Fatigue, exhaustion and even burn-out are incredibly common in todays society. Have you ever felt so exhausted, even getting out of bed is difficult? I certainly have. In fact, most people will experience fatigue at least once in their lifetime.
There are many reasons you might be feeling exhausted. Most commonly fatigue is caused by nutritional deficiencies, dehydration, side effects of medications, insufficient sleep, over-training, heightened stress, or systemic illness or infection. In fact, even the feeling of fatigue is experienced differently for each of us. For you, it may be expressed as an increase in heart rate; poor performance or recovery in training and competition; an increased perception of effort – or lowered resilience to everyday tasks; sudden unexpected weight loss; loss of appetite; reduced enjoyment in training or work; sleep and/or mood disturbances.
But what can you do about it? I hear you. Thankfully, there are many nutritional considerations to bare in mind that can have profound effects on your return to optimal energy. Here’s my top 8 considerations for beating fatigue:
- Are you drinking enough water? The ideal amount for most adults is around 1.5-2L/day, not including additional requirements from exercise, drying work/home environments etc.
- Are you eating enough fresh produce? Fresh veggies and fruit contain incredible amounts of vitamins and minerals that sustain our energy far better than anything processed. Ideally you’ll be eating a minimum of 3 cups of veggies and 2 serves of fruit every day.
- Are you eating enough carbohydrates to support your body’s ability to function? If you are on a lowered carbohydrate diet you may have trouble meeting your body’s requirements: especially if you are highly active. If in doubt of whether you are eating enough, or for the best timing of carbohydrates in your day: chat to your nutritionist for personalised information.
- Are your iron stores adequate? Low iron is one of the most common nutrient deficiencies in the world, and can cause severe fatigue. But don’t rush out to supplement before getting tested. Too much iron can be toxic to the body, and interestingly as many as 1 in 10 of us carry a hereditary gene for Haemochromatosis. This genetic condition encourages your body to absorb too much iron: and the symptoms are very similar to those with low iron. This is why blindly supplementing can be problematic.
- Are you getting enough calories from food? If you’ve been strictly watching your weight or dieting: there could be a chance you’re cutting out too much food. Additionally, for those who are highly active: it may be that your food intake is not strategic enough to match your excessive requirements. Chat to a nutritionist if you are unsure.
- Are you drinking too much alcohol? When our liver is working overdrive to detoxify the extra load that alcohol places on it, it preferentially uses up vital nutrients to support our liver. This can leave us feeling sluggish and uninspired. Sugar can have a similar affect.
- Are you overly stressed? Or have you been in a stressed state for an extended period of time? This can be physical stress, psychological stress or pathological stresses. Examples of common stresses on the body include, navigating life during a pandemic, injury, heavy training, a chronic active virus (such as Epstein Barr virus), or simply taking on too much (a modern epidemic).
Consider what factor(s) may be contributing to your fatigue picture, and commit to supporting your system in small steps to recuperate. If you need help on the journey, this is one area of health I love supporting clients with. One on one consults can make the world of difference in gaining your energy for life back.