Have you known anyone who said they suffer from the hangry monster?
Do you know someone who becomes impatient and angry frequently (sometimes when they’re hungry)?
Do know anyone who experiences variable mood swings, for no apparent reason?
Have you ever observed a moody toddler with an amazing parent, who made it clear they knew it was time to eat, and who knew that eating would avoid or resolve the “terrible twos”?
Is the way to a (wo)man’s heart really through her/his stomach?
Sometimes I Had No Fun
As a new endurance athlete (for the first few years of my middle-aged Cycling and Running career), I regularly experienced times on long runs and bike rides (usually over two hours in length) where I’d be having no fun. No fun, like, “I hate this. What am I doing here? What was I thinking? Who in their right mind would do this? I’m ready for this to be over. This has gone on too long.” These moods seem to appear out of nowhere, but once in place, they seem like they’ve been there the entire time, like the misery is ceaseless, permanent, and unresolvable.
These experiences are enough to not want to continue, or repeat them, but they typically occur miles from help, home, or the car, so the only option available is keep moving forward, walking, hiking, running, or pedaling, to a place where I can stop.
I Noticed Something Interesting
However, over time and repeated occurrences of this experience, I noticed something interesting. As a well-coached endurance athlete, I always had food of some sort on most long runs, and on all long races and rides.
The Moods Disappeared As Unexpectedly As They Arrived
Eventually, I began to realize the foul moods could disappear just as unexpectedly and mysteriously as they arrived. One minute, I’d be miserable, a little while later I’d be experiencing a sense of wonder about the surroundings, or the peace of commune with nature, green grass, tall trees, blue skies, puffy white clouds, and a warm breeze, despite a sometimes endless series of half-mile upward grades I’d be slowly, meticulously, arduously, cranking up, one after another and another and another.
There Was A Pattern
I began to notice the odd, inexplicable shifts in mood, from hatred to peace, from misery to joy, from hopelessness to wonder and curiosity. Then I struck on a pattern.
Food Makes The Difference
Work out for a long time (go too long without sufficient calories), get hangry. Eat, and a few minutes later mood alters. I have discovered it as a natural law. When glucose becomes low in my blood, my mood shifts for the worse, when I take care of myself and eat, mood improves. This even happens when I’m not exercising, such as in “the afternoon low”.