12 Ways to Boost Energy
Many people experience higher energy levels after weight loss surgery which makes sense because: your body no longer gets bogged down trying to digest large meals; your body’s metabolic processes start working more efficiently; and it takes less work for your newly smaller body to move around, providing a surplus of energy.
But what if that isn’t the case? What if you find that you’re dragging through the day? It can happen. If it does, here are 12 ways to move out of a slump and boost your energy levels.
1. Allow Rest
It takes energy for your body to heal and adjust to changes in food intake after surgery. It is not uncommon to feel sluggish for the first 8-12 weeks. Listen to your body and take breaks to rest when needed.
2. Drink More Fluid
Dehydration is a common cause of fatigue in the weeks following surgery and even months or years later if you’re not careful. Try to drinking at least 64 ounces of fluid a day. In addition to water, calorie-free infused water or flavored water can help you stay hydrated.
3. Reach Daily Protein Goals
Protein helps stabilize stress hormones, insulin and blood sugar levels for hours, keeping your energy high. Good protein sources include lean meat, fish, poultry, and low-fat dairy products.
4. Eat Regular Meals and Snacks
Skipping meals can lead to a drop in blood sugar and a dip in energy. Be prepared to eat 4-6 small, protein-rich meals/snacks spaced evenly throughout the day. A few ideas that will help boost energy include low fat string cheese, an ounce or two of deli meat, 1/2 cup of low sugar yogurt, or ½ of an apple with peanut butter.
5. Take Proper Supplements
With limited stomach space food alone is not enough to meet all your nutritional needs, which means you’ll need vitamin and mineral supplements. The need for supplements does not diminish over time; nutritional deficiencies can occur years after surgery.
6. Get Regular Lab Testing
Lab tests often find nutritional deficiencies before symptoms develop. Keeping nutrient levels within optimal range will help your cells perform as intended and keep energy levels high. Common energy draining deficiencies include iron and vitamin B12
7. Be Smart About Exercise
Too much or too little exercise can cause fatigue. Start a walking or exercise program slowly and build endurance over time. Right after surgery, try short, frequent walks throughout the day. After about 6 weeks post-surgery you may add in other types of exercise or continue to build on a walking program. Each week, add more time, more intensity, or new exercises. Before you know it, you’ll find that the right amount of exercise is a great energy boost!
8. Eat Right
Eat fresh, whole foods rather than highly processed foods. Whole foods tend to be higher in healthful nutrients and are slower to digest, giving your body a steady stream of nutrients for energy production. Highly processed foods may give you a rush of energy and satisfaction, but an inevitable crash will leave you craving more.
9. Make Sleep a Priority
The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. Less than that and you’ll feel drained. Good quality sleep is challenging for many. If you struggle, here are some things to try: follow a consistent bedtime/wake-up routine; avoid caffeine or other stimulants before bedtime; and make your bedroom quiet, dark and cool.
10. Be Mindful of Emotions
Having realistic expectations and a positive outlook can make a big difference in the emotions you feel after surgery. It’s natural to be more emotional right after surgery as your body adjusts to both physical and hormonal changes. There can be a sense of loss until you cultivate coping skills for rewarding, comforting and entertaining without food. You’ll be learning new eating and drinking habits, too. Reach out to your support group—often just knowing that your feelings and experiences are normal and temporary will help you feel better. Seek out professional help if needed.
11. Manage Stress
We often think of negative situations causing stress, but changes of any kind can cause stress. It’s not the change itself that causes you to feel stressed, but your perception of the change. Change can bring about fears of the unknown, fears of rejection, uneasiness about risk taking, difficulty coping with new circumstances or feelings of insecurity and vulnerability. Change also can bring about feelings of empowerment, excitement, hope and anticipation.
12. Review Your Medications
Many medications require dosage adjustments after surgery, especially those used for diabetes and high blood pressure. If not adjusted properly, some may cause fatigue. Other medications have fatigue as a side effect even at the proper dosage. Be sure to communicate with your primary care physician about medication adjustments after surgery, and review any that may contribute to fatigue.
At the end of the day, you should feel more energetic after weight loss surgery. If you don’t, look at the list above or talk with your bariatric team and primary care physician as needed. We’re here to help you achieve your goals and enjoy the many benefits of weight loss surgery.