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Topic: Been Losing Weight---- but now I'm always tired! ~HELP~

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Subject: Been Losing Weight---- but now I'm always tired! ~HELP~
Date Posted: 7/10/2009 5:25 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2008
Posts: 115
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I have been losing weight recently. I started in Dec 2008 at 223 lbs. I am down to 205 lbs.

I have been running on treadmill 3-4 times a week, weight traing 2-3 times a week.

To lose weight I have been watching my serving sizes and eating more frutis and vegetables. I am staying away from sweets and fried foods. I am just starting Weight Watchers (July 6, 2009 was my first day!)  I also just started a Multi-Vitamin for women.

My energy level is so low... it is getting worse (I am having less and less energy as time is going on)    Any suggestions, help, anyone with similar cases... What did you do? What can I eat to help? What can I do to help?

(P.S. I know that in the past with each of my 4 pregnancies I have been anemic.--- NO, I am not pregnant (tubes are tied!)  LOL!!!---)

Thanks everyone!


Date Posted: 7/11/2009 8:38 AM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
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I would highly recommend that you go to your regular DR and not only have your iron checked but also have a full blood panel done. You may be missing some nutrient due to your changes in eating habits. Are you making sure you are getting enough protein? Fruits and veggies unfortunately don't provide a lot of protein and you need to replace it somehow if you cut red meat from your diet - and from what I have read, soy protein is NOT an adequate substitute for animal protein. And make sure you are getting enough calories per day to fuel your exercise levels! There are lots of good calorie calculators online - look for one that not only asks for your height and weight, but also your activity level.

Also, ask your DR to check your thyroid levels - large weight loss and gain can trigger thyroid problems in some people - as can simply the normal process of aging.

I had some similar problems when I started eating really light breakfasts (300 cal. or less) and Weight Watchers/Lean Cuisine microwave meals for my lunches (also 300 cal or less). Too many carbs, not enough protein. My blood sugars were all over the place, my iron was low, I wasn't getting enough protein. I started eating tuna fish sandwiches for lunch every other day instead of the WW meals and that helped me get through my workday, but I was still so hungry in the evenings that I would blow the whole thing on dinner and before bed noshing. So now I am trying to do the 6 mini-meals every day instead of just the 3 meals and then a pigout snack at the end of the day. I find that keeps my energy levels more stable over the course of the day. 300 cal breakfast, 100 cal snack, 300 cal lunch, 100 cal snack, 500 cal dinner, and I still have 200 cal left over if I want a bigger night snack. Of course that's a 1500 calorie per day diet. I don't know if you are using that system but I have found that if you drop too far below 1500 that can really sap your energy as well. I had a friend try a 1200 cal per day diet and after 3 months she ended up in the hospital - her system just couldn't take the nutrient deprivation.

Date Posted: 7/11/2009 10:21 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2008
Posts: 115
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Thank you SO MUCH  for the advice.    =)

I had thyriod problems while pregnant, I didn't think about having it checked now so it had regulated after the birth of my 3rd child. And was fine during my pregnancy with the twins. PROTIEN: We don't do much red meats. Never have. We eat lots of chicken and turkey.   I will definately add some tuna to my diet, worth a try at least!  My hubby would be happy if I bought steak weekly I am sure... naw! We will just have to make a trip to our local favorite Steak House!  LOL     =)

I don't really know how many calories I eat daily.  ~I just started the Weight Watchers program and am eating the number of points allowed to me through that for my age, weight and activity level.~

I guess I really don't have much of a choice~~ Must make an appointment with my doctor!!!    I have considered going to a Nutritionist, can they run the same blood work tests for thyriod and to check iron levels etc??

Again, I appreciate the help.  It have got me thinking!  =)

Blessings, Verlina

Date Posted: 7/11/2009 7:39 PM ET
Member Since: 10/6/2005
Posts: 10,719
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Verlina - nutritionist depends on health insurance. They can run the same blood work, but if they are the ones to order it, there's a good chance your insurance company won't pay for it. I know mine won't. They don't consider nutritionists to be "real" health professionals for some reason so they won't cover the office visits or any of the tests they might order.

