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  • Writer's pictureRuth Hull

Eating Well, Sleeping Well, But Feeling Tired?

I’m sure you’ve heard of the 80/20 rule – the idea that what you do 80% of the time is more important than what you do 20% of the time. For example, the 80/20 diet is that if you eat healthily 80% of the time, then you can cheat on your diet 20% of the time.

I’m afraid I’m going to turn this rule upside down!

If you’re one of those people who tries hard to look after their health, who has given up almost everything they love to eat or drink, and who still …for some unfathomable reason…feels tired, rundown and unwell, I know that you’ll appreciate this blog!

Today I’m going to invert the 80/20 rule because it may just be that tiny 20% of something that is going on in your health, something that is going wrong in your body, that may actually be causing the majority of your symptoms. That 20% is what I like to call the “kingpin” in your health.

What’s The Kingpin In Your Health?

A kingpin is the one thing that is most essential to the success of an operation. It is the one thing that will either make or break an operation or project.

I want you to think about the “kingpin” in your health journey. What is the one thing you really should be focusing your time and energy on right now?

Small changes in your lifestyle can create big results in your health
Instead of trying to change everything in one go, look for that one small change that can have the biggest effect on your health.

Often people struggling with fatigue do their best to eat well, sleep well and get themselves healthy. Yet, for some reason they’re often still so tired.

I see the same with new patients who come to me for digestive problems. They have given up eating almost everything they love because they feel that everything they eat ‘turns to gas’ or causes their tummy to bloat.

Does this sound familiar?

When I have new patients like this, the first thing we try to work out is what is the kingpin in their health. What is that small thing that we can change to see a big effect? The best way to work this out is to keep a health journal for a while. Here’s how…

How To Keep a Health Journal

You want to keep things as simple as possible, so I suggest you either stick a blank sheet of paper on your fridge or keep a little notebook in your bag and for the next two weeks record:

  • Everything you eat

  • Everything you drink

  • Any medication you take

  • Any supplements or herbs you take

  • How well you sleep

  • How you’re feeling that day in terms of energy, mental clarity, and mood

  • Any signs or symptoms you may experience (for example, skin flare ups, stomach bloating, blocked nose, postnasal drip – anything!)

  • What you’ve done that day, who you’ve spent time with and any stress you’ve experienced.

VERY IMPORTANT – with each of these items, make sure you write down the date and time.

After two weeks of recording all this information you will be able to start seeing patterns or associations between your symptoms and your experiences or eating habits. If you’re working with a health professional, take this journal to them – they’ll love you for it because it will help them to help you!

What Could Be Causing Your Sore Joints, Bloating Belly and Constant Tiredness?

The most common set of physiological processes that underlie a lot of chronic health conditions are:

  • A Leaky Gut – Many people struggle with what we commonly call a ‘leaky gut’. This occurs when the lining of your gut becomes hyperpermeable and allows all sorts of molecules to pass through it into the bloodstream. Leaky gut is closely linked to chronic inflammation. If you’re struggling with digestive problems and want to learn more about how to improve a leaky gut, then have a look at my collection of blogs on gut health.

  • Chronic Inflammation – Chronic inflammation is a physiological process that underlies many health problems. Unfortunately, it is difficult to diagnose because it is so often confused with other health conditions.

  • An Untreated Infection – If you’re tired all the time for no obvious reason, or if you’ve been struggling with poor health for a long time, I suggest you visit your doctor and ask him or her to run a series of blood and stool tests in case you have an underlying infection.

  • Blood Sugar Imbalances – Finally, a big health concern for so many people is poorly controlled blood glucose levels. I like to talk about this as blood sugar imbalances. If you find you’re not concentrating like you used to, or if you battle with brain fog, or your energy is always crashing then you need to start eating to balance your blood sugars. So many other health conditions are also linked to poorly managed blood sugars, ranging from Alzheimer’s to polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS).

Causes of chronic inflammation
As delicious as sugar is, it is a major contributor to chronic inflammation and fatigue. Sorry!!!

Could Stress Be Making You Sick?

Take a look again at the above processes that underlie a lot of health conditions. Can you think of something that impacts them all?


Stress has a bigger impact on our health than we like to think. The integrity and health of your gut lining is easily damaged by stress and can result in a leaky gut. Chronic inflammation and blood glucose imbalances are also aggravated by stress and when we’re under a lot of stress our immune system suffers.

Once you’ve kept a health journal for two weeks, take a look at it and see if maybe it’s not what you’re eating or a lack of sleep or exercise that is making you feel horrible, but maybe it is too much stress!


To conclude, you shouldn’t have to give up everything you love in life to be healthy. Good health isn’t complicated!

If you’re eating a very restricted diet or living according to a very severe health regