Sounds like an odd pairing, I guess. Diet and writing. Especially when you think of writers, you don’t picture the healthiest people in the world. The very nature of our occupations suggests the opposite. That we are sedentary creatures social only within our own circles and not at all afraid to throw back a few drinks.
Don’t you love stereotypes! Truth is, though, I do write a lot. And that means I’m often in one inactive position for long stretches of time. Even intervals of stretching during articles aren’t enough to rid me of that worn down feeling I have after a few hours of work. Once the afternoon hits, I’m usually ready for a nap.
Fortunately, I work from home so it’s very much possible for me to retire to my room, or fall asleep right there on my couch without any penalty. Except lost time, of course, and for a freelancer who is so particular about how I spend each hour of every day, time is very much an asset I can’t afford to waste.
Which brings me to the entire point of this piece. The change in my diet. One of my close friends is a renowned fitness professional and nutritionist. We’re close enough friends where I can ask for advice from time to time without any charge. On this occasion, my question was how to get rid of that early afternoon creeping feeling of fatigue that forces me away from my laptop and onto my back.
Essentially, I wanted to be more productive. An hour or so wasted in the middle of the afternoon may not seem like a lot to some people, but for me it was far too much. So when he offered advice that was contrary to nearly everything I had read on the internet, I figured I might as well give it a try.
His advice was to save all my carb consumption for the evening and eliminate any carbs from my morning meals. Needless to say, I was a little-taken aback. I asked him about the “eat breakfast like a King, lunch like a prince, dinner like a pauper thing.” He laughed and told me to just try it.
So I did. No more toast, or cereal, or pancakes, or croissants (yum) for breakfast. Instead, a simple smoothie and a fat like a half an avocado were my new morning dishes. And wouldn’t you know it, by day two, no more afternoon snoozes. I actually felt more energized. I was able to work through the entire day without ever feeling tired.
Lunch consisted of some kind of salad, and then my dinners would include fish or whatever else I felt like eating. I have to say, his advice worked and worked like a charm. If you’re looking for an explanation, I won’t do it justice (If you message me, I’ll direct you to my friend. He’ll break it down precisely). I know it has something to do with carbs breaking down as sugar and that sugar spiking then dropping during the day, which causes your body’s energy to spike and drop, as well. And then the carbs I eat at night actually acting as fuel for the morning.
Either way, you’ll be surprised just how much more productive I’ve become with this small change. My output has picked up considerably. My mind is sharper and I’m able to think through articles or stories much clearer. Instead of resting for that hour, or being zoned out not really accomplishing anything, I’m looking for things to do. It really has been transforming.
Now I’m not exactly suggesting you cut out morning carbs. What I am suggesting is that you analyze your relationship to food and your productivity as a writer. There are things we can do through diet to enhance our creativity, our output, and our focus. I’ve continued to explore how my food choices impact my writing and have made even more discoveries.
To be the best, you must prepare like the best. It’s true of every occupation and us writers are not excluded. So maybe you should think twice about that blueberry muffin at 7:00 a.m. You don’t know what it’s doing to your writing until you try something different.