Gastric bypass surgery offers patients considerable weight loss through both restriction (decreasing stomach mass) and malabsorption (limiting caloric absorption).
Because of these two components, it’s not out of the question for patients to feel tired, weak, or have low energy. With that being said, patients should not “expect” to feel tired, weak, or fatigued. This is a problem that should be addressed right away.
There are many signs that may result in RNY patients experiencing little to no energy, sudden tiredness, or feeling weak and exhausted. The most common culprits are;
1. Not Taking Vitamins
Get lab work done by your primary care physician to uncover any deficiencies that may be the culprit of feeling lethargic.
- Iron Deficiency – low hemoglobin levels which restore oxygen throughout the body, cells, and lungs.
- B12 Deficiency – not enough oxygen going to the brain.
- B1 Deficiency – doesn’t create sufficient energy from carbohydrates. Side effects can cause depression, memory loss, or nausea.
Solution: Take bariatric vitamins that follow the guidelines of the ASMBS (American Society of Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery). These essential, nutrient-rich vitamins are specifically designed for RNY, Sleeve, and Duodenal Switch Surgery patients who face deficiencies after surgery.
2. Not Getting Enough Calories
Calories, or food in general, provides essential nutrition and energy it needs to thrive. Keep a calorie count, or food journal, throughout the day. If you are getting less than 1000 calories, chances are you need to increase your intake.
Solution: Make sure your calories are coming from healthy foods such as lean proteins, vegetables, fruits, legumes, healthy fats, and high-protein grains.
3. Healing Process
Immediately following gastric bypass surgery, the body will be adjusting to healing. It is common to feel sluggish in the first 8 weeks after surgery while your body is using more energy for the recovery process.
Solution: Make sure you are following your bariatric surgeon’s advice to recover and heal correctly.
Depression can be an overwhelming cause of feeling tired, weak, or fatigued after surgery. Understand your emotions and speak with your doctor to find ways to pull through depression. A lot can happen if depression goes untreated or unmanaged.
Solution: Speak with your primary care physician.
5. Not Drinking Enough Water
Water is so important, yet can be extremely difficult to keep up with after all bariatric procedures (especially RNY, gastric sleeve, and duodenal switch surgery). Water is the key to your body’s functionality. It is needed to regulate your body’s systems, including digestion and helping to get rid of toxins. If you are dehydrated your body will be working harder to function, taking up more energy and causing you to feel weak.
Solution: Stay hydrated by drinking a minimum of 64 ounces of water daily.
6. Not Enough Protein
Protein is probably the single most important part of every meal for gastric bypass patients. This is why you should always eat protein first. By eating protein first, you reduce the odds of being “too full” without finishing the protein part of the meal.
Patients should be eating at least 60-90 grams of protein every day. This can be through lean meats, protein products or supplements, dairy, and legumes. Finding ways to incorporate the right amount of protein into your post-op diet can be tricky – but is 100% required.
Solution: Increase protein intake and log the specific amount of protein into a food journal. Keep track of how you feel as you increase your protein levels. Note any times of the day where fatigue sets in and start to understand your body’s relationship (cause and effect) with food.
Medication can play a role in feeling drained and can even cause stalls or plateaus after gastric bypass surgery.
Solution: Speak with your primary care physician before adjusting, stopping, or changing any medications.
8. Too Little or Too Much Sleep
Sleep plays a huge role (and one of the most obvious factors) in feeling exhausted after undergoing bariatric surgery. Everyone has a different sleep schedule, patterns, and needs. Not enough sleep can build up and have ramifications throughout the day as could getting too much sleep.
Solution: Start documenting your sleeping patterns. If you feel that you are not getting enough sleep, try adapting to going to bed a little earlier every night. Make small adjustments over time. If you are getting too much sleep – you may want to try waking up a little bit earlier.
It also matters how you wake up in the morning. Sometimes you need to shower, go for a jog, walk, watch a funny video, or do something that starts the day off right.
9. Exercising Too Much
Another possibility of feeling tired all the time is that you are exercising too much. Without the proper amount of calories to support the exercise, doing it will likely lead to feeling exhaustion and may even stall your weight loss.
Solution: Try doing less intense workouts for longer periods of time. Or after an intense workout, do some low-intensity cooldown exercises.
To find out why your feeling tired after weight loss surgery, try eliminating one of these potential reasons at a time if they apply to you. Regarding anything related to health, depression, vitamins, or medication, consult with your appropriate primary care doctor, bariatric surgeon, and nutritionist before making any alteration.
Food was at one point an outlet. Like most addictions, the body takes time to adjust to its new way of life (without the sheer quantity of food as before). Find out the reason why you’re feeling tired after gastric bypass surgery and get your weight loss back on track!
*Remember – None of these reasons or solutions should supplement your doctor’s advice. You should not try making life changes without first speaking to your primary care physician.