Preventing Weight Loss Headaches

When following a decreased-calorie eating plan, there are many reasons that some people experience a headache. You can minimize headaches with appropriate action and preventative measures.

The following can cause a mild headache while following a reduced-calorie intake:

  1. Fluid and mineral shifts. If you experience headaches while dieting, it could be 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, add extra table salt to your daily diet or drink a cup of prepared bullion twice a day. Table salt also has the added benefit of containing potassium, which can help prevent muscle cramps from the increased fluid shift that occurs with dieting.
  2. Inadequate fluid intake. Dehydration can cause a mild headache. Be sure you are well-hydrated by drinking 80-100 oz. of water a day.
  3. Waiting too long to eat 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. 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. Stress. We’ve all had stress headaches. It’s important to find ways to manage your stress. Be sure to include some physical activity every day to help relieve stress—and burn fat. Practice deep breathing and schedule “personal time” for relaxation.