1 July 2014 Trying to Lose Weight but Feel Tired All of the Time?

Are you feeling tired all of the time while trying to lose weight? Here are some tips to help you troubleshoot why this might be happening.

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

We often forget this basic need – sleeping well and sleeping for long enough duration. If you do not sleep well and this seems to be a chronic (long term) problem, talk with your doctor about what might be wrong. To read more about the importance of sleep and weight control, see my post from 1/7/14 at MyNetDiary.

If you feel tired and still need to be productive, try exercise instead of junk foods to help boost your energy level. If you do just enough but not overdo it (e.g. walking), you might find it energizes you much more effectively than fatty carb snacks (candy, chips, pop).

Too Long of a Time Gap between Meals?

If you tend to go more than 4-5 hours between meals, then consider including a snack as a stop-gap. Your body needs fuel - long time gaps between meals coupled with smaller meals in an effort to lose weight could be setting you up for low energy.

Are You Eating Enough?

We are all different - some adults can tolerate intakes of 1000-1200 kcal without any issues whereas others need to eat more to avoid feeling tired, irritable, or light headed. If you track, include notes about how you are feeling so that you can see patterns between food intake, timing, exercise, and overall energy level. If the calories deficit is so great that you can’t meet it without excessive hunger, then lower your weekly rate of weight loss to a slower rate. Read my article on calories at MyNetDiary for more information.

Protein. Aim for at least 60 grams protein per day - 20 grams protein/main meal if you are reducing your calories intake for weight loss. Read my article on protein at MyNetDiary for more information.

Carbs. If you are feeling lightheaded a lot, then check to see if you are undercutting your carbs too much. While it is useful to cut calories from junk carbs, do include healthful carb choices to keep your blood glucose at a healthy level. Some of us are more sensitive than others to low carb eating. Read my article on the basics of diabetes for more tips on carb goals. Either high or low blood glucose can make you feel tired. Check your blood glucose to find out what is happening.

Activity Level Check

Excessive fatigue can result from too little or too much exercise.

If you are getting up earlier to squeeze in exercise, go to bed earlier to avoid losing sleep hours.

If you suspect you are overdoing it with the amount of exercise, scale back a bit to see if it helps with your energy level. You might be doing too much in one or more areas: frequency, intensity, or duration.

If you work long hours in a sitting position, get up every hour and move. Find an excuse to walk somewhere.

A particularly bad combination is poor sleep and sedentary activity. That pretty much sets you up for overeating foods to stay awake.

Check Your Stress

Long term, chronic stress can diminish energy and positive mood. Ideally, identify what is causing the stress and work to resolve it or avoid it.

Many of us use comfort eating to handle stress. How will you handle stress now that you are trying to lose weight? Have a back-up plan. If you love to chew, then chew crunchy non-starchy veggies, sugar-free gum, ice, or something else that has minimal calories.

You could also try closing your eyes, and taking slow deep breaths. Take about 5 seconds to breathe in and 5 seconds to breathe out and do at least 3-5 full breaths.

Exercise can also help reduce stress - do it daily at especially stressful time periods. Or to “defuse,” take a walk at lunch and after work.

Chronic fatigue is a sign that something is not quite right. Please share what is happening with your doctor if you can’t solve the problem on your own.

Katherine Isacks, MPS, RD, CDE
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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.


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