You just finished your lunch and it’s time to get back to your to-do list. But now, not only do you feel full, you feel sluggish and exhausted. Post meal fatigue is real, and it’s no fun. While it’s normal to feel a slight dip in energy after eating (also known as postprandial somnolence), it’s not normal to feel so tired that you need a nap asap.
So if you’re feeling tired after eating, this article is for you. I’m going to break down 3 reasons why you feel extreme fatigue after eating. Then, I’ll offer solutions so that you can make it through your day with consistent energy.
3 Reasons: Why Am I So Tired After I Eat?
1 – Eating Meals that Cause Blood Sugar Crashes
Meals that cause a major blood sugar crash are meals that are not balanced. Think too much sugar, white flours, and starchy carbs and not enough protein, fat, and fiber. That is—good quality protein, fat, and fiber, of course.
After you eat a meal (any meal), your blood sugar rises. Insulin moves into the bloodstream to take the sugar out of the blood and put it in cells for energy. This means that if you don’t have enough insulin or too much, you can become fatigued. One of deciding factors of this besides meal type, is meal quantity. If you have too little of a meal, you may feel fatigued from the lack of nutrients that your body needs to have energy. If you have too big of a meal, your body is using a lot of energy trying to digest it. I like to call this digestive system overload.
The fix: if you’re feeling tired after you eat, eat a well-balanced meal that includes whole foods, good quality protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Your hormones and blood sugar levels will love this.
- A leafy green salad with roasted sweet potato cubes, avocado, and grilled salmon
- A quinoa bowl with steamed vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, chickpeas and a lemony tahini dressing
2 – Leaky Gut and Food Sensitivities
Common, but often overlooked reasons for post meal fatigue are food sensitivities. If after a meal you experience bloating, brain fog, skin issues, and headaches in addition to fatigue, you may have food sensitivities.
Food sensitivities are often a result of leaky gut, or poor gut integrity. Basically, this means that your gut lining is compromised or permeable, allowing for foods and toxins to seep into your bloodstream, causing inflammation. If this sounds like you, an elimination diet or a food intolerance test may be a good idea.
The University of York in the U.K. conducted a study to help understand the benefits of eliminated diets based on the results of a food intolerance test. Out of 436 people who reported experiencing fatigue, 87% reported a boost to their energy levels having removed their ‘trigger foods.’
In my coaching program for burnout and adrenal fatigue, we offer the opportunity to get lab testing done to identify trigger foods. This is one of the best ways to eliminate fatigue quickly. The thing is, even if you are eating a picture perfect healthy diet, there are still some foods that may be causing problems. The beauty of this program is that after we identify your trigger foods, we can eliminate them for a time, rebuild your gut integrity, and then slowly reintroduce them. I personally have done this and it worked wonders for me, and now I am back eating my favorite foods.
The fix: First, eliminate common trigger foods for 2 weeks. These include gluten, dairy, soy, and corn. While you may not have celiac or lactose intolerance, our modern food system is overloaded with chemicals that may be causing the problem.
Next, keep a food diary and try to eat a diversity of your normal foods in a week’s time. Take note of energy levels, concentration, headaches, skin issues, bowel movements, etc. If you notice a pattern, eliminate one food at a time and continue with your diary.
In my coaching program, we have guides, templates, and hands-on support for this part of your healing journey.
3 – Digestive Issues
Digestive issues like sluggish digestion and malabsorption are other culprits of food comas and chronic fatigue.
You may have a sluggish gut if you have constipation. Poor and slow bowel movements can cause fatigue as the body is holding onto waste for longer than necessary. This is also a common cause of brain fog.
A sluggish digestive system can also make it harder for people to assimilate nutrients. The truth is, you’re not what you eat, you’re what you digest. And unfortunately, more and more people are having a difficult time digesting and assimilating their nutrients. Because our food is our primary energy source, lack of efficiency and nutrient uptake can leave us feeling fatigued post-meal.
The fix: Support your digestive system with herbs post-meal. One of the best herbs for speeding up digestion is ginger. There is also a 3-herb Ayurvedic formula that can help nourish the intestines and rebuild the gut called Triphala. I highly recommend this.
Some other herbs that help with the assimilation of nutrients include nettles and linden. Make an overnight infusion of these teas and sip on throughout the day to help support the digestive system.
How to Recover from Feeling Tired After Eating
If you feel fatigue after eating, here are my top tips for recovering from this.
Get a good night’s sleep
Believe it or not, quality and quantity of sleep impacts how you feel after eating. Your circadian rhythm, or your body’s internal sleeping and wake clock can impact your hunger levels and energy levels. If you are not getting enough quality sleep, you’ll experience cravings and increase your risk for post-meal sleepiness.
Eat Smaller Meals Throughout the Day
One of the main things I support my adrenal fatigue clients with is eating small, consistent meals throughout the day. This will do wonders for you if you have blood sugar and hormone imbalances. A smaller meal is a lot easier to digest and can help you beat the lethargy. Try for 5-6 small meals a day, 3 hours a part.
Take a 10-15 minute walk after your meal to wake up your body and speed up digestion. Bonus points if you get out in the sun to soak up some Vitamin D.
I hope this article has helped you understand why you hit a slump after a meal. What tips are you going to put into action? Let me know in the comments below. For more support check out:
- Free Video Series on the Fastest Way to Fix Burnout and Fatigue
- Coaching Program
- 30 second Why Am I So Tired Quiz
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