Dieting is a pain in the — jaw.

by Russell on March 22, 2013

In all honesty, I can claim to be somewhat of an expert on yo-yo dieting, a veritable black belt in the ancient art of ‘Yum-Carb-Fat’. As anyone who has not been hiding in a cabin in the back woods for the last twenty or so years will know, our modern society has added many new moves to this widely practiced art; indeed the mantra of Yum-Carb-Fat practitioners has moved from ‘hmmm-chocolate’ to ‘super-size me’. At the risk of ridicule and scorn, it is not your friggin metabolism that is the problem; it’s the bad habits we have learned and the even worse choices we make toward the high fat, high carb, processed rubbish the worlds money hungry marketers foist on us.

In some countries it is often cheaper to buy this pre-packaged wanna-be food from a myriad of fast food and takeaway stores than it is to prepare a nutritious, balanced meal at home. And it’s getting worse. Some of the so-called energy drinks out there should be on the list of weapons-of-mass-destruction banned by every government in the world. So much sugar or the even worse offender – high fructose corn syrup – packed into a small bottle. I call them empty calories.

Like any ‘born-again’, I sit astride a high horse on the moral high ground. But my dieting experience is real-world, hard fought (or is that NOT fought for) devoid of high minded book learning. Until now.

Of all the diets over all the years, this one has the best chance of success. Why? Something has changed. For the first time I have begun to notice differences in my approach to the better eating concept. I diary everything I eat, and while tedious and time consuming, I can see the prevalence of carbohydrates that are the foods of choice. Bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, to name a few. Easy to fill out any meal with. As an experiment, I’m spending the next week breaking down the information even further, recording the protein, carb and fat content of everything.

A waste of time? I don’t think so. Already the extra work makes me think about everything I eat, makes me plan the days meals rather than grab that slab of bread with thick lashings of peanut butter just because it’s easy. I read every label, pour through cookbooks at home and online and spend time cooking new and sometimes delicious replacements for the staples that bought me to the heaviest weight of my life.

I have 55kgs (120lbs) to lose and I know it is going to take over a year. None of the biggest loser type quick fixes that will not last, just a slow steady loss of weight coupled with workouts three times a week.

stop-grindingSo what does all this have to do with the title of this post? A pain in the jaw? Well, it’s like this. I began to notice I was feeling hungry in the evenings, yet when I thought about it I realized it wasn’t my stomach that was hungry, it was my mouth, or probably more correctly, my brain. This was a new experience for me, a breakthrough of sorts. All I needed to do was retrain the brain over a period of time and I was home and hosed. Hmmm. BUT … when I denied my mouth its desired food, my jaw began to ache. I tried to take notice if there was anything I was doing – clenching my teeth? Pushing my tongue against the roof of my mouth? I started stretching my jaw and applying Reiki to ease the tension. It helps but the tension is still there.

So, like everyone with a problem, I went to the internet. It seemed there are a lot of people out there, mostly dieters, asking the same question. And so far I haven’t found a decent answer, especially from the medical profession. It appears this phenomenon is wide spread, yet no one has done any research on it. I suggest it’s a mind/body link, the brain reacting to the shortage of tasty morsels it is used to constantly flowing through the mouth.

Sounds like a damn good thesis subject for someone to examine in depth. There’s a bunch of people out there looking for the answer. Sign me up; I’ll be a guinea pig.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Mike Rothfuss November 7, 2019 at 10:15 am

I experience this too. However I have noticed it the worst when I may be dehydrated. I lose weight\maintain weight best on a low carb diet. Maybe other things work, this has just been the best for me. I also run and lift weights. Dehydration and low carb are not uncommon. Drinking a pedialyte or two seems to remedy my problem. Just FYI.


Carolyn April 3, 2018 at 4:54 am

This is an very late response to the above posts, however, I wanted to reply because jaw pain when dieting is something which I have experienced for a long time but had not thought about particularly deeply.
Interestingly a dentist has pointed out that I have an overactive jaw and I grind my teeth. This is exacerbated by stress (consciously adjusting one’s usual food intake is, of course, rather stressful). The same dentist actually recommended that I had botox injections in my jaw to weaken the muscle. I did not go ahead with the botox in the end, however, if my symptoms had been much worse then I would have.


Christopher Steed February 9, 2017 at 3:32 am

Yes! I am getting the same thing. And have done for many years when I have been dieting.
its a tightness in the jaw. I do feel like I am clenching my teeth a little. I get it all day if i am on a really low calorie diet. and really increases when I increase my water consumption!


CJ April 5, 2016 at 2:49 am

This has been happening to me The jaw pain. im female heading into my middle age but not yet menopause And im gaing weight slowly but surely. Enen though i let myself feel hunger/jaw pain from 10pm till i sleep. I feel i am depriving my body which is craving food to the point of headaches so why am i still gaining weight.


Russell April 7, 2016 at 2:28 pm

I’m sure you have more diet advise than you can handle but if you want to chat about this post here again


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: