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Published on August 16, 2018

Tasty and Healthy Weight Loss Snacks to Reach Your Goals Fast

Tasty and Healthy Weight Loss Snacks to Reach Your Goals Fast

The decision to become healthier by way of weight loss is a struggle for many people. We have been told most of our lives that healthy food choices mean giving up the food and snacks that make us happy or we will be unable to achieve weight loss success.

The truth is, healthy snacking can aid you in losing weight! If the right choices are made, you can enjoy snacking and still lose weight!

This article will guide you through identifying healthy and flavorful weight loss snacks that will contribute to your weight loss goal.

How can healthy snacking help you lose weight?

If you make smart choices, healthy snacking can be the thing that aids you in your weight loss journey.

Keep in mind that balance is everything. Too much snacking or the wrong kind of snacking can back fire. We will get into that soon.

Rachel Morris, an author with Women’s Day Magazine, wrote about 4 women that mastered the art of snacking in between meals and still achieved their weight loss goals.[1] These women have proved that healthy snacking and weight loss are a dynamic duo.

Not only do you not have to give up snacks, you can eat the snacks that you actually love.

Mindfulness, snacking, and weight Loss

The importance of mindful eating is massive. Rachel Zimmerman, an R.D. at Indiana University Hospital at IU Health states the following:

“Just because snack foods like dark chocolate, nut butters, and avocado have earned nutritional kudos for being good sources of heart-healthy fats and other nutrients, that doesn’t mean you should eat a ton of them.”

The most important step is mindfulness. The key to getting started is being mindful when making snack choices. For a guide to mindful eating, please take a look my other article:

The Best Benefits of Mindful Eating for Weight Loss and How to Start Now

Mindfulness isn’t something that is taught to us. It is something that you seek to learn and incorporate in your day to day living. Many of us don’t know the truth about food and the role that food plays in our lives and in our health. This creates unhealthy habits.

Food is usually used as a substance for pleasure instead of nourishment. We devour most things in front of us without being mindful and aware about what we are actually consuming:[2]

    Tips for getting started with healthy snacking and weight loss

    So how to get started with healthy snacking while reaching your weight loss goals? Here’re some tips for you:

    • Set your goal. Before getting started, you have to know what you want. What is the goal? How many pounds per week? How many pounds total?
    • Set a deadline. What date/season are you wanting to have the weight off? It is important to set a target date so that you are focused.
    • Practice mindfulness. Mindful eating is about eating mindfully. It is about being fully aware of what you are experiencing; your cravings and physical cues. Eating for purpose and not boredom or pleasure is key for your goals.
    • Mind your plates. Use smaller plates so that you are not loading a large plate. If you load a small plate, you are still controling your portions but enjoying a plate full of food.
    • Have breakfast. We have heard it since the beginning of time: “breakfast is the most important meal of the day”. It is! Studies like one conducted by NCBI, shows that people trying to lose weight are more successful in reaching their goals when they incorporate breakfast in their daily routine.[3] This step alone can help you in your weight loss goals and make you want to snack less.
    • Pack your snacks. The saying “stay ready so you never have to get ready” is very true here. Packing your snacks and preparing for the day is key. You want to have healthy options when you start to crave food. Packing things like healthy granola bars, crackers and fruits etc. will alleviate the bad choice of a candy bar or chips from the vending machine.
    • Keep track of your calorie intake. Keep a small memo pad or an active document on your mobile device. It is important to record what you eat, and the calories consumed. This will help you stay on track.
    • Sleep. Sleep and weight loss are like partners. Research shows that lack of sleep impacts your metabolism, and we all know that slow metabolisms contribute to weight gain.[4] Getting a solid 8 hours of sleep per night to help you with your weight loss goals.
    • Reward yourself. It is so important to reward yourself for a job well done. When you work hard throughout the week and see the benefits on the scale, reward yourself! Losing weight and changing eating habits is difficult. When a mission is accomplished, get out there are pat yourself on the back!
    • Drink sufficient water. Please drink water! Water is absolutely necessary for health but can also aid you in losing weight. Try drinking a cup of water before snacking. You may find that you weren’t hungry at all, just thirsty (many times, dehydration shows up as hunger).

