Archive for category fitness

Tyranny of the Headache

As long as I can remember I have suffered from Migraine Headaches, Sinus Headaches, and on occasion Cluster headaches. By suffer I mean, there were years where I would average 2-3 headaches a week, and 4 or 5 debilitating headaches a month. By debilitating, I mean I could not do anything. I couldn’t be in light, around loud noise, in warm places, walk, or read. I literally had to lay down in a dark room with an ice pack and pray that the cocktail of pills I took put a dent in the headache or that I would fall asleep. I would wake up with headaches. Want a wonderful day, try waking up with a throbbing pain behind your eye that, as the day wears on, turns into a full blown migraine. Not a wonderful situation.

I have been on a variety of different medications, from over the counter to prescription to holistic. Each seemed to work with various success. For my migraines, the quickest solution was often Imitrex, but the nausea that I would get would be just as bad as the migraine. I had my favorite pill cocktail which was 2 extra strength tylonol, 2 Excedrin migraine, 2 Excedrin Sinus, and while it was still available, 2 Dryxoral. I even would get cold stone massage treatments and acupuncture. Like I said all of these would work to some degree, but most of the time, I just had to suck it up and deal with them. My doctors often just wanted to prescribe more pills. After a while though, you just give up on pills. I mean, after a while the pills lose their effect and you start to worry about the way the pills hit your liver and kidneys.

Resigned to the fact that I would just have to deal with the headaches, I eventually just stopped with the pills altogether. If I got a headache, I’d muscle through it until I could go to bed. With being a stay at home dad or being part time employed and a part time at home dad, that wasn’t always the best situation for my sanity, but I stayed with it.

Well, 57 days ago I started P90X, partly on a whim, partly because I wanted to get into better shape for my wife and daughter. I was going to go all in. The week before I started I gave up soda. The week before on a family vacation I drank my way through 7 2 litres of coke in 7 days. When we got home, we didn’t have any pop in the house and I went through just horrible caffeine withdrawal. So I just quit. Back to P90X, I didn’t just get the DVD’s and start going through them one by one. I got their excel sheet that has the scheduled work outs, the charts, the measurement page, and the meal plan. Yes there is more to the work out then just working out. I got on the meal plan as well.

The meal plan is 3 parts. the first thirty days is geared at muscle-building, fat shredding, as quickly as possible. The next phase is about muscle-building, the third phase is about maintaining a healthy eating lifestyle.  At least that’s my take on it. The first phase though is tough. You start off by eating a lot. I had to up my calorie intake to 3200 calories a day, 1400 of which ended up being protein. I was allowed 100 calories of carbs, 100 calories of fruit, 100 calories of dairy, and the rest was primarily vegetables. I stuck with the meal plan.

26 days into P90X, I noticed something. I had only had 3 headaches. Less than one headache a week. This was a major drop off in headaches for me. I had gone several years of 2-3 a week. What had changed though? Well two things changed. First I was working out every day. In general I get stressed out, all of the time. Working out though eased that stress and I think that cut down on my headaches. Secondly, the meal plan. The meal plan had a large impact on my health and headaches. First off, I knew there were some foods that could cause headaches. I never paid much attention to it though. I started looking into foods though that could trigger headaches and found quite the list.

  • Peanuts, peanut butter, other nuts and seeds
  • Pizza
  • Potato chip products
  • Chicken livers and other organ meats
  • Smoked or dried fish
  • Sourdough bread, fresh baked yeast goods (donuts, cakes, homemade breads, and rolls)
  • Bread, crackers, and desserts containing cheese
  • Certain fresh fruits including ripe bananas, citrus fruits, papaya, red plums, raspberries, kiwi, pineapple
  • Dried fruits (figs, raisins, dates)
  • Soups made from meat extracts or bouillon (not homemade broth)
  • Cultured dairy products, sour cream, buttermilk, yogurt
  • Caffeine found in chocolate and cocoa; beverages such as coffee, tea and colas; also found in certain medications
  • Aspartame and other artificial sweetener

The following types of cheeses have been reported to be high in tyramine:

  • Blue cheeses
  • Brie
  • Cheddar
  • Stilton
  • Feta
  • Gorgonzola
  • Mozzarella
  • Muenster
  • Parmesan
  • Swiss
  • Processed cheese

Other foods high in tyramine are: aged, canned, cured or processed meats, certain beans (fava, broad, garbanzo, lima, pinto), onions, olives, pickles, avocados, raisins, canned soups, and nuts.

