Are headaches normal during weight loss? Most individuals complain significantly about headaches when they start with a new weight loss program. The frustration of struggling with severe migraines and discomfort made many people decide to rather revert to their old eating patterns. Also, when people use diet tablets to lose weight, they can cause increased headaches and poor sleeping experiences. It becomes important to follow a healthy diet when attempting to lose weight. Sometimes we struggle in the beginning because our bodies need to adapt. These changes can create different symptoms that result in headaches. We continue to ask if this normally happens when we diet? The article attempts to explain the reasons for these painful experiences.
Still, the body needs to adapt to new eating plans that can create significant discomfort during the first few days. During a diet process, we need to think logically about the steps we take and the impacts on our bodily system. Especially if we diet after a long time, our bodies find it challenging to adapt to new eating meal plans.
Researchers take part in constant efforts to determine why we struggle with headaches during weight loss. The causes and effects normally relate to our food intake and our health status overall. Understanding the manner our system operates guides us and allows us to follow a healthy eating plan. Unfortunately, during our modern times, we fall into a trap of wanting to lose weight too quickly that causes headaches to occur.
The medical industry identified many reasons people struggle with headaches during weight loss and the steps one can take to prevent this from happening. In the article below I aim to describe the reasons we struggle, what we can do to prevent from experiencing these painful events and the steps one can take if a headache starts.
Depending on your health status, if a headache becomes severe, you need to contact your doctor to determine the best method of dealing with these occurrences. During some occasions, our system may struggle with a health issue, but it becomes more clear when we lose weight. First, we need to gain an understanding of why we normally struggle with headaches during weight loss. The following chapter aims to provide some insight into the reasons for headaches and why it increases during dieting. Let’s see what the next chapter says about headaches and dieting.
Why do people experience headaches during weight loss?
If people take part in weight loss programs, headaches regularly happen, especially in the beginning. These experiences can take the form of migraine headaches that can cause a person becoming ill and unhappy.
Logically, your body needs to cope with a new eating plan, and subsequently, the system rebels against it. Some headache causes relate to natural effects, but we also pressure our bodies too much. Losing weight should happen gradually, and if we attempt to force losing those kilos, it can cause headaches to develop.
Many times headaches start because of a combination of lifestyle preferences, society pressures, or we follow incorrect diet programs. It takes time for your body to adapt to new eating plans, schedules, and food types. The detoxing effect creates diverse impacts on how your body attempts to cope with diverse changes.
The below paragraph attempts to highlight some key reasons we possibly experience headaches during weight-loss:
Some key reasons people encounter significant and painful headaches include the following (1):
Hunger Pains: You eat less than you used to that creates that hungry feeling, which can cause diverse headache intensities. Besides, people skip meals during the day that makes your body feel starved.
Dehydration: 90 % of the time the body experiences dehydration when you start with dieting. The blood vessels narrow to keep fluids in the body.
Bodily detox: Your body became used to intake of junk and bad foods that created a build-up of toxins in your system. As soon as people follow a dietary program, the body reverts to a detox approach and during this time you experience painful headaches.
Hypoglycemia: Individuals who follow a low-calorie diet may encounter Hypoglycaemia because of a drop in blood sugar levels. Glucose provides the main source of energy, and if your body comprises lesser glucose than it used to, you may experience levels of fatigue (2).
Fasting Diets: Fasting may cause a person to experience higher intensity headaches (3). It creates significant levels of dizziness that influence your body’s ability to generate the energy levels you need.
Insufficient Sleep: Individuals who start with a weight loss program initially struggle to sleep. Especially people who take diet tablets felt overly energized that impacts their sleeping patterns. It can cause severe headaches to start.
Lacking carbohydrate intake: If you abstain from eating energized sufficient carbohydrates, it may cause you to develop headaches or migraines.
Excessive Exercise: Normally, when we attend to follow a strict weight loss program, we also aim to increase our exercise levels. Unfortunately, too much activity can also cause your headaches to become worse. Considerable coffee intake: Most of us love our coffees in the morning and see it as a wake-up call for the day. Coffee comprises high caffeine levels that can increase your headaches or create higher levels of dehydration.
Stress: We do not realize it, but weight loss can offer a stressful experience. Many times we worry, because we not losing enough weight, or it takes too long to reach our goals and we become disappointed. The continuous pressure to achieve your weight loss goals can influence a person psychologically.
Researchers continue to investigate links between dietary intake, weight loss and the associated development of headache patterns (6). Besides, diverse medical research attempts to understand the links between following a diet with low carbohydrate intake versus a low-fat intake. Also, the impacts that the hungry-indicators may comprise and the effects on the body to cope during dieting became a point for discussion (7). What can we do to prevent us from experiencing headaches?
How can individuals prevent experiencing headaches?