One other thing to consider - have your magnesium levels checked. Pregnancy can lower magnesium levels and after 5 pregnancies I'm thinking they might not go back up to normal...and magnesium can easily be supplemented with a daily pill.

You can always try tuna steak...

Date Posted: 7/12/2009 6:21 PM ET
Member Since: 10/19/2007
Posts: 1,028
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try a spoonful of coconut oil when you're tired.....but not before bedtime!  It really gives you energy.

Date Posted: 7/12/2009 7:41 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
Posts: 8,942
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You may need to take more than just a multi vitamin.  I'm not talking about the caffeine laden energy drinks, but something with actual vitamins in it.  I like zip fizz when I need some extra energy or to drink while I'm working out.  It's loaded with B vitamins for energy, as well as a lot of other things you may have depleted, and it keeps me from getting dehydrated or getting my electrolytes out of balance.  I'm sure if you look around, there are plenty of other add-to-water vitamin mixes.  This just happens to be the one that's most convenient for me, and it's only 10 calories.

Date Posted: 7/12/2009 10:45 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2008
Posts: 115
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Thanks Sharon--- I will look into something like that and see what it does for my body!      =)

Date Posted: 7/14/2009 12:52 PM ET
Member Since: 1/30/2009
Posts: 5,696
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Seeing a Registered Dietician would likely be a better choice for you then a Nutritionist.  RDs are board certified, while anyone can pretty much call themselves a Nutritionist. 

But - if you need blood work done, thyroid checked, etc. you really need to see an actual doctor.

If you don't have any issue with citrus/acid, I swear by Emergen-C.  It's loaded with viatamins and minerals and low in sugars.  I also sometimes find eating a banana can boost my energy up - the postassium makes a huge difference and there are enough carbs to keep you going until your next meal.

I agree with Bren - tuna is magic.  Either raw or rare.  Yum!

Congratualtions for all you've accomplished! :)

Date Posted: 7/16/2009 6:26 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2005
Posts: 487
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Please make sure you are ingesting sufficient carbohydrates. Your body utilizes carbohydrates as your primary energy source. This is usually the main problem when people reduce calories. Only when your carbohydrate stores are depleted will your body utilize other sources of energy and that means muscle breakdown, which is not a good thing. Sufficient intake of complex carbohydrates is imperative to keep your metabolism and energy levels up. Great sources are brown rice, oatmeal, etc. You really should start a daily diary of what you are eating. This way, when/if you go to see a Registered Dietician you can show her/him what you have been eating.


Edited to say that I am midway through a certification program for Certified Personal Trainers which includes a solid nutrition core, so you know where I am getting my information. We are trained using the same textbooks that students pursuing a Registered Dietitician certification use.

Last Edited on: 7/16/09 6:29 PM ET - Total times edited: 2
Date Posted: 7/16/2009 7:48 PM ET
Member Since: 4/19/2006
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I would recommend seeing a nutritionist. Your health insurance may even pay for it.  Also, make sure you are getting enough protein.  That's really important when you are working out.

Date Posted: 7/17/2009 3:27 AM ET
Member Since: 7/19/2008
Posts: 15,485
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And those minerals.  Cell structure is dependent on them.  Without them, things move slower.  Our modern diets are often lacking in minerals.  Bananas, seaweed, parsley, and Emergen-C are some sources.

Date Posted: 7/17/2009 1:48 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
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Please make sure you are ingesting sufficient carbohydrates. Your body utilizes carbohydrates as your primary energy source. This is usually the main problem when people reduce calories. Only when your carbohydrate stores are depleted will your body utilize other sources of energy and that means muscle breakdown, which is not a good thing.

So your body never burns your stored fat? 

