I know I’m not supposed to do this (and you shouldn’t either), but with the help of Google, I think I just retroactively self-diagnosed myself today. Thankfully this isn’t a condition I still suffer from, but one that held me captive to food for at least 2 decades. People joke and call it “hangry,” and so I never really took it seriously. But having given it some more thought this morning, I’m fairly certain I’ve been hypoglycemic for most of my adult life, and probably bordering on diabetic.
As a young adult professional, whenever people around me talked about skipping a meal, or “forgetting to eat” for some part of the day, I would always look at them in disbelief. I mean, FORGET TO EAT? Are you kidding me? Just the thought of a slightly delayed meal would send me into nervous tremors, and I never quite understood how others could see it as no big deal, when to me it felt like the worst kind of torture. I don’t remember this happening to me as a kid. It started in my late teens/early 20’s after I’d spent a good few years of my life exercising obsessively and eating next to nothing. But not knowing any better, I assumed it was just something weird about me, some psychological attachment to food that I was too messed up to fix. “Other people handle missed meals just fine, so it must just be in my head.” That’s what I told myself for years.
When I think of my many, many (countless) hangry experiences, it’s a wonder no one – including me – ever thought to suggest or consider some medical attention. People, I wasn’t just cranky….it was more akin to demon-possession. If my meals weren’t properly spaced (more than 4 hours and I was a mess), or if the meals weren’t large enough with the right macronutrient components, these are the kinds of symptoms I experienced: extreme sweating, clammy skin, dizziness, depression, irritability, agitation, faintness, aggressive behavior, racing heart, shakiness, and of course – severe hunger pains. If this occurred as a result of no dinner (or an unsatisfying/nutrient-poor dinner), I wouldn’t sleep all night. All those other symptoms would keep me in a steady state of misery, with my mind racing at lightning speed. This wasn’t anything I could control or rein in or push through. Literally, I became incapacitated. Thankfully, this doesn’t happen to me anymore, but rather than explain why or how that changed, I would instead like to pose a question for you to consider.
No matter where your beliefs fall on the spectrum of creation vs evolution, or the history of mankind, I think we can all agree that our distant ancestors weren’t eating 3 square meals a day, with 2 healthy snacks conveniently added in. In fact, it’s likely they often went DAYS without eating anything. And yet…you and I are here today, in 2018. So – somehow they survived food scarcity and even famine. And I’m seriously doubting that any of them were so crippled by one missed meal, much less days or weeks of little to no food, that they couldn’t function. Most likely, under these circumstances they functioned even better, mentally and physically, because their very survival depended on it. So my question is, HOW DID THEY DO IT?
If I had a distant ancestor named Yma (Amy spelled backwards…it’s fun – try it with your name!), somehow she was either not genetically wired to experience hypoglycemic symptoms, or she somehow managed to temper them. Either way, it would be nice to know how she did it, right? I have news for you – there is an answer. And it’s something entirely available to all of us in the 21st century.