What’s your danger zone?
Mine used to be anywhere between 11:00am (sometimes as early as 10:30) and lunchtime.
I had another danger zone typically somewhere around 4:00pm (again, sometimes as early as 3:30), when I HAD TO EAT SOMETHING.
When Hanger Strikes
Hanger (or the combination of hunger and anger) can strike swiftly and without warning.
One memorable occasion was early in my relationship with Chico. We were heading up for an overnight in the mountains towards the end of our first summer together.
We’d breakfasted early on toast, jam and coffee (a typical Spanish breakfast). With our preparations, though, it took us a while to get on the road.
Then, on our way up to the mountains, we stopped to pick up a picnic lunch. We packed it away, ready to pull out on our bike excursion later. By the time we checked into our bed & breakfast and got on our bikes, it was AFTER FOUR PM.
Chico said, “Let’s cycle out a ways and stop to eat by the lake.”
He remembers this as the first time he ever saw my death stare. A cold glint appeared in my eye and I said, “No. We are eating NOW.”
Needless to say, we ate then.
Crippled by Hanger
It used to be that I could not fathom going to a grocery store between 10am and lunchtime.
If I ventured into a supermarket at that witching hour, I was sure to fall prey to the buy-all-the-food-because-I’m-so-hungry demon.
And don’t even THINK of having the kids with me when shopping at that hour. My hunger and their pestering would prove just the alchemy required to produce an EXPLOSION of hanger.
It could get ugly.
Today, though… Today, I went to the grocery store at 11:30am. I hadn’t had lunch.
I didn’t buy a single item that wasn’t on my list. I didn’t have a meltdown in the store when I couldn’t find the Babybel cheeses. I didn’t feel like I needed to stuff my face with food as soon as I got home.
Why was today different?
Probably, because finally, after working at it since September, I have managed to level out my blood sugar.
Gradually Getting Less Hangry
I also told you about reading up on the benefits of a higher-fat, higher-protein, lower-carbohydrate diet.
I gradually started to up my protein intake and make veggies my main source of carbohydrate. The impact on my weight was visible on the scale almost immediately.
Even without doing anything as drastic as the “induction phase’ of the Atkins diet, my body seemed to be responding to the changes.
But for a while, I still felt hungry. I’d even finish a meal and still feel hungry. The combination of that hunger and my frustration led to quite a bit of hanger, not gonna lie.
Then Suddenly, One Day, I Wasn’t Hangry
I can’t tell you exactly when it happened because it was so gradual.
The Bug has his lunch break from 10:30am to 11:30am. It’s a ridiculously early lunch. It used to be, however, that I was hungry enough to join the boys for lunch at about 11.
Then one day, as I got the boys’ lunch ready, I realized something.
I wasn’t hungry.
I didn’t feel like eating lunch with them. So instead, I brewed myself a cuppa and sat down with them while they ate.
Without noticing it happening, I had succeeded: I had managed to get to a point where my blood sugar levels don’t dip and spike the way they used to.
Sure, I feel hungry. But it happens much less frequently and with far less urgency than it used to.
Generally, I find myself eating less, eating less frequently, thinking (and obsessing) less about food, and worrying less about snacks.
The result is that I feel a lot better. I’m slowly and gradually losing weight, a pound or two a week.
Back in September, when I started counting calories, I took out my tape measure and noted down some numbers.
The other day, when I was feeling a bit down, I decided to check my measurements.
The difference is dramatic. I can feel it in my clothes, but seeing the centimeters melt away really provided a much-needed boost.
I know there’s a lot of debate about what constitutes a healthy diet. It’s one of those irrationally emotional arguments we get into.
Much like politics or religion, diet and nutrition are fast becoming one of those topics you shouldn’t raise at a dinner party.
I am in no way qualified to tell others what is best for them. All I know is that I have rarely felt better than I do now.
If I’m feeling good physically, emotionally (though there are still ups and downs), and about the way I look, then I figure I’m doing something right.
And I’m going to stick with it.