I wish I had a time machine so that I could read this post to myself 5 years ago. My hope is that if you are feeling the effects of extreme fatigue, that this post will give you a starting point on which daily habits, organ systems, and mindset shifts needing to be addressed before you diagnose yourself thanks to Dr. Google.
I'll just start by saying that it is NOT normal to feel exhausted, day after day, especially if you aren't doing anything to warrant the exhaustion (i.e training for a marathon, taking care of a newborn, etc).
Here are a few symptoms that I see as big red flags that something needs to change, beyond the usual Paleo-fixes:
- Difficulty waking up in the morning
- Inability to function without lots of caffeine
- "Wired" feeling at night
- Digestive problems like diarrhea, constipation, or acid reflux
- Intense sugar/salt cravings
- Unable to preform in workouts
- Brain fog, forgetfulness
- General malaise
If this sounds like you, there are the few possible culprits behind why you might still be tired AF:
1. Your diet still sucks
Don't worry, i'm not going to tell you (again) to focus on nutrient dense foods and avoid anything processed (you can read about that here!). The first thing to look at if you are still feeling tired AF is not just the quality but the quantity of food in your diet.
Are you eating enough Carbs? Fat? Calories?
Also, this may seem like a no-brainer, but if you are expending more energy than you are taking in (i.e lengthy gym sessions) and not giving yourself enough time to recover, this will quickly lead to fatigue and eventually, adrenal burnout.
2. You aren't digesting your food
Your nutrition is on point and you aren't overly stressing out your body via exercise, work stress, or otherwise. The next thing to look at is the quality of your digestion.
Do you reach for Tums after every meal? Do you only poop every other day? Do you have diarrhea multiple times per week? (newsflash: none of these things are normal!!!)
These are all signs that something has gone awry in your gut, whether that be low HCL, leaky gut, food sensitivities, or possible gut infection or imbalance of good gut bacteria. Here are a few of my favorite troubleshooting solutions:
Improve HCL/ enzyme production: Swedish bitters, Betaine HCL, apple cider vinegar or warm lemon water before meals
Determine food sensitivities: MRT testing, elimination diet
Balance gut bacteria: invest in a high quality probiotic, and be sure to rotate strains very 3 months or so
Repair leaky gut: L-glutamine, collagen peptides, bone broth, remove food triggers
3. You have adrenal fatigue
(We did a whole podcast on this topic - listen here)
Symptoms of adrenal fatigue include chronic fatigue, cravings for sugar/salt, difficulty waking in the morning and falling asleep at night, decreased sex drive, less enjoyment out of life, and many others.
Your adrenal glands are two pea-shaped glands that sit atop the kidneys and are responsible for not only our bodies "fight or flight" reaction, but our output of important hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. Levels of cortisol should be highest in the morning, allowing us to wake up with ease and energy. By the end of the day, cortisol (should) be at its lowest, allowing for melatonin production to take over and for us to fall asleep easily.
When the body has been under chronic stressors such as malnutrition, work stress, a divorce, too much caffeine, or even perceived stressors like finances; the adrenal glands respond by producing either too much or too little cortisol, at the wrong times (depending on the stage of adrenal fatigue). For example, this is why many people will have an extremely difficult time waking up in the morning, but then suddenly feel "wired" once 10PM hits.
Sound like you? Here are a few things to try, once you've followed the steps from #1 and #2.
- Eliminate caffeine
- Only do low stress workouts such as yoga or walking
- Prioritize sleep
- Put self-care first!!!
- Make sure to get the adequate nutrients needed to support the adrenals - specifically vitamin C, B vitamins, Zinc, Magnesium and Essential Fatty Acids.
- Remember that you can supplement with these nutrients until you're blue in the face, but if the source of stress is not remedied, you're still going to be tired AF
- Pinpoint and remove as many stressful stimuli as possible.
Think you have adrenal fatigue?
Tell me in the comments:
Have you tried everything listed but you're still tired AF? (AF= As Fuck :) )
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