Q #162: Why do multi-day headaches always seem to accompany major dietary changes?

I didn’t post anything yesterday because the headache I had last night, and then I’ve got one that’s ebbed and flowed most of the day (though I noticed it a lot more after my time on the elliptical trainer).

I’m no stranger to headaches. I’ve had plenty of migraines in my time (though as my stress has gone down the past few months, I haven’t had a full blown one in a while and they’ve been more staggered out). But I just about forgot that when you’re going through a major change in diet overnight (like in my case, being more mindful of amount of food AND avoiding fast food), some symptoms are gonna present as your body has fun freaking right the fuck out.

Headaches have been the most persistent and annoying, leading to so little done the past two days (except with the pets), and even now I have a feeling behind my eyes that’s making my vision a little awkward. I’m glad I haven’t had to go anywhere today, and was okay when I was out and about with the dogs this afternoon and got to chat with my neighbor. Part of me wonders if what’s made it worse today is the sun came out after two and a half days of overcast and gray days. And now I’m in a bright living room trying to type without messing up too much.

I was quite proud of myself this morning, though I wish I could’ve slept in a bit more. One of the parakeets was doing a shrill chirp like a manic cricket at 5 am and was doing it off and on til I finally got up half an hour later. I figured it was a good time to go to the store before the school traffic got too nuts, so I got my list (I’d looked at recipes I was interested in for the next couple of weeks last night) and went shopping. Right around the corner, in my way, was a McDonalds. I used to stop there just about every time to get breakfast, and I was a little hungry, but I drove right by instead.

I cleared my first hurdle. Usually I can’t say no to a Sausage McMuffin and hash brown, but I did, and I was glad. I came home with my groceries, put them up, made fresh chop for the birds, and then made my own muffin sandwiches. They were great and didn’t have that overly-salty, processed aftertaste that I only seem to remember McD’s has when I make my own stuff. I could’ve added some parsley or salsa, and I’ll probably do that tomorrow.

What was most fun was testing my hypothesis that I could cook bacon better on a George Foreman grill (and it worked nicely: far less fat to drain, less spatter-mess to clean, just needed a plate under the lip to catch the fat… and most importantly it kept the bacon relatively flat).


So I’ve been taking care of calories (keeping around 1300ish) by watching portion sizes and tracking every bite. Yeah, I know, it sucks, but I have a bad habit of underestimating how much I used to eat and need to get the body to remember what feeling satiated is versus cramming my gut til it explodes. I actually signed back up to Sparkpeople to help me out with this journey and use the tracker. I used it several times before, then quit my account and gave up. Started up fresh and I’ve lost a few pounds in the past several days.

However, the damned headaches–when I’m doing better eating and movement wise–just pisses me off. My body was heavily addicted to fast food and I couldn’t do a gradual stepdown, because when I’d try, even when I wasn’t that hungry, I would order the same amount of food and the same stuff I would before.

Then, because I was raised a card-carrying member of the Clean Plate Club, I’d look at the rest of the food and go, “well, I paid for it and don’t want it to go to waste…”. Then comes the anger, loathing, and pain in the stomach. Not good.

So, I had to quit it cold turkey. I couldn’t just get a little and hope for the best. And that means I have to have headaches the next few days and hydrate more.

I don’t know why that has to happen, though. Why are our bodies so stupid, and they “punish” us even when we try to do better? Food science and our biology is messed up and just weird. Of course, the corporations like it that way.

I stumbled on this video that’s about the science of junk food (by a person who had the weight struggles I have magnified) and uses Amberlynn Reid as an example. Hate to say if you hate muckbangs (didn’t know what the hell that was til this vid–ugh), you’ll have to skip some of this vid, but the science bit makes me want to research more and explains a lot of what I was feeling.

I just don’t get why trying to do better has to involve headaches and disorientation. What is it that my body has now (or is lacking) that makes the brain just totally screwed up? And it persists for days, as if the body demands things go back to the status quo, even when it’s bad for you.

I was hoping to avoid getting the Tylenol out, but I’ll probably need it in order to get some sleep the way my head is now. I factored in 3 cups of coffee into my plan, and am now drinking my 3rd cup (weaker than usual) just to let the caffeine take the edge off a bit (working, though dizziness remains). And I’ve got one apple and some turkey I can eat to boost my iron intake and give me that little bit to ensure it’s not a hunger headache going on. I’ve had to restrict a lot portion-wise, and cut the sugar some (though I was already cutting that out in big ways away from fast food).

I hope the headaches don’t last much longer, starting as a dullness in the back of the head and getting worse as the day goes on, even after eating. I just don’t get why the headache happens in these instances, or the dizziness and the inability to concentrate.

Well, there’s some info on it, I just don’t get what the function of a headache is in these cases. It just stinks, and there’s a lot of factors that would possibly interact and create a headache. I just hate this feeling, like not knowing when it’ll end so I can just enjoy the better habits I’m creating.

Anybody else experience this and had an idea how long it lasted for you, and how you got over the headaches and other symptoms quicker. I’m downing water to the best of my ability and checking my intakes for the day. Plenty of carbs, fiber, the basics, so other than wrapping up my water intake, I can’t think of anything else I can do. If you have ideas, lemme know.

Floor’s yours…

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