begins to effect your mood, how you're able to think and how you act? You've reached the point where you're willing to grab for just about anything in sight. We've all been there. I know for me, there was a time when I didn't know anything different. I went back and forth between feeling ravenous and feeling stuffed. I would feel as though I was ALWAYS hungry.
Experiencing what I felt was constant hunger, while also being someone who valued healthy food, made things difficult because I never knew when there was going to be food available that I would be willing to eat. This created deeper issues of food drama and anxiety. I certainly wasn't about to run through a drive through or grab a bag of chips from a convenience store. But at the same time, I would often feel forced to stretch myself longer than what felt comfortable and end up overeating later in the day.
Even the healthiest of eaters can experience 'hanger.' But you shouldn't have to! The key is in blood sugar balance. You might be thinking blood sugar? Isn't that for diabetics? And the answer is yes, but we should ALL be aware of our blood sugar. Stabilized blood sugar means a more efficient metabolism, a better response to stress, a flat tummy, high energy and mental clarity and best of all, no more being hangry! Imbalanced blood sugar, overtime, contributes to more serious health conditions, so it is important to develop awareness around the matter sooner rather than later.
Many of my clients will come to me having fought their own bodies for so long. Everyday they're working to suppress and ignore their appetite because they never quite feel satiated. This doesn't have to be our reality. It is possible to feel satiated and not let food and our appetites run the show. Balancing blood sugar takes the "edge" off and allows us to relax and feel satisfied from our food.
THREE TIPS TO OVERCOME THE DREADED "HANGER"
- Begin your morning with adequate protein and fat. Too often, our breakfast choices are heavy on the carbohydrates. Things like toast, cereal, granola, and even oatmeal, can cause blood sugar issues for some. What our bodies really require in the morning is good protein, fiber and healthy fats. This will set you up for a productive, energized day, reduced cravings and better appetite control. I love to make a smoothie bowl with berries, greens, chia seeds, full fat coconut milk and grassfed collagen protein. I then top my smoothie bowl with nuts, seeds, and coconut. If doing something like oatmeal, just be sure to add some healthy fats and consider stirring in some greek yogurt or collagen for additional protein, as needed. You can also add spices like cinnamon to your breakfast, which supports and balances blood sugar.
- Chew your food. Chewing our food is essential for optimal assimilation of nutrients. Nutrients are what fuel your body, and a lack of nutrients is when your body starts to signal to you that it is hungry. Chew food thoroughly for optimal nutrient absorption and better appetite control throughout the day.
- Practice mindfulness as you eat. Just like chewing your food, mindfulness is a simple yet extremely effective practice to encourage appetite control and healthy eating habits. When we sit down to a plate of food, dedicate 20-30 minutes to eating (and nothing else), our body is able to register that it is meal time. I always recommend that my clients arrange their meal nicely on their plate, sit down, take 6-10 deep breaths, practice gratitude, and then begin to eat. This way, both your mind and body are present. Not only will you be able to absorb more nutrients, your body will register the fact that you've eaten, allowing for better appetite control later on. In this calm, parasympathetic state, one is able to optimally utilize and digest the food that is before them. I like to say it's 50% what you eat and 50% the way in which you are eating.