Wondering how to boost your energy levels when you’re tired? In this blog, we discuss causes and symptoms of fatigue, along with some simple lifestyle changes which may help to improve your energy levels.
Fatigue and Bariatric Surgery
After bariatric surgery, or any major surgery for that matter, occasionally feeling tired and weak is very common during the healing phase. This can vary from 4-8 weeks post surgery. You are also expected to feel tired in the first few days of starting your pre-surgery diet. This is due to the sudden decrease in caloric intake.
On the other hand, chronic fatigue and feeling weak over an extended period of time may be a result of an underlying issue.
Causes of Fatigue
Fatigue may be caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological or medical issues.
- Inadequate energy intake (e.g. chronic dieting / insufficient calorie intake)
- Excess energy output (e.g. physical exertion)
- Poor quality diet
- Micronutrient deficiencies, in particular, iron, vitamin B1, vitamin B12 and/or vitamin D
- Inadequate fluid intake / dehydration, which can be caused by excess diarrhoea or vomiting
- Inadequate sleep / poor quality sleep which may also be due to shift work
- Mental health issues such as anxiety or depression
- Side effects from certain medications, such as antidepressants, antihypertensives or sedatives
- Dumping syndrome post bariatric surgery.
- Periods of high emotional stress
- Being overweight or obese
- Presence of an infection from a cold or flu
- Medical conditions such as sleep apnoea, thyroid disorder, diabetes or heart disease
There are two main types of fatigue: Physical or mental.
Physical fatigue refers to when a person finds it hard to physically do things such as climbing stairs or going for a walk. Whereas, mental fatigue refers to when a person finds it hard to concentrate or stay focused.
Symptoms of Fatigue
- Feeling tired or weak
- Feeling drowsy or sleepy
- Poor concentration
- Sore / aching muscles
- Poor memory / brain fog
- Moodiness such as irritability
- Slowed response time
- Blurry vision
- Low motivation
- Reduced immune system function
If left untreated, fatigue can take a huge toll on your physical and emotional well-being as well as your overall quality of life.
It is important to firstly identify the root cause of fatigue. Ask yourself, when did I start feeling really tired? Did I start taking a new medication? Has there been a significant change in my lifestyle? Have I recently experienced high levels of stress? Have I been lacking in sleep recently?
Go down the list of causes of fatigue, and ask yourself if any of these may apply to you. This is a great way to narrow down the root cause of your fatigue.
IMPORTANT: Please speak to your doctor for a recommended treatment plan if you have been experiencing fatigue for some time. Before starting or stopping any medication or supplements, you will need clearance from your health professional team.
How to Boost Energy When Tired: 5 Tips
Simple lifestyle changes to improve your energy levels:
- Make sure you are hydrated. Aim to drink at least 2L of calorie free fluids per day – even more if you are very active.
- Partake in relaxing activities regularly, such as yoga, going for a gentle walk in the park or reading a book.
- Aim to get between 7-9 hours of good quality sleep. Shut off all electronics at least 1 hour prior to bed. Also, avoid caffeine too close to bedtime. Note: caffeine is also found in soft drinks, herbal teas and chocolate
- Have you been taking your recommended multivitamins? Consider getting a blood test to check your iron, vitamin B1, vitamin B12 and vitamin D if it’s been more than 6 months since your last blood test.
- Consume healthy foods from all food groups including lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, legumes, healthy fats and high protein grains.
If you have any questions about the information contained within this article, please reach out to our bariatric dietitians here.