    Tasty and healthy snacks for your weight loss goals- all diets

    There a lot of different diets out there for various reasons. These reasons are tied to health, values, and morality. No matter your dietary preferences, snacking with mindfulness and awareness is important. This should go without saying.

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    However, no matter your diet, fruits and vegetables should be the number one choice! Fruits and vegetables are essential and key for a healthy life and body. When a little variation is needed, incorporating exciting, tasty, and healthy snacks can still be good for your weight loss goals. Let’s get into a few snacks for your dietary need/preference and your weight loss goals!

    Snacks for carnivores

    For carnivores, eating a carnivore diet means that meat and animal products is/are a regular part of your diet. Snacks for carnivores that lead to weight loss:

    1. Rice Crackers and Cheese

    Rice crackers are usually made with brown rice which is a great fiber and carbohydrate source. Fiber makes you feel full for longer. Cheese has so many essentials: calcium, protein, and vitamins A and B. Paired together, rice crackers and cheese can help you get there with the combination of protein, fiber, carbs, and vitamins.

    Weight loss tip:

    Remember that this is a snack. Always go with the serving recommendation on the label. It is much easier to track calories and fat.

    2. Boiled Chicken Breast Topped with Lemon Juice, Ginger, and Pepper

      Chicken is a good source of protein and one of the cleaner and leaner meats to eat. Chicken breast also aids in the reduction of cardiovascular disease but also contributes to muscle development and muscle growth.

      Snacking on boiled chicken can aid you in your weight loss journey. Topping with lemon juice, pepper, and ginger is very impactful flavor combination but also a wonderful anti-inflammatory combination.[5]

      Weight loss tip:

      Emphasis is placed on chicken breast because white meat chicken has less fat than dark meat chicken. Fatty meats will hurt you in trying to achieve your goal. The golden rule- be mindful of your choices.

      3. Soup

      Having soup for a snack can contribute significantly to your weight loss goal. Soup is hearty, filling, and more appealing than water to many (water is so necessary so please do not replace water with soup, still drink water!).

      You sip/drink soup slower than water and because of that, soup is known for staying in your system much longer, making you feel fuller for longer. That means, less eating!

      Weight loss tip:

      Be mindful of sodium/salt/msg. High levels of sodium in a diet alters the metabolism and a healthy metabolism is key for fat absorption.

      Snacks for pescatarians

      For pescatarians, eating a pescatarian diet means that you don’t consume land animal (chicken, beef, pork, etc.), just sea animals (fish). Some pescatarians consume land animal products (eggs and dairy, while others consume only sea animal and sea animal products (no milk, no butter, no eggs).

      4. Tuna Salad

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        Tuna is high in potassium and omega-3 fatty acids. Potassium is an electrolyte that helps maintain blood pressure and blood flow; it also counteracts sodium. Additionally, it is high in vitamin B and low in calories and fat.

        ~ Full recipe here!

        Weight loss tip:

        Be mindful of how you eat your tuna. Be cautious of the amount of mayonnaise used. The best way to snack on tuna is with a fork (so you can eat slowly and mindfully).

        5. Steamed Shrimp

        Shrimp has so many health benefits and can truly aid you in your weight loss goals. Shrimp is super low in calories and very protein rich. Shrimp is really a combination of protein and water; you won’t find fatty pockets on shrimp.

        As a snack, shrimp will provide so many vitamins and minerals with the added benefit of feeling completely satisfied.

        Weight loss tip:

        Be mindful of the serving size and mindful of the seasoning that you use. Seasonings high in sodium will alter the amazing benefits. Consider using lemon juice, ginger, and garlic.

        6. Smoked salmon

        This snack comes ready for you to eat! It is tasty and healthy, packed with antioxidants (antioxidants remove damaging oxidizing agents in a living organism- food products stored in your system). Our bodies have to function properly to aid us in our weight loss and health goals. Smoked salmon is a healthy snack and healthy medicine!

        Weight loss tip:

        Smoked salmon requires nothing to be added. It is packed full of flavor from the preparation. Adding things like sodium will contradict the amazing benefits. The best way to eat smoked salmon is with a fork.

