Imagine this: It’s morning. You just woke up and you should be starting to feel energized and ready to tackle the day. But nope! You’re already feeling drained before the day has even begun. Unfortunately, many of us don’t have to just imagine this. This scenario is all too familiar for many of us moms that are trying to juggle work, motherhood, and the home life I’ve been there too. I remember when, despite getting a full night’s sleep, I struggled on the daily to feel awake enough to just make myself something for breakfast. That’s when I realized, understanding the causes of fatigue in women like myself isn’t just necessary; it’s essential!
As with any health issue, it’s so important to understand the root cause of WHY this symptom is happening. Then, and only then, can we can take informed steps towards healing and reclaiming our energy and vitality.
In this article, we’ll dive into six unexpected reasons you might be feeling fatigued. By the end, you’ll have a clearer picture of what could be draining your energy and some actionable advice on what to do about it. So, let’s get those energy levels back up, shall we?
Getting to the Root of Fatigue
As I said, if you’re feeling tired all the time, it’s important to address the root cause of fatigue. What is that, you might ask? A SLOW METABOLISM.
A sluggish metabolism is at the root of all fatigue.
Let me break it down for you.
Fatigue is essentially a lack of energy. It’s like running on empty. And what is the process of making energy? Your metabolism.
Metabolism is how our bodies convert food into the energy we need for everything we do, like moving, thinking, reproducing, and growing. And when it isn’t functioning as it should be, your body won’t have the proper energy to sustain you throughout the day.
You can read more about what the metabolism is and what it does here.
While the root of all fatigue is a slower metabolism, it’s important to know what causes this slowdown. S let’s dive in and understand these factors that contribute to a sluggish metabolism.
6 Causes of Fatigue in Women
Nutritional deficiencies are a super common yet often overlooked cause of fatigue in women. We are what we eat, right? (Actually, more like, we are what we absorb). The foods we eat contain essential vitamins and minerals that our bodies need to function well.
The Importance of Vitamins and Minerals
Vitamins and minerals aren’t just buzzwords you hear on health shows. They’re real, and they’re vital to our health and well-being. These tiny things work silently in the background, ensuring our bodies function efficiently. Among other things, minerals activate enzymes that turn fuel into energy. And missing even one of them can lead to significant drops in energy.
When we’re nutritionally balanced, we feel energetic, focused, and capable of tackling our busy lives head-on, handling stress, and fending off sickness. But when we lack these essential nutrients, our bodies let us know, often in the form of fatigue.
Common Nutrient Deficiencies that Lead to Fatigue
While all nutrients are important, some really have a big impact on our energy levels. So, let’s dig into a few common deficiencies that might be behind your fatigue.
- Potassium: This mineral is a big deal for your nervous system, cell membrane permeability, fluid balance, regulating blood pressure, and more. It’s also an important mineral for allowing your thyroid hormone and glucose into your cells – both really important things for energy. If you’re feeling extra tired or weak? Low potassium might be the culprit. Download my free guide, The Perfect Pick-Me-Up for Tired Moms, for some delicious drink recipes containing potassium to boost your energy.
- Magnesium: Known as the “relaxation mineral,” magnesium helps with sleep, muscle function, the stress response, and literally thousands of other things. If you’re lacking it, you might feel tired, anxious, or experience muscle cramps or tightness.
- Copper: We don’t talk about copper much, but it plays a crucial role in regulating iron. Many time when people get their iron checked and find out it’s low in their blood, it’s really a copper issue. There’s not enough copper to regulate iron, so iron is stuck in your tissues of your body instead of carrying oxygen in your blood.
- Iron: Speaking of iron, iron deficiency, or anemia, can be causing your fatigue. It’s more common in menstruating women, people with bleeding disorders, or vegans. It’s essential for producing hemoglobin that carries oxygen to our tissues and muscles. Without enough iron, you’re not getting enough oxygen to your cells, and you’ll feel tired all the time.
- B Vitamins: The B-vitamin family, are key for energy production. Low levels can leave you feeling tired, weak, and struggling to concentrate.
Now, you might be wondering, “How do I know which nutrients I’m lacking?” That’s where a Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis (HTMA) comes into play!
HTMA is a simple, non-invasive test that measures the mineral content in your hair. Not only can it pinpoint what nutrients you’re deficient in, but it can also identify imbalances in minerals (which is just as important to consider as deficiencies) and any heavy metals that are lurking in your system slowing down your metabolism.
The best part? It’s as easy as sending in a hair sample from the comfort of your own home! Check out my HTMA package to learn more about that.