Date Posted: 7/20/2009 1:45 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2005
Posts: 487
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Carbohydrates are the main source of energy for your body. They provide immediate energy by combining with the oxygen in our blood. Fats are the concentrated energy source of the body. They have over two times the calories per gram of carbohydrates or proteins. In order for your body to burn fat we need to eat the proper diet.

Muscle is broken down and rebuilt when you do resistance training. This procedure is necessary and normal for your muscles to grow. Because protein is so important in building and repairing your body, it is not used by the body for energy when enough carbohydrates and fats are present. However, if you are not ingesting sufficient fats and carbs to fuel your basic body needs, the amino acids from proteins can and will be utilized for energy.

Date Posted: 7/20/2009 2:43 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
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I'm not concerned about dietary fats.  I'm concerned about what it takes for your body to use your stored fat (i.e. spare tire) for fuel.  At what point is that burned by your body for fuel?  After you've exhausted all of the carbohydrates, etc. floating in your bloodstream, then harvested all of the available protein from breakdown of your muscles?

Subject: THANKS
Date Posted: 7/21/2009 1:00 AM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2008
Posts: 115
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Thanks everyone for your help. 

UPDATE: I have seen a little bit of an improvement in my ernergy level over the past week since I started my multi-vitamin AND have been eating small meals frequently throughout the day.   I am on the Weight Watcher Point System and am using my points wisely-- fruits for snacks, WHOLE wheat breads, wraps and tortillas and have been eating salads daily with lots of leafy greens.

I really appreciate everyones thoughts and help.   =)

I still plan on going to get blood work done, I need to make sure I am doing this eating change effectively and efficently. I don't want to be sick  that is why I am losing the weight while I am still semi-young (28).

Blessings to you all,   Verlina

Date Posted: 7/21/2009 2:03 PM ET
Member Since: 6/30/2005
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OK, here is a summary of fat burning taken from one of my textbooks:

Lipolysis is the breakdown of fat stored in fat cells. During this process, free fatty acids are released into the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body. Lipolysis can be defined as the process in the body of breaking down stored triglycerides (or triglycerides in the blood for food we've just eaten), into two main components, glycerol and fatty acids.

In order for this to occur, an enzyme called sensitive lipase (HSL) must be present and in order for it to be active, there is a series of intracellular reactions that occur.
Another key element in the process of lipolysis is that of insulin. Insulin's main role in the body is to act in an anabolic (building) manner, producing complex molecules from those that are simpler in form. While definitely insulin is a key contributor of muscle tissue growth and development, when insulin is present in a situation where there are more calories consumed than needed at any given moment, it will also be anabolic in terms of fat tissue. When this happens, the body will begin manufacturing triglycerides. When insulin is absent in the body combined with a hypocaloric (low calorie) diet, it is then those free fatty acids will be released from the fat cell and fat loss will occur.

 Along with the role that insulin plays, there are other hormones that will also come into the picture during lipolysis. Epinephrine, norepinephrine, glucagon (which is antagonistic to insulin), and adrenocorticotropic hormone will all work to induce the lipolysis process to take place.
Do note, however, that even if these hormones are present, you still must be in a caloric deficit. Regardless of what supplement you are on, if you consume more calories in a day than needed to maintain your body weight, the body has to do something with this excess.

 It can either form new muscle tissue (which is highly likely if you have been weight training), but there is a limit to how much new muscle can be built at any given time. After it's maxed out its muscle development, fat accumulation will begin to occur.

OK, so to summarize, when you are burning more calories than you eat and insulin levels are low (normal low), then your body starts to break down the body fat (triglycerides) in your cells because it realizes it doesn't need to store if for future use (that is the job of insulin). However, if you just jacked up your body with a lot of SIMPLE (fast digesting.... like white sugar, high fructose corn syrup, etc.)  carbs this may cause an insulin spike which in turn can inhibit release of fat from body cells.

So by eating a balanced diet (enough complex carbs, good fats, and lean proteins) while still staying in a caloric deficit, you should have all the available "pieces" in your bloodstream so your body will utilize the carbs for immediate energy, then start breaking down body fat for more fuel as needed in the longer term, while avoiding scavenging the amino acids released during muscle rebuilding.


Date Posted: 7/22/2009 6:26 AM ET
Member Since: 6/21/2008
Posts: 8,435
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No knowledge here but I have to say being a SAHM with 5 children under the age of 7 would do me in. :)

Date Posted: 7/23/2009 1:36 PM ET
Member Since: 11/18/2008
Posts: 115
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RB--- thanks for that info.  What are the best carbs to be eating? (What book is that by the way?)

Maurine- Maybe that is why... honestly, I never really considered that.  =)     I have always been a SAHM so I never really thought much about the fact that I am chasing 5 kids daily and am not just physically working 18 hours a day, but am mentally working 24 hrs a day.  =/

Blessings, Verlina

Last Edited on: 7/23/09 1:39 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Subject: Been Losing Weight
Date Posted: 7/26/2009 2:04 AM ET
Member Since: 5/18/2009
Posts: 11
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1) You mentioned you're running 3-4 times a week and lifting weights 2-3 times a week, but how many days a week total are you in the gym? There's really no need to be in the gym more than 3x a week. Lift weights FIRST, then do your running afterwards. Mon - Wed - Fri  or Tue - Thu - Sat works very well.

2) You don't need to overdo cardio either. 45 min or more is excessive. Ideally, intervals are the best thing to do. I do 15 min TOTAL after I lift weights. I do a short warm up jog of 1 min, then alternate 30 second sprints and 60 second jogs until the 15 min are up. It's very intense. If you're not in shape for it, stick with regular steady cardio, but don't go over 45 min -- you're body will start breaking down muscle. Lifting weights is actually MORE important than cardio for losing weight.

3) Eat every 3 hours. This generally means 6 meals a day. Each meal should have protein, carb and fat. Eat veggies or fruits with EACH meal. Beans and lentils are also very good. Only eat starchy carbs post-workout (pasta, rice, potatoes, cereal, oatmeal, bread, whole wheat too!!). This means if you workout 3 days a week, you're only eating starchy types of carbs on those days. I pick one day a week, usually Saturdays, to eat whatever I want. I had waffles, pasta, and even ice cream today, but I'm very strict about what I eat the rest of the week.

I'll be completely honest with you:

You don't need to go see a nutritionist. You don't need to count calories and you don't even need Weight Watchers (plus it's cheaper to cook at home). Eat 6 healthy meals a day and you should be fine. Drink water with each meal and throughout the day. Avoid soda, fruit juices and sugar whenever possible (unstable sugar levels are one of the main reasons people feel tired). Don't drink any milk either, except on Saturdays.

Here's an example for days when you don't go to the gym:

Meal 1: 2 eggs scrambled with veggies, 1 orange, 1 cup green tea

Meal 2 (Snack): Cottage cheese with blackberries on top

Meal 3: Grilled chicken with lentil soup

Meal 4 (Snack): Mixes nuts with 1 pear or apple

Meal 5: Rotisserie chicken with spinach salad mixed with pine nuts, sun-dried cranberries, olive oil, balsamic vinegar

OR Grilled Salmon with arugula salad mixed with olive oil, white vinegar, dijon mustard

OR Beef Stir Fry with snap peas, broccoli, and carrots

Meal 6 (Snack): Cottage cheese with fresh strawberries


On days you go to the gym, drink a protein shake right after your workout. Mix 1 or 2 scoops of protein powder with water. Eat a banana afterwards.

The key to having energy is eat well-balanced meals every few hours, staying hydrated, maximizing your efficiency in the gym without wasting time, and getting plenty of rest on off days ( as well as 8 hours sleep).

As of today I'm 5'9, 175lbs, 10% bodyfat and stronger than most people my size. If you just stick with the basics you'll be OK. Good luck.


