Headaches are the WORST.
I’ve spent my entire life dealing with them for many different reasons, and they always suck.
Sometimes in your fitness journey the things you do can cause headaches. Things like working out too hard, being dehydrated, or cutting calories can all be triggers.
For this post we will focus on cutting calories.
So you’re trying to lose weight but you notice that every time you cut back on calories you get a major headache.
That can really discourage anyone from wanting to change their diet.
It can delay your progress.
I am not a medical professional, and I cannot give medical advice.
I do have my own experience with headaches though, so let’s talk about some possible reasons why you could be getting headaches after cutting calories.
You’re Cutting Too Much Too Fast
Cutting too much too fast can cause headaches because your body is used to taking in much more.
It’s almost like having withdrawals from drugs.
Your body is used to having more, and now suddenly it doesn’t have that so it responds. In this case you get a headache.
It is vital that you do your research on the amount of calories you should be taking in to lose around 1-2 pounds a week.
Some people naturally NEED more calories than others even if they don’t do shit but sit on the couch all day.
Your body could require 2500 calories just to stay alive while the next person’s could require 1500.
So find out how much YOU should be having to lose weight, and work towards that.
Don’t just start eating 1300 calories one day, because your friend eats that much and is slim.
You have to do what is best for you.
It is recommended that we cut about 500 – 1000 calories a day to lose weight. So
For example, if you regularly eat 3000 calories a day you should eat 2500-2000 calories a day to lose 1-2 pounds a week
As you progress those numbers may change.
Personal advice from me:
If you’re a beginner it may be a good idea to start with cutting 500 and work your way up to 1000.
This will give your body some time to adjust to receiving less and possibly prevent you from getting headaches.
Your Blood Sugar Is Low
Another reason you could be getting headaches could be due to hypoglycemia.
If you cut calories that means you are eating less food.
If your new diet is not balanced it is possible for you to not take in enough good carbs.
This in turn could cause your blood sugar to decrease, and cause headaches.
So when cutting back on calories, definitely make sure you are still eating a balanced diet.
Try to eat more unrefined foods, fresh fruits, and veggies to prevent this.
If you are ever unsure consult your doctor, and/or a nutritionist.
If you didn’t know, lots of foods contain water.
These foods contribute to our hydration.
Again, cutting calories means you are eating less food.
If you are also not drinking enough water on top of that your body can get really dehydrated.
Dehydration has been known to cause headaches in many people, including myself.
Lack of water can also cause an electrolyte imbalance, which could also be the cause of headaches.
So make sure you are drinking plenty of water when cutting back on calories.
You should drink a lot regularly, but it is even more important when you are planning to eat less than normal.
If this is the cause of your headaches you will likely notice some improvement after drinking more water.
Your Meals Are Delayed or Irregular
This one actually kind of ties back into low blood sugar.
Some times people who cut calories assume that means you have to eat less frequently.
That is not true, and not a good idea.
Not eating anything for a long time can cause your blood sugar to drop also, and give you a headache.
I’m sure you’ve probably heard that you should be eating 5-6 small meals a day, or every 2-3 hours.
By doing this your body doesn’t have to wonder when it’s next meal will be.
You can also reduce your cravings, control your blood sugar, prevent your body from entering starvation mode, and reduce the amount of headaches you might get because of this.
A good way to improve on this is by scheduling your meals ahead of time.
Be sure to download the fitness planner above to keep track of your meals and planning.
The more you plan in advance the better prepared you’ll be, and the less issues you’ll have.
You could be getting headaches after cutting calories due to one of theses reasons or it could be something totally different.
That’s something you and your physician should discuss.
These are only possible reasons, and are not meant to be taken as professional medical advice.
I get headaches a lot so I truly understand the frustration of not knowing the cause or how to prevent them.
So again, if this is a recurring problem for you try to pay close attention to the things listed above, and consult your doctor.