Friday, August 19, 2011

I Have a Problem

My health is going south. I feel like crap.

This is not at all what I expected. I thought if I ate all the "healthy" foods, even if I didn't lose weight I would at least feel better getting away from chemicals, artificial flavors, artificial sweeteners, sodas, that kind of stuff. I thought I would feel great eating local produce and yogurt and some whole grains and healthy fats and free range eggs.

I don't. I have a problem. And it is a problem I haven't had in so, so long that I had forgotten about it.

Headaches. Oh my gosh, the headaches are back.

In May 2010, I wrote in this post:
"I used to think headaches were something I inherited and would have to suffer for the rest of my life. For the past couple of years, I have had migraines with visual disturbances, nausea, sensitivity to light and sound, all of which made it impossible for me to function normally on migraine days. But I also was waking up almost every day with a headache. The doctors couldn't find anything wrong. And then, after I started Medifast, they just STOPPED. I was shocked. I have not had a migraine in over 2 months. I have only had 2 very mild, PMS related headaches which were not even bad enough for a Tylenol. Obviously the headaches were also diet related... I think sugar again... so I will need to pay attention as I add various foods back into my diet to see what might cause headaches. I learned that I do not have to be in pain, and what I eat really, literally effects my health."

I forgot how I used to wake up with a bad headache every single morning and how it would often linger all day long. I was so used to living in pain that I thought it was normal until my dentist became very alarmed about my daily headaches, ruled out dental causes and sent me for a complete workup with my family doctor (who could find no cause of the headaches). Well, they are back. They are solidly back, every day, 80% of the time my head hurts. I wake up with a bad headache every morning.

I am really upset. I don't understand it. It is frustrating. My caffeine intake has not changed much. Drinking coffee or not does not change it... never has, even when I went off all caffeine for months I had the headaches. My mother had these headaches all her life and no specialists ever figured it out. And now, they are back and destroying my ability to enjoy my life.

WHAT COULD IT BE? Could it really be the sugar? I admit it, I decided that a little bit of sugar or agave or local honey was "healthier" than Splenda and fake sweeteners, so I have been using a bit here and there. I have put dark chocolate back into the rotation. But this makes no sense to me! Even on Medifast there is chocolate. There are brownies. There is Hot Cocoa that has real sugar in it. Is it the carb level? Could it be some grain or a particular ingredient I am sensitive to? What is causing my headaches?? Could it be the 2 peaches I ate today and the 2 plums I ate yesterday? I do not understand. On Medifast the headaches went away, and I was eating artificial sweeteners, sugar, various grain ingredients like oats, lots of soy, all the veggies, all the meats, dairy ingredients, caffeine, coffee, diet sodas... so what? What is it?

I know it is my fault I am in this situation. I didn't do what I should have, what I planned to. If I had gradually added foods back in one at a time, I'd know which thing caused the headaches to return. But I didn't, so I don't, and I am tired of being in daily pain and don't know what to do.

I also have gotten my heart palpitations back. That sucks! I had them before, for years, and they landed me in the ER and I had some time with a cardiologist and had to wear a monitor for a week and had all kinds of tests, and they couldn't figure it out. I tried cutting out caffeine but that didn't make them go away. I had them almost daily and they scared me. And then I started Medifast and they went away. Completely. From the same post as above:
"I used to think I was going to die of a heart arrhythmia because there is something really wrong with me. My dad died of a heart attack and so did my grandpa. I thought I was doomed too. I had heart palpitations that scared me to death and put me in the ER. Sometimes they were from caffeine, but often they came out of the blue. I thought daily palpitations were something I'd have to suffer. Since starting Medifast, I have not had ANY palpitation episodes at all. I was having them almost every day before, and POOF they are gone. I even added coffee back into my diet, and still no palpitations. I learned that palpitations can be caused by sugar and other foods in our diets. I am going to make a good guess that it was the sugar causing them, but I am going to be super careful as I add foods back into my diet so if something triggers palpitations, I know what it is and can eliminate it."

Again, my fault, I own it. I changed my diet so fast I have no idea what caused this. Maybe it IS the sugar. Maybe I can only tolerate a very low carb or sugar level. I don't know. But they are back, and I don't like it at all, and I am really frustrated because I lost all this weight and am eating all this good healthy food now but I feel like crap.

