Do you feel tired and irritable when dieting to lose weight? You are not alone. It is common for people who are dieting, especially those on restrictive low-calorie diets, to experience a range of symptoms that can affect their mood and energy levels. This article will discuss how these negative effects on mood and energy may occur, and also provide some suggestions about what you can do to minimize any such debilitating problems.
The first thing you need to understand is that dieting and weight loss can reduce the number of friendly bacteria in your intestines and as a result, bad bacteria may start multiplying. These bad bacteria are responsible for causing bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and gas.
More importantly, however, research has found that they also cause chronic fatigue by increasing inflammation of your immune system (which is one way your body attempts to fight the harmful bacteria). This increase in inflammation makes you feel tired all day, every day – it’s known as systemic inflammation. This is why taking probiotic supplements is essential for mood and energy levels on a weight loss diet. Not only do they help reduce bloating, abdominal pain, diarrhoea, and gas, but they also increase the number of friendly bacteria in your intestines so that bad bacteria cannot multiply.
When choosing a supplement, it is important to do your research and listen to industry professionals. An industry professional, Dr Steven Masley recommends Floraspring, because it combines the top five most effective probiotic strains for healthy weight loss. You should also read customer reviews.
Take a good multivitamin
It’s a great idea to take some form of good quality vitamin/mineral supplement every day, as it will provide your body with the nutrients it needs (in adequate amounts) to function properly. Fat loss diets including low-calorie intake can cause nutrient deficiencies which makes you feel tired and irritable because it causes chemical changes within the cells of your brain that make you feel this way, specifically, it lowers serotonin levels.
Taking a vitamin supplement can also help you to lose weight because it will improve your metabolism and the way in which your body handles insulin (the hormone that tells cells to store fat for future use).
A good quality multivitamin/mineral supplement should be taken every day, even if you are not dieting. This is because research has found increased energy levels when people took a multivitamin supplement compared with those who did not take one (as well as having an improved sense of wellbeing).
First, it’s important to understand that exercise is one way in which your body releases serotonin (a hormone otherwise known as the happy hormone). Serotonin is a neurotransmitter responsible for controlling your mood. Research has found that high levels of serotonin improve mood and reduce anxiety, while low levels make you feel anxious.
Unfortunately, dieting can cause serotonin levels in the brain to drop and this contributes to fatigue and depression because your brain doesn’t have enough energy stored from food intake (because it expects more calories than usual from eating because you are burning them off through physical activity).
Therefore, it’s important to do some form of regular exercise every day (even if it’s only 15 minutes of walking) so that when fat loss diets reduce your calorie intake, you still have the serotonin levels to keep you feeling happy (because it’s not all in your head).
Practise mindfulness techniques
In today’s fast-paced society, we tend not to take enough time out of our day to relax and appreciate the present moment. Mindfulness helps you to be more mindful and appreciate the now – it’s all about living in the moment. There are many ways you can do this such as taking 10–15 minutes out of your day to relax, breathe properly, and concentrate on your surroundings (in particular listening to nature sounds or smelling essential oils).
Get plenty of sleep
Lack of sleep is one of the most common reasons why people feel low mood when dieting (or even not dieting). It’s important to get 7–9 hours of proper sleep every night so that you wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day ahead – not fatigued or irritable.
Poor sleep can cause cravings because it causes serotonin levels in your brain to lower, and this makes you feel like you need something to pick you up. Also, lack of sleep can affect your ability to lose weight because if you’re tired, the last thing on your mind is exercising or going for a run (even though it would make you feel better).
Don’t get too hungry
When dieting, it’s important not to get too hungry because if your body goes without food for too long, it will slow down its metabolism in an attempt to preserve fat reserves so that it has enough energy to keep functioning properly when there’s limited food intake. This is known as ‘starvation mode’ – another reason why restrictive diets are not good for losing weight in the long term.
It is also important not to have too little fat on your body because that causes the release of hormones in your body to slow down and this can contribute to fatigue. However, it’s important not to eat too many calories either (for a Big Mac meal) because if you’re eating more than usual then it’s likely that you won’t have enough room left for high-calorie foods such as desserts, cakes, etc. so it’s best to balance out food intake every day so that there is some spare for when you need something else (such as an extra slice or two of cake).
Have a cheat day every week
If you want to lose weight successfully while still having enough energy for exercising and keeping a positive attitude, then it’s important to have a ‘cheat day’ (for example, one day a week when you eat all the junk food that you want). This will give you something to look forward to every week and also balance out your mood swings, so if you’re feeling low then it’s likely because of a lack of calories and sugar intake and not because fat loss diets are affecting your energy levels or mood too much.
When you diet, make sure you do it in a healthy way (e.g. by eating low-calorie foods and exercising) so that it doesn’t affect your serotonin levels too much and cause fatigue or mood swings. Keep to one cheat day every week when you eat all the junk food that you want, so that fat loss diets won’t have an impact on how happy you feel on a daily basis. Also, get plenty of sleep and don’t skip meals because this will slow down your metabolism when dieting. Take probiotic supplements to boost your energy levels.
Adam Mulligan did his degree in psychology at the University of Hertfordshire. He is interested in mental health and well-being.