The migraines continued in similar fashion for many years and for several of those I took a preventative medicine. It was somewhat effective, yet didn’t wipe them out, and I had to wear sunglasses in physics class (and boy did I look hot) since the florescent lights seemed to trigger migraines. The classic pattern for the migraines was 20-30 minutes of visual aura—looks like dancing splotches in my field of vision—followed by intense pain in my head. The next day I would usually start the day with a residual dull ache. Many times I was nauseous.
About 17 years ago, I figured out that if I take 2 ibuprofen at the onset of the visual aura I could short circuit the rest of the process so that all that would happen is a dull headache for the rest of the day or often just a few hours. I was still wasn’t happy about getting them as often as I was, so I tried herbal supplements, to no avail. That’s when I started playing with my food intake.
I wondered if the migraines had something to do with what I was eating. I know, you’re so smart that if you were in my life earlier you would have suggested that when I first started getting them, but you weren’t so it wasn’t until later that something clicked that it might be food related. Pat yourself on the back for how smart you are and keep reading.
Trying to figure out what was causing them, I stopped eating breakfast, the ‘most important meal of the day.’ The result? I dropped 15-20 pounds without trying, I felt better, and poof, virtually no migraines.
What?! Skipping the most important meal of the day all these health benefits accrued? How can that be?? Well, a few important things happened. Since I was only eating two meals a day and there was only so much I could stuff in at a time, I was eating about 1600 calories or so (without even tracking it). In other words, I began getting the right amount of calories for my body. Also, something about skipping breakfast must have reset my metabolism, allowing me to process the foods I was eating better so those foods responsible for the migraines were having less effect.
I want you to follow me here – I didn’t set a goal to lose the weight. I didn’t set a goal to eliminate the migraines since I didn’t even know if that was possible. I was simply tired of the migraines and was willing to try things to figure it out. And what I did flew in the face of the so-called experts and the conventional wisdom that we all throw around.
Fast-forward a few years, I was in school as an adult learner with several kids and a full-time job. I didn’t have time to workout. Or at least I didn’t take the time. The result? Carrying around more weight than I wanted.
Once I was finished with school, I had time to work out and a travel schedule that was amenable to doing so several times a week. In combination with that, I was in a rough emotional spot, had access to a great gym at no cost, and was receiving a per diem for meal expenses when I traveled so anything I didn’t spend I got to keep. The combination was potent.
I was eating the right amount of food for what I needed without eating out so I wasn’t consuming too many calories and was saving extra money. I was working out 4-5 days a week, cardio and weights. I had time to make the workout as long as I wanted. Since I was in an emotionally tough spot I was working out to work things out mentally and emotionally.