I don't know what to do.


Claire said...

You can't stay on Medifast for the rest of your life so you have to find another way. Reading your post it sounds like you know what it is.

Go back to basics until the symptoms go away. VERY basic and add 1 food in at a time.

You can do this. There is no reason why healthy food should be banned from your life. Your body deserves it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lyn

I think you should go see a doctor. Maybe the problem is that on Medifast all the food you were eating was low-GI and now you are eating some high GI foods too? I don't think sugar itself would be a problem but rather the food's overall effect on your blood sugar levels (for example, melon has a much higher GI than table sugar so in terms of affecting your blood sugar levels it is far worse to eat a lot of melon than to eat a little bit of sugar. Also, chocolate is low Gi). You should really read up on GI if you struggle with sugar levels.

The whole thing is really odd. Maybe it is an allergy.

Lyn said...


I am not on Medifast.

What would your idea be of a very basic diet? You say not to ban healthy food, but then how do I eat a "very basic" diet without cutting things out again? Do I cut out eggs, certain meats, fruits? Grains? Agave? The 2 tsp of sugar in my coffee? The square of dark chocolate? I am lost.

Lyn said...


the GI thing could be true. I ate plenty of melon this week. I could/can/may go see my doctor but really, most doctors don't know a whole lot about nutrition these days.

The problem to me is that it 'could be' any of a hundred things and my head hurts and I just want it to stop.

Anonymous said...

Shame Lyn. That is so awful. I've had migraines before and they were horrific. Mine were related to my neck though and to being in a stuffy room (yes... i don't know why).

I know what you mean about doctors not knowing a lot about nutrition. It seems like such a basic thing they should know about. Otherwise a nutritionist maybe?

I really would look into the GI thing. There are a lot of good books around. I'm not sure what you get in the States. I can only recommend ones written by authors who are not in the US and so use grams, kilos etc.

This is the same anonymous as before.

Anonymous said...

Oh Lyn, you've been working so hard at figuring all of this out and now this!
I would also suggest that this could be about the higher GI foods you're now eating, even something innocent sounding like fruit.
It could even be the chocolate - even the dark healthy stuff can trigger migraines in susceptible people.
Trial and error, eliminating and reintroducing foods and keeping a food journal will help you move forward with this.
So sorry to hear that you are struggling.

Anonymous said...

Lyn, it's Helen again, I just re-read the last two weeks of your blog "looking for clues"!
Now that you've changed your eating, are you getting enough protein? Perhaps your body needs a lower ratio of carbs (even the good ones like vegetables, legumes, etc) to protein? I know that I feel healthier if I keep carbs, even the good ones, fairly low.Would you consider restricting yourself to one piece of fruit a day, to see if the sugar in the fruits is affecting you badly?
I do hope that you are soon feeling better.
Helen x

deezer said...

Hi Lyn,
This is a disaster!! I am not an expert on GI / Low GI foods so can't comment on the other posters thoughts. Are you taking in enough water - are you sure!! Also, i would imagine a very basic diet would be no dairy, and no sugar. Starting with just steamed veggies and protein, and then slowly every couple of days adding in something new until the headaches return. it will be boring but it might help you!

I hope you get it sorted...

Also, there might be some other stresser triggering these headaches? Could that be the case?


Marilyn said...

So sorry to hear this, Lyn! When I've started to reintroduce foods I'd avoided, my headaches, constipation and high blood pressure returned, also. What I've found helpful is to get VERY regular with potty habits and be sure to get enough sleep. When I cut back on the coffee (with half-&-half), the headaches and constipation got better.

If I were you, I would go right back on Medifast and follow the plan strictly until the headaches were GONE, and THEN begin adding and substituting foods to find out which ones are triggering your pain. I know that's the LAST thing you want to consider, but since you had NO headaches doing Medifast, that's what I'd return to, at least temporarily, until you get the headaches gone. Just because you didn't follow their plan to introduce new foods gradually BEFORE doesn't mean you can't do it NOW!? XO - M

Jaclyn said...

