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Migraine Triggers: Skipping Meals

Hundreds of times I’ve found myself thinking, “If you could just tell me what I could do to cure my migraine, I would do it.”

And, while there is no cure, there is certainly some untruth to my statement. ’Cause you know what? Even though I don’t know how to make it so I’ll never, ever have another migraine, I do know a few things I can do to prevent attacks from ever taking root.

And I don’t do those things.

Case in point: I SKIP MEALS ALL THE TIME. This is in spite of the fact that I know that meal-skipping is one of my most notorious triggers. This is in spite of the fact that, while I am not rolling in the dough, I have enough money to grocery shop. I work from home most of the time, a whopping ten feet between my desk and my fridge. And yet I skip meals.

I can’t explain my foolishness. I do try to change my ways, but there’s been very little sustained effort. When I do eat regularly, the payoff is tremendous: “Food is fuel!” think I, and I’m able to get through my day with more attention. I can help prevent unwanted migraines by eating every couple of hours.

Perhaps you could say I’m a workaholic, though I’d be disinclined to agree. It’s true that I’ll sometimes get so involved with what I’m doing (especially when it comes to writing or bookstore work) that I’ll plough right on through the lunch hour, ignoring my body’s instincts. Feed me! Feed me! My stomach cries as my body starts to get sleepy in the early afternoon hours. FEED ME!

And, usually, I eventually eat something. But—and this is embarrassing to admit—I sometimes find myself having “lunch” at 4 PM. Once in awhile I’ll look at the clock and think, “Well, it’s already 4. Might as well wait til 6 to eat.”

It’s almost as if I grew up with some weird, screwy eating rules or something. I love to eat, and I love feeling good. I am a healthy weight (though a little on the thin side) and have never struggled with obesity. I haven’t ever dealt with an eating disorder and have a really positive body image. So it’s not as if I have hang-ups about what it would mean to eat more frequently.

Does anyone else struggle with this?

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Comments

  • Karlostj
    7 years ago

    I am Type 1 Diabetic (30+ years) and occasionally low-blood-sugar (<50mg/dl) episodes will trigger a migraine. It's not consistent, but it does happen. Luckily, they're minor and usually cleared by the Excedrin-like pills.

  • Debbie Dickinson
    8 years ago

    you just have to open your mouth and put something in it,,,,,, hopefully protien,,, i have learned this the hard way,, and have gained 15 lbs,, but headaches are better,,,, now just have to learn how to diet,, without migraines.

  • Cathy Fusco
    8 years ago

    Until the thin part you sound like me. My first meal is sometimes at 1 though, I can’t waituntil 4 to eat. Weekends, I sometimes don’t eat until 5 or I eat the wrong things.

  • Elaine Axten
    8 years ago

    honestly, set a timer. and stick to it.

  • Heather Kaser
    8 years ago

    Guilty! I am a teacher of students with special needs and while I spend each day taking care of 8 students (with the help of the wonderful staff in my class), I tend to forget to take the time needed to take care of myself during the day….like eating! Something I need to really take time for as school begins in 2 weeks. Just recently diagnosed with migraines but looking back over my headache history, I have noticed that I have had major headaches when I have forgotten to eat! Guess skipping meals is one of my triggers.

  • Heather Kaser
    8 years ago

    LOL Thanks Helen 🙂 I can always count on Dylan 🙂

  • Helen Domer
    8 years ago

    I’ll tell Dylan to make sure you eat your lunch with them! He won’t let you forget! LOL

  • Susie Bach Holley
    8 years ago

    Imitrex is finally the answer for my migrains. suffered most of my life with them, since 4th grade.

  • Heather Kaser
    8 years ago

    Deanne ~ Its worth checking into. I have an appt with my Neurologist this afternoon in Medina. If you have any facial pain with it (generally on the right side) google trigeminal nerve. Seems that mine is inflamed and feels like I am getting punched in the face. Ill be saying a prayer that your headache lets up or stops all together soon.

