Thought I was doing well, but then my hair started falling out....

So I was doing really well with weighing/measuring my food. I had my calorie count and I'm really sure it was accurate because while weight loss might have been less one week and more the next, I was averaging out to exactly what MFP said I should be losing, which means I was averaging 1 lb a week over all.

Then for the past two and a half weeks I didn't lose any weight, but hey, I didn't gain, and stalls happen... But my hair has started falling out. Like I'll comb it and a big handful comes out. I did go to the doctor and she drew some blood and talked to me about what I was eating and my calorie count. She said she doesn't think my calories are too low at all (she was surprised it was as high as it was actually but I explained the exercise calories) and she thinks my food sounds nutritionally balanced, but she couldn't come up with any reason for my hair issues. She kind of shrugged and said "sometimes that happens when you're on a diet." BUT I thought that only happened if your calories are too low...

It has been hot as hades here, so could that be a factor? I have been stressed, does stress make your hair fall out?

I'd think if my calculations were off, either if I'm getting more exercise than I think or eating less calories than I think I'd be losing more weight, right? Like, if it's been working just like a math formula so far, that probably means my counts are pretty accurate?

I wasn't doing great on protein when I first started but I made a real effort to get that back up and my doctor said she thinks it's ok. She checked iron and that kind of stuff but I don't have results yet but I do take vitamins....

I've gotten really discouraged and haven't logged for a few days because I feel like I must be doing something wrong. I'm vain about my hair and I'd really like to keep it ... If I opened up my diary at this point you guys would just see some blank pages.

Anyone else experience this? Maybe it's totally unrelated to my weight loss efforts? It just feels connected because it's happening at the same time? Can it happen due to weight loss even if you're getting enough calories?
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Replies

  • tcunbeliever
    tcunbeliever Posts: 8,272 Member
    My understanding is that the hair loss can happen any time you are losing weight. But it's temporary and will come back when you go to maintenance. Making sure you get sufficient fat and protein is supposed to help, as are certain supplements like MSM and biotin. It might not be anything you are doing 'wrong' it might just be how your body reacts to stress and losing weight is a stressor, even when it's good for your long term health.
  • MrsLannister
    MrsLannister Posts: 347 Member
    I went through this a few months ago. Try taking Biotin or a b complex that has it.
  • DX2JX2
    DX2JX2 Posts: 1,921 Member
    If your energy feels good I'm not sure you have a problem with the diet, especially since you got your doctor's confirmation (who is probably more credible than me and the others on this board).

    Stress can absolutely lead to hair loss - it's possible that you're going through a period of stress and that your efforts to limit calories is magnifying that stress for your body.

    If anything, maybe boost your calories and see if it stops. Eat at maintenance or at a much smaller deficit for a week or so and see what happens. If you're still losing hair, then it's something else that needs addressing. As an added bonus, the diet break will give you a bit of a mental rest which could actually reduce some of the stress you've been feeling.
  • nevadavis1
    nevadavis1 Posts: 339 Member
    Thank you. Sorry for others who experience this, but good to know I'm not alone!
  • MegaMooseEsq
    MegaMooseEsq Posts: 3,119 Member
    Even if you up your calories, I'd encourage you to keep logging! Its a good habit to keep with, and then you'll have a record if/when things change with your hair. That really stinks, by the way - I'm sorry it's happening.
  • Fitnessgirl0913
    Fitnessgirl0913 Posts: 487 Member
    Did your doctor test your thyroid? I struggle with hypothyroidism and when it is acting up it is very hard for me to lose weight (I don't gain but cannot lose) and I lose chunks of hair, might be something to look into. Good luck :)
  • nevadavis1
    nevadavis1 Posts: 339 Member
    Did your doctor test your thyroid? I struggle with hypothyroidism and when it is acting up it is very hard for me to lose weight (I don't gain but cannot lose) and I lose chunks of hair, might be something to look into. Good luck :)

