The reason goes something like this:
Say someone asked you to lift a 50-pound dumbbell and carry it from Point A to Point B, a distance of 20 yards. Could you do it?
You might be able to, but by the time you reached the finish line, you might also be sweaty, tired, and out of breath.
That is what living with obesity is like.
The exertion of carrying the weight immediately makes you want to put it down, but you can’t. Not with obesity.
When you’re severely overweight, you are forced to heft the extra weight around at all times.
Whether lifestyle choices, genetics, an illness, or a combination of factors brought you to this point, you have become overweight, which means you’re likely feeling fatigue on a regular basis.
Are you sick of feeling this way?
Does the fatigue and exhaustion frustrate you to no end?
Do you want to change, but you can’t find the motivation to get moving?
Feeling tired all of the time is a common symptom of obesity, which is excellent news! It means your lack of energy is not because of a character trait like laziness.
Your inability to find the strength to eat the right foods or get adequate amounts of exercise are not down to a lack of willpower.
Instead, your obesity and resulting fatigue may be caused by hormonal changes, genetics, or other illnesses, and fatigue is a mere unfortunate symptom.
Why Does Obesity Cause Fatigue?
Carrying an excess amount of weight, such as 50 pounds or more, increases the risk of fatigue.
But it’s not just about carrying the added weight.
In many cases, there is another underlying reason that being obese makes you so darned tired.
Being overweight increases your risk of a good number of conditions, and almost all of them cause fatigue.
Obesity-Related Illnesses that Cause Fatigue
Ask yourself, how many of the following conditions do you suffer from, in addition to obesity?
- Type 2 diabetes
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Heart disease
- Certain types of cancer
- Obstructive sleep apnea
- Fatty liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Osteoarthritis (joint and muscle pain)
If you have been diagnosed with obesity, you might also be suffering from one or more of these associated conditions. That’s because obesity increases your risks for all of them.
Take sleep apnea, for example.
Sleep apnea is a common weight-related condition. Being overweight can narrow your airways, and sometimes restrict them altogether. This can lead to loud snoring and, in many cases, you can stop breathing entirely.
It might be easy to make the connection then, that sleep apnea might lead to excessive daytime sleepiness during the day.
However, a study published by the New York Academy of Sciences found that obese individuals experience more instances of daytime sleepiness when compared to normal-weight individuals, regardless of the presence of sleep apnea or sleep loss.
Depression – An Often-Ignored Symptom of Obesity
Depression is another symptom of obesity that can lead to debilitating fatigue. A recent study by Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center found that obesity and depression are the underlying causes for daytime sleepiness, not just lack of sleep.
None of this is meant to scare you, but with so many ailments packed into obesity, it’s no wonder you feel so cruddy.
You might have underlying illnesses that are contributing to you feeling so sluggish, achy, and irritable.
How Can You Overcome Feeling So Exhausted All of the Time?
To fight obesity, conventional wisdom tells you to eat right and exercise.
But where do you get the motivation to change if you have none to begin with?
In other words, when obesity wears you out, how do you find the energy you need to achieve your final weight loss goal?
12 Steps for Finding More Energy When Fatigue Has You Down
Now that you know that obesity leads to fatigue, and not the other way around, how can you change it?
When you want positive change, and a significant boost of energy, even if you don’t feel like it, remember the following 12 steps.
A dozen expert tips are all you need to keep you energized and motivated when obesity and fatigue threaten to drag you down.
1. Eat the Right Foods
For all you know, your fatigue could be caused by a nutritional deficiency in B12 or Vitamin D. Make sure your nutrition is sound.
The foods we eat are meant to give us fuel. The better the food quality, the more energy you’ll have, letting you get more done, including working out.
The fad diets will have you cutting carbs, avoiding meat, sticking to raw veggies only, or drinking smoothies by the gallon.
Fad diets may help in the short term, but you may gain the weight back quickly if you revert to old eating habits.
Stick to a healthy diet instead that includes a mix of complex carbohydrates, lean meats, and plenty of veggies. Up your protein to build muscle, which burns more fat at rest.
Complex carbs include whole grains can give you more energy to reach your weight loss milestones without feeling deprived.
2. Eat More Often
If you tend to eat a few large meals throughout the day, all of those calories may be weighing you down, causing you to feel full and tired.
Eating more often, such as three regular meals, and three healthy snacks in between, can keep your energy levels higher throughout the day. Your metabolism will also get a boost, which in turn helps you lose weight.
3. Pre-Plan Your Meals
Meal prepping can make meal management a no-brainer while cutting down on distractions and the desire to cheat.
