Wednesday, 27 March 2013

How Good Nutrition & Creative Writing Come Hand in Hand

How many of us have reached the end of our novels, having worked hard on them for months on end, day after day and night after night and then feel like they have run out of steam when it comes to doing the first draft proof check?

I for one have fallen into this trap as I near the end of writing Part II of my Chronicles Of Astoria novel series. I had finished all the fun parts, eg the creative story writing part and have now reached the mundane stage of checking for errors before sending it on to my proofreading team.The whole thing began to feel like a chore and before I knew it, I was ordering takeaways and eating fast food because I ‘thought’ I didn’t have the time to make healthy food.
Well my lazy ways led to more lazy ways, I'd reach the gym and my usual forty minute workout had become more like four minutes plus a really long shower and slowly but surely, the time that I had set aside to proofread was filled with playing the Xbox, watching movies, terrible daytime TV and basically I'd become the king of procrastination. I struggled to get up in the morning, I'd wake up nice and early and just sit on Facebook using my phone while hiding under my duvet covers away from the world.
It took a loving girlfriend and a caring best friend to point out that I had in fact been buying crisps more often than normally (which was never) that I looked sluggish, seemed stressed and generally not my happy, creative self.
I had to take action! Luckily for me I'm a personal trainer and nutritional adviser by trade although lately I have been far better at advising others than taking my own advice. I decided that it was the best time to implement change.
My good friend asked me 'What's most important to you?'  I replied naturally “finishing my book” and she swiftly scolded me (as a caring friend does, it was over the phone but I'm pretty sure she was waving her finger like a school teacher) she told me that my health comes first and once I was back to  my usual bouncy self, the writing would come.

Doing as I was told, I went home and re-evaluated my own diet and realised that the takeaway foods (as we all know) are filled with carbs, fat and very little in the way of healthy nutrients; this all had to change and so I addressed each section of my nutritional life carefully.
First of all, as a man I had to increase my protein intake. knowing that proteins break down into amino acids blah-blah-blah, (I wont bore you too much) but basically I need to increase my nitrous oxide levels which in turn increase levels of testosterone - which for a guy is important for thousands of factors but the main two were, getting out of bed in the morning and also having more drive and stamina in the gym, those 4 minute workouts just wouldn't cut it for long! 

I also supplemented zinc, just at the standard dosage as it is very important for men’s health, I added in my eggs at breakfast, some chicken at lunch and then red meat or tuna for dinner. I'll add in some salmon next week once I am paid.
Next I aimed to increase the good fats in my diet so that I could balance out my good cholesterol, strengthening cell walls and improve my brain health. To do this I supplemented with cod liver oils  and added in some avocados - I even experimented with making guacamole and also added in peanut butter - spread of brown toast of course. I LOVE milk and sometimes avoid it for, well I actually don’t know why but I added it back in at 500ml per day to increase my calcium and to add in some good fats to the diet. 
Then focusing on both good hydration and high fibre I added in porridge alongside some healthy vegetables and brown bread. Ensuring all the while that I drank a minimum of three litres of water per-day.I found it was easier to fill a big three litre jug in the morning, making sure it was done by the end of the night - some days it was a case of easier said than done. 
Last stop was Vitamin C. This little vitamin packs a hefty punch, it's fantastic for generally increasing mood as well as all adding very important nutrients into the body that are needed to ensure it functions correctly.  Personally I just wanted to feel better and so I ensured I ate more fruit in the form of apples, tomatoes and more avocados which are very high in Vitamin C.
Within three days of following the new regime (yes that soon) I can feel myself springing out of bed in the morning, feeling less stressed, more focussed and more determined than I have in a long time. I have proofed a further fifty pages to my book which is 300% more than I'd done in the previous three weeks and this accomplishment has seriously made me more determined and all round happier than before.

So if you are stuck in a rut and cant create, go back to the basics. Eat well and feel great (that almost rhymes) I promise you won't regret it. Happy is as happy does. 

* M.R Shields*

1 comment:

  1. This is a great reminder for me and you are so lucky to have such a good friend. She's right - book or no book we must look after our health and the side effect as you have written about is more energy to do the work.


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