    Thanks, I'll ask her. I'm not sure if she did or not.
  • lokihen
    lokihen Posts: 373 Member
    Did your doctor test your thyroid? I struggle with hypothyroidism and when it is acting up it is very hard for me to lose weight (I don't gain but cannot lose) and I lose chunks of hair, might be something to look into. Good luck :)

    Yes, hair loss was one of my symptoms before being diagnosed with hypothyroidism.
  • VirtualMellie
    VirtualMellie Posts: 68 Member
    did they check your thyroid?
  • joseccastaneda
    joseccastaneda Posts: 267 Member
    I bought some collagen powder from Amazon that i've been taking. My hair was thinning and my nails were usually brittle. That powder helped with both.
  • kschwab0203
    kschwab0203 Posts: 608 Member
    Years ago I notice my hair was falling out at a pretty significant rate. I have a lot of thick curly hair so even though I noticed it falling out, no one else could tell. Anyway, it turned out to be a combination of a slight hormone imbalance and stress. No fun.

    Best of luck to you!
  • Fitnessgirl0913
    Fitnessgirl0913 Posts: 487 Member
    If your thyroid is off I have some good tips about how to deal with it when you are trying to lose weight I would be more than happy to share! :)
  • Old_Cat_Lady
    Old_Cat_Lady Posts: 1,200 Member
    STRESS can make hair fall out. I lost hair for almost a month after a highly stressful event. It comes back. I was also eating badly, not logging. I think my protein may have also been very low since when I stress, I lose appetite. I also added a multivitamin to my diet.
  • kshama2001
    kshama2001 Posts: 25,699 Member
    nevadavis1 wrote: »
    So I was doing really well with weighing/measuring my food. I had my calorie count and I'm really sure it was accurate because while weight loss might have been less one week and more the next, I was averaging out to exactly what MFP said I should be losing, which means I was averaging 1 lb a week over all.

    Then for the past two and a half weeks I didn't lose any weight, but hey, I didn't gain, and stalls happen... But my hair has started falling out. Like I'll comb it and a big handful comes out. I did go to the doctor and she drew some blood and talked to me about what I was eating and my calorie count. She said she doesn't think my calories are too low at all (she was surprised it was as high as it was actually but I explained the exercise calories) and she thinks my food sounds nutritionally balanced, but she couldn't come up with any reason for my hair issues. She kind of shrugged and said "sometimes that happens when you're on a diet." BUT I thought that only happened if your calories are too low...

    It has been hot as hades here, so could that be a factor? I have been stressed, does stress make your hair fall out?

    I'd think if my calculations were off, either if I'm getting more exercise than I think or eating less calories than I think I'd be losing more weight, right? Like, if it's been working just like a math formula so far, that probably means my counts are pretty accurate?

    I wasn't doing great on protein when I first started but I made a real effort to get that back up and my doctor said she thinks it's ok. She checked iron and that kind of stuff but I don't have results yet but I do take vitamins....

    I've gotten really discouraged and haven't logged for a few days because I feel like I must be doing something wrong. I'm vain about my hair and I'd really like to keep it ... If I opened up my diary at this point you guys would just see some blank pages.

    Anyone else experience this? Maybe it's totally unrelated to my weight loss efforts? It just feels connected because it's happening at the same time? Can it happen due to weight loss even if you're getting enough calories?

    Yes, I'll shed hair like mad if my anemia is untreated. However, just getting iron in a multi doesn't fix this for me. I have to take way over the RDA and had some trial and error before I found a form of iron that got both my energy and iron levels back up, and stopped the hair loss.

    Other deficiencies can lead to hair loss as well. Iodine is one of them. Wait for your test results before making any changes. Ask for a printout with everything that was tested and the results.