Maybe you could get tested for food intolerances? Some GPs will test for them, or you might have to look into seeing a naturopath. Or maybe you could just cut out all the "usual suspects" (dairy [probably not soy since you tolerated so much on Medifast], wheat, sugar and fruit) for at least 7 days, then add one new item at a time, waiting at least 3 days before adding a new one.

Whatever it is, I pray it gets sorted out SOON for you. You've worked too hard and come too far to have your health derailed by eating GOOD foods!

Diandra said...

Honestly? Don't worry too much about the headaches. Some people get them when transitioning from one way of eating to the next. It might be the sugar, it might be more or less caffeine - in these cases, the headaches should stop after a few days. And they do not automatically indicate that something is wrong - an alcoholic who stops drinking gets headaches as well, and in that special case they are a good sign. Make sure you drink enough (always helps) and maybe experiment with your intake of different potential triggers.

(My headaches usually stem from too little caffeine. And I get nauseous if my blood sugar drops too low. And you wouldn't want to know what happens to my bowels if I change my food intake from "healthy" to "unhealthy" and back, even if it is just for two days.)

Undercover Dieting said...

My guess is that your body is detoxing all the crap you got from the unnatural food. I'm sure it can be quite addictive, and now you're probably in withdrawal. I would wait it out a while and see if it passes.

I eat lots of processed food myself, so I don't have experience with this. But I remember when I first started a weight watcher'y program I felt horrible the first week or two until I got used to it. I eat much healthier now, but the transition can be hard for the body.

Also, are you getting enough water? If you're dehydrated, that will give you headaches for sure!

Good luck!

Barbara said...

I only know a tiny bit about this subject, so take this with a grain of salt.

But... you were eating a lot of soy products on Medifast. And studies show that soy can increase estrogen levels.

So is there possibly a link to the amount of estrogen in your body and the headaches? Maybe more soy (and therefore more estrogen) was the key to making the problems disappear.

Does anyone else out there know more about the link between estrogen and headaches and/or palpitations?

Anonymous said...

it definitely sounds like your body is detoxing. however, to help with the headaches, try to drink a pint of water before bed and when you wake up in the morning. drink plenty during the day as well. and if you are truly worried about sugar, cut back on it for a bit. although fruit is good for you, there's plenty of sugar in it.

as far as the heart palpitations go, i also believe this is because of your lifestyle change. if you've been to specialists and they can't find anything, that's almost certainly the cause, as well as anxiety.

good luck!

Catherine H. said...

I would do exactly what Jaclyn and a few others suggested: cut out the most likely culprits--grains, especially glutenous ones, sugar, chocolate, etc., or just go back to Medifast temporarily, then add things back in slowly to eliminate the possibilities.

I left a comment similar to this the last time you had a dietary crisis, and I can't help bringing it up again now: a high fat diet seems to be the only thing you haven't tried. Why not take what you're already doing (eating locally raised meats and veg) and take it to the next level? Eat lots of fats--coconut oil, raw butter and raw milk, grassfed steaks, etc. Cut out (at least temporarily) the fruit and whole grains, which we're told are healthy by the very doctors you already stated do not know much about nutrition, and eat the stuff that doesn't raise your blood sugar or poison your body. The website has a wealth of information. My e-mail is qfmvcunctator at gmail dot com if you ever have any questions for me.

Jeanie said...

I starting read about the time you said you decided to stop the orders for the Medifast products. I assumed then that you would have two to four weeks of detoxing and readjusting. Your body is learning a new set of rules. I think your on the right track, as long as your eating in a balanced way. When I spent a few days at a Health Retreat & headaches were the norm as our bodies screamed in protest to change. Maybe your body just needs to some love & down time. Take it easy a little. Good luck. Following your journey and love that you're sharing it.

Jeanie said...

by the way... when I say 'detoxing' I'm just referring to something it was used to that you took away.

timothy said...

i say go back on a strict level of medifast till the headaches subside. then S>L>O>W>L>Y add food back in one at a time to try and find out what is causing it. if you have to stay on a low carb intake and medifast that's a small price to pay for feeling better. good luck darlin! xoxoxoxoxo

Jeanie said...

me again.. I just went back to your main blog page and noticed your last post about a big clean up and purging stuff. Whenever I do that I get a cold/flu type sick feeling for a week, nothing enough to put me in bed, but a general unwell vibe. Usually nothing too major. Maybe your in tune with the energy around you (along with all the other recent changes).
...going now... =)

Anonymous said...