What Food Products Contain Additives?

  • Hot dogs
  • Ham
  • Sausage
  • Bacon
  • Luncheon meats and deli-style meats
  • Pepperoni
  • Other cured or processed meats
  • Some heart medications
  • MSG (monosodium glutamate). MSG is a food additive/flavor enhancer found in soy sauce, meat tenderizer, Asian foods, and a variety of packaged foods.

I went through this list and noticed something. I wasn’t eating a majority of this food any more. I love cheese. I would sit and just eat a brick of Cheddar cheese. That would be a snack for me. Well Cheese was essentially cut out of my diet. With that went a huge migraine trigger. I cut out a large amount of processed foods, I was eating more vegetables, more eggs, less processed meat. With that though my headaches largely went away. The 3 headaches that I did get though were stress related. They all started or took place around some trying times in my life.

All in all though, if throughout the rest of P90X workout program I continue to not get headaches, it will be even more and more motivation to continue to stay working out as well as be healthy. As much as I love sugar, and sweets, and candy, oh god do I love candy, I love being free of the tyranny of headaches even more. To me it seems easier and healthier to live slightly healthier than to keep popping pills and hoping for the best.


Lazy Dad


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Wood Pulp in Food

Ever wonder what goes into some of your food? One ingredient in a lot of food is Cellulose, i.e. Wood Pulp. Let me repeat that Wood Pulp! There is wood pulp in food. Below is a link to a page that lists some of the common foods that contain cellulose as well as some of the issues that are associated with it. Manufacturers use cellulose in food as an extender, providing structure and reducing breakage. Cellulose fibers are used in a variety of processed foods and meats meant for human and pet consumption, as well as for plastics, cleaning detergents, welding electrodes, pet litter, automotive brake pads, glue and reinforcing compounds, construction materials, roof coating, asphalt and even emulsion paints, among many other products. I don’t like the idea my food is essentially sharing way too much in common with brake pads, pet little, and asphlat. According to from Elmhurst College, people cannot process Cellulose. Some animals can, but it is because of bacteria in their stomach, we are not so lucky.

Cellulose is filler that we can not process and in fact can be unhealthy. More importantly, people who think they are eating healthy food, may simply just be eating more wood pulp. I love fastfood. I like it a lot less now. I like the idea of eating more natural food and really on a personal level don’t like the idea that I am eating saw dust. This may not make that big of an impact on my overall nutrition, but it will make me pause the next time I want to buy some type of processed food.

This is just food for thought.


Lazy Dad


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To Work out or Not to Work out?!

I am now 23 days into my P90X experiment. Thank you, thank you. I’m really just thanking myself. I honestly did not think I would make it past the second week when I first started. But here I am, 23 days in. First off, let me update you on some of my personal goals with my work out. I have 4 of them: Go down 4 pants sizes in the weist, lose 15 pounds, be able to at any moment drop down and do 100 push ups straight, and be able to jump and touch rim on a 10 foot basketball hoop. After 23 days here is where I am at: I have only lost 4 lbs, being that I have to eat 3100 calories for the first phase of P90X, I feel like that is an accomplishment in itself. I have managed to go down one pants size, so I am a quarter of the way there. When I first tried to see how many push ups I could do straight I hit 23. That’s it, I was blown away I could do 23. I am up to 42 now! That’s awesome I think, in 23 days I am up to 42 push ups straight.

