For 25 Years, I Lived the Link Between Belly Fat and Migraine Headaches

Jodi Davis

| 3 min read

It’s difficult to believe that exactly 17 years ago I was outdoors mowing the yard — with a “Jodi-propelled” (self-pushing) lawnmower — in the July heat. Why hard to believe? I was nine months pregnant, due for my third child and weighed over 310 pounds. My daughter was born four days later.
Now you may be asking why I was mowing the lawn in that condition. It had to be done; that’s just what stay-at-home moms do. I was careful and made sure to push that mower very slowly and not overdo it, but I still managed to develop a headache; actually, a severe migraine headache that caused me to feel ill. But this was a common occurrence for me, so I wasn’t alarmed. I’d been suffering from migraines since the age of 10.
I never really put 2 and 2 together, but now I realize that there was a reason why my headaches started when they did. Age 10 was when I began having issues with my weight… the same age when the migraines began. I just learned that a study from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey determined that extra belly fat may be a factor in the development of migraines.
Earlier studies found that extra body weight increased the volume and severity of migraines in people who already had them, but this study actually shows a clear link between the onset of the headaches and waist circumference. It also indicates that belly fat is more closely linked to migraines than is overall obesity.
Well, there you go! I surely had an excess amount of belly fat, from age 10 up until my daughter turned 7, and for 25 years I suffered from migraine headaches.
After I lost my excess weight, the migraine headaches stopped.
I’m not saying that I don’t ever suffer from a mild headache; I may have a couple per year. But when I was overweight, they happened all the time. I remember the pain being so intense that it was unbearable. My children would sit by my side and ask if they could help. Of course, there was nothing that they could do. It was just awful, especially knowing that these headaches would often last for three days.
I never knew that my weight had anything to do with the pain I was encountering. Now I do. This study came a little late for me, but I’m hoping that I can help someone else out there who may be dealing with migraine pain.
My solution for ending those severe migraine headaches: live a healthier lifestyle! Walk briskly for a minimum of 22 minutes daily and consume three — not just one or two, but three — healthy meals per day. Drink plenty of water and make sure to receive at least seven hours of sleep per night. The migraines may well lessen and possibly end altogether. Hey, it’s worth a try!
Trust me: Migraines are the worst, and ending them is the best, especially when you can enjoy your child’s birthday celebrations pain-free. My quality of life has increased 100 percent — yours can, too!

A Healthier Michigan is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association.
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