We’re all working toward having healthier lives and better habits. That’s why we offer small steps you can take to reach your goals. But there are so many pitfalls you can hit. Sometimes you feel like you’re doing really well: you’re eating right and exercising, but you’re tired all the time. If that’s been happening to you, you may be overdoing your “healthy” lifestyle.
If you are fatigued for no reason, you should check in with your doctor; there could be an underlying reason. If you have recently started or ramped a diet or exercise routine, you might be tiring your body out while trying to help yourself.
“Healthy eating can sometimes turn into something that is not so healthy and can drain you of energy if you are too restricted,” said registered dietitian nutritionist Yasi Ansari, an Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics spokesperson.
If you cut your food intake dramatically, your metabolism can slow down and lead to low energy levels. Some people get tired and sluggish when they are hungry instead of having more obvious hunger cues. Try adding a couple of ounces of protein and half a cup of whole grains back into your diet and see if you notice an improvement in your fatigue. If so, you overdid your calorie restriction.
Remember that what you eat matters as well as quantities; you need to be sure you’re eating a good balance. If you are becoming a vegetarian and notice you are suddenly tried, you may be missing vital nutrients.
“If someone chooses to eat in a vegetarian or vegan style, but they are not careful about obtaining enough vitamin B12 and iron (from supplements and plant sources), they may end up with anemia and a resulting feeling of fatigue,” said registered dietitian Elizabeth DeRobertis, director of the Nutrition Center at Scarsdale Medical Group.
When you cut out beef from your diet, be sure to eat more iron-rich foods like spinach and beans. It’s best to speak to your doctor if you make a dramatic change, like becoming a vegetarian. They can help you make healthy choices and refer you to a nutritionist to help you plan your next step.
While exercise is supposed to make you feel energized and give you more strength, overexercising is real. How much exercise you need varies by your lifestyle. And how much working out will drain you is impacted by how fit you are and your diet. If you are following a restrictive diet and then exercising a lot, you can be exhausted.
“Take inventory of how you feel before and after exercise sessions and consider adding carbohydrates or calories to your intake, or reducing your exercise to keep energy levels balanced,” said registered dietitian and certified obesity and weight management specialist Melissa Majumdar.
A healthy lifestyle doesn’t look the same for everyone. What might seem healthy on paper can be detrimental. That’s why we always recommend speaking to a doctor before making changes in your life. Finding what works for you can be wonderful and make a massive difference to how you feel! But, that takes time; trying to plunge into “wellness” is exhausting.