I became just about the worst person in the world this past weekend. Or at least that’s what my “hangry” (read: hungry meets angry) mind had me believing on Saturday afternoon.
Let me explain. After coming in from a morning run in the hot and humid Nebraska air, which was reaching into the 30 C range through the latter part of 10 miles, I chugged down a protein shake. That’s par for the course as my regular post-run routine. My other typical post-run go-to’s for additional carbohydrates: orange juice, chocolate almond milk, bananas, or bread. But in a rare occurrence, none of these items were in the house. It was grocery day, but that was no excuse for me to not reach for something else out of my post-run norm, like a bowl of oatmeal. But instead of seeking out more carbs, I turned my attention to a package of bacon sitting in the fridge. Surely that would that would do the trick, right? Wrong! While bacon provides plenty of protein and fat, it lacks carbohydrates.
Knowing this, I still went for it and fried up that package of bacon. I then proceeded to pack away about half the package and carried on with my morning. I had some stretching and rolling to get to, and birthday cookies to be made for my six-year-old nephew.
Midway through the morning, maybe a bit closer to noon, hunger started to kick in. I didn’t think much of it, which isn’t normal for me. I’m typically good at listening to my hunger cues, but for whatever reason, on Saturday I was not. I was already starting to slip into hangry-mode without even recognizing it. All of this was due the lack of carbs post-run. So, instead of stopping to make lunch, I started baking peanut butter cookies. And, of course when making cookies, dabbling into the dough is a must. There I was I nibbling away on my whole wheat, no-sugar peanut butter cookie dough and completely losing my sense of how long it had been since I had eaten a meal.
By mid-afternoon, I had gone from being a happy person who came in from a hot, but beautiful morning run, to a total nightmare. I was angry and frustrated with everything and everyone. Hanger had taken its grip and I was in full beast mode. Post-run, my deprived state turned me into a monster in the making. I’m usually very diligent in making sure I don’t get behind on getting the proper amount of food into my body because I know how distraught and horrible I get when I’m hungry. My fuelling error caught me off guard, and sneakily got me good on Saturday.
Thankfully my partner recognized what was going on and coaxed me into an early dinner. She’s quite lovely and was wise to make this suggestion. I realize this now. I was not so logical at the time. When one is hangry, such a suggestion is an insult to one’s intelligence and ability to monitor the most basic of human functioning. I mean, I’m not a child. I should have accepted her offer. Instead, I spat back some nasty sass. Eventually, I came around to some semblance of proper reasoning and we started to make dinner together. Thankfully.
In hindsight, I could have very easily avoided my hangry meltdown by simply making some better choices earlier in the day. It’s easy to beat myself up for slipping on some pretty basic stuff on Saturday, but I also recognize that’s part of life: we don’t always nail it. Even the simple things can sometimes get away on us– and that’s okay as long as there’s awareness of what can be done differently next time, and a willingness to let it go, and move on to better, hangry-free, days.