    Would you please be more specific about protein? What % is your macro set to and how well do you hit it?
  • candjmunoz
    candjmunoz Posts: 30 Member
    My first thought was also thyroid. Don't let yourself forget to see if that was tested. An u derivative thyroid can cause you to gain weight, too, so the fact that you slowed your weight loss is also a red flag.
  • candjmunoz
    candjmunoz Posts: 30 Member
    I also encourage you to keep logging your food. It can be helpful for your doctor as you look into timid. Plus (for me) it's hard to start up again once I stop.
  • SuzySunshine99
    SuzySunshine99 Posts: 2,766 Member
    I had some hair loss when I was in a calorie deficit. It was a small deficit and I lost weight very slowly. I ate plenty of protein. My doctor did blood tests as well, and nothing was abnormal...thyroid was fine. She told me that even if you lose weight at a reasonable rate and do everything right, some people still experience hair loss. The way she explained it to me: Your body wants to keep the status quo, even if that means being overweight or obese. When you disrupt the status quo, your body may "rebel", and hair loss is a common way of your body basically showing its displeasure.

    After I reached my goal and was in maintenance for about 6 months, my hair started to grow back. It's completely back to normal now.
  • nevadavis1
    nevadavis1 Posts: 339 Member
    If I remember correctly, you're vegan or plant-based, right? If your protein was low, you may have not been getting enough lysine. It can be an issue for people who don't eat animal products sometimes -- you can be getting sufficient protein, but not enough of this specific amino acid. This has been linked to hair loss. Vegans who are limiting calories can be especially vulnerable, I think.

    It may be worth tracking your diet for a week or so on a site that helps you see your amino acids, not just your protein. This could let you know if you're getting enough lysine. Cron-O-Meter will let you do this.

    http://veganhealth.org/articles/protein#lys

    Or you could just boost higher lysine foods in your diet and see if that makes a difference.

    Hey, good memory! Yes, I am vegan. Good thoughts on the lysine. I upped my soy intake and started putting pumpkin seeds on my salads to meet the protein, but when I'm restricting amounts to make a calorie goal, that could mean some amino acids are low.

    As for the breakdown, I get 1270 calories a day but get more from exercise which varies day to day. MFP set my protein to 64 g and I usually get close to that--one day might be 60 another might be 70, but it's a rare day I'll get higher than that... Yesterday I got 69 but I went over my calories (went ahead and logged even though I ate some chocolate even though I'd had all my calories already).

    I am definitely going to get back to the doctor about my thyroid and try getting some extra lysine and b vitamins. Also good thought on the iodine--I really only get it when I eat seaweed and admittedly I don't even eat it once a week.
  • janejellyroll
    janejellyroll Posts: 25,878 Member
    nevadavis1 wrote: »
    If I remember correctly, you're vegan or plant-based, right? If your protein was low, you may have not been getting enough lysine. It can be an issue for people who don't eat animal products sometimes -- you can be getting sufficient protein, but not enough of this specific amino acid. This has been linked to hair loss. Vegans who are limiting calories can be especially vulnerable, I think.

    It may be worth tracking your diet for a week or so on a site that helps you see your amino acids, not just your protein. This could let you know if you're getting enough lysine. Cron-O-Meter will let you do this.

    http://veganhealth.org/articles/protein#lys

    Or you could just boost higher lysine foods in your diet and see if that makes a difference.

    Hey, good memory! Yes, I am vegan. Good thoughts on the lysine. I upped my soy intake and started putting pumpkin seeds on my salads to meet the protein, but when I'm restricting amounts to make a calorie goal, that could mean some amino acids are low.

    As for the breakdown, I get 1270 calories a day but get more from exercise which varies day to day. MFP set my protein to 64 g and I usually get close to that--one day might be 60 another might be 70, but it's a rare day I'll get higher than that... Yesterday I got 69 but I went over my calories (went ahead and logged even though I ate some chocolate even though I'd had all my calories already).

    I am definitely going to get back to the doctor about my thyroid and try getting some extra lysine and b vitamins. Also good thought on the iodine--I really only get it when I eat seaweed and admittedly I don't even eat it once a week.

    Since you might have something going on with your thyroid, I would discuss it with your doctor first, but iodine is easy to supplement. I wasn't having any issues, but I use sea salt and only have seaweed a few times a month. After discussing it with my doctor, I picked up a liquid supplement (made from kelp) and put it in my water a few times a week.