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Obesity and Weight Management

Low energy

03/01/2007

Question:

I am a 82 yeay old male and in reasonable health but I have very low energy such that I feel that I want to lie down all the time. I have an annual checkup every October with no apparent heart problems. I am about 20 lbs overweight. any suggestions would be appreciated

Answer:

Before I recommend anything for your health, I would suggest an appointment with your primary care doctor to discuss your concerns.  Although no apparent heart problems were found in your last annual check-up, you did not indicate whether your physician was aware of your low energy level.  Your physician may want to do additional blood tests to rule out other possible causes of the fatigue you are experiencing.

Also, think about when you first felt this way.  What else was happening at that time?  A change in medication?  Changes to your diet or activity level?  Did this change occur at a stressful time in your life or were you feeling a sense of depression?

You mentioned that you are 20 pounds overweight.  Is this a recent weight gain?  Have you always been overweight?  Has the weight gain been gradual?

Gaining weight can make you feel tired.  As we age, we tend to lose muscle mass and if we gain weight, we gain it as fat.  Less muscle mass to move around more weight will make anyone tired!  Take a look at your lifestyle habits.  Be sure you are eating regularly - not skipping meals and snacks. Do you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains?  Are your protein choices lean?  Do you avoid fried foods and limit highly sugared foods? 

You may want to work with a dietitian to improve your current food choices and eating habits.  You can find a dietitian through your physician or by going to the American Dietetic Association website, www.eatright.org.  The site lists dietitians by zipcodes. 

Exercise is also a key ingredient in successful weight loss and in improving energy level.  Check with your physician on an exercise plan that would be safe for you.  Then stay committed to exercise.

Working with your physician and making small changes in your eating and exercise habits should help you improve how you are feeling. 

To Your Good Health,

Shirley A. Kindrick, PhD, RD, LD

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Response by:

Shirley A Kindrick, PhD Shirley A Kindrick, PhD
Former Team Leader of Comprehensive Weight Management
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University