Hunger headaches - solutions?

I’m trying once again to cut back on my eating, having smaller and more frequent meals/snacks and drinking more fluids. I can put up with feeling hungry in my belly, but it’s the headaches that are hard to deal with. It makes it hard to concentrate and remain friendly at work. Are there any tips to help with this?

Over the last 6 months or so I lost 40 pounds, and I didn’t experience much in the way of hunger pains (and no headaches from hunger that I recall). This is what I did:

Eat a consistent and moderately healthy breakfast (mine is usually 2 tacos with beans and avocado). Replace at least 75% of the lunches and dinners you eat with salad or soup. Eat “good stuff” (i.e. junk or other unhealthy foods) once every couple of weeks, without going overboard (i.e. eat 3 slices of pizza instead of the whole pie).

That’s it. There are tons of varieties in salads and soups, and even the “bad” ones are likely better than bad regular meals. I highly recommend it.

Eggs are high protein and 72 calories each.

I poach two for breakfast. Serve on a slice of toast.

I eat a normal mid day meal around 2pm.

A light snack in the evening. An apple or a orange. Or a banana.

I’ve never had a hunger headache.

Is there any chance these are actually caffeine withdrawal headaches?

There’s probably a psysiological reason, and it isn’t normal. I never heard of this, except with people actually fasting.

I have three suggestions. One is to make sure you are not accidentally becoming dehydrated. Sometimes before long caravan trips in the Army, I used to dehydrate myself so I wouldn’t have to pee, and I’d get a headache. If you are eating less, you may be drinking less. Try drinking a measured cup of water every 3-4 hours. That’s eight ounces, not a lot at once, and make sure you drink something with every meal. If you are cutting calories by cutting soda, replace it with water, diet soda or low-cal Gatorade, or even black coffee.

Did you cut out tea of coffee because you are cutting down calories by cutting out the calories in the sugar and cream you may have put in it? You may have headaches from caffeine withdrawal. Take a No-Doz, and if that helps, step down the dose slowly.

You are having some kind of blood sugar crises. You need to see a doctor about this. Do the headaches come before or after eating? Do you feel shaky at the same time? Dizzy? If neither of the first two things helps, and you get episodes where you feel shaky or dizzy, you should see a doctor. You could be either diabetic or hypoglyemic. You can diet with either condition, but you will need some help to keep your blood sugar under control.

It’s completely normal for me to get headaches when I cut back on food. Yes, and definitely when fasting. I wouldn’t call it a crisis, it’s just an annoyance of trying to diet. I am not cutting out anything in particular beyond obvious junk (chips, cookies, dessert) and just reducing the amount of the things I usually eat.

I am still drinking my coffee, with the same amount of sugared creamer.

It sounds like substituting more protein and complex carbohydrates might help.

“Crisis” is just a way of referring to a dip in your blood sugar. I didn’t mean that your headaches were crises, I meant if they were accompanied by those other symptoms, they could indicate blood sugar crises.

So I take it OTC meds don’t help?

I wouldn’t take meds for this – it’s a discomfort of cutting back on food and just one of the costs of trying to eat less. I am envious if people can really diet and not get headachy – besides the emotional loss, that’s the hardest part for me.

Sorry, I don’t mean to ask for help and then dismiss the suggestion of meds. It’s just not a medical issue; it’s a discomfort.

I wonder if you aren’t eating too little. You might try upping your caloric intake by a couple hundred calories a day, see if they go away. Then cut back down till you find the sweet spot (and cut down again after you lose some weight).

I never could lose weight when I tried to “really diet” hard core. I’d get so hungry and have such headaches and after a few months it was clear that living like that wasn’t worth it, so I’d regress. There is a middle path.

That sounds reasonable! I think I have a better idea this time in that I am not being extreme about only eating a restricted list and rather eating smaller portions. And also trying to cut out the obvious junk and adding in more protein. I am hoping whenever I get hungry enough, I can have a snack and some of the discomfort will go away.

Consume Protein & an earlier post mentions hydration~excellent point

The same thing happens to me. Increasing protein helps a LOT. I hope it works for you.

Thanks for the advice. I’m adding tuna to my noodles (which I am consuming less of) and have cheese sticks and almonds handy. I have a high-protein Boost if I am running around and don’t have time for breakfast.

Since I started Atkins and keep my carbs around 30 grams a day I don’t get those headaches. I don’t know why. It’s some kind of science magic I reckon. :slight_smile:

Sorry, I didn’t read the thread but I am very suspicious that you are simply not getting enough calories. My anecdotal support of this is when I have to go on a pre-contest diet for bodybuilding comps. It’s the stress your body is feeling from the lack of calories. I would get horrible almost debilitating headaches the last time I competed. So if you are also exercising, I’d almost guarantee these are stress headaches caused by lack of calories.

Reducing calories and “don’t have time for breakfast” don’t belong in the same person, much less the same sentence.

Folks get big when they eat unconsciously and mostly for taste, not nutrition. Weight control through diet (and ideally, exercise) requires that you take this at least semi-seriously most of the time and eat deliberately chosen stuff in deliberately chosen quantities under a deliberately chosen doctrine.

Done consistently right it’s safe, easy, and effective. It isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle. One involving a certain amount of conscious body management. Said another way, it’s an approach where you accept that your body isn’t just something to ignore while it carries your brain around all day. Take care of it by giving it what it needs on the schedule it needs it and it’ll take care of you. Don’t and it won’t.

Have a smartphone? Can also be done on their website with a computer - calorie counting with MyFitnessPal can really help. Even if you don’t do it religiously daily for every meal, just searching for stuff on the site and seeing how many calories are really in stuff can help. But if you really want to try it, if you put in your weight and how many pounds a week you want to lose, it will calculate your daily limit and track everything you input. If you have an activity tracker, it pairs with a lot of activity tracking apps and syncs your activity, thus adding back activity that lets you have that piece of cake if you’ve worked for it enough on any given day!

It can help you not under-eat and spread your calories through the day.

I am not a morning person and I sleep as long as I possibly can, leaving just enough time to get ready and get out the door. I drink a high protein Boost so that I won’t get so hungry that I eat a whole pizza. So believe it or not it is helpful :slight_smile: I know it’s not ideal but forcing myself to get up earlier to make a breakfast is just not a lifestyle change I can make long term. I’m trying to be realistic.

If it helps any, there is a TON of sugar in those Boost/Ensure drinks, which can cause a glucose spike, and then a “sugar crash”. When your blood glucose crashes, you may feel weak, irritable, sweaty, shaky and hungry, or experience a rapid heart rate or headache.

If you have a blender, it only takes a minute or two to make a much more nutritious smoothie with, for instance, greek yogurt, a banana, a scoop of protein powder and some soy or almond milk. Better for you, cheaper and MUCH lower in sugar. Just blend together, pour into a travel mug and go!

Best of luck with your new diet and hope the headaches clear up! :o

For folks in a big hurry there are also prefab shakes that are low in carbs and low in “fake carbs”, the ones that still cause spiking problems but don’t show up in the carb number on the nutrition label.

Better to eat real breakfast or follow Chetumal’s advice and make your own from real food.

But if our OP gotta go the prefab quickie route, try this instead of Boost’s sugar water: EAS AdvantEdge Carb Control. Available at CVS, some Walgreens, and many grocery stores. Plus, of course, Amazon: