Fatigue is a condition that is commonly associated with extreme fatigue. If excess weight is present it is always suspected as one of the causes of fatigue. Even ten or twenty pounds of excess weight can have an effect on Insulin Resistance (defined later) which can cause unexplained tiredness.
Obesity is typically defined as a person with a BMI (body mass index) over 30, because they are generally about 30 pounds over their ideal body weight for their height. (See note on BMI later on in this article.) An obese person is defined as a person who is “very fat, stout, or corpulent.”
Obesity Effects – The Real Weight of Being Overweight
Fatigue and obesity are now known to be linked to a common abnormality – a condition known as Insulin Resistance. At a healthy body weight insulin facilities the transport of glucose into your body’s cells where it can then be utilized for energy. Insulin Resistance desensitizes the cells of your body to insulin and impairs this process. As a result, glucose and insulin levels become unbalanced in your blood stream, which can later cause diabetes and other serious health risks.
The unbalance of glucose and insulin levels in your blood stream is one of the obesity effects that can be most life changing to an overweight person, yet it gets less attention than other obesity effects. Diabetes, the later effect of Insulin Resistance, is known as the sleeping killer of Americans because so many people are unaware and undiagnosed with this disease. Additionally, it is said that about 50% of people’s Insulin Resistance is caused by genetics, while 50% is caused by lifestyle factors and choices.
Insulin Resistance, along with excess weight, both are causes of fatigue. Coupled together, the result is a double-whammy of tiredness.
Obesity and Its Relationship to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, the mysterious and often misdiagnosed illness that includes unexplained fatigue that lasts for 6 months or longer, has symptoms that are also often present in an obese person. Chronic Fatigue Syndrome symptoms include: Significant impairment in short-term memory or concentration, muscle pain, joint pain without swelling or redness, headaches, unrefreshing sleep and malaise that lasts for more than 24 hours after exertion. Additionally, a person with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome also exhibits sore throat and tender lymph nodes.
Severe obesity, as defined by a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than 45, rules out Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as a reason for experiencing these symptoms. The reason a severely obese person will not be diagnosed with CFS is because the symptoms of severe obesity is so similar to CFS. Doctors will always treat severe obesity first and if the symptoms of CFS persist, then after severe obesity symptoms are gone then it will be treated next. (Note: Body mass index values vary considerably among different age groups and populations. No “normal” or “average” range of values can be suggested. The range of 45 BMI or higher was selected because it falls within the range of severe obesity.)
Fighting Fatigue and Fighting the Causes of Fatigue
The best way to fight fatigue, especially when its due to obesity, being overweight or Insulin Resistance, is increased exercise. Increasing your exercise regiment is vital to improving Insulin Resistances and immediately reduces the causes of fatigue. Generally, Insulin Resistances starts to improve just days after a new exercise routine is begun – even before any significant weight loss occurs.
Next, eliminate causes of fatigue by beginning a sound nutritional plan. Seek nutritional guidance to help you find a healthy way of eating for you – not an extreme diet, but a healthy lifestyle change. You may consult a healthy living coach to help you in both the area of adding exercise to your daily routine and finding a new nutritional plan that works best for you.
Finally, consider supplementing your diet with herbs, vitamins and minerals which are meant to increase your level of energy and balance your body, as well as combat causes of fatigue. Again, a healthy living coach can help you find a balance of these nutrients that will fit your goals.
Being inactive, whether weight gain is present or not, will always make one vulnerable to fatigue. The rule of thumb is when you don’t feel like being active, that’s the best time to do so.