I haven’t been able to row consistently in weeks since these headaches have controlled most facets of my health, so I’ve had to learn to moderate my calorie consumption so I don’t become too overweight. Last year, I started counting calories, and burned off a noticeable amount of weight. Before the New Year, I started graphing out the common foods I eat along with their contents to see if they’re good for me or not.
Calorie charts in the US could be better, but they’re not bad.
My main problem with them is the arbitrary serving size. If you make a can of chili, why is that two servings? How many tablespoons are on a knife-full of peanut butter? I don’t have a scale to weigh my cheese by the ounce. These are just three recent examples that point to an effort being made by food producers, which I appreciate, however they are misleading. Especially if I don’t know when I’ll be able to return to rowing twice daily 10-minute sets, I’ll have to manage this side of things in more detail so I can better burn off the weight that could be causing some of these headaches, if they relate to stress.
A brief intermissionary note about counting calories as stress.
I don’t understand why most people hate counting calories, but then again, I don’t go to gyms and I don’t really do conventional exercises. I just like to row. When I learned to count calories over a dozen years ago, it was a way to discipline myself to learn to manage my diet and therefore my lifestyle better, so when I started doing it again and saw immediate results, it was like a positive feedback loop to encourage and inspire me.
However, it can get tricky to count everything in the moment.
What I’ve done up until recently was just guess the average calorie content, but now, I’m starting to take photos of what I eat if it’s outside my normal routine and research the fats, carbohydrates, and protein counts later. These can then help me become a more informed eater. If I know that eating Food-Y will be less nutritious for me than Food-X, and I don’t enjoy Food-Y as much as Food-X, why eat Food-Y? Or why not limit or reduce the amount of times I eat Food-Y?
That’s why I cut pizza from my diet.
If I can cut something I like but don’t love, then that could be a reference point for me to consider when eating other foods. If I can consider the food I’m eating, and ask myself, ‘do I like this more or less than pizza?,’ then I can decide if I want to eat it or not.
All of this means just becoming more responsible with what you eat.
This is the same as people eating vegan-based or vegetarian-based diets because of ethical concerns. While I wouldn’t try any of these diets long-term myself, I do support anyone looking to control their relationship to food. We have become such slaves to corporate flavors. We have allowed the nutritional value of our food to be obscured by our lust for taste. I am as much a devotee to certain flavors as anyone, so I am not pure from this, however I am willing to say that the first step toward breaking myself away from these sorts of food-based addictions is to really consider what I’m putting into my mouth.
Maybe after about a year, I’ll look into the calorie charts more?
If I have to take more magnesium as a way to reduce my headaches, at the advice of one doctor, then I might as well start learning about the other chemicals and minerals that are in the most common foods I eat. I imagine this will still be a way’s out since I haven’t mapped all of the common foods I’ll usually eat over the course of a week yet. I also don’t want to arbitrarily start something new. I’d rather the process develop naturally from within, like the curiosity to first count calories then count the grams of fats, carbohydrates, or proteins. I might, eventually, like to know how many of each I’m eating per day to make sure it’s balanced enough.
Let’s say I’m not getting enough protein in my diet.
If that’s causing headaches, then the simple solution is not taking antidepressant or triptan medications but balancing my diet more. The problem here is that unless I take the first step, myself, in tracking this information, I doubt any doctor would really be interested in helping me diagnose these sorts of issues unless they can charge for specialized consulting fees, so this has almost become a medical necessity for me now.
It’d be interesting to consider how these self-study charts I’ve been working on since May 2019 compare to more formal material. The more I learn, though, the more I can integrate into my self-study and research. It’s not that I’d never really concerned myself over the back of the label in previous years, it’s just that I’d only focus on one number, calories, and now I’m focusing on three additional numbers, so maybe as I get comfortable with reading and calculating these numbers, I’ll be more comfortable estimating other numbers?
We’ll see. I make no promises here.
I only want to provide a reference point for where I am in my fitness, about weekly, and since I can’t currently focus on many fitness-based things – although I am standing at a sit-stand workstation, and I plan to build one before writing my second novel – so there is more I can do than I think. It’s just I can’t sit down at the machine I love so much and row for as much as I want, at least until these headaches go away. They’ll probably never go away completely.
However, the knowledge I’ve gained along the way can stay.
|Sources: My fitness experiences.
– This week’s weight: 217.5
– Last week’s weight: 218.0
– Difference: Hey, not bad! I’m still in the middle of my multi-week headache, with no short-term relief in sight, so I’ve been more tempted to eat more food lately and have but I guess I’ve been overall better than worse.
|Inspirations: I was tracking some food metrics, saw in my calendar schedule that I should write a rowing essay soon, then just wrote it.|
|Related: Past weekly column entries.|
|Picture: When I have headaches, I don’t feel like design pictures, so hey, here’s a template picture.|
|Written On: 2020 January 05 [40 minutes, but with about 5 minutes of interruptions scattered throughout, from 12:47am to 1:27am. Gdocs.]|
|Last Edited: 2020 January 05 [Possible edits adapting from Gdocs to WordPress. Would this be the second draft, then?]|