|No pain, all gain. source|
Today’s guest post is from a very good friend of mine. Andrea Asa Sonnenberg is fun, witty, and a ginge, the triple threat of fabulousness. She’s also a fellow writer for Examiner.com, covering a bevy of schweet topics, from Women’s Relationship Advice, to Beauty Products, to Parenting, and Celebrity Fashion. What happens when this hard working mom has a run-in with a doughnut? Only the sweetest epiphany ever–and a side effect she never expected.
I didn’t even have to open my eyes to know I was in trouble. I could feel the searing fingers of pain squeezing around the base of my skull, like a vise, pulsating in a nauseating cadence. The sun was red through my heavy lids, and I knew, I knew from experience, that my morning was going to be miserable. I was going to pay for my previous day’s indulgences.
I was pretty sure this was what a hangover felt like. Never a drinker, I wasn’t entirely sure what a hangover felt like, mind you, but I’d seen them in the movies. They didn’t look fun, and migraines were anything but fun. Nauseating, throbbing, mind-numbing pain. My family was going to be stirring soon, so I didn’t have much choice. I had to get up.
It was all because of a stupid doughnut. My husband had brought doughnuts home the day before, and my kids had inhaled all but one. That one sat on the table, with a single bite out of it, for several hours. I should have thrown it away. All sane people would have. But it looked soooo good. So I ate it. And now I was paying the price.
No one told me that a low carb diet might cure my migraines. Before I’d started low carbing to lose weight, I was having four to five migraine days a week. Every week. I was virtually disabled, as my mother had been disabled with migraines before me. My mother had had teenagers when she was dealing with the misery of her chronic migraines, however. I had very small children. I didn’t have the luxury of knocking myself out with heavy-duty narcotics and hiding in a darkened room. I had to suck down some caffeine, take a Treximet if I was lucky enough to have a spare one, and go about my day, puking whenever I thought I could get away with it.
Fun life. I expected migraines to ultimately kill me. Not through suicide, although people with migraine are more likely to commit suicide, but through migranous stroke. Dramatic? Sure I was. But migraines are not just bad headaches. They are a serious neurological disorder that offer chronic pain and often a multitude of associated symptoms from IBS to depression for their sufferers. The vast majority of the general public and even many in the medical community misunderstand them.
I was on multiple prophylactic medications, nutritional supplements, and prescription triptans (of which I only received nine pills a month) to help end or abort the pain. None of it really helped. My doctor was reluctant to give me narcotics, and I was reluctant to take them. Although I’d trimmed lots of supposed migraine-triggers from my diet, not once had anyone ever mentioned carbohydrates.
So going low carb and finding the delightful side effect was purely accidental. I hadn’t even noticed it at first. I expected headaches during my induction period. The literature told me to, after all. But nothing. Quite odd, really. Not a single headache. Even though I’d been having more headache days than not, it didn’t click with me. Not then.
Not until I’d been low carb for over a month and lost virtually nothing pound-wise did I realize I’d not been having headaches. I’d gotten discouraged about my lack of weight loss, so even though I was feeling better and not having cravings, I cheated. I enjoyed a handful of M&Ms and some tortilla chips and salsa. I even went a little crazy and had pasta for dinner.
And oh, how sick I was the next day with the worst migraine I’d had in weeks. And that’s when the realization kicked in: It was the carbs! I tried to Google to find a link, but mostly what I found was a link between gluten and migraines. Was it the gluten or the carbs? I don’t know. I may never know, and what’s more, I really don’t care.
Since then, I’ve also begun losing weight. Granted, it has taken since March to lose 15 pounds, but I’ve lost it. I feel awesome now. I only have a few headaches a month, and those are almost entirely hormone-related. So whether I continue losing weight or not, one thing’s for certain: I’m definitely losing the carbs for good. No doughnut is worth the certain misery guaranteed to come after.