The Link Between Fatigue and Weight Gain

Reasons You Gain Weight
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Written by Debi Silber

Is there any connection between eating to stay awake and the obesity epidemic? The answer is…

Is there any connection between eating to stay awake and the obesity epidemic? The answer is…

A resounding yes. Here’s how.

When we’re tired, we often turn to food to help us stay awake. The foods we choose are foods high in sugar because we’re looking for the immediate energy surge sugar often provides. Those high sugar foods we reach for when we’re tired are calorically dense yet nutrient void which means we’re taking in a lot of calories with little nutritional value. When the body takes in more than it can use, the only option it has is to store it in the form of fat for use at a later date.

Here’s what happens after a high sugar binge. The sugar rush is short lived due to a dramatic spike and drop in blood sugar and energy levels. The surge of insulin that was released during the high sugar binge then encourages the intake for more sugar. So this high sugar diet, which may have originally begun as a need for more energy, encourages an overuse of sugar and we go from binge to binge on a roller coaster ride of sugar induced energy and eventual weight gain.

When we eat to stay awake, we also secrete stress hormones such as cortisol. When over secreted, one of the things cortisol will do is stimulate our appetite for high sugar and high fat foods. So we find ourselves reaching for high sugar, high fat foods we may not have chosen if those hormones were never secreted due to a lack of sleep. It’s a dangerous cycle, which begins with the need for sleep but ends with overeating and obesity.

Another problem that occurs when we’re tired is that we don’t have the mental clarity or focus required to pre-plan healthy meals or snacks. We grab what’s easy which is often prepackaged “sub-food” loaded in sugar, fat and calories. When we’re tired, we’re also more likely to eat fast food and takeout food, which can be caloric time bombs as well.

Finally, when we’re tired and we eat to stay awake instead of getting enough sleep, we prevent our bodies from getting back to a normal sleep cycle. Without getting back to a normal sleep cycle, hormonal levels continue to stay unbalanced, hormones continue to be secreted and a healthy sleep cycle and hormonal balance is kept at bay. This leaves us to continue to search for ways to increase our energy…even if it’s causes excess weight or obesity.

Identity Magazine is all about empowering women to get all A’s in the game of life — Accept. Appreciate. Achieve.TM Every contributor and expert answer the Identity 5 questions in keeping with our theme. As a team, we hope to inspire and motivate ourselves and inspire you to get all A’s

What have you accepted in your life that took time, physically or mentally?  

That I have little control over my kids. I can teach, show by example, role model, etc. and then need to sit back and hope they take the path that serves them best.

What do you appreciate about yourself and within your life?  

I appreciate my resilience and determination. I’ve had so many roadblocks and setbacks but I’m so driven to share my message that while I keep getting knocked down, I get up every time.

I’m working on patience! I have a husband, 4 kids, 6 dogs and a business. Patience to understand that I may not be able to get all I want done when I want to is a continual challenge.

What is one of your most rewarding achievements in life? What goals do you still have?  

My family. I’m married to my best friend (we’re together 30 years!), we have 4 awesome kids and I’m doing the work I love which is helping thousands of others become their personal and professional best. Does it get better than that?! I have so many things I still want to do. I had my first event last May and this May, while the last event was great, I want to make this one even better. I’m also having my first small retreat for 8-10 women this December and I want to fill my group programs with the women who’d benefit from being in them.

What is your not-so-perfect way? What imperfections and quirks create your Identity?  

Ha! So many! I’m completely impatient-I do way too much, get too stressed and my health takes a nose dive. This happens often (you’d think I’d learn from it already) but I love what I do and take on too much. I also speak to small and large groups. I get so excited, it’s normal for me to completely trip over my words because I’m so eager to share what I’ve learn/seen to help others. I still strive to get some work/life balance (which I don’t believe in anyway-I feel we’re better off being 100% in the space we’re in vs. being 50% at work and 50% at home and not being fully present anywhere.

How would you complete the phrase “I Love My…?”

I love my drive, passion for what I’m doing, ability to handle (to the best of my abilities) all these kids, dogs and still stay connected to my husband. I love doing the work I love, inspiring others, making an impact and helping people get to the top of their game physically, mentally and emotionally so they can become their personal/professional best.


Courtesy image “Weight Scale” by Vorakorn, courtesy of

About the author

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Debi Silber

Debi Silber, MS, RD, WHC, FDN The Mojo Coach® Founder of is a weight loss, fitness, lifestyle, self-improvement expert, speaker, spokesperson, author and THE secret behind some of the healthiest, most dynamic and successful people today. Sign up to receive videos, strategies, tips and resources to get you lean, fit, energized, healthy and happy!

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