I just recently found your blog when I was searching Medifast. I reached and passed my goal on Medifast, and I'm now transitioning off their foods following their guidelines. Since starting Medifast, my headaches have all but disappeared (not as bad as yours are) and I no longer take blood pressure med. I still have GERD, though. I've almost finished my third week of transition with no ill effects. I'm enjoying healthy, natural foods. Can't wait to see what happens when I add whole grains.

Is it possible that all they allergens you stirred up when you were cleaning your bedroom are making you feel ill?

I thank you for sharing all your insights and honesty and hope you feel better soon. Reeny

Sara said...


Anonymous said...

Have you considered that the causes of your headaches might not be dietary? I was waking up in the morning, or even in the middle of the night, with what I thought were migraine headaches. However, it turned out that I have severe sleep apnea, which can cause your brain to be deprived of oxygen during the night, giving you very bad headaches. The fact that you are waking up with headaches makes me think that you might want to have a sleep study to see if sleep apnea might be a factor.


Karen said...

Lyn. Go to the doctor and go back on Medifast. You don't have to stay on Medifast forever.

Medifast is an open window. A time to lose the weight and make a commitment to stay on transition and maintenance for as long as it took to loose the weight.

During maintenance, you can choose all the fresh foods that you want. It's all there for you.

Work with a counselor to get to the root of the binges, stay on Medifast and your fresh foods will be waiting for you and a new life.

Also, ask the doc to see a registered dietician who specializes in eating disorders.

We're here and we've left the a light on. Come on in and stay awhile. The rest of your life, better health, good things are waiting.

For whatever reason, MF arrests the disease (IMO). Get the disease arrested and the window opens to working on what you need. All my opinions.

Katy Olson said...

Whatever it is, I hope you can resolve it soon! I had a similar issue with headaches when I cut way back on my fat intake. Seems like my body freaks out when I don't give it enough lubrication to keep things moving. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I think you need to see a nutritionist.

bbubblyb said...

I remember a post about you not hearing back from the medifast folks so can you no longer have that as an option? If you still can I'd say just go back on medifast and try to add in foods till you figure it out. If that isn't an option can you try a different doctor to run allergy tests on ya? Hope you can figure it out.

lindalou said...

When I had your age, they were 100 percent related to my hormones.
I went on HRT (hormone replacement therapy) for about 5 years...headaches gone....
Now I am off the HRT...and headaches are very slight but generally not existent anymore.
It was thru the perimenopausal time My late 30's,early 40's that headaches were an issue...
just my experience....

lindalou said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lisa~sunshine said...

I'm going to offer my thoughts.. I did suffer from migraines before..

1. it could be a detox.. they do happen but then again you were on vacation and normally a detox will happen about 3 days after you stop something.. I know you have been off medifast longer than that.. So I don't think it's due to this...

2. don't forget meal timing.. it's a HUGE contributor to insulin reistance and balanced blood sugar levels.. are you eating like you use too with medifast? Same meals, same times, same macros splits?

3. I think it's really hard for you to say what it is.. when you haven't been tracking because you don't want too.. that's the first place I would change.. Ive thought all along that you should either be tracking by scale weight, measuring or journaling your foods.. I"m not saying you have to way your foods but how can you tell if you are having too much carbs? What is a basic meal for you like? Are you eating simple sugars alone? DO you eat fruits alone and low GI fruits too?

Healthy foods are easy to overeat as well.. I can overeat watermelon and raise my blood sugar levels.. crash and want more.. it can cause high blood sugar levels..

If it was a food intolerance you would be able to see by scale weight if you had a large increase in scale weight due to water retention due to inflammation..
I get that you don't want to track and your tired.. honestly I get that way too.. but i"ve dieted down the right way by taking structured diet breaks which are very important.. your body needs to be refeed and during this time you restart and fill your hormones and it allows you to continue to lose the best amount of weight the quickest you can.. which is still SLOW.. and you should do it slow so you can learn how to maintain it...