  • Deanne Norman
    8 years ago

    Maybe this is my problem

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    8 years ago

    *Busted* Janet, this is me too. Not always, but sometimes. Okay, I have a little longer walk to the fridge, but I often simply forget to do it. My hunger button has never worked right since I was a baby. There are plenty of times that there just isn’t anything in the house for me to eat that is “safe” (hubs grocery shops and still doesn’t “get it”) and I sometimes choose instead to either eat something less healthy or wait and have the next meal early. Really, just keeping the veggies and fruits all cut up and ready to go is the best thing I’ve found to help me with this. #1 I need the fiber anyway, and #2 it keeps me snacking throughout the day which really makes me feel the best anyhow. Just take 30 minutes out of my day once a week to pre-prepare and I’m good to go for the whole week! Between the pre-prepared fruits and veggies and my pretty water goblet collection, I try to make eating/drinking things I may not appreciate too much an exercise in indulgence – something special to be enjoyed, even though I’m by myself.

  • Ellen Schnakenberg
    8 years ago

    I had more trouble with this years ago than now. I kept a food journal for a week and realized how little I was actually eating throughout the day! Changing my habits didn’t change my weight any, but it did help with my Migraines.

  • Debbie Dionne
    8 years ago

    Guilty myself, I will eat a bowl of cereal, or heck, dry cereal if nobody makes a meal. During the work week I’m lucky if I eat a handful of crackers during the day. Not good.

  • Charlene Coker Ray
    8 years ago

    I am guilty of this and I always have.

  • Charlene Coker Ray
    8 years ago

    Just having to live with them. Going to have some things checked when I get back.

  • Lynn Coker Walker
    8 years ago

    hate the things – don’t know if I could stand 4 a month.

  • Lynn Coker Walker
    8 years ago

    yep could be the altitude

  • Charlene Coker Ray
    8 years ago

    I have four a month….no more or less. I think my sinus’s (Msp) and altitude has an effect. Had one the day we pick up the girls at the airport and friday before they left. Had one yesterday. :{

  • Lynn Coker Walker
    8 years ago

    stress is mine

  • Charlene Coker Ray
    8 years ago

    Crazy! LOL! I don’t think that it is one thing…..just gonna have them.

  • Lynn Coker Walker
    8 years ago

    you can tell I don’t get my migraines from skipping meals….lol

  • Charlene Coker Ray
    8 years ago

    Yes mama!!! lol!

  • Brenda Waldrip White
    8 years ago

    Stop that!

  • Linda Barham Nabors
    8 years ago

    If I have a problem with this it iwould be when I am alone and too dizzy and weak to get to the kitchen and stand up long enough for me to cook something. My dear husband makes sure I eat and I have benefited from his efforts. I Thank God for him daily.

  • Abby
    8 years ago

    You’ve got me pegged! Especially the “it’s already 4, I might as well wait until 6!” I try so hard to eat regularly, but sometimes I find myself eating breakfast at 10:30 (I’ve been up for hours!), not eating a lunch, and eating dinner at 8pm. It’s terrible. I’ve been trying to do the “snack throughout the day” thing, and it seems to help a little bit.

  • Kelli Hall Mayer
    8 years ago

    I have the same issue. I love food but I also get so busy that I “forget” to eat. My husband always wonders how this is possible and I tell him it must be a woman thing because I have yet to meet a man who has done this, and if they do I would venture to say they would be the minority with this issue. I also find myself around 3 or 4 thinking “oh I didn’t eat lunch” and it is takes too much time to stop so I wait. I guess for me it is just a time thing, I have so little of it so food is at the bottom of the priority list sometimes.

  • Laura Watson
    8 years ago

    I am guilty of this too. I often skip meals despite knowing for a fact that it will lead to an attack. I suffer from depression as well and as a symptom of my depression sometimes I don’t want to eat. This then leads to an attack and hence in the long run contributes to my depression. It’s a vicious circle that I can’t seem to break out of even though I am fully aware of the situation 🙁

  • Michelle Suter Ramos
    8 years ago

    This is me everyday..I usually only eat once a day. I battle the migraines and the depression, chronic fatigue also. I don’t like much/am picky and do try but it is a constant battle that I can’t seem to break either.

  • Carolyn Cappitelli
    8 years ago

    You just told my story…migraines caused disability and depression and depression causes too much sleep and no schedule or even desire sometimes for food, which, of course, triggers yet another migraine. It is so frustrating!

  • Cathy Frost
    8 years ago

    I am the same way. I skip meals because I am just not hungry. Honestly, I could eat one meal a day and be fulfilled, but the lack of nutrition leads to an attack. I can’t “make” myself eat. So, it is a never-ending battle.

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