        Snacks for vegetarians

        For vegetarians, eating a vegetarian diet means that you don’t consume any type of animal- no land animal and no sea animal but, may still eat animal products such as milk, butter, and eggs.

        7. Greek Yogurt and Fresh Fruit

        Greek yogurt is packed with protein. Eating this alone is already a wild health benefit due to the process of making it, which includes draining out the lactose! Lactose is the sugar found in milk. Adding fruit to it adds natural sweetness and of course the benefits that come with fruit!

        Weight loss tip:

        Yogurt has sugar in it and too much sugar is damaging to your weight loss goals. Be mindful of portions and toppings. The wrong toppings will contradict the benefits.

        8. Steamed Veggies with Garlic and Parmesan Cheese

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          Steaming your veggies takes away the need for butter and oil. Adding a little parmesan cheese and garlic gives these veggies a lot of flavor and the benefits found in dairy. Not only are you giving your body two important necessities, you are also going to feel very satisfied for a longer period of time.

          ~ Full recipe here!

          Weight loss tip:

          For those that don’t eat dairy, try a drizzle of Italian dressing or, topping it with guacamole. As always, be mindful of portions.

          9. Hard Boiled Eggs

          Eggs are a great snack for weight loss, especially if boiled without the use of butters and oils. Eggs are packed with protein, low in calories, and have essential vitamins such as B and D. They make for a great weight loss snack because in addition to the nutrients, you will full and satisfied.

          Weight loss tip:

          Eggs are high in cholesterol. To reduce the amount of cholesterol intake, avoid eating the yolk. The benefits are in the egg white.

          Snacks for vegans

          For vegans, eating a vegan diet means that you don’t consume any animal at all- land or sea, and you don’t consume any animal products- land or sea. Vegans eat a plant-based diet consisting mainly of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and grains.

          10. Smoothie Bowl

            Smoothies are amazing. You can get your 6 servings of fruits and vegetables in one smoothie! A variation to the norm is a smoothie bowl. Many times, we crave things like ice cream- why not make the healthiest version?

            Recipe tip:

            Create your favorite blend and top with fresh fruit chunks, or granola, or coconut flakes, or nut and seed mix.

            ~ More recipe ideas here!

            Weight loss tip:

            There is plenty of natural sugar in the fruit and toppings. Be mindful of adding additional sugar.

            11. Chia Pudding

            Chia seeds are an amazing little seed. They are rich in omega’s, carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. Consuming chia seeds for a snack can really help you achieve weight loss success. You will consume a superfood that will leave you feeling full for hours!

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            Recipe tip:

            To make chia pudding, simply use a 4 to 1 ratio:1 cup of plant-based milk to 1/4 cup chia seeds; add a little agave for sweetness.

            Let it sit for a couple of hours, stirring every 15-20 minutes. Make it for the day or make it for the week! Want to add a little flare? Blend some fresh fruit and top!

            Weight loss tip:

            Be mindful of the amount of sweetener/sugar used.

            12. Baked Peach and Cherry Delight

            Fruits and vegetables are key for every diet. This is the way to true health and healthy weight.

            Peaches contain niacin, folate, iron, choline, potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc and copper- they are basically vitamins! Cherries are a wonderful antioxidant; combined you have delicious vitamin that will leave you happy and satisfied.

            Recipe tip:

            Simply cut up a few peaches, add half a can of cherry pie filling, and add 3 tablespoons of lemon fruit filling for sweetness. Mix and bake on 350 degrees for about 30-45 minutes.

            Weight loss tip:

            Both peaches and cherries are naturally sweet. The lemon fruit filling is sweet as well. No additional sugars or sweeteners necessary.

            The bottom line

            Remember, fruits and vegetables should be your number one choice for snacking. Be mindful of your choices and remember to try water first.

            Snacking for weight loss is healthy and can help you reach your weight loss goals fast. Snacking isn’t a negative, if done right, it is all positive!

            Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

            Reference

            More by this author

            Veronica Castillo

            ADA Human Resources Specialist/ P & C Insurance Guru/ Plant based Cook/ Weight Loss Success Story

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            Published on November 14, 2018

            Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

            Why You Suffer from Constant Fatigue and How to Deal with It

            With our busy, always on lives, it seems that more and more of us are facing constant tiredness and fatigue on a regular basis.