So maybe start by posting what your eating so people can help you out there first..

I will say I agree with you about doctors.. more than likely they aren't going to be able to help you with a structured whole food plan.. they are going to pull out there script and write you a medicine for migraines.. but that has been my experience.. maybe you know someone who is left who is a caring doctor in your area..

Migraines are horrible.. I hate that feeling.. I know you will figure out something that will work for you..

I do have a simple way to test yourself to see if you are insulin resistant.. if you want this.. let me know..

Take care.. take it easy.. and breathe

lisa~sunshine said...

So I got a bit rambly in my post but I think maybe after being on medifast you are experiencing insulin resistance issues .. headaches can be caused by that and when I was just diangosised with diabetes I had the heart palpatations too.. it was scary business...

more than likely it is due to sugars, carbs, meal times, food combos, and other stuff.. I think medifast kept you balanced and all the fake sugars probably didn't spike your insulin..

this is a bit reason for me eating as whole food as I can.. but not going overboard with the orthorexic thinking...

I wouldn't omit whole macro groups.. I wouldn't omit fruits.. or grains.. I wouldn't assume you have a issue with gluten now when you never did before..

Just start drinking water.. mix all your fruits or grains with proteins or fats.. and work on balancing it out..

I hope something in what I wrote will help..

Megan S@ Gourmet or Go Home said...

I have read every post you've ever written but rarely comment. For some reason I felt compelled to today. I don't have any advice, or suggestions, just felt so bad for you! You sounded so happy and sort of glowy about your new way of eating and I was rooting for you. What an infuriating set back. Wish I had something more helpful to say, just wanted to let you know I was frustrated on your behalf. I'm more of a stomachache person than a headache one but when I get headaches I am overwhelmed with awe that anyone could deal with them on a regularl basis.
Good luck Lyn, we're rooting for you!

Twix said...

Have you had your thyroid tested recently, not just the tsh but the t4 & t3? In my experience messing around with my diet causes the thyroid to swing. Which then equals headaches and palpitations. Just a thought. Hope you can get to the bottom of this. Very frustrating!!

Anonymous said...

I think you should go back on Medifast for a strict month at least, and then slowly add foods back in. You know Medifast works to help your headaches, so that will take care of that immediately, and then you can do the transition phase to get off of it.

You just quit Medifast cold turkey, which is not (from my understanding) the way it's supposed to work anyway, and on top of that you have these migraine issues that you need to sort out. Instead of floundering in the world of food- you mentioned you feel "lost"- simply go back to Medifast and try the transition period the way it is meant to be done, maybe even more slowly than it is meant to be done, in order to find out what is triggering these migraines. I wish you the best, I used to have terrible migraines from 6th grade through around 21, and then they just magically went away. Still no clue what or why.

Angel said...

As a migraine sufferer, they can definitely be brought on by food. I cannot eat fresh tomatoes (or even spagetti sauce twice in a row), Oranges, Red Wine, processed meat (the nitrates) and yeast.

I noticed my migraines have improved on Medifast but mainly because - no dairy, no fruit, no grains and no alchohol. I am eating on a regular schedule.

Good luck!

Neesha said...

Maybe it's just the change that's causing the problem? Perhaps your body is reacting to the change and is actually getting stuff out and that's what causing it? I dunno, just an idea. Maybe getting with a good nutritionist will help? I feel for you, I really do. These food and diet issues are just awful to deal with. Another thing I just thought of...any new or changes in meds?

amy_joy81 said...

I can't say for sure but here are a couple of things I've been told about my own headaches...

1-it could be with drawl. Your body has become addicted to processed or articificial sugars...Medifast, diet sodas etc. Like an "addict" when you go off this stuff your body will reach. Plus it's not used to all the "natural" foods. Give it a little time and they should go away

2-it could be sleep issues or allignment problems. Go to a chiro and get an adjustment, or try sleeping a different way. If your body's out of whack or you're sleeping funny it could be the problem too

Colleen said...

