When you start a weight loss plan, you may experience a temporary drop in energy. These tips will help you identify what is causing your lack of energy and how to change it. Just remember to hang in there. Once your body adjusts to your new healthy lifestyle, your energy levels will soar!
Expect an adjustment period.
You will be tempted to adopt many new habits simultaneously, but remember that weight loss isn’t about short-term changes. You will need to make gradual, long-term changes to create a healthy lifestyle. Cutting out all the foods you love or jumping into strenuous workouts right away will leave you feeling drained and set you up for failure. Instead of dropping your food intake from 2,200 to 1,200 calories in one day, try cutting out 200 calories daily and then increase your calorie deficit each week. This will help your body gradually adjust to your new eating patterns while maintaining energy levels.
Monitor your calorie intake.
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends that women eat no fewer than 1,200 calories per day and men no fewer than 1,700 calories per day for safe and effective weight loss. This doesn’t mean your intake needs to be this low. If you’ve eaten the same amount of calories for a week and still feel lethargic, slowly add a few calories in the form of nutritious foods. The goal is to find a balance where you feel energized but have reduced calories enough to lose weight.
Eat more iron.
Over time, low iron intake can lead to iron deficiency anemia, which results in low energy levels. Eat high-protein, iron-rich foods — such as beans, poultry, lean red meat, and nuts. The National Institutes of Health recommends that men aged 19 and older and women aged 51 and older get 8 mg of iron daily. Women aged 19 to 50 need 18 mg per day. If you are vegan or vegetarian, you should double these values.
Focus on nutrition, not just calories.
It’s possible to reduce calories and lose weight while still eating processed foods that contain excess sodium and sugar. While you may lose weight, you won’t have the same energy levels as you would if you ate whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats because these foods also contain vitamins and minerals that support healthy body function.
Eat more often.
Going an extended period from one meal to the next or skipping meals causes problems with your metabolism and leaves you famished. Eating when you are hungry will help your body trust that you are not starving it. In return, your body will reestablish a healthy metabolism that will help you reach a healthy weight.
Get the right amount of exercise.
Avoid jumping into exercise too quickly. Strenuous exercise will leave you exhausted if you haven’t worked up to an adequate fitness level. Make your goal to exercise enough to feel challenged but not exhausted and too sore to move. Begin with 15-30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as walking 3-5 times weekly. As your fitness level improves, add new exercises and gradually increase time and intensity. Soon, you’ll be able to push through a tough workout and feel energetic afterward.
Lack of quality sleep will leave you feeling drained. Over time, this can reduce your motivation to exercise. The National Sleep Foundation recommends adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night. Experiment with your sleep patterns until you find a time frame that allows you to wake feeling rested.