Recent medical research has found a correlation between obesity and the prevalence of headaches. Two large population-based studies suggest that obesity is one of the risk factors for chronic migraine. The link is strongest in patients under age 55, who were found to have a nearly 40% increased risk of migraine if they were obese.

Migraine with aura appears to be a risk factor for cardiovascular events, as is obesity. A high BMI (Body Mass Index) is thought to affect the frequency, severity, and symptoms of migraine.  The lifestyle that can lead to obesity can also trigger headaches.

Permanent weight loss is difficult. It takes psychological readiness, a physical commitment, and changes in lifestyle and behavior. It never comes about by saying, “I need to lose a few pounds and exercise.” It happens via a concerted effort where exercise and weight control become a main project in your life. You need to get up every morning committed to your program, and focused on how to get your needed exercise, as well as planning your meals for the day.

Exercising is helpful for headache patients, and is crucial for weight loss.  To get most of the benefits of exercise, think about exercising in small segments of time, even 10 or 15 minutes.  Most people are able to fit exercise easily into their lives when thinking this way.  We are looking for a total of 30 daily minutes on average, but 20 minutes will do.  However, for weight loss, increase exercise to 60 minutes daily.

Along with exercise, other key elements in maintaining long-term weight loss are portion control of your meals, weighing yourself often, and eating foods that are low in fat, sugar and salt and high in fiber.  And lastly, do not diet!  Severely restricting food is related to the “yo-yo syndrome” where weight is frequently lost but quickly regained.

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