Date Posted: 8/6/2009 10:58 AM ET
Member Since: 4/23/2009
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I have been sucessful with a high protein low carb diet. Your body uses the carbs you give it to function daily. When you cut those down it has to burn fat. I have so much energy now it is unbelivable. the-atkins-diet.info is where i got all my info. MY friend has lost 87 pounds with it. Really quick too. I have 4 kids under the age of 5 so I understand what you are going through.


Date Posted: 8/9/2009 2:38 PM ET
Member Since: 7/14/2007
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I have been sucessful with a high protein low carb diet. Your body uses the carbs you give it to function daily. When you cut those down it has to burn fat.

That's the key part of taking someone's advice on exercise and food.  You need to be clear on whether you're primarily exercising to build muscle and endurance, or to burn fat.  Obviously you're going to do some of both with most plans, but personally I'm not spending an hour on the treadmill just so I can burn off breakfast.  I want to burn off stored fat, and my body doesn't access that stored fat until it runs out of it's preferential energy source - carbs.

If you're primarily interested in building muscle or endurance, go ahead and eat a high carb meal before working out.  You can easily use those carbs for energy to fuel a longer workout and build up your endurance. 

Date Posted: 8/12/2009 1:02 PM ET
Member Since: 8/2/2009
Posts: 157
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I know it sounds simple but make sure you are getting 8 hrs of GOOD restfull sleep and drinking plenty of water, and if you are still tired take a 20 min rest.  Take it easy on yourself you have accomplished a lot!

Date Posted: 9/1/2009 10:45 PM ET
Member Since: 8/25/2009
Posts: 300
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It could be that as you lose weight you are also flushing out a lot of toxins that have been stored with the fat in your body and making you feel run down.  I know a lot of people don't believe that toxins build up in the body, but when I first started eating healthier I was tired all the time.  If you stick to a healthy diet eventually your energy levels will go back up.  That was my experience.  Getting roughly the same amount of sleep every night makes a huge difference too.  I find I do better on consistent 7 hours a night ongoing than I do on 7, then 8, 6, then 9, etc.  I also agree with those urging you to make sure you drink plenty of water.  Just a few ideas.  You're doing great and it will only get easier!  I know it's hard sometimes and I commend you on your efforts.  I lost 42 pounds in 2005 and have kept off 39 of it.  You can do it!

Date Posted: 9/30/2009 10:36 PM ET
Member Since: 8/12/2009
Posts: 242
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I was a Sports Management major in school with some core courses in wellness. I would reread theroselady post again if I were you. She is really giving you sound advice. Start with your doctor visit and make sure thyroid is not the issue - or blood sugar or anemia. Adding lean meat to your diet can boost your energy, but try to avoid turkey because it releases natural hormones in the body that induce tiredness. Watch ham as well b/c it is loaded with salt and simply not good for you. Fish is a great one, but try to keep it to only 3 or 4 servings a week b/c of the concern of mercury content. You might try to add some Roast Beef as well- the red meet is fairly lean and has more iron in it than white meats.

If everything shows up fine with your doctor, you might try to schedule a visit with a dietician to find a diet that doesn't leave you feeling depleted all day long. They can help you figure exact calorie content as well as foods that will boost your energy levels.

A word to the wise on vitamins - I am not saying they are bad, but they do not absorb as readily into the body as fresh foods do. As soon as the vitamins and minerals are exposed to air, they lose potency. Imagine how long those nutrients have been exposed to the air away from their natural source and you can understand why they are not always as effective as the foods you eat. A dietician will be able to help you pair foods together that allow the body to absorb the nutrients in them most effectively and can guide you to exactly what vitamins you need most.

Keep up the good work! Losing weight isn't easy, but it sounds like you are working hard (and at a healthy pace) towards your goal. Best of luck :)

Date Posted: 10/14/2009 12:23 AM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2009
Posts: 7,620
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Last Edited on: 8/20/12 11:26 PM ET - Total times edited: 1