I am a little frustrated by all the comments about "detoxing." What does that mean? What "toxins" was Lyn consuming - artificial sweeteners and soy on Medifast, the same "toxins" that HELPED the headaches before? I do think the radical transition in eating is the culprit here, don't get me wrong, but some of the advice being thrown around is totally nonspecific psuedo science. I.e. someone pointed out that alcoholics detoxing get headaches and therefore maybe it's not a bad thing - well detoxing too fast can also kill an alcoholic. Frankly none of us know if Lyn is in some sort of withdrawal AND/OR if something she recently introduced is messing with her system.

I think the posters pointing out *specific* potential culprits are onto something. It might be high vs. low GI foods, it might be a thyroid thing (t3 and t4 levels can indeed get wonky from dieting; google "eurothyroid sick syndrome"). Food intolerance is another potential avenue.

To me, the most commonsense thing to do is go with the nutrition plan that you know will quickly improve quality of life. Because the true causes -GI, thyroid, intolerance, etc. - doesn't really matter if you're in misery now does it? Yes, in the long term you need to know the mechanism behind the headaches, but for now you have a reasonable fix. I would go with that rather than spending weeks seeing doctors and messing around with your diet on your own.

Jennifer McNeely said...

PLEASE go to a decent naturpath doctor and get a BLOOD food sensitivities test, esp for GLUTEN senstivity, which causes, fatigue, joint pain and HEADACHES>
After years of trying to figure what was wrong several people i know turned up gluten intolerant, mild celiacs. Blood test is the only way to know. OR eliminate ALL GLuten and see if you feel better, research it, see how you feel, if you try gluten free, make sure to read up on what all has gluten (oats, soy sauce etc) so you can be really sure. Just a hunch...some thing gluten intolerance at an all time high due to all the GMOs in our food supply, good luck!

ssm said...

Oh gosh, I have no helpful suggestions EXCEPT to be kinder to yourself. It's not really your fault--everyone makes mistakes, and it's been so long since you had a headache, so how were you supposed to know? I'm sorry this is happening again; I hope it all gets resolved very, very soon!

Anonymous said...

I vote for hormonal issues causing the headaches. Medifast does include a lot of soy and maybe that was beneficial to you. Another thought is now that you have resumed eating more grains you may have a gluten sensitivity. Doesn't sound like a celiac response, but you never know.

This too shall pass.

Anonymous said...

Would an allergy doctor do testing for foods as well as the normal grasses type thing they check for? I am wondering about the lower estrogen as well. Soy most definitely acts like estrogen in the body. When I went through menopause last year I had so many symptoms that I never had when I was still having a period. Also extra weight produces lots of estrogen, and now you are so much smaller maybe that makes the lack of estrogen from the Medifast that much more noticeable? Having said all that I'm very afraid of too much estrogen from soy (and fat), I lost two dear friends to breast cancer and have several more who have it now or just recovered from it. I don't think it's a great idea to eat so much of it, in whatever form.

Hope you feel better soon Lyn!


Lyn said...


I just want you to know that I am keeping a list of all the ideas you have of what the issue COULD be. I am sorting through them to try and figure out what to do. I appreciate the help. I feel horrible, woke up with a headache again this morning. These headaches have a certain "feel" to them that is different from any headache I got on Medifast, but the same as headaches I got during all the years prior. It is a pain all over my head and makes me feel slightly nauseous and if it gets worse it goes to a migraine. It is very, very unpleasant. I have to figure this out and make them stop.

