Writing hungry

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, I’m quite often hungry.

(Not REALLY hungry. I wouldn’t, in a million years, equate my mild stomach rumblings with what it’s like to be starving. I can only imagine. My heart goes out to those people, wherever they are).

I’m hungry because I’m doing the 5:2 thing – five days of eating as usual and two non-consecutive days of fasting, eating only up to 500 calories worth of food, which is about a quarter of a normal (privileged) Western intake. This is not so much because I need to lose weight, because I don’t – it’s more to do with a healthier life-style in general. I have lost weight too, incidentally, sensibly, slowly and sustainably, which is a bonus.

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On my starvy days, as I call them, I don’t eat anything at all, just take drinks – water, fruit juice, coffee, tea, herbal teas…whatever – until maybe 1 or 2 o’clock in the afternoon, which means I’ve fasted for about sixteen hours or so, since dinner on the previous evening.

I don’t actually feel hungry at all until I eat something – but that’s another story.

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What I HAVE noticed is that, without food, my brain is sharper. And when I’m hungry – or rather, when I’m fasting – I actually FEEL better.

I’ve been doing a little research about this, in a Google sort of way, and have come up with some interesting scientific information.

There’s an article on the Live Science website called Hunger Can Make You Happy

“Contrary to the moans of many dieters, being hungry may make you happy. Or, at least, it can be a serious motivator whose evolutionary intent was to help you find dinner instead of becoming dinner.”
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The researchers assert that when I fast and my body notices the dearth of calories, it increases production of a hormone called ghrelin which makes me more…well, alive and alert (my words). They believe that this is an adaptive measure, for survival. “Getting food, especially in the wild, requires concentration, clear-headed perception and often cooperation.” So, if I can avoid the urge to eat, which is what ghrelin is telling me to do, then I can harness the increased energy levels for something more creative.
Being a little bit  hungry has certainly, so far, made me noticeably more efficient and more focused.
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Yesterday morning, I completed a poem which, the previous night, was stuck fast in my brain with super-glue and would not be shifted.
I attribute the ease of flow yesterday morning to the power of…GHRELIN!
My new writing companion. My secret weapon.
Only not so secret.
Don’t tell anyone, will you?

 

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  1. […] Choose 3, Caroline! You know you can do it. Create something extraordinary. Don’t believe the little voice in your head telling you that your work will be sub-standard if you attempt it when you’re too tired. Remember that you work well when you’re hungry so… […]

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