Pick a day, such as Sunday, and prepare all your meals for the week. Store some of your prepared meals in the fridge and others in the freezer. Rotate as needed. You can find a ton of easy meal prep recipes online that can give you the variety of food choices you want, along with all of the nutrition you need.
Planning ahead prevents the “fridge stare” where you stand there with the door open, hunting for the next thing to eat. When you know what to reach for beforehand, you’ll be less likely to grab the naughty foods you want to avoid.
4. Stay Hydrated
Dehydration can cause parts of your body to shut down, which results in fatigue. Keep your body operating efficiently by drinking enough water to keep you hydrated all day long. Try to drink up to eight glasses of water per day, but don’t try to consume it all at once. Rather, sip the water periodically to ensure you hydrate the healthy way for a simple energizing boost.
5. Get Enough Sleep
Getting 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night is a sure energy enhancer. Your body recharges and refreshes itself during the night. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body may not work as well physically or mentally.
If you find it difficult to get enough sleep, try upgrading your mattress or taking more naps during the day. You may need to get tested and treated for sleep apnea if this condition is preventing you from ever feeling fully refreshed.
6. Reduce Stress
Worrying too much triggers your body’s fight or flight defense, which floods your body with cortisol when stressed. This hormone can cause stomach upset, headaches, muscle tension, and other annoying symptoms that can also lead to fatigue.
Take a deep breath and try taking a break from whatever is stressing you out. If avoidance is not possible, try deep breathing exercises.
Taking long, deep breaths can calm you down, relax your muscles, and give you more energy! Other things to try are meditation, yoga, tai chi, listening to music, and reading.
Spending time with friends is yet another beneficial way to reduce cortisol levels. Something about being with your tribe makes you feel safe and secure, which helps you feel the most energized.
7. Get Some Exercise
Being told to become more active when you don’t feel like it rarely does any good. But if you can force yourself to do even a little bit of exercise each day, your energy levels will improve. Examples include a walk around the block, sit-ups in the living room, or pushups while on our knees.
A 15-minute walk will give you a much-needed energy boost, and the benefits only increase the more you do.
Start small and build your way up. For instance, you might start with five minutes of activity in the morning, followed by another five at night. Do that for a few weeks, then build up to ten minutes.
Ultimately, try to achieve a goal of 2.5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise, like cycling or fast walking, every week.
8. Talk About It
Counseling or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help fight fatigue, believe it or not. These modalities can also help with stress, anxiety, and those awful mood swings.
Both in-person and online counselors are available. Sometimes getting ideas out of your head and out into the open can help you patch up old wounds that are keeping you from feeling your best.
9. Reduce or Cut Out Caffeine
If you are constantly tired, experts say you should consider cutting out caffeine entirely. Instead of quitting cold turkey, reduce your consumption of coffee, tea, colas, and energy drinks to once a day, once a week, and then quit entirely over a three-week period. Try to refrain for a month and see how you feel. Cutting down gradually should help with any caffeine withdrawal you may experience, like headaches.
10. Reduce Alcohol Consumption
Many people drink alcohol at night to help them sleep. Yet, the more you drink, the less “deep” sleep you actually get.
The best move is to cut down on alcohol before bedtime. You will end up getting more rest and have more energy upon waking.
11. Find the Will to Change
To gain the strength necessary to wrestle with fatigue, find your “Why,” which is your motivation to lose weight in the first place.
- Having more energy to play with the kids (or grandkids)
- Being more mobile so you can travel
- Adopting a brighter disposition
- Possessing the zest for life you crave!
Once you have your WHY firmly in mind, it’ll be that much easier to do all the things necessary to lose weight.
Things like: Eating right, exercising, getting plenty of sleep, and keeping your chin up even when it feels like drooping.
12. Schedule a Bariatric Consultation
The number one predictor of remission of fatigue and daytime sleepiness is weight loss!
Bariatric (weight loss) surgery can help.
Obesity occurs for a wide variety of reasons. Science tells us that when people eat more calories than they use, their bodies store the leftover calories as fat. But what if it’s not that simple?
Some people are genetically predisposed to gaining weight and environment plays a role, as well.
You can enact change by scheduling a consultation with the best bariatric surgeon near you. A weight loss surgeon like Dr. Babak Moeinolmolki (Dr. Moein for short) can set you on the path to a slimmer frame and better health.
With a procedure like the gastric sleeve (Sleeve Gastrectomy), for example, you can lose up to 80% of your excess weight, letting you put obesity and fatigue behind you for good.
Use these tips to help you fight obesity, despite any fatigue you may feel. Keep yourself accountable and achieve your weight loss goals by scheduling a virtual (web based) consultation with bariatric surgeon, Dr. Moein. This is your first step to losing weight for life!
Call (310) 694-4486 and choose a time that works best for you.