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‘Am I Overweight?’ – And Why Being Overweight Can Make You Feel Tired

Am I Overweight - Different Shaped Women

With all the information and advertising out there, it's easy to be confused. So here is how to tell if you are overweight or not

LOOK AROUND YOU… What do you see?

More overweight people than you used to!

With modern food, an endless list of conveniences and more sedentary work environments also comes a trend in heavier people

But with all the food advertising, fad diets and the rest it can be difficult to know what is a healthy weight for you

To find out, the Body Mass Index, or BMI, was created. It is designed to measure the amount of body fat carried by an average person

How Does BMI Do it?

BMI is a formula that takes into account your height and weight. The mathematics are a little complicated, but you don’t have to work it out – simply use the online calculator below.

NOTE: the waist measurement is a different measurement also used to measure healthy weight range. It is included it for your convenience

Results of BMI

  • Underweight – less than 18.5
  • Normal – 18.5 thru 25
  • Overweight – 25 thru 30
  • Obese – over 30

A level of over 40 is classified as severe obesity

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A high BMI can indicate a high level of body fatness, but it shouldn’t be looked at in isolation. It doesn’t actually measure body fat directly, but it does correlate quite well with other more direct measures.

One of these is the waist measurement. (keep reading for information on waist measurement)

Am I Overweight - Different Shaped Women 2

Apples or Pears?

For both men and women, fat distributed around the stomach as opposed to the hips and thighs is a high risk indicator for cardio vascular disease, some cancers and diabetes. This shows as the “apple” shaped body, more common in men, as opposed to more female pear shape.

The Nurses’ Health Study – 44,000 middle aged women were measured. They found that women with a waist size about 35 inches almost doubled the risk of death by heart disease or cancer compared with women whose waist measured less than 28 inches, 16 years after the start of the study.[3]

A review of 52 studies confirmed the relationship between waist circumference and BMI in predicting an increased likelihood of type 2 diabetes and waist measurement is major factor in predicting diabetes in middle aged men. [4]

Checking your waist circumference is easy, and just as effective as the waist/hip ratio.

Values of Waist Measurements

Some adjustment has to made for the ethnic origins of the person – but guidelines from the American Heart Association, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute suggest danger levels start at

  • 35 inches (88cms) for women
  • 40 inches (102cms) for men

The International Diabetes Federation has slightly lower recommendations

  • 31.5 inches (80 cm) for women
  • 35.5 inches (90 cm) for men

So… Does Being Overweight Make Me Tired?

Yes – it can. Here are some of the commonest reasons why:

  • Harder work to move yourself, even just to complete the everyday tasks.
  • Extra strain on your heart on normal exercise.
  • Greater chance of sleep apnoea as weight gain in the neck interferes with breathing.
  • Diet deficient in essential nutrients, though eating more than enough calories you still feel hungry.
  • Belly fat secretes chemicals which contribute to feelings of lassitude.
  • Possible medical causes like low thyroid function – needs doctor check up.
  • Stress may be both a reason for being overweight and a further cause of fatigue.

Being over weight creates a vicious cycle – it’s harder to exercise therefor one tends to be less physically active – which increases the weight gain…

…but loosing as little as 5-10 % of your total body weight can make you feel more energetic and vibrant. It also reduces your risk factors for chronic diseases such as high blood pressure and diabetes. -and It’s easier to exercise more!

What Can I Do About My Weight?

Fast, fad weight loss diets do not work. You may lose a little in the short term but nearly everyone puts the weight back on, + some.

However, there are plenty of things you can do, small changes in your lifestyle really can make a difference, but before embarking on any weight loss programme you really should have a doctor’s check up. To ensure there are no underlying causes, and possible a referral to a nutritionist.


There are many popular regimes that can aid weight loss. However, the scientific evidence for long lasting improvement is still in the early stages. [6]

Here a few ideas which may be helpful: especially if you find you are overweight.

  • Buy a smaller plate and bowl – something you find attractive.
  • Shop for unrefined foods – read the labels and cut down on foods containing salt and sugar.
  • Walk part of the way to work every day.
  • Climb the stairs instead of taking the lift.
  • Get a dog – but only if you can look after it properly for ever.
  • Don’t sit for too long. Studies show that changing form seated to standing every 30 minutes during the work day makes you feel less tired and still enables you to work well. [5]
  • Take up an active hobby you can enjoy. (cycling, walking, dancing, etc, etc)

Researches make link between lack of exercise and tiredness

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Weight measurement and BMI will tell you whether you are overweight. Being overweight is not good for your health and can make you very tired. A change in lifestyle can be effective in reducing and then maintaining a healthy weight – but short fad diets do not work ( and are not very pleasant either!)


[1] https://www.cdc.gov/obesity/adult/defining.html

[2] Resnick HE , Carter EA , Aloia M , Phillips B Cross-sectional relationship of reported fatigue toobesity, diet, and physical activity: results from the third national health and nutrition examinationsurvey.(PMID:17557490) Department of Epidemiology and Statistics, MedStar Research Institute,Hyattsville, MD, USA. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine : JCSM : Official Publication of the AmericanAcademy of Sleep Medicine [2006, 2(2):163-

[3] Zhang C, Rexrode KM, van Dam RM, Li TY, Hu FB. Abdominal obesity and the risk of all-cause,cardiovascular, and cancer mortality: sixteen years of follow-up in US women. Circulation.2008;117:1658-67.

[4] Qiao Q1, Nyamdorj R.Is the association of type II diabetes with waist circumference or waist-to-hip ratio stronger than that with body mass index? Eur J Clin Nutr. 2010 Jan;64(1):30-4. doi:10.1038/ejcn.2009.93. Epub 2009 Sep 2.

[5] Alicia A Thorp1,2, Bronwyn A Kingwell1,3,4,5, Neville Owen1,2,5,6,7, David W Dunstan. Breakingup workplace sitting time with intermittent standing bouts improves fatigue and musculoskeletaldiscomfort in overweight/obese office workers. Occup Environ Med 2014;71:765-771doi:10.1136/oemed-2014- 102348

[6] http://www.nhs.uk/news/2013/01January/Pages/Does-the- 5-2- intermittent-fasting- diet-work.aspx

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