Ever notice that as your body gets bigger, you get more tired? Do you notice that as you get heavier, you get tired more easily? How can this happen? After all, logically, the more one eats, the more energy one has… but it’s not that simple. Unfortunately, overweight and fatigue interact, in a very insidious way.
The problem is your body is actually starved of energy as you balloon up. Your cells need energy or else your body becomes tired. How does this happen? One simple concept: insulin resistance.
Obesity, Overweight, And Insulin Resistance
Your body’s trillions of cells have a section called the mitochondria which burns glucose. Your body breaks down different types of food you eat into compounds. While some of the foods you eat are heavy in amino acids which are used by your body to turn into protein or muscle, other foods you eat have sugars which your body breaks down to glucose. Mitochondria need glucose for energy.
When you eat too much and you gain weight, your eating habits actually result in a flood of glucose throughout your system. The more you eat, the more glucose your digestive system breaks down and releases throughout your body. This triggers your pancreas into releasing insulin. Think of this chemical compound as a ‘key’ that ‘unlocks’ your cells so they can take in the glucose your body is releasing. So the ‘key’ of insulin opens the ‘doors’ of cells to take in glucose for energy.
Insulin Resistance Creates a Vicious Cycle
Insulin resistance happens when you overeat so much over an extended period of time that your body’s cells are no longer being ‘unlocked’ by the insulin.
The more insulin-resistant your cells are, the more glucose piles up in your bloodstream because it cannot move into the cells to be used for energy. When your system detects this high glucose level in the blood, your pancreas releases even more insulin, and this starts the process of insulin resistance once again.
All the while, your cells are not taking in glucose, and are not getting the energy they need to power your body. You feel tired.
The Fatigue Overeating Downward Spiral
Since your cells have locked out glucose, they become starved for energy. This sends a signal to your brain to eat more, so you can get more energy. Your brain craves certain types of energy-rich food like sugary foods. You eat these calorie-dense sugary foods. Your body breaks down these foods into glucose and floods your bloodstream once again.
By now, you know what happens next. Your body releases even more insulin, yet your cells block the insulin. Your cells remain energy deficient or ‘fatigued.’ This triggers another round of eating. Round after round after round. This is the downward spiral you’re probably in, if you’re overweight and feeling tired all the time.
Break Loose – Or Face Diabetes
Pay attention to the downward spiral eating process above. Don’t let yourself get trapped into this very unhealthy cycle. If you let this persist, you might develop diabetes. Insulin resistance is a common precursor to type II diabetes.
Make no mistake about it – diabetes is bad news. Not only can you lose your feet or legs, you can develop cataracts, your kidneys might fail, your skin might feel itchy all the time, you can experience heart problems. These are a few among a long laundry list of bad chronic health conditions that stem from diabetes.
Nip all this in the bud by exercising. Exercising helps bring your cells’ insulin absorption cycle into sync, and you end up burning more fat for calories. Combine that with learning to eat clean, and your fatigue will begin to lift – permanently.
Sure, it’s hard to consider exercise when you’re exhausted, but it’s part of breaking you loose from this nasty and self-destructive cycle. Improving your nutrition is a very good start. Combine that with any exercise, even walking, and as your energy improves you can become more ambitious. If you need help, here in Hawaii we run a specialty medical weight loss clinic, and your first consultation is free. Let us help you get your excess weight off, your cells nourished, and your energy up!