When fatigue stands in the way of weight loss
By naturopath Margaret Jasinska
A lot of people come to our clinic seeking help for weight loss. The majority of them are suffering with poor health, poor sleep and significant fatigue. This can make losing weight a real challenge. I always try to help my patients feel better first. Then they are in a better position to lose weight effectively.
Cassandra is a 35 year old lady who came to see me for help with weight loss. She was carrying 30 excess kilos and had been trying to lose it for the last 4 years. Cassandra did her best to stick to a healthy diet and exercise plan but she never lasted very long because she felt so exhausted all the time.
Cassandra didn’t sleep well. Her sleep was light and broken and she woke feeling terrible. Her energy level picked up during the day and the afternoons were her best time. Cassandra’s doctor had diagnosed her with polycystic ovarian syndrome and insulin resistance when she was 29. Cassandra’s mother and her sister both have type 2 diabetes. When her doctor performed a blood test, he found high levels of insulin in her blood. That means Cassandra has insulin resistance (also known as syndrome X or pre-diabetes). There is a lot of information about insulin resistance in the book I Can’t Lose Weight and I Don’t Know Why.
People with insulin resistance usually feel very hungry most of the time, and they often experience strong cravings for sugar and carbohydrate rich foods. Cassandra told me she never feels satisfied after eating. She said “I could eat all day and in fact some weekends that’s what I end up doing, but then I feel so terrible and almost have a panic attack thinking about how much weight I’m going to gain”.
I wanted to improve Cassandra’s health and energy level; help her to sleep better and reduce the strong cravings. That would make losing weight so much easier.
I ordered some blood tests for my patient. Cassandra’s iron and vitamin B12 levels were good. I checked her vitamin D and it was on the low side of normal. Low vitamin D can promote fatigue and it can worsen insulin resistance, making it more difficult to lose weight.
I checked her thyroid hormones and they were not ideal. Cassandra’s TSH was 5.1 U/L, indicating a mildly under active thyroid gland. A level like this is consistent with feeling tired, a bit depressed, finding it hard to lose weight and experiencing some fluid retention. I gave Cassandra a prescription for natural compounded thyroid hormones.
Good sleep is extremely important for overall health and mental health. I asked Cassandra to take 1 teaspoon of Magnesium Ultra Potent powder with dinner each evening. She often stayed up late at night, staring at her computer screen. I explained the negative effects on sleep of exposure to blue light late at night and recommended she download this free app.
I recommended Synd-X Slimming Protein powder to make a delicious and filling smoothie, for convenience and to keep hunger away.