Intermittent Fasting Keeps Me Thin, But Makes Me A Hungry Man
Count yourself lucky. As I write, on a Thursday morning after breakfast, I am a picture of calm and assured contentment. It is a Thursday morning after all, which means I had breakfast of scrambled eggs – freshly selected from one of the Legbars – alongside lightly charred sourdough toast, spread with avocado and with a pinch of chilli flakes and salt.
So, with a cup of good black coffee, I’m full. But catch me on a Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning and it’s a whole different story. As I fast intermittently three times a week, that means no breakfast on those mornings so my poor, otherwise constantly assaulted body has the hours between around 9:30 p.m. and noon the next morning to digest. The culinary drawbridge is up. But that leaves the king of this gourmet castle in a bad mood.
It’s true. If I haven’t eaten, I’m hungry. And it’s not just me who’s selfish, boring, selfish, inexcusably irritable and rude. Because research now shows it is a thing. Researchers at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU) in Chelmsford have undertaken the world’s first research on the subject (proof if there is any that students waste time even when working) which shows that hunger and a An empty stomach can really be responsible for putting you in a bad mood.
“By following people in their daily lives, we found that hunger was linked to levels of anger, irritability and pleasure,” reported Viren Swami, professor of social psychology at ARU. Swami and his cohorts recruited 64 people for a three-week study who recorded in detail five times a day how they felt and how hungry they were at that particular time.
“Our study is the first to look at ‘hunger’ outside of a laboratory,” continued Swami, who actually could have saved time by just following me for a week.
However, she also advises that to lessen what she calls “hunger-induced negative emotion,” we should label that emotion, which can help regulate it.
Maybe I should wear a badge, or better yet, hang a sign on my office door three mornings a week that reads, “Hangry.” To stay outside!’
The overall benefit of my Irritable Dad Syndrome is that — aside from going crazy on my peloton — being a little leaner helps make me, overall, quite a bit happier. Although, as a restaurant reviewer with a general predominance of greed, it’s one hell of a roller coaster.
When I’m hungry, I feel my senses are on alert. I took a train to Cornwall yesterday to review a restaurant for lunch. As the train hugged the coast around Teignmouth, the calm flat seas and cloudless blue skies seemed almost too good to be true. I was like a dog. I could hear every conversation in the car, smell the food being eaten. The sight of a man next to me eating Pringles from a box with a tissue was too much to bear. It is perhaps unsurprising that having finally reached the restaurant in St Austell, I devoured five courses and drank three very large glasses of wine. After which, of course, I was calm to the point of a coma.
But we don’t really need research to confirm what we’ve always known. After all, an army is said to march on its stomach and history is littered with examples of food riots; this civil disobedience that occurs when part of society is hungry.
Indeed, governments are acutely aware that the way we live today and how we shop – frequent store traffic, smaller baskets – means that supply chains must be maintained at all costs. A few days of striking truckers means our fridges are empty and we’re not just starving, we’re a hungry crowd!
In the meantime, I will continue my quest to find peace and quiet somewhere between lazy, drunk sleepiness and empty-bellied petulance; what we now call hanger management.