What to do when you’re hungry/angry “hangry”

The Maine meteorologists have been talking a lot about the “Triple Hs” lately and why wouldn’t they? It’s summer and H•H•H goes with the territory.

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I’m talking about Hot, Hazy, and Humid, of course, but there’s a fourth H they never mention.



Dealing with weather described as the triple Hs, is often a catalyst for one more H. That’s hangry and it’s best described as “when you become irritable from the first 3 Hs, you are at high risk of becoming both angry and hungry. Put them together and you get hangry.”

Hangry isn’t fun and it’s certainly not conducive to weight management. When we start feeling this way we just want to eat. We want to eat because it seems like a good way to restore our happy feelings and sense of wellbeing when we’re faced with conditions (hot, hazy, humid) outside of our control.

Here are clinically proven ways to overcome the fourth H that is a natural result of the Triple Hs.

1. Hydrate your body. The best and most effective way to get relief from feeling hangry is to immerse yourself in a body of cool, clean water. Lake, pond, ocean or pool water are all equally soothing choices. Once you’re in the water if you move you get the added benefit of endorphins (feel good chemicals) that come with physical activity.


If you don’t have water in which you can fully immerse yourself, the next best option is a cool shower or bath. If that’s not available, a tall glass of water is effective. Triple H weather leaves you feeling hot, sticky, and sweaty. When you’re sweating your body is losing valuable moisture. You’re becoming dehydrated and even mild dehydration can cause bad moods and sap your energy. You may not notice you’re becoming dehydrated because you’re not thirsty, but when your mood swings to hangry, you probably are!

2. Get a change of scenery. If you have immersed your body or at least given it a nice drink of fluids but the hanger is lingering on, try changing your scenery. Find a cool, comfortable place to engage in a calming, enjoyable activity. Libraries are a good place for this, a mall will work too if you like to shop or if you don’t have the money to actually buy stuff, perhaps you enjoy window shopping and/or people watching. The movie theater is another option. The point is to go where it’s cool and have some fun and relaxation.

Don't wait to be "at goal" to put on your bathing suit and enjoy a swim! Do it now! It's fun and you deserve to have fun right now .

Don’t wait to be “at goal” to put on your bathing suit and enjoy a swim! Do it now! It’s fun and you deserve to have fun right now .

3. Eat a treat. This might be the right time to give yourself a little, tasty treat and it might not. If you are experiencing homeostatic hunger your body really does need food. It’s been several hours since you last ate, and you’re feeling a slight to very strong gnawing feeling in your stomach. That’s telling you your body needs fuel.

This is not the time to eat a treat, but rather it’s time to eat a nutrient dense meal. Eating treats and homeostatic hunger are usually a bad combination. It can cause overeating because you may eat too quickly and ignore the sensation of having had enough to eat.

Here it is! My ideal breakfast. Tastes good with coffee, got some fruit for extra flavor and nutrients and will keep me full, satisfied, and energized until I get to stop for lunch which might not even be until 1 or 2 pm!


Have your meal, but leave a little room to end it with a small, tasty treat. This is a good way to signal the meal is over and enjoy a little indulgence while maintaining control. It tastes good and it feels good and it helps to chase away all of that hangry you were previously feeling.

Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.