The desperate decisions brought on by meal skipping
Like many migraine.com community members I’ve spoken with, I am an infamous meal-skipper. It’s never intentional, and I don’t have any sort of eating disorder. In fact, I have a really high metabolism and get hungry a lot. For whatever reason—though often that reason is related to work or laziness—I skip meals a lot and always have. In high school, I valued snoozing past my scheduled wake-up time more than I valued primping or packing a lunch. And, once I got to the cafeteria, nothing really looked appetizing. In college, apart from freshman year when I was on the primo meal plan, I regularly skipped meals. I figured I’d start acting like an adult one day.
Well, I’m now twice as old as I was when I started freshman year at NYU in 1998, and I’m still not a 100% healthy eater. I don’t skip meals as much as I used to, but it’s still more frequent than I’d like. And messing with my blood sugar and hunger levels is not exactly a recipe for a migraine-free day.
Sometimes, like today, I wait so long to eat that I feel voracious when I finally decide to find food. Then I encounter that conundrum that is exclusive to very privileged people like me (people who actually have access to all sorts of foods and have enough money to acquire most of those foods): I have to decide what to eat. Sometimes, especially during really busy days at the bookshop, I have very little time in which to eat food. Luckily for me and my health, we are two doors down from a neighborhood coop grocery store, so healthy options abound.
Today we were just slammed at the bookshop—and that’s a very good thing. Saturdays are often busy, and I’m grateful for that. My shift officially ended at 3, but I didn’t end up leaving until 3:30, and that was when I could tell I was getting light-headed and on the cusp of true hANGRINESS. I walked to my car, dreaming of all the different meals I wanted to eat.
To my surprise, I kept thinking of menu items I no longer consume: a spicy chicken sandwich from Wendy’s (nom), a super-giant roast beef sandwich from Arby’s (double nom), a double steak burger from Steak ’n’ Shake.
Here’s the rub: I am a pescatarian now so don’t eat those foods.
But man oh man, I was really tempted. Imagine a Venn diagram: one circle is the selection of fast food joints available near me, and the other circle contains all the vegetarian/pescatarian options in town—the circles don’t overlap much. Sure, I could order good food from a nicer restaurant, but I was simply too hungry to do that.
Y’all, I came close to ordering meat from a fast food joint, but instead I headed to my poorly stocked pantry at home and made myself…wait for it…a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Yep, like a ten-year-old. It wasn’t too satisfying, but it curbed my hunger, and at least I stuck to my guns and didn’t eat meat.
On my way home to my sad little sandwich, I wondered about all of you guys out there in the migraine world. Do you meal skippers ever face this same problem, trying to decide between crappy fast food and unsatisfying food at home? Or, better yet, do you ever have to decide between fast food (even food that’s way beyond the limits of your healthy diet) and no food at all? Please share your stories below!
Have you taken our Migraine In America Survey yet?