We all know what it’s like to run on minimal sleep, right? Late-night Netflix binges, crying babies, a never-ending to-do list that we can best tackle after the kids go to sleep… sigh, they can be a recipe for some serious sleepy-eyed days. But did you know that not getting enough shut-eye can seriously mess with your metabolism and actually make you feel more tired?
Here’s the deal: sleep is like the maintenance crew that works after hours in a factory. When we sleep, our bodies go into overdrive to repair cells, digest food, eliminate toxins, and—even more importantly—recharge our energy levels. It’s like plugging in your phone to recharge; you wouldn’t expect it to work all day without a good charge, would you? Same goes with your body!
Now, when your sleep is cut short, your body doesn’t have enough time to perform these vital functions. And the result? You guessed it: feeling tired during the day.
But also – poor sleep can slow your metabolism down to a crawl. It makes it harder to convert glucose into energy. Your body becomes resistant to insulin, and glucose stays higher in your blood, which, along with fatigue, can also end up leading to diabetes.
During sleep, your metabolism naturally slows down, as it doesn’t require as much energy. You’re not moving around and being active. However, when you’re lying there awake and losing out on time asleep, your body does have to make more energy. It actually takes more energy to stay awake than to sleep – whether or not you’re being physically active. So you’re putting more of a demand on your body to make energy.
Let’s get this straight. Not only are you tired from lack of sleep, but your body is also struggling to give you the energy you need to make it through the day. Talk about a double whammy, right?
So, the next time you’re tempted to stay up late to watch just one more episode of Love Is Blind, finish up that last bit of work, or enjoy just a few more minutes of me-time while your kids are asleep, remember this: your body needs sleep just as much as it needs food and water. And just like you, hopefully, wouldn’t neglect eating, don’t neglect your sleep. Trust me, your body (and your energy levels) will thank you!
Another one of the big cases of fatigue in women is STRESS! When we think of stress, we normally just think of mental stress, right? But there’s actually more than one type of stress that could be wreaking havoc on your energy levels.
Types of Stress
- Mental/Emotional Stress: This is the one we’re all too familiar with. Work deadlines, balancing family life, financial worries, driving your kids to their many activities… the list never ends, does it?
- Physical Stress: Think of this as the wear and tear on your body. Lack of sleep (see above!), the wrong amounts or forms of exercise for you, poor posture, sitting in one position too long, injuries, surgery – they are all stressors on your body.
- Chemical Stress: This one’s sneakier. It’s about blood sugar imbalance and the pathogens, toxins, and chemicals we’re exposed to daily without realizing. We’ll get to this one in a bit. But sneaky toxins are another form of stress on your body.
All three forms of stress are still stress. Your body responds to stressors by producing stress hormones, primarily cortisol (more long-term) and adrenaline (more short-term).
What Stress Does
When stress comes and goes quickly, it’s not a big deal. Like the “tiger” you come across (that always seems to be the example in the heath and wellness world). Your adrenaline kicks in, it helps you to quickly run away or hide from the tiger, and then your adrenaline comes back down and things go back to normal. Our body is built to be able to handle short stressors like that from time to time.
However, when stress becomes chronic – that’s a problem. When you’re dealing with stressor after stressor, day in and day out, that never seem to go away – that’s chronic stress.
Your body’s hormones are amazing. They send signals back and forth to different parts of your body. When your brain gets the message of stress, stress, and more stress – it tells the thyroid to sloooowwww down.
Your thyroid gland is in charge of regulating your metabolism. So when it slows down, your metabolism will slow down as well.
And that leaves you feeling like you’re running on empty!
Next up is toxins. Believe it or not, these sneaky intruders are hitching a ride on practically everything around us – from the food we eat, the water we drink, even the air we breathe! And let’s not forget about those everyday products we love like our make-up, cleaning supplies, and even candles.
These toxins, they’re not just innocent passengers. They’re more like unwanted guests who overstay their welcome, clogging up our liver, the body’s main detox organ, and slowing down our metabolism.
How They Affect the Liver
The liver is one of my absolute favorite organs. It’s crucial to stable energy. It’s needed to convert inactive thyroid hormone into active thyroid hormone – which goes off to the cells in your body and regulates metabolism.
The liver also stores glucose for whenever you’re running low in your blood. That glucose is needed to make energy.
But when our liver gets stuck playing janitor to all of these toxic freeloaders, it’s not able to perform all of its many other roles as well. We all know cleaning is exhausting work (am I right or am I right?)
How They Affect the Mitochondria
That’s not all. These toxins also affect our mitochondria, the tiny powerhouses inside our cells.
