My biggest challenge

First a little background. I get migraines. I’ve had them for years and have identified three triggers that can explain about 90% of them. Those triggers are:

  1. Skipping lunch, or getting a late lunch. For some reason if I haven’t had lunch by about 2 or 2:30, my body decides that I need a migraine as punishment.
  2. The end of a stressful event. Fortunately, I don’t get punished with a migraine during my stress, but a day or two after the stress is gone, I get one. This can be good stress (like my wedding) or bad stress (like my PhD thesis defense).
  3. Rapid changes in the barometric pressure. Spring and fall are particularly bad times for this type of migraine.

Clearly, there’s not much I can do about #3, so I just ride those out. And, there isn’t much to do about #2, except be aware that I shouldn’t make any big plans for the day or two after a stressful event. But #1 is easily preventable – I now carry a protein bar with me all the time for the occasions when I’m not going to be able to get a full lunch by 2PM.

However, because of #1, I now associate headaches with hunger. This might not be a problem….except, I now have a headache every day. I clench my jaws and grind my teeth at night. Every night. One morning in December 2002 I woke up with a headache, and I have had a headache every day since.

I’m not looking for sympathy. I’ve been to the doctor (many doctors) and have learned to deal with this and manage it as best I can. From my research, there is no cure for this. There is a drug that will help to stop the clenching, but the body develops tolerance after a short time, and the grinding returns. I don’t want to go that route. Basically I’m stuck with this.

So, I’ve got a headache every day. Most days I don’t really notice unless I think about it. I only take over-the-counter drugs (Excedrin is my drug of choice), and I only take those when it gets bad. In fact, I’ll only take drugs once every week or two – I don’t want to become desensitized to it, nor do I want to develop rebound headaches.

This is my challenge. Remember #1 above? I associate headaches with hunger. And I have a headache every day. All day, every day. I have had to retrain myself not to eat every time I have a headache, but I still think I’m hungry when my head hurts. Days where my headache is particularly bad (today is one of those days), I just want to eat all day, because I’m just sure that food will help lessen my pain.

That is my biggest challenge in shedding pounds. What’s yours?


  1. Kirsten said,

    July 9, 2009 @ 8:19 pm

    Wow, that totally sucks on so many levels! So sorry, Date! Does keeping those fruits and veggies around to snack on help with the noshing those yummy crap foods?

  2. Barb said,

    July 10, 2009 @ 8:35 am

    I’m really trying to keep the fruit and veggies stocked up in the house for that very reason. I’ve also been stocking the fridge so that the first thing I see when I open it is a bowl of fruit or berries, so hopefully when I am looking for something, I’ll go for that.

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