The danger of exhaustion

exhausted male


The kind of fatigue that develops as a result of the newborn crying again at 3 am. 

The kind that develops while recovering from major surgery.

The kind that no amount of cheering fixes. 

Exhaustion is dangerous stuff that leads to apathy. 

Apathy says, “I don’t give a rip. I don’t care.”   

When one’s body gets to that degree of fatigue, watch out! 

Recently, I found the following writing that I had posted on the member center of during the year that I’d lost 100 lbs.   It was dated, March 14, 2009; a little over eight months into the journey of earning my health back. The scales were down about eighty pounds, and I was well out of toxic food cravings. Just a few weeks prior to this writing I had had a major surgery, and decided to take a road trip to visit my son at college; a 3 1/2 hour drive away.


          I had a wonderful drive to visit my son. It was beautiful weather, and he had an eventful afternoon planned for my 14-year-old daughter and me. We went gallery hopping, window shopping, grocery shopping; plus, we toured the campus. On the outside I look relatively well now, but I’m still recovering from a major surgery that I had just a few weeks ago. This trip was my first "day away" since surgery. Can anyone spell s-t-u-p-i-d? 

          Well, between cleaning the house, and a 1/2 hour incline treadmill walk in the morning before departing; plus, all the excitement of the day, by early  evening, I had bit off way more than my body could physically manage. I was extremely exhausted, and was facing another 3 1/2 hour drive back home. At that moment, my rational mind shut down, and the irrational thought of "I don't care anymore" took over.

          My son had given his little sister a sack full of chocolate pop tarts (leftovers from his dorm breakfasts ~ the breakfasts of champions for college students.)  In "I don't care" mode, I asked for a pop tart, and my daughter graciously obliged. I opened the package, and the two pop tarts were stale, but I didn’t care. I ate them anyway. Then I read on the package that I had just eaten 73 grams of carbs. This freaked me out so I bought some tuna salad that was swimming in mayonnaise at a deli to compensate for any blood sugar issues that I might have created with the pop tarts. You know where this story is going . . . 

          I stopped mid-drive home, and got a gooey, hot fudge sundae. Then an hour later, I bought a candy bar and cream filled caramels at a gas station, scarfed them down, and then devoured a peanut butter sandwich when I got home. Then I collapsed in bed. Forget brushing the teeth . . . my body was beyond exhausted. There was not one ounce of self care or nurturing left. *

exhausted female holding cupWhen we are extremely exhausted, we have a tendency to make unwise choices. Oftentimes, we no longer desire to properly nurture and care for our bodies. When the body is pushed beyond healthy limits, it automatically shuts down, and goes into "I don't care" mode; and that's the most dangerous place to be! One can have good intentions, but in "I don't care" mode irrationality takes over.

We need to be diligent to make time for proper self-care; that includes nurturing as well as nourishment. We need to be kind to our bodies and not abuse them by overextending their capabilities. We need to make time for rest and rejuvenation, which may include asking others for help; especially in seasons of additional stress.

Wise choices produce freedom! 


After two years of eating high nutrient foods, I now have a strong aversion to junk food, and would get violently sick if I binged on those same foods.



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Comments (11) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Dr. Josh Axe - August 18, 2010 9:23 AM

I find that planning ahead also helps you in times when you may become apathetic.

debbie - August 18, 2010 9:54 AM

This is the exact issue I am struggling with and have been struggling with for the past year and a half. I have gained 40 pounds on an already overweight body and most of it is due to just being exhausted from working 7 days a week and being under intense stress. Just don't know how to break out of the situation.

Ben Atkin - August 18, 2010 11:51 AM

This is one of the biggest reasons it's important to have a comfortable place to live. If a place is too noisy, hot, or cold to get a good nights' sleep it's all too easy to go to sleep with a good attitude and wake up apathetic.

Emily Boller - August 18, 2010 12:39 PM

Is there anything whatsoever that you can cut out of your schedule to make time for necessary rest and rejuvination? Can you perhaps find a trustworthy friend or life coach/counselor who can honestly evaluate your schedule to help you make time for personal self-care and relieve some of your intense stress? You must make getting your health back a number one priority in your life.

Julie - August 18, 2010 2:36 PM


I can't thank you enough for your post! I have been staying faithful to the E2L diet for the past month and thought that I was over my cravings for refined junk. So I was suprised that this morning I wanted to eat chips, cookies etc. Why? You just answered my question. I haven't been getting much sleep this week and had been coming to work and frequently falling asleep at my desk. I think I only averaged about four hours of sleep today. Now that I recognize what my problem is, I feel that I have my cravings under control.

Bad_CRC - August 18, 2010 4:27 PM

"...tuna salad that was swimming in mayonnaise ... to compensate for any blood sugar issues that I might have created with the pop tarts."

LOL, Barry Sears rides again -- gotta hurry and Zone-balance my Pop-Tarts! I'm laughing because I did stuff like this too.

Sherri Obermark - August 18, 2010 5:17 PM

Thanks for this post, I really did need to hear your message at this point in time.

Michael - August 18, 2010 7:18 PM

Reminds me of HALT which is often mentioned in 12-step groups. Never let yourself get too:

Lonely or

Laura Dice - August 18, 2010 9:41 PM

Emily - so appropriate for today. I binged today though I hadn't done this in a very very long time. Instead of thinking why I just assumed I had acted 'badly'. But I had been exhausted because my dog kept me up with the storms last night.
So now I know why this happened! Thanks for making me reflect. I have always heard of this danger but never applied it to myself.

Molly - August 18, 2010 11:25 PM

Thank you so much for sharing this, Emily. I think we've all been in this place emotionally. I'll share two sayings from Overeaters Anonymous:
"Fail to Plan and Plan to Fail," which means just what it sounds like, and
H.A.L.T. -- don't ever let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired, because then you're at the mercy of your emotions, and your rational mind is no longer in control.
Self-care is #1 priority, always.

Mercedes - August 19, 2010 3:16 AM

I think these sort of cravings aren't just the body saying 'heck, I don't care anymore, give me some junk', but there is an actual biological explanation behind all this. When we wake exhausted, our blood sugar levels are typically down, most likely way below normal, especially in individuals with glucose tolerance issues (which most of us one time unhealthy eaters are). This, in turn, creates those cravings, then coupled with the tired 'I can't be asked' mindset, it all becomes a lethal combination..

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