            For many people, they just take this in their stride as part of modern life, but for others the impact can be crippling and can have a serious effect on their sense of wellbeing, health and productivity.

            In this article, I’ll share some of the most common causes of constant tiredness and fatigue and give you some guidance and action steps you can take to overcome some of the symptoms of fatigue.

            Why Am I Feeling Fatigued?

            Fatigue is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.  It is a reduction in the efficiency of a muscle or organ after prolonged activity.[1]

            It can affect anyone, and most adults will experience fatigue at some point in their life. 

            For many people, fatigue is caused by a combination of lifestyle, social, psychological and general wellbeing issues rather than an underlying medical condition.

            Although fatigue is sometimes described as tiredness, it is different to just feeling tired or sleepy. Everyone feels tired at some point, but this is usually resolved with a nap or a few nights of good sleep. Someone who is sleepy may also feel temporarily refreshed after exercising. If you are getting enough sleep, good nutrition and exercising regularly but still find it hard to perform, concentrate or be motivated at your normal levels, you may be experiencing a level of fatigue that needs further investigation. 

            Symptoms of Fatigue

            Fatigue can cause a vast range of physical, mental and emotional symptoms including:

            • chronic tiredness, exhaustion or sleepiness
            • mental blocks
            • lack of motivation
            • headache
            • dizziness
            • muscle weakness
            • slowed reflexes and responses
            • impaired decision-making and judgement
            • moodiness, such as irritability
            • impaired hand-to-eye coordination
            • reduced immune system function
            • blurry vision
            • short-term memory problems
            • poor concentration
            • reduced ability to pay attention to the situation at hand

            Causes of Fatigue

            The wide range of causes that can trigger fatigue include:

            • Medical causes: Constant exhaustion, tiredness and fatigue may be a sign of an underlying illness, such as a thyroid disorder, heart disease, anemia or diabetes.
            • Lifestyle-related causes: Being overweight and a lack of regular exercise can lead to feelings of fatigue.  Lack of sleep and overcommitting can also create feelings of excessive tiredness and fatigue.
            • Workplace-related causes: Workplace and financial stress in a variety of forms can lead to feelings of fatigue.
            • Emotional concerns and stress: Fatigue is a common symptom of mental health problems, such as depression and grief, and may be accompanied by other signs and symptoms, including irritability and lack of motivation.

            Fatigue can also be caused by a number of factors working in combination.

            Medical Causes of Fatigue

            If you have made lifestyle changes to increase your energy and still feel exhausted and fatigued, it may be time to seek guidance from your doctor.

            Here are a few examples of illnesses that can cause ongoing fatigue. Seek medical advice if you suspect you have a health problem:

            Anemia

            Anemia is a condition in which you don’t have enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to the body’s tissues. It is a common cause of fatigue in women.

            Having anemia may make you feel tired and weak.

            There are many forms of anemia, each with its own cause. Anemia can be temporary or long term, and it can range from mild to severe.[2]

            Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

            Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) is a condition that can cause persistent, unexplained fatigue that interferes with daily activities for more than six months.

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            This is a chronic condition with no one-size-fits-all treatment, but lifestyle changes can often help ease some symptoms of fatigue.[3]

            Diabetes

            Diabetes can cause fatigue with either high or low blood sugars. When your sugars are high, they remain in the bloodstream instead of being used for energy, which makes you feel fatigued. Low blood sugar (glucose) means you may not have enough fuel for energy, also causing fatigue.[4]

            Sleep Apnea

            Sleep apnea is a serious sleep disorder where sufferers briefly stop breathing for short periods during sleep. Most people are not aware this is happening, but it can cause loud snoring, and daytime fatigue.

