Sounds like you made lots of changes very swiftly. That may be fine in the long run--if you can find the energy to keep them made!
The big problem I see looming for you is that, since being tired is not good, you'll decide to quit exercising before your body has caught up with the changes--and that could take a month, depending on your previous level of fitness, how different your diet is now, how much caffeine you were consuming--etc. It's not an easy equation.
My suggestion: back off a bit and make smaller changes, fewer at a time, so each becomes a beloved (ok, at least live-with-able) habit before you make another one. "Gung-ho" is great for things you only need to do for a short time (like fighting a battle, where the term came from) but not so useful when establishing life-long healthy habits.
Good success to you!
Fitness Minutes: (90,409)
12/22/11 9:39 A
Did your doctor recommend cutting out caffeine? I've been told by my doctor that 1-2 cups a day is fine, so I've never quit drinking it. I usually stay in that 2 cups a day range. If for some other reason you want to quit coffee, have you tried drinking green tea? Aside from the caffeine, research indicates that it's good for you.
I used to be a competitive swimmer so I know how fatiguing swimming can be. Make sure you are getting in a well rounded healthy diet with plenty of protein, carbs by way of whole grains, fruits and veggies, and healthy fat. If you're very new to it, cut back to 30 minutes. Make sure you are strength training 2 x a week and adding cardio.
Lifting weights builds muscle which will burn more calories than just cardio, and give you more strength for swimming. Make sure you are getting in at least 8 cups of water a day. Being dehydrated contributes to fatigue so you want to eliminate that as a possibility. Try to get your sleep on the 7-8 hour range. Allow for some down time on the weekends while you adjust to your new workout routine.
Remember you need to find a workout program that you enjoy, and that you can maintain for the long term. That doesn't mean there won't be times where you are sore and tired, but overall you need to enjoy it and see it as a lifestyle and not a short term fix to improve health temporarily.
Even just changing your routine (getting up an hour earlier to work out, even though you get the same amount of sleep in total) can have an impact on your energy levels.
I expect that you also will get used to the extra activity in another week or two. When I bump up my activity level, I feel tired initially but then I get used to it. Also, to be honest, I love the feeling of a "good, honest, full body tired" sensation. When I do long weekend workouts, it feels great to have a tired-feeling body and then to take a nap. (I realize that napping is not an option at the office, but make this point just to emphasize that as you become more active, you'll become more attuned to your body and start to be able to distinguish between "happy tired" and "burned out-exhausted tired". Also, FWIW, I find swimming to be the activity that makes me feel the most "happy tired" of any activity I pursue, so I'm not surprised that a swimming workout puts you to sleep.
You also might want to experiment with when you exercise. If you're natural larks (morning people), then working out early in the morning might energize you for the day. And likewise, if you're night owls, you might feel better if you work out in the evening.
12/21/11 9:16 P
I'd also like to add that if you are either drinking less coffee/caffeinated beverages now or waiting later, you might be getting a double-whammy as you body adjusts to the new caffeine regieme [or lack of caffeine if you've quit]. Changing the sugar and/or carb intake will have the same effect so that could be part of the sleepiness.
It's also important to make small changes, as others have mentioned, but also to change no more than one or two things at a time because our bodies can't adjust to more than just so much at once.
Another thing I'd like to add that most people either don't know or don't acknowledge is that it takes a lot of energy to change anything! That is, any change we make requires mental energy to think about it, more mental energy to 'remember' it, emotional energy as we make the adjustment to the new thing - when you also add the physical adaptation process to the nutrition and exercise changes, that's a lot to ask your body.
As for your sleep, you might try getting more sleep - in my opinion, 6-7 hours is not enough! My husband does OK on 7 hrs and can get by with less once in awhile but I really have to have at least 8 hours to feel good and if I exercise more than usual, I often need a nap! Don't be afraid to allow yourself to get enough sleep, whatever level your body wants, especially now when you need the rest to help yourself adjust to the new routines.
Some people don't like this idea but I totally believe in taking GOOD vitamin supplements - I get high-quality products at a health food store after learning how little of the vitamins are actually absorbed from the brands you tend to find in grocery or drug stores. I make sure I get a good multi-vitamin and also take a B-complex supplement, which seems to help a lot.
Good luck on your journey - hope you find yourself adapting to the new routines soon!
Fitness Minutes: (300,953)
12/21/11 2:33 P
Since your doctor has already given you the all clear to exercise, it just sounds like you should slow down a bit. People do have a tendency to be very "gung ho" at the start of an exercise program. that's great, but what happens several weeks, months and years from now ?
which is the point. we don't exercise for the amount of time it takes to lose the weight. in order to take the weight off and keep it off, we need to be active in some way for our entire life.