Today I am cutting my sugar way back, and am going to post when I think this all through. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I would be willing to talk with you online AIM or something like that about the HELLACHES you are having. I suffer from (doctor's written diagnosis); severe, chronic, daily, intractable migraine syndrome. The diagnosis changed my life for the WORSE! I have been suffering from migraines for most of my life (I am 41). I want to say they started at age 5....every now and again. And then at about 11 it was a handful a month, then a few years later a few a week, than by HS five+ a week and before graduation from HS (11 grade) everyday. My daily pain level is a 7-8 and then I have breakthrough migraine headaches and my pain levels hit 10+++ I use a different pain goes into the 60's. I can't take Triptins, failed 40+ preventative medications, can't take beta blockers due to severe asthma, while Topamax helped slightly I lost too much weight so the doctor's pulled me off the medication (I am already tube fed due to another illness), now we have a plan in place; while it's not the best plan it's the only plan. When I take my medication I have very little functionable time because the medication makes me so sleepy, and if I don't take it, I can't function AT ALL! I gave up my life long dream career, and often need to be driven where I go otherwise I can't take certain medications. I still am self-sufficient I just live my life around medication doses. I have been to some of the "best" places in the country; sometimes three weeks at a time.....NOTHING! They are definite migraines and I have a million triggers that one would NEVER think of (you would be shocked what could be considered a trigger). I have the most amazing neurologist and he refuses to give up. Every time a new medication study comes out, he calls me, sends me a copy and discusses using the medication off label. One change at a time otherwise there are too many variables. My PCP and all my other "ologists" support his treatment plan. However, I still end up hospitalized at least several times a year for breakthrough migraine pain (when home plans don't work) and a few times a month receive ER treatment. Let me know if I can help. I will email you personally if I know you want to "hash" it out with someone who has far to much experience in this area. Take care, Jodi

Lyn said...

Anonymous (Jodi)~

oh my goodness. That is horrible! I am so sorry you are suffering like that. It sounds like what my mother had although hers was not as severe as you are dealing with. She was incapacitated/in bed for days, often. I am not, but these have trended towards worsening over the years. I would appreciate it if you'd drop me an email and we can talk further, if/when you feel up to it. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

When I went off caffeine cold turkey I struggled with a week long headache that zapped my soul and took over my whole being. It was withdrawal and went away, but took a week. Your headaches may be induced by a different body chemical mix, most likely caused by what your body is missing from the recent past, or what your body is having difficulty with dealing with from the recent present, whether healthy or not as our bodies do adapt to healthy or not practices. Not really disease induced, unless a food sensitivity or an insulin imbalance could be considered disease. Most can be solved with diet (type 2 diabetes or insulin resistance that is, not type 1 :-).

I wish you good luck finding the culprit, no one likes to deal with these things when not feeling well.

mandy said...

have you ever been tested for diabetes? scary i know but seeing as you have been overweight for sometime, it could be a possibility. if your blood sugar is high, you can get headaches and feel very thirsty. i am a type 1 diabetic and when my blood sugar is high i get very irritable, thirsty and get headaches and sometimes heart palpitations!! i suggest going to your doctor and asking to go through ALL the possibilities the people have suggested.

i dont think it would have that much to do with your diet changing drastically. i do see you having an influx in sugar - especially if you are eating yogurt which can have up to you 16 grams of sugar in a serving. but then again i have no idea what type you are eating. but if you were diabetic those types of foods would send your blood sugar skyrocketing!!

good luck and i hope you figure it out and its something simple to fix

Princess Dieter said...

Do an experiment for me. For 2 weeks, give up grains and sugar. No grains, no sugar. No sugar. No gluten. For 2 weeks.

See how that feels.

Can't say it's not worth trying. Some people are sensitive to things in grains and sugar has always been your nemesis, so why even go near your destroyer. Makes no sense. Give that shit up! ; )

Theresa said...

I have not read the stuff from others (sorry, time is squeezed right now) but have you considered calling MF and asking them if this is common and what the culprit might be? Hey, you were with them for a good long time, I suggest you try to gleen anything you can from thier knowledge of the program. Good luck Lyn,

Marie said...

I'd go back on Medifast until the headaches go away. Then, slowly add one food at a time (like every three days) and see when the headaches come back. That will identify your culprit(s)

One Thick Chick said...


I too have suffered from unexplained headaches. I just thought my excedrine or percocet would be be part of my daily routine. It seems when I diet they get worse. My doctor gave a me B12 and iron cocktail and just like that my headaches are gone. The veggies and healthy food I ate my headaches got worse. Now with my cocktail I am headache free for about 4 months now. I hope this helps you too.

Susan said...

Get back on Medifast. Obviously, go to the doctor again before you go back on Medifast and then again after you are back on plan. That way you can be medically monitored for how being on-plan positively affects you and have some real answers once and for all for the cause of the pain.