Motivation. Staying motivated has been a pain in the ass. First off, my wife is a wonderful source of support, but, she can’t work out for me. In the end it comes down to me. Want to know what the single biggest motivator was for me? Photos. I took a bunch of pictures of myself the first day I started the workout. I was not an impressive specimen. I was rather doughy to put it nicely. 9 days later my wife took a second set of pictures. I started scrolling through them, nothing was to impressive, until the last picture. It was a picture of my back as I was flexing. I refuesd to believe that was me. My back looked completely changed in 8 days. You could see muscle, it was getting tone. I had muscles forming that I didn’t even know existed in my back.

Of everything I have read, been told, seen, on and on, that picture has been a huge motivator. The first two times I got my picture taken I couldn’t have been any more uncomfortable. I was embareced to flex, infront of my own wife. We took my third set of pictures today, I couldn’t have been more excited. I want to see the changes now. There wasn’t anything nearly as dramatic as with that first set of pictures, but you start to notice little things changing. My posture was better, my “man boobs” were slightly smaller, my face looked a bit thinner, my arms looked a little more defined. It’s encouragement. The way that I look at it is, over 90 days, these little improvements will eventually add up to dramatic changes.

If you want any information on P90X or other workouts you can do at home, go to this place for more information. My wife loves turbo fire, its upbeat, there are a lot of dancing moves. There’s a workout for you. Plus there are built in support systems through the website, that can really help keep you motivated. Really Long Link

I am a “coach” under beachbody, go to my page, go to someone other’s, just go to the main beachbody site, that’s fine. I won’t force anything down your throat about beachbody. I hate seeing beachbody or beachbody coach posts all over the place. I am a coach though to better take advantage of the support opportunities as well as the product discounts. Those two things make it worth it for me.

There have been some amazing side effects that have come with the work outs. First I am doing the P90X meal plan and drinking Shakeology. I’m on phase III of the meal plan, it is the fat burning/muscle building phase. Under my braekdown I am supposed to eat 3100 calories a day. 1100 protein, 500 vegitables, and the rest broken down between fruit, oil, carbs, etc. First off, the meal plan is aweful, I love carbs, love it, my family is Italian, I grew up on pasta and pizza! I’m allowed 100 calories of carbs a day, i.e. one english muffin or one all wheat bagel. In addition to the meal plan, I gave up caffeine. I was drinking a twelve pack of coke every two days. I thought I was over doing it with the caffeine, so I stopped drinking it and had the worst withdrawl headache. That was it, I then cut out caffeine. So meal plan, working out, and no more caffeine.

Here is my main side effect. I suffer dibilitating migraines and sinus headaches. For the past 10 years, I probably averaged 2 or 3 debilitating migraines a month and probably a headache a week. . In the past 23 days, I have had one headache, One that I gave myself for being stressed out about the bar exam. My headaches are gone though, including my sinus headaches. The weather and stress is just not affecting me like it was. In addition, I have learned that a lot of the food that I love could trigger my headaches, such as caffeine and yellow cheese, as well as food with excessive nitrates. With eating more healthy food and eliminating processed food with excesive nitrates I have cut down those headaches. Those alone make the diet change worth it. In addition, my energy is up, I’m more regular, and feel healthier. Regardless of whether or not I did the work out, I think the change in my diet alone would have eventually shown results. I was extremely unhealthy. The shakeology Shake alone gives me more vitamins and probiotics in one day than I used to eat over a span of 2 weeks.

I am not going to lie though, I am looking forward to phase II of the meal plan. I get to double my carbs!

Here is my main advice if you are going to start a work out or diet: First record what you are doing daily, from your food to your work out. Second, if you decide to do a work out video, you don’t have to keep up with them, do what works for you, you can increase the reps or weight as you progress. If you can’t keep up, don’t get discouraged. Record what you did and aim to improve on it the next work out, or the next meal.

That’s about it!

Lazy Dad!

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