Thus the need for the exercise to be sustainable. If your current routine isn't sustainable, that's no good. you will end up quitting. that's why we slowly ease into a program. we want the exercise to become a habit.
As far as eating, ditto, take things slowly. don't try to do everything at once or you really will end up frustrated. You're trying to change habits learned over a lifetime. that's not going to happen overnight, a week, a month or a year. change takes time.
If you'd like, you can always log a couple of weeks of food and exercise. then take the data you logged here to your doctor. let them have a look. they'll let you know how you're doing.
Fitness Minutes: (1,418)
12/21/11 1:12 P
Thanks for the fast replies! I had a full physical with bloodwork in early September and my husband had one sometime last spring. Back then, our doctor told us that it looked fine for both of us to go ahead with an exercise program, but we didn't talk with her about the specifics of what we wanted to do for exercise - maybe we are going too gung-ho out of the starting gate :P We've been about as sedentary as two working people can be (I do some walking and lifting as part of my job, but it's rarely anything extended or strenuous, husband is a desk worker). We might not be eating enough, either - I'm not as worried about me as I am my husband since I do track my calories, but he doesn't track his, and I know he needs pretty much more than me. Would you suggest making another appointment with my doctor and work with her now that we have something specific to talk about rather than just exercise in general? You guys are awesome! Thank you so much for being here and helping me with my question :)
Fitness Minutes: (300,953)
12/21/11 12:47 P
Hello, Merry ! Welcome to Spark People !
Well, if you've been very sedentary for a long time, it's not unusual to experience some fatigue when starting a regular exercise program. There could be several possible explanations. First, I would tell you that you need to give your body more time to adapt to the new routine. If you keep doing what you're doing, with time, your body will get used to it.
Second, you may be doing too much too soon. If you have been very sedentary, you don't want to do 45+ minutes of exercise. Your body just isn't ready. Slowly ease into a regular routine. don't try to do everything at once or you will end up frustrated, injured, fatigued and burned out.
Third, you've probably dropped your caloric intake. food = energy and no food = no energy. it really is that simple. The food you eat nourishes and energizes your body. So, if you're not eating enough, that would cause your body to get easily fatigued.
Also, if you have been sedentary, did you talk to your doctor ? Ideally, a person really should get a full physical before starting an exercise program. You really should know your starting blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol, etc... it's also good to know if you are deficient in any vital minerals and nutrients. Because if you cut your calories, you're going to have to make sure you're getting all those vital nutrients.
I would say you might consider cutting the amount of exercise you do back a little. how about taking a daily walk along with 2-3 workouts at the gym. if you're not used to doing 45mins of exercise, then start with 30. Your strength and endurance will increase with time.
Remember, you didn't gain the weight overnight, it's not coming off overnight. weight loss is a slow steady process that takes time.
So, don't be afraid to talk to your doctor. Talking to our doctor is just as important as getting some regular exercise.
but, yes, cutting calories and increasing exercise the amount of exercise you do too quickly can cause fatigue.
If you are sure your hydration is normal and you said you're getting enough sleep, you might go see a doctor for a blood work up.
I have the same problem. My walking partner and I walk Saturday mornings at a place between our locations. Afterward I am so sleepy I take a nap.
If you just started exercising, it might be that you are pushing your bodies beyond what you should do just starting out.
Fitness Minutes: (1,418)
12/21/11 12:36 P
My husband and I have been eating healthier than we used to over the past month, but we just started exercising this week. We got a membership to the local Y last week and started in last Friday, but we're both hitting a big snag - we're completely exhausted all the time! We get up at 5:30 and get to the Y around 6. He does weight training and a little cardio with a friend, while I either do 45 minutes of cardio on a treadmill or elliptical or swim laps for 40-45 minutes (I alternate days). We're both fine immediately after - but when we start driving to work, we both have been so sleepy that we're falling asleep at the wheel. Usually, we've already eaten something - either a breakfast bar or cereal or an egg white sandwich or something, but neither of us have had any caffeine at that point in the day. We usually get 6-7 hours of sleep at night - are we needing more? I've been eating between 1200-1550 calories a day (a couple days I've gone to around 1650, though) for the past couple of weeks. It's the worst for me on the days when I swim - I don't go to work until noon on those days, and I try to get stuff done at home, but both days I've sat down for two seconds, fallen asleep, and been out for an hour without any warning. Is this normal? Will it get better? What can we do to stop falling asleep? Is this normal?