            Being overweight, smoking, and drinking alcohol can all worsen the symptoms of sleep apnea.[5]

            Thyroid disease

            An underactive thyroid gland means you have too little thyroid hormone (thyroxine) in your body. This makes you feel tired and you could also put on weight and have aching muscles and dry skin.[6]

            Common lifestyle factors that can cause fatigue include:

            • Lack of sleep
            • Too much sleep 
            • Alcohol and drugs 
            • Sleep disturbances 
            • Lack of regular exercise and sedentary behaviour 
            • Poor diet 

            Common workplace issues that can cause fatigue include:

            • Shift work: Our body is designed to sleep during the night. A shift worker may confuse their circadian clock by working when their body is programmed to be asleep.
            • Poor workplace practices: This may include long work hours, hard physical labour, irregular working hours (such as rotating shifts), a stressful work environment, boredom or working alone. 
            • Workplace stress – This can be caused by a wide range of factors including job dissatisfaction, heavy workload, conflicts with bosses or colleagues, bullying, or threats to job security.
            • Burnout: This could be striving too hard on one area of your life while neglecting others, which leads to a life that feels out of balance.

            Psychological Causes of Fatigue

            Psychological factors are present in many cases of extreme tiredness and fatigue.  These may include:

            • Depression: Depression is characterised by severe and prolonged feelings of sadness, dejection and hopelessness. People who are depressed commonly experience chronic fatigue.
            • Anxiety and stress: Someone who is constantly anxious or stressed keeps their body in overdrive. The constant flooding of adrenaline exhausts the body, and fatigue sets in.
            • Grief: Losing a loved one causes a wide range of emotions including shock, guilt, depression, despair and loneliness.

            How to Tackle Constant Fatigue

            Here are 12 ways you can start tackling the causes of fatigue and start feeling more energetic.

            1. Tell The Truth

            Some people can numb themselves to the fact that they are overtired or fatigued all the time. In the long run, this won’t help you.

            To give you the best chance to overcome or eliminate fatigue, you must diagnose and tell the truth about the things that are draining your energy, making you tired or causing constant fatigue.

            Once you’re honest with yourself about the activities you’re doing in your life that you find irritating, energy-draining, and make you tired on a regular basis you can make a commitment to stop doing them.

            The help that you need to overcome fatigue is available to you, but not until you tell the truth about it. The first person you have to sell on getting rid of the causes of fatigue is yourself.

            One starting point is to diagnose the symptoms. When you start feeling stressed, overtired or just not operating at your normal energy levels make a note of:

            • How you feel
            • What time of day it is
            • What may have contributed to your fatigue
            • How your mind and body reacts

            This analysis may help you identify, understand and then eliminate very specific causes.

            2. Reduce Your Commitments

            When we have too many things on our plate personally and professionally, we can feel overstretched, causing physical and mental fatigue.

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            If you have committed to things you really don’t want to do, this causes irritability and low emotional engagement. Stack these up throughout your day and week, then your stress levels will rise.

            When these commitments have deadlines associated with them, you may be trying to cram in far too much in a short period of time.  This creates more stress and can affect your decision making ability.

            Start being realistic about how much you can get done. Either reduce the commitments you have or give yourself more time to complete them in.

            3. Get Clear On Your Priorities

            If working on your list of to-do’s or goals becomes too overwhelming, start reducing and prioritizing the things that matter most.

            Start with prioritizing just 3 things every day. When you complete those 3 things, you’ll get a rush of energy and your confidence will grow.

            If you’re trying to juggle too many things and are multi-tasking, your energy levels will drop and you’ll struggle to maintain focus.

            Unfinished projects can make you self-critical and feel guilty which drops energy levels further, creating inaction.

            Make a list of your 3 MIT (Most Important Tasks) for the next day before you go to bed. This will stop you overcommitting and get you excited about what the next day can bring.

            4. Express More Gratitude

            Gratitude and confidence are heavily linked. Just being thankful for what you have and what you’ve achieved increases confidence and makes you feel more optimistic.

            It can help you improve your sense of wellbeing, which can bring on feelings of joy and enthusiasm.

            Try starting a gratitude journal or just note down 3 things you’re grateful for every day.

            5. Focus On Yourself

            Exhaustion and fatigue can arrive by focusing solely on other people’s needs all the time, rather than worrying about and focusing on what you need (and want).

            There are work commitments, family commitments, social commitments. You may start with the best intentions, to put in your best performance at work, to be an amazing parent and friend, to simply help others.

