Nearly everyone knows the feeling of fatigue and exhaustion. Often, it’s a result of lack of quality sleep the night before. Focus on getting proper sleep the next night, and usually, you’ll feel fine.
But chronic fatigue is much more insidious. Chronic fatigue isn’t a result of one late night. If you feel tired all the time, despite going to bed on time and getting enough sleep, you may have to dig deeper to find out why. People who are always tired find that it can cause problems with their personal and professional lives because they don’t have the energy to do the things they love. In short, they could be missing out on life.
If you feel like fatigue is always holding you back, it’s time to address the root cause of it. Many times, it’s something you never would have expected. The following are some of the most common reasons you may always feel tired.
1. A food sensitivity or intolerance
Digestion plays a crucial role in all of our body’s functions, including how energy is delivered to cells. If you’re eating something that your body is trying to reject, the energy from that food may not be getting into your cells where your body can actually use it. The result can be fatigue and discomfort.
Many foods can cause subtle sensitivities that can lead to problems like weight gain, nasal congestion, headaches, itchiness, rashes, irritable bowel symptoms, and fatigue. These types of food sensitivities can be hard to identify because they don’t show up on allergy tests, such as with non-celiac gluten sensitivity.
There’s usually no quick and easy test to diagnose food sensitivities. But a healthy elimination diet can provide a wealth of insight into how your body reacts to different foods. The best way to implement this would be with the help of a nutritionist or allergist. An elimination diet involves eliminating a number of potentially problematic foods — such as gluten and dairy — and gradually re-introducing them to your diet to see how you respond to them.
2. One-size-fits-all diets
Many weight-loss plans today promise fast results to anyone who adheres to their guidelines. But in these cases, the diets are usually very restrictive and require the user to follow a very low-calorie plan. They don’t take into account a person’s individual genetic makeup or health needs, and this can set a person up for failure.
Your body needs healthy sources of protein, dietary fat, and plant foods to function at its best. Maybe you’ve known someone who’s tried eating nothing but lettuce and carrots in an attempt to be healthier and lose weight — or maybe you’ve tried this yourself. It won’t work! Not only will this approach deprive you of essential nutrients that your body needs, it will leave you feeling exhausted and experiencing cravings that could lead to over-eating later.
Rather than trying to follow a restrictive, extreme low-calorie diet, look at some scientifically proven ways to lose weight without putting your body in starvation mode. One of the best ways to do this is with a safe and proven intermittent fasting plan. If you’re trying to lose weight, this may help you slim down without zapping your energy levels.
Intermittent fasting can help your body get back to an optimal state of health, more like nature intended. And studies are showing that intermittent fasting works when it is done properly and with medical supervision. It’s a totally different approach to weight loss that goes against those age-old diets that simply don’t work.
Don’t deplete your energy with restrictive diets that are nearly impossible to follow. If you want to lose weight, talk with a doctor who specializes in weight loss and intermittent fasting so you can shed pounds without feeling tired and deprived.
Chronic inflammation is detrimental to your health. Not only is inflammation linked to many dangerous conditions like heart disease and diabetes, but it can also cause ongoing problems like weight gain, chronic pain, headaches, and yes — persistent fatigue.
How do you know if you have an inflammation problem? One of the best ways is to look at your current diet and lifestyle and see if you’re doing things that are known to cause inflammation. This could include a number of habits like eating sugary or processed foods, not getting proper sleep or managing stress, eating unhealthy fats, and being sedentary.
Commit to following an anti-inflammatory lifestyle and see if your energy levels increase. This means you’ll need to make sure you:
- Exercise daily — or at least five times per week
- Change your diet to cut back on processed or sugary foods
- Eat plenty of anti-inflammatory foods like fresh fruits, vegetables, and omega-3 fats
- Find ways to energize yourself and relieve stress, like yoga, meditation, or a favorite hobby
- Don’t smoke and avoid secondhand smoke
- Make quality sleep a priority and get at least seven hours each night
This may seem like a lot of changes, but give yourself time as you move toward a healthier lifestyle. If you miss a day of exercise or slip up by eating a donut, forgive yourself and move on. You can still find success with higher energy levels and successful weight loss if you persist with these changes.
Keep working toward an anti-inflammatory way of life and you may find that it becomes second nature with time, practice, and patience. The effort will pay off by not only boosting your energy, but helping to prevent health problems as well.
4. Caffeine overload
If find yourself reaching for a cup of coffee first thing in the morning, and then another, you could be consuming too much caffeine. The same goes for energy drinks and sodas, which often contain sugar and other additives.
It’s true that caffeine can boost alertness and quickly fend off that morning grogginess. But there are limits to how much caffeine a person should have. And consuming too much caffeine will work against you if you’re trying to gain more energy. Here’s why:
- Caffeine takes several hours to clear from the body. This means it could still be in your system when it’s time to go to sleep at night. This is especially true if you consume caffeine in the afternoon or evening hours. Poor quality sleep will lead to a vicious cycle of consuming more caffeine the following day.
