If you struggle with fatigue related to your weight, you’re not alone. Members of MyObesityTeam say feeling tired all the time makes it hard to keep up with daily life. Even summoning the motivation to make healthy changes, such as losing weight or exercising, takes energy they simply don’t have.
“I’ve been sluggish, fatigued and drained of any desire to do anything,” shared one member. “I know [the fatigue] is because of my 235-pound weight, but what do you do when [you don’t have] energy to do it?” asked said one woman.
What Causes Obesity Fatigue?
Members suspect that their fatigue is caused, in part, by excess weight and underlying conditions related to obesity. Among the issues they report:
Sleep apnea. Several members of MyObesityTeam say they’ve been diagnosed with the disruptive sleep condition, in which breathing repeatedly stops and starts during the night. One woman, who completed a sleep study to diagnose the disorder, said: “Today, [after the study], I have way more alertness and energy – and have done more activities in one morning than my usual week. I hope to get my Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine soon.” Another member responded: “I have a CPAP, too. It takes a while to get used to them, but it should make a difference in your health and energy levels.”
Anemia: Members also report iron deficiencies, a symptom linked to obesity. “My red blood count was below normal,” said one woman after a recent blood test. “I think that’s what was causing fatigue.” Another who “fights anemia” replied, “I now take two slow-release iron pills a day, one in the morning, one in the afternoon. Yet another member with anemia “takes B12 supplements or potassium whenever I feel drained and tired.” Consult with your doctor before starting any supplements or remedies for fatigue.
Thyroid Disorders. Some MyObesityTeam members blame underactive thyroids - in which the thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough hormones to regulate metabolism - for their tiredness, weight gain, and often, depression. One recently diagnosed member, shared her frustrations with the condition. “The worst has been the insomnia and widespread joint and muscle stiffness and pain,” she said. Medication can often balance thyroid levels to reduce symptoms and restore energy.
Pain. Carrying extra weight puts more pressure and stress on knees and joints, members say. “I'm in pain all of the time, physical and mental. Sometimes the pain mentally is worse. I'm so tired,” said one. Besides making it harder to move, pain also disturbs sleep, according to some members.
Medications. Some drugs for obesity and related conditions can cause fatigue. “I’m not sleeping well since they changed my blood pressure meds,” reported one woman. Another said, “I wake up and still feel tired! I wonder if they dropped my Metformin [diabetes medication] dose too low. Plus, they just lowered my dose of thyroid medication. I need to shake this off and move!”
How Members Beat Obesity Fatigue
Diet: Losing weight has helped many MyObesityTeam members combat fatigue. “So many people on this team say they’re always so tired and have no energy. I’m now down 30 pounds and haven’t felt this good in 10 years,” shared one member. Another lost 12 pounds and doesn’t “feel as fatigued as I used to.”
Some members credit the Keto diet – a high-fat, low-carb program - with helping them shed stubborn weight. “I’m finding energy to do things I couldn’t do before, like going for walks and visiting neighbors,” said one member. “I feel good, more energetic, and less fatigued than I did a month ago. I think I finally found the right diet for me,” she added. Consult with your doctor before starting any new diet plan.
Exercise: As challenging as it may be to move when you’re fatigued, members swear by the benefits of physical activity for beating sluggishness.
One woman swims five days a week and does chair yoga. Another works out to YouTube exercise videos. After losing 30 pounds, one member says her energy is boundless. In a single day, she swims laps, does 100 leg lifts, takes two walks and still has energy left to spare. “I was never able to go all day without an afternoon nap, and often fell asleep on the sofa before a movie finished. No more,” she explained. “Now, I have to make myself go to bed.”
Another member offered words of encouragement to those struggling to exercise. “Exercising may be uncomfortable at first, but don't let that stop you. Every day that you work out builds muscle and tolerance, so you can gradually do more with less effort! I find music helps a lot; the more upbeat the better.”
Motivation and Positive Self-Talk: Overcoming fatigue is a mental practice, too, members say. One woman hums the Rocky theme to herself while struggling to walk up the stairs. Another plays loud music for motivation to do household chores. One member forces herself to “do one [healthy] thing daily, such as eating in the kitchen, not on the couch. That helps cut down snacking” and creates healthy habits, she explained.
Members of MyObesityTeam are supportive of others trying to overcome fatigue. They “high five” each other after losing a pound, or achieving a goal they couldn’t complete before.
“I’m very glad that I found this site and have access to others who are here to support me; not to mention all of the great resources available here,” said one member. You joined the right club,” congratulates another. “There are a lot of us couch potatoes here.”
On MyObesityTeam, the social network and online support group for those living with obesity, members talk about a range of personal experiences including coping with fatigue.
Here are some conversations about coping with fatigue:
Can you relate? Go to MyObesityTeam today and start - or join - the conversation. You'll be surprised by how many others share similar stories.