How to Lose Weight When Exhausted

Exercise is the last thing you may want to do when feeling exhausted.
i George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Many factors can make you feel exhausted, ranging from a hectic schedule and not enough sleep to more serious reasons, such as diabetes, anemia or depression. Before you try to lose weight while exhausted, it's important to see your doctor to rule out a health condition that's causing your fatigue. Once you get the green light to work toward weight loss, you can set a game plan to increase your energy. While the changes you need to integrate into your life to lose weight are the same as those a high-energy person would make, a few tweaks can help you incorporate them while slowly relieving your exhaustion -- rather than compounding it.


Getting enough sleep impacts your energy levels and ability to lose weight. While you're in a deep sleep, your body produces growth hormones that help in the production of muscle to make your body more efficient at burning calories. The growth hormone also helps to boost your body's insulin sensitivity, which helps to reduce your body's tendency to make fat. Aim for eight to nine hours of sleep nightly to feel well-rested. As your energy levels increase and you start exercising more, be sure to take time off so your body can recover. Take one day off from aerobic exercise each week so your body can rest and rejuvenate.

Eat Healthily

Your eating habits have a direct effect on whether you can lose weight and how much energy you have. A diet consisting of healthy foods is your best bet. Include lean proteins, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grain products and low- to nonfat dairy in your diet. Eat small, frequent meals five or six times per day so that your body receives energy-boosting nutrients every three hours or so. Avoid expending excess energy on time-consuming meal preparation by purchasing ready-made salads with fat-free or low-calorie dressing. Prepare extra portions when cooking and store them in the refrigerator to enjoy throughout the week. For example, you can grill extra chicken breasts, placing the leftovers in the refrigerator or freezer to heat up or use in other dishes at a later time when you're too exhausted to cook.

Set Calorie Targets

Lose weight by reducing your daily caloric intake by 250 to 500 calories per day. This can help you lose 1/2 to 1 pound per week, respectively. Don't consume less than 1,200 calories per day if you're female or 1,400 calories per day if you're male. Your body needs at least this many calories to sustain your energy for daily activities and provide your body with adequate, energy-promoting nutrients.

Perform Cardio

When you feel fatigued, you may be tempted to skip out on the exercise workout you know you should do to work toward your weight loss goal. You may feel too exhausted to spend 30 to 60 minutes exercising, but you can break up your daily workouts into shorter increments to burn calories and increase energy. Taking a 10-minute brisk walk gets your heart pumping, the oxygen flowing through your body and can increase your energy for up to two hours after you finish walking. To maintain or lose weight, aim for 150 to 300 minutes respectively of heart-pumping cardiovascular exercise per week.

Strength Train

Strength training is important to your goal of losing weight, and it also increases your energy and stamina. As you do strength-training exercises two to three times weekly, for 20 minutes per session, you'll build muscle mass, develop a lean, toned body and burn more calories naturally. Likewise, engaging in strength training helps you to avoid tiring out prematurely and increases mental energy and clarity.

the nest