The mitochondria is where that conversion of fuel to energy happens. Every cell (minus red blood cells) have mitochondria that turn food (in its components of glucose, amino acids, or fatty acids) into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which is a fancy word for energy.
Instead of focusing on their energy-making duties, they’re forced into a defensive mode, fighting off the toxins. Imagine trying to cook dinner, clean the house, and keep the kids entertained all while battling a flu. Exhausting, right? Well, that’s how your mitochondria feel when toxins invade.
So, there you have it – toxins are everywhere, quietly contributing to our fatigue by disrupting our bodies’ natural energy-making processes.
But don’t despair, there’s plenty we can do to reduce these toxins in our home. You can check out this page for some of my favorite non-toxic products to help you create a healthier environment for you and your family. Trust me, your liver and mitochondria will thank you!
You’d think that skipping breakfast or only eating salads for lunch is helping your waistline, wouldn’t you? But did you know that not eating enough can actually drive us straight into the arms of our unwelcome guest, fatigue, and can actually contribute to weight GAIN? Sounds counterintuitive, right?
Get in the Fuel
See, our bodies need fuel – and that fuel is calories. Enough calories!
When we short-change our bodies on calories, it’s like trying to run a car on an empty tank. No gas, no go. Simple as that!
Mind the Macros
But here’s the twist: It’s not just about eating enough, it’s about eating the right stuff too! Our meals need to be filled with those micronutrients we talked about, and they need to be balanced with the three macronutrients, protein, fat, and carbs.
Yes, you heard it right, carbs! Those dreaded carbs which you’ve been avoiding like the plague aren’t the enemy. When eaten correctly, in the right amounts and the right forms, they’re actually our friends.
Our body’s preferred source of fuel is glucose, which comes from….CARBS.
Eating healthy is all about balance. Eating too few or too many carbs, in comparison to fats and proteins, throws the balance off. And you tumble right into exhaustion. ESPECIALLY if you struggle with fatigue in the early afternoon. That right there is a tell-tale sign of blood sugar imbalanced stemming from an imbalanced meal.
All too often, women struggle with eating enough protein (and you may be eating too little carbs AND protein if your diet is heavy in fats or just little calories altogether). A common sign of eating too little protein is feeling hungry an hour or so after your meals. Protein is the most satiating of the three macronutrients. So if you’re not eating enough of it, you might be reaching for a carb-heavy snack an hour after lunch to get a boost of energy.
So, the next time you’re whipping up a meal or grabbing a quick lunch, remember to balance it out. A protein, some healthy fats, and yes, even some good ol’ carbs! Let’s start feeding our bodies what they need to keep up with us, shall we? After all, we’ve got a family to care for and goals to reach, and we’re going to need all the energy we can get!
Lastly, let’s talk about something that doesn’t get the attention it deserves when we’re discussing energy levels – underlying infections. Parasite (yes- for real!), bacterial, fungal, or viral infections can be sneaky, uninvited guests in our bodies, causing all sorts of havoc. And guess what? They’re energy thieves!
These pesky intruders – and the byproducts they produce – can slow down the work of our mitochondria (just like those toxins we talked about). When these infections set up shop in our bodies, it’s like they put our tiny batteries on a slow charge, leaving us feeling drained and, you guessed it, fatigued!
And let’s not even get started on parasites. They actually steal our energy outright! Think of parasites like the sibling who always snatched the last piece of cake when you were kids. Except this time, the cake is your energy. As these parasites gobble up your nutrients, they leave you feeling tired and run down.
So, the next time you’re feeling unusually tired, don’t just brush it off as “mom fatigue”. Listen to your body and dig into why this never-ending fatigue is there. It could be a sign of an underlying infection, and addressing it can make all the difference in your energy levels.
Now that you know the top causes of fatigue in women, let’s talk about what to actually do about it.
First of all, I want you to know that you’re not alone in the fight against fatigue. There’s a way out! You don’t have to accept this as how life has to be from now on.
My program, The Fatigue to Freedom System, is designed just for moms struggling with daily fatigue. It’s a one-of-a-kind approach that helps you reclaim your energy and zest for life by tackling all of these factors and more and restoring your metabolism.
Think of it as your roadmap to energy and wellness. Maybe you’re wondering, “Is this the right fit for me?” Well, there’s one way to find out! Book a free call with me, and we can chat about your unique situation and see if my program is the best fit for you.
Don’t let fatigue steal another day from the life you were meant to live. You deserve to feel energetic, vibrant, and unstoppable every single day. So, let’s do this, shall we?