            But sometimes, we extend ourselves too much and go beyond our personal limits to help others. That’s when constant exhaustion can creep up on us.  Which can make us more fatigued.

            We all want to help and do our best for others, but there needs to be some balance. We also need to take some time out just for ourselves to recharge and rejuvenate.

            6. Set Aside Rest and Recovery Time

            Whether it’s a couple of hours, a day off, a mini-break or a proper holiday, time off is essential to help us recover, recharge and refocus.

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            Recovery time helps fend off mental fatigue and allows us to simply kick back and relax.

            The key here, though, is to remove ourselves from the daily challenges that bring on tiredness and fatigue. Here’s how.

            Can you free yourself up completely from work and personal obligations to just rest and recover?

            7. Take a Power Nap

            When you’re feeling tired or fatigued and you have the ability to take a quick 20-minute nap, it could make a big difference to your performance for the rest of the day.

            Napping can improve learning, memory and boost your energy levels quickly.

            This article on the benefit of napping is a useful place to start if you want to learn more: How a 20-Minute Nap at Work Makes You Awake and Productive the Whole Day

            8. Take More Exercise

            The simple act of introducing some form of physical activity into your day can make a huge difference. It can boost energy levels, make you feel much better about yourself and can help you avoid fatigue.

            Find something that fits into your life, be that walking, going to the gym, running or swimming. 

            The key is to ensure the exercise is regular and that you are emotionally engaged and committed to stick with it.

            You could also walk more which will help clear your head and shift your focus away from stressful thoughts.

            9. Get More Quality Sleep

            To avoid tiredness, exhaustion and fatigue, getting enough quality sleep matters. 

            Your body needs sleep to recharge.  Getting the right amount of sleep every night can improve your health, reduce stress levels and help us improve our memory and learning skills.

            My previous article on The Benefits of Sleep You Need to Know will give you some action steps to start improving your sleep. 

            10. Improve Your Diet

            Heavy or fatty meals can make you feel sluggish and tired, whilst some foods or eating strategies do just the opposite.

            Our always on lives have us reaching for sweets or other sugary snacks to give us a burst of energy to keep going. Unfortunately, that boost fades quickly which can leave you feeling depleted and wanting more.

            On the other hand, whole grains and healthy unsaturated fats supply the reserves you can draw on throughout the day.

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            To keep energy up and steady, it’s a good idea to limit refined sugar and starches.

            Eating small meals and healthy snacks every few hours throughout the day provides a steady supply of nutrients to body and brain. It’s also important not to skip breakfast.

            Eating a balanced diet helps keep your blood sugar in a normal range and prevents that sluggish feeling when your blood sugar drops.

            11. Manage Your Stress Levels

            Stress is one of the leading causes of exhaustion and fatigue, and can seriously affect your health.

            When you have increased levels of stress at work and at home, it’s easy to feel exhausted all the time. 

            Identifying the causes of stress and then tackling the problems should be a priority. 

            My article on How to Help Anxiety When Life is Stressing You Out shares 16 strategies you can use to overcome stress.

            12. Get Hydrated

            Sometimes we can be so busy that we forget to keep ourselves fully hydrated.

            Water makes up about 60 percent of your body weight and is essential in maintaining our body’s basic functions.

            If we don’t have enough water, it can adversely affect our mental and physical performance, which leads to tiredness and fatigue.

            The recommended daily amount is around two litres a day, so to stay well hydrated keep a water bottle with you as much as possible.

            The Bottom Line

            These 12 tips can help you reduce your tiredness and feeling of fatigue.  Some will work better than others as we are all different, whilst others can be incorporated together in your daily life.

            If you’ve tried to make positive changes to reduce fatigue and you still feel tired and exhausted, it may be time to consider making an appointment with your doctor to discuss your condition.

            Featured photo credit: Annie Spratt via unsplash.com

            Reference

            [1]Oxford English Dictionary: Definition of fatigue
            [2]NHS Choices: 10 Reasons for feeling tired
            [3]Verywellhealth: What is chronic fatigue syndrome
            [4]Everyday Health: Why does type 2 diabetes make you feel tired
            [5]Mayo Clinic: Sleep apnea
            [6]Harvard Health: The lowdown on thyroid slowdown

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