- Caffeine has a rebound effect, which means it can make you even more tired after it wears off. One study found that people who consumed energy drinks experienced higher levels of fatigue the following day.
- Many flavored coffees and energy drinks contain high levels of sugar, which give you a quick surge of energy followed by a blood sugar crash that can cause extreme tiredness.
You don’t have to give up your morning cup of coffee, however. Simply cutting back on caffeine and being mindful of when you consume it can do wonders for your sleep quality and energy levels.
Try to cut back gradually, until you’re down to one or two cups of coffee a day, and only in the morning. You may be surprised at how much better you feel as your sleep quality improves and your energy levels become more stable. And with better sleep and higher energy, you’re more likely to make healthy food choices and get some exercise, which will further improve your health and help you slim down.
5. Lack of water
Water is perhaps the cheapest and easiest way to increase your energy level and improve your health. Unfortunately, today we have many alternatives to water such as juices, soda, diet drinks, energy drinks, and caffeinated drinks (see above). And not one of these can replace the health benefits of drinking pure H20.
Water is vital to so many processes in the body, including energy production and hydration of your cells and organs. When your body isn’t hydrated, you feel sluggish and tired. Even if you’re eating a healthy diet, your body still needs plenty of water.
Finally, drinking plenty of water can help you ward off cravings and lose weight — which will naturally give you more energy, too. And you can use all that extra energy to get out and exercise, which will only boost your energy level even more!
6. A sit-down job
We can’t always choose how much sitting is involved with our jobs. If you have a job that requires a lot of sitting, it could be making you more tired.
Research shows that sitting more than seven hours a day increases the risk of metabolic syndrome, a collection of symptoms that lead to type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
But metabolic syndrome isn’t just bad for your health — it could also make you really tired. People who have prediabetes or diabetes often report fatigue as a symptom. What’s worse, this fatigue could be stopping you from getting exercise and making healthy food choices, which are two of the best ways to boost your energy levels and lower your risk of serious health problems.
There is some good news here: if you start exercising, you could counteract the negative effects of your sit-down job. A national study in the American Journal of Epidemiology found that 30 minutes of exercise a day helped to undo the health problems associated with being sedentary.
Even better, make an effort to spend less time sitting. Have standing meetings, or go outside for a walk while you discuss a work project with a colleague. Getting up and moving around isn’t just good for your body, it’s good for your brain. Exercise boosts blood flow to the brain, providing it with more oxygen and nutrients, which may help get your creative juices flowing.
7. High stress levels
You may not associate stress with fatigue. After all, stress can make you feel wound up and anxious, not tired.
But long-term stress takes its toll on the body and absolutely contributes to fatigue in a variety of ways:
- Stress causes anxiety or nervousness, making it difficult to settle down and achieve quality sleep at night.
- Stress increases the stress hormone cortisol, which contributes to health problems like diabetes, which in turn can cause fatigue.
- The spike in cortisol levels also leads to weight gain and food cravings, which can stand in the way of a healthy diet and exercise, which are crucial to proper energy levels.
In fact, studies show a direct correlation between stress and fatigue.
All of this may sound discouraging if you have a stressful job or difficult events going on in your life. You may be wondering how you can possibly conquer the stress battle when there’s no way to get stress out of your life completely.
The good news is, you don’t have to wait for stress to go away. You can take control of how it affects your health and your body by learning stress management techniques. Yoga classes, meditation exercises, deep breathing, listening to your favorite music, and getting a massage are just a few of the ways you can help mitigate the effects that stress has on your body.
It is worth the time and effort to learn how to manage stress. It will improve your physical health, help you sleep better at night, and ultimately give you your energy back.
8. Eating the wrong foods
You may already know that eating a diet high in processed foods and sugar will lead to health problems and fatigue. If you’re eating too many of these foods, now is the time to switch to more fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins to get the vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats that your body needs to maintain good health and proper energy levels.
But beyond these steps, you could be eating foods that don’t suit your DNA and genetics. In fact, some genetic traits that you cannot control can contribute to vitamin deficiencies and will dictate how your body responds to certain foods.
This means that a diet that works for a friend may not work for you. In addition, you could have hidden vitamin deficiencies or health issues that are causing fatigue simply due to your genetic type.
The best way to address this issue is to get a personalized genetic test that will tell you how to lose weight and fight fatigue in a way that works for your body type and DNA.
If you’re tired of feeling tired and want to get to the root cause, Garcia Weight Loss and Wellness Centers can help. Our personalized plan will help you fight fatigue and lose weight so you can feel your best. Contact us today to schedule your no-cost consultation!