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The Dread Hunger Experiment was back on the table. Even though it still terrified me, I buckled and agreed to eat nothing between breakfast and dinner—unless I started shaking uncontrollably, a true symptom of hypoglycemia—the very next day. Judy promised to be available by phone every hour after noon.

For insurance that morning, I ate a super-high-protein breakfast; when I telephoned Judy at 1 P.M., I was able to say I wasn't dead yet. "Still here," I reported at 2. By then I was feeling light-headed and cranky as well as famished, but the feelings were more or less tolerable and I agreed to press on. The real shock came at 3, when not only was I still alive but my hunger had diminished significantly. And at 4, though I was starving again, I was able to distract myself by combing the Internet for cheap flights to visit my baby granddaughter in Paris.

When Judy picked up the phone at 4:15 and heard that the experiment was still in full swing, she was elated. "Now that you've experienced for yourself that hunger comes and goes, you never have to worry about feeling hungry again."

"You mean I can stop? Now? And eat?" I couldn't believe I'd passed the test.

"Absolutely. You've proved yourself."

"Wow," I said, "that's amazing. But if it's all the same to you, I think I'm going to try to hold out until 5." 

Barbara Graham is the author of Women Who Run with the Poodles: Myths and Tips for Honoring Your Mood Swings (Avon).

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