What’s the connection between weight loss and headaches?
Losing weight can be such a pain in the… Head? According to a National Headache Foundation study, diet-related issues play a role in a whopping 30 per cent of all migraines (and can affect less severe types of headaches too).
From bouts of low blood sugar to caffeine withdrawal, the many subtle diet tweaks we make while trying to slim down can bring on a throbbin’ noggin. Here’s why dieting makes your head ache, and how to ease the pain.
1. Stop over-restricting your caloric intake
Spacing your meals too far apart or eating at irregular intervals causes a dip in blood sugar levels, which essentially drives your body into “starvation mode.” This triggers a cascade of hormones and brain chemicals similar to your body’s response to stress (not getting food on time is very stressful for your body!), which can bring on headaches. Once you fuel up, the headache—along with other symptoms like weakness, shakiness, and low energy—should go away.
Tip: Remember, you should wait no more than four hours between meals. Try light snacks between meals, such as peanut butter and crackers, a handful of carrots and some almonds, or one of these healthy snack ideas.
Add these 5 Foods to Your Diet to Control Migraines!
2. Stay hydrated
Dehydration is a common weight loss headache trigger. Experts don’t know exactly why, but suspect it may have to do with narrowing of blood vessels in the brain, which also reduces the brain’s supply of blood and oxygen. Not getting enough electrolytes may also contribute to dehydration headaches. Besides causing headaches, being dehydrated can actually undermine your weight-loss efforts. Research shows it’s easy to confuse hunger for thirst, which can lead to overeating.
Tip: By the time you feel thirsty, your body is already a little dehydrated, so guzzle water or tea often. Have a glass of water with every meal and between meals.