You've openly talked about how you've gone off Medifast in the past and you didn't mention these problems coming up like they are now that you're off Medifast again. But since you've experienced relief in your pain by being on Medifast, go with it. Then with the help of your medical professional, you can get to the cause and be better prepared for when you transition off Medifast in the future.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lyn,

I'm so sorry to hear that you're struggling with this again. How frustrating, especially as a "reward" for switching back to what most people consider a very healthy diet.

I disagree with those who suggest a return to Medifast. I don't think all that processed food and soy and AS is good for anyone.

I also struggled with headaches and joint pain for much of my life -- until I started a low-carb diet. I'm at goal now but stay very low carb because it keeps me pain-free. I don't eat sugar, wheat, soy, grain, or anything processed. My diet is very simple: meat, eggs, veggies, a little fruit, a little cream, a little butter, and some nuts/seeds. Basically if my granny couldn't have grown it or produced it on her farm 80 years ago, I don't eat it.

My best to you. I hate seeing you so rattled.

Anonymous said...

Reading your blog for the last several months I'd say you should consider whether you are clinically depressed. Headaches can be just one of many symptoms. See a doctor and describe what has been going on with you for the last few months. The food we eat impacts depression as well. Certain foods can trigger episodes if you are already predisposed.

Anonymous said...

I have daily headaches when I eat the Standard American Diet. When you went on Medifast, I started my own "whole foods Medifast" program. (Protein grams greater or equal to carb grams... low fat). I found it immediately eliminated the daily headaches I thought I was cursed with for life. Like you, I thought I was stuck with a poor quality of life and didn't question whether there was anything I could do about it.

I currently follow Dr. Bernstein's Diabetes diet (as I am close to being diabetic) and it REALLY helps me feel better to stay low carb and eliminates daily headaches.

I now eat some protein, some low glycemic veggies, berries or strawberries, cheese, heavy cream, greek yogurt, and various fats (as well as artificial sweeteners & whey protein). I have no headaches.

I would LOVE to see you try to do a psuedo Medifast plan (which is basically the same as what you do with the Dr. Bernstein diabetes diet), but with real food. It CAN be done and is probably the only thing that will prevent binges/weight gain for you long term.

Like the Medifast Lean and Green, my plate is normally more than 1/2 filled up with low-glycemic veggies... so I don't feel gross like I used to with Atkins. I eat more fat in my diet than you have been with Medifast. But as I am sure you know by now, anything that you eat besides fat is going to cause you to release insulin and cause hunger swings.

I also would be interested to see what you blood sugar levels are.

Anyway - whatever you decide to do, GOOD LUCK. Living with headaches daily is no way to live.

Anonymous said...

Possible cause of hadaches: TMJ and/or teeth grinding at night. Both are the main source of mine.

Dawniepants said...

Honestly how rubbish for you!

I think any of my suggestions have already been said. I just wanted to say my friend is having difficulty post exercise with headaches, and I am having issues with them when I cut down on my caffeine.

So I was just going to add, keep track of your water intake through the day, I agree with the others who say it could be a bodily adjustment. I know this isn't the same but when I started getting atrocious IBS I had to strip back my diet and keep a food diary of what I was eating. When the symptoms hit I could look at my diary and see what I had changed that day.

I know that sounds so anally retentive (no pun intended) but it really helped me work out that processed flour and too much sugar was not my friend.
Perhaps a little food diary?

Kendra said...

I'm not a Dr so I can't say exactly what is going on, but I do know there is a transition program to getting off of the 5 & 1 plan and adding things slowly back into your diet. It sounds to me you didn't have a health coach as you walked through the program--they should be able to help you transition and maintain. I hope you feel better and I hope you find answers. Please feel free to contact me if you have any more questions!

Anonymous said...

What about your blood pressure? Has that ever been a problem? Headaches in the morning, for me, equaled high BP.


Free to Be Me(g) said...

My migraine problem was mold. It was hidden between the walls in the home I was living in. Immune response can be changed by the foods you eat. One more idea to consider. :) Good luck!

Anonymous said...

Maybe it is the mild ketosis state. If your headaches were caused by imbalances in neurotransmitters in the brain, mild ketosis may have alleviated that problem. Ketogenic diets were developed to help patients with epilepsy. Maybe try a naturally low carb/high protein diet that mimics Medifast in its low carb content.