- If you aim to follow a diet, it becomes critical that you look after your body’s health and the following ideas may prevent you from experiencing headaches during weight loss programs (2):
- Eat regular but small meals that allow your body to still receive the vitamins and minerals it needs to stay healthy. Consumption of smaller meals throughout the day offers a better approach than larger meals during traditional eating times. Skipping meals do not necessarily allow you to lose weight faster. People who follow a weight loss program should avoid cutting meals that can cause severe headaches and migraines during the day.
- Focus on the consumption of healthy foods when you experience a headache. Sometimes a snack may allow your body to recover but focus on good foods for example apples, banana or nuts.
- Drinking at least 12 cups of water a day normally keeps the headaches away. Purchase a water bottle and keep water with you all the time. It becomes second nature to constantly consume water that prevents your body from becoming dehydrated. Preferably one should stay away from caffeine drinks when we diet and rather consume more healthy fluids that brighten your day, for example, Homemade juices, herbal teas, natural teas
- Regular intake of vitamins, nutrients, and minerals allows your body to adapt to a new diet program. When we detox the body needs additional support to stay healthy while it adapts to a new meal plan.
- Allow your body to adjust to the updated meal plan you follow. It may take a few days for the system to become used to eating healthy foods.
- Get enough sleep and ensure your body receives the rest it needs to survive. Prevent taking diet tablets that keep you awake at night.
- Eat lots of vegetables and fruits that keep your body strong during the weight loss program. If you comprise a sweet tooth, you should look at different fruit types or smoothies that assist with keeping a healthy eating pattern but still enjoying it (4).
- Follow low-intensity exercise programs for example yoga, swimming, or Pilates. It allows your body to become more active without too many pressures and possibly start painful headache experiences (5).
- Avoid the intake of artificial sweeteners.
- Keep the stress levels down when dieting, stay focused, and prevent from becoming overly eager to lose weight. Weight loss stays a long-term investment, and if we push our bodies too hard, it causes opportunities for headaches to develop.
- Increase protein intake: Increased levels of healthy protein intake allows a person to keep the headaches away. For example, focus on the consumption of fish or chicken. It allows your body to keep your muscles strong that you need if you aim to keep your muscles strong (9). Protein also makes you feel full over a longer period.
- Record your headache experiences: It helps to record the times when you struggle with headaches. If you experience more in the evenings, for example, you may need to change your meal intake later in the day. Watch what you eat certain times of the day and link your food intake with your headache experiences. If it happens at the same time you eat certain foods, you need to change your dietary program.
- Your body may also struggle with certain allergies that become stronger when you follow a diet program. A visit to your doctor may help determine the causes of the allergies and the reasons you struggle with headaches when you consume certain foods.
- Prevent from taking high sugar, fatty or alcohol-induced foods or drinks. Alcohol especially can increase levels of dehydration that cause headaches to occur.
What can I do when a headache starts?
Many times, the headache starts at the most unexpected times. Individuals who struggle with migraines know when it starts and you comprise no time to figure out why. These headaches or migraines also happen when you least expect it, for example at work or when you attend social occasions. If you experience a migraine or a severe headache, follow the next steps:
- Drink lots of water to assist the body with dehydration effects.
- Find a dark room that excludes any sunlight from coming in.
- Eat something substantial, for example, a protein snack that gives your body the energy it needs to recover.
- Depending on your health status and recommendation from a doctor, you can use an anti-inflammatory pain pill to assist with the headache.
- Rest while the headache disappears.
Are headaches normal during weight loss?
Yes, it is. Your body needs to get rid of all those bad toxins and re-adapt to a new eating plan. If your headaches become worse, visit your doctor to determine if the encounters relate to the diet program only or if you possibly comprise other health-related concerns.
The occurrence of headaches during weight loss comprises many reasons aligned with our dietary intake. In reality, our bodies need to adjust to a new way of living, drinking, and eating that causes our system to struggle in the beginning. During the first few days, we grapple to adapt when the body detoxes. The detox can create feelings of dizziness, migraines, severe headaches, and irregular sleeping patterns. It, therefore, becomes critical to ensure that your system receives sufficient nutrients, minerals, and vitamins to uphold your health status.
Dehydration and hunger pains provide high levels of frustrations when individuals start with a weight loss program. The outcome of these programs results in creating negativity and demotivation. It stays critical to focus on the consumption of healthy foods that allow our bodies to adapt to new eating patterns. It also prevents our system from becoming overly stressed and experiencing constant headaches while we attempt to lose weight.
Individuals should aim to lose weight healthily to feel better. Sometimes we create an enemy of ourselves by forcing our bodies to lose weight too quickly. Irregular eating patterns influence our health system and cause regular headaches.
(6) Rocket F.C. et al., 2012. Dietary Aspects Migraine Trigger Factors. Nutrition Reviews, Vol. 70 (6), 337 – 356. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2012.00468.x.
(7) Foreyt J.P. et al., 2009. Weight Reducing Diets: Are there any differences. Nutrition Views, Vol. 67 (1), S99 – S101. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1753-4887.2009.00169.x.