It has become increasingly difficult to unplug from the stresses that we confront everyday.
The key is balance, and fatigue is a sure sign that you need to slow down. Even though fatigue is a symptom, it does carry with it a set of symptoms that are detrimental to our bodies. From those symptoms, weight gain seems to be the odd one out.
Fatigue is a symptom of an illness, lifestyle, or some other underlying condition(s). It can be mental or physical or both.
Physical Fatigue is when a person feels tired or incapable of doing physical work. Mental fatigue is when a person finds it hard to do mental work like concentrating or making decisions or logical analysis. One form of fatigue usually leads to the other, especially if left unmanaged.
In both cases, the person finds it increasingly difficult to undertake the usual level of work or stress that once seemed possible..
While fatigued, the potential for error becomes greater. Driving, operating dangerous equipment, or working in situations that require care and meticulousness become open to error.
Although diseases or chronic illnesses cause fatigue, in today’s world, more and more people are suffering from non disease related fatigue.
Despite our constant energy expenditure, here are the ways in which fatigue causes weight gain.
The mother of all fatigue. We all face a considerable amount of stress in our lives, both physical and mental/emotional. Our bodies are built to handle that stress through releasing stress related hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. After the release of cortisol, we replenish our energy by craving carbohydrates. When the level of stress becomes too much to bear, it over taxes these body systems which require more and more rest to function properly. When cortisol remains too high in the blood for a prolonged period of time, the body begins to store more and more fat for the rainy days. The body assumes that it is under threat and will need this energy in the future to cope with the threat. The body also begins to crave more sugars and carbs for energy for the future.
All the body systems are interrelated. For example, the sleep hormone is only released as cortisol decreases in the body. If one part of the system is not functioning properly, the other system bears some of the work or doesn’t work properly. In the first case, fatigue is the result. In some cases, the hormones that affect our eating patterns (when we get hungry and what foods we crave) are also affected.
Lack of Sleep
This is a leading factor to fatigue. In our achievement driven world, sleep is a sign of waste, and the less we need it, the better. On average an adult needs 7 to 9 hours of good sleep. Fatigue also leads to insomnia. The body’s natural clock and the hormonal imbalance resulting from the body trying to compensate one system for another means we get less sleep, creating a vicious cycle that breeds more fatigue.
Sleep also means we’re more prone to snack, adding unnecessary calories to our waistlines.
Insufficient iron causes less oxygen to be transported to the cells, which need it to produce energy for its cellular activity. When the cells receive less oxygen we feel tired and sluggish. This means we have less energy to carry out other activities or any form of fitness without feeling breathless, dizzy, or weak.
Too much Exercise
Too much of a good thing is not a good thing. Exercise is stress. After the damage caused by exercise, the body repairs itself to a stronger version of itself, capable of enduring more stress. However, if you find yourself not feeling energized after a session or deteriorating in performance over time, it means you’re doing too much. The body is incapable at repairing itself at the pace that it is being damaged. This means the body starts losing muscle mass, which means a lower metabolic rate. It also means your body stores energy for the future sessions.
In stressful situations, the digestive system is usually the first to receive less blood flow. The muscles and other organs receive more attention. This constancy means the body is incapable of good digestion, allowing the food to sit in the gut for longer periods of time, causing bloating, constipation or diarrhea, and inflammation. This also means that the body cannot absorb essential nutrients that are essential for proper functioning of other body systems.
An Under active Thyroid
This small hormone gland in the back of the neck controls how we use energy. Thyroid regulates the metabolism and energy use, heart rate, and body temperature. Fatigue is a symptom of an under active thyroid and leads to weight gain. In thyroid dysfunction, the more one restricts the diet, the worse things become, as the body lowers the metabolic rate even further to save energy.
Naturally, an unhealthy diet full of saturated unnatural fats and processed foods coupled with a sedentary lifestyle leads to weight gain. From a fatigue perspective, an unhealthy diet means more work for the digestive system and less nutritious materials to be used for proper functioning.