A Streaming Marathon Made It Easy To Treat My Body Like Garbage

Of the past 72 hours, I spent nearly 24 of them streaming Wolfenstein games. I am very tired, which makes it slightly ironic when I say that the whole thing was an eye-opening experience for me.

Much digital ink has been spilled over the blood, sweat, tears, and (sometimes) drugs that go into lengthy marathon streams by professional streamers.

Sitting for countless hours and remaining dialed-in the entire time, frequently at the expense of bodily needs like rest and nutrition, can take a toll.

Earlier this year, a streamer died after a series of especially gruelling streams.

On and around platforms like Twitch, there's an ongoing discussion about how to balance physical health with a culture that's permissive and sometimes downright encouraging of frequent marathon-length streams.

You've gotta grind if you want your stream to take off, then grind more if you want your viewers to stick around. If it comes at the expense of your health, though, is it worth it?

Previously, I figured it was a matter of priorities — that building healthy habits around streaming simply came down to mind over matter. Forgive me, for I was an incorrect doofus.

The biggest thing I learned while streaming for tens of bleary-eyed hours this weekend is just how easy (and even tempting) it is to just shoo away those pesky hunger, ache, and exhaustion signals your body sends you.

Games are already absorbing, but streaming turns that up to 11. You're constantly multi-tasking, between playing the game, narrating, interacting with chat, and panicking every time the viewer count goes down.

My other senses, I found, kinda went into hibernation. Time passed, but it didn't really occur to me until my room was pitch black. The temperature changed, but I didn't feel a thing.

Heck, I didn't even realise I needed to use the bathroom until my insides felt like they were about to go bursting out of my damn bellybutton.

The weird thing is, even in the immediate aftermath of it all, feeling achy, wiped, and weak, I didn't realise just how much I'd let my health languish over the weekend.

Only when I started putting it all down on paper did I realise the extent to which I subconsciously decided my body was a worthless tube of meat keeping me chained to this imperfect physical realm. Let's run some numbers. From Friday to Sunday, I:

  • Consumed around 2,500 calories. Total.
  • Exercised only once.
  • Went for zero walks (though I did go out after streaming on Saturday and Sunday).
  • Showered only once (sorry, world).
  • Subsisted mainly on coffee, which is a diuretic, instead of water, which keeps people from dying.
  • Ate more Cheetos than I have in several years, which is to say more than zero.
  • Sat without moving for around 10 hours on three different occasions.
  • Slept for a total of about 15 hours (because all the caffeine, which I needed to stay focused, kept me up after I was done streaming).

To be clear, I don't think I was ever in any real danger, because this was always gonna be a self-contained three-day thing. I see now, though, how easy it is to absent-mindedly wander into a self-destructive sinkhole while streaming for long periods of time.

It wasn't just easy for me, either; it was fun. I want to do it again soon. I guess, then, I'm kinda writing this post for myself, as a reminder of precisely what not to do in the future.


Comments

    Heh. My brother used to call it the 'gaming binge diet'. You play something really engrossing and forget to eat. Maybe you'll have a bag of chips. For like... the entire day.
    It probably explains why he's rake thin. This goes hand-in-hand with the lack of exercise. If you eat and don't exercise, you're in trouble... but if you exercise and don't eat, you're in big trouble. So long as you do both, you're actually better off than doing too much of one or the other. In fact, if you exercise regularly and eat well during the week, a couple days fasting and resting is probably just as good as the regular routine.

    Also, if you shower every day, skipping a day on the wekeend actually isn't bad (so long as you're not, y'know... going out and inflicting BO on people). Natural oils and good skin bacteria have many beneficial effects that we regularly impede or annihilate entirely by cleaning too rigorously, too comprehensively, and too frequently. I mean, I LOVE a good soak and could easily spend ten, even fifteen minutes in a shower twice a day if not for power/water concerns, but there's nothing really wrong with missing the weekend.

    Oh, and the coffee/coke diuretic = dehydration thing is kind of a myth. Yes, caffeine-drinking has a diuretic effect, but it's mild, and it's largely negated by the fact that whatever you're taking with it has a high volume of water in it. It's not like you're drinking salt-water. Not to mention that you can actually develop a tolerance to certain side-effects of caffeine, including the urge to pee. You can have at least a good four cups of coffee a day without affecting hydration in any way whatsoever.

    Probably did very little harm at all, apart from the lack of sleep. There's your killer. There's really not much wiggle room on that unless you're taking regular naps.

    yeah contray to popular belief, you do not have to shower every single day unless you have been doing some heavy sweating (ie its been really fucking hot day or youve done a good work out/ heavy phyiscal activity).

    Now going a week without a shower is bad, by 1 shower over 72hrs is fine

      Sure, we know it's fine. But it's not something you'd tell people haha.

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