What can I do to prevent headaches while dieting for weight loss?

1. Headaches can be common for some individuals while dieting and are usually due to “fluid and mineral shifts,” mostly due to low sodium/salt levels. This can occur especially when carbohydrate intake is particularly low; for example, below 50g per day.

To help prevent this, we encourage you to add extra table salt to your daily diet or drink a cup of prepared bullion twice a day. Table salt has the added benefit of containing potassium.

Potassium supplementation can also be beneficial. In addition to their multi-vitamin and mineral tablets, Lindora clinic patients take a prescription-strength potassium supplement during Phase 1 to maintain normal potassium levels – potassium chloride 750 mg. (10 mEq.). Potassium is also available over-the-counter in lower doses. Many people who are doing the Lean for Life program without medical supervision tell us they take an over-the-counter potassium gluconate supplement during Phase 1 to prevent symptoms. Most report they feel best when taking a 99 mg. tablet three times a day with meals. Participants who are especially active tend to take more than three tablets a day, as needed.

If you are being treated for a chronic disease or high blood pressure, or are taking potassium-sparing diuretics you should not take extra potassium supplements without first consulting your physician or health-care professional.

2. Inadequate fluid intake can cause a mild dehydration and resultant headache. Be sure you are well-hydrated by drinking 80-100 oz. of water a day.

3. You may experience headache if you wait too long between meals and snacks. Be sure to eat meals approximately 4-5 hours apart, with a protein-based snack between meals, approximately every two hours.

4. Headaches are also common result of “caffeine withdrawal”. You may experience headaches if you are cutting back on your caffeine intake. If you choose to cut back, do it very gradually – don’t go “cold turkey”!

5. Headaches may also be caused by stress. Be sure to include some physical activity every day to help relieve stress, as well as for fat burning. Practice deep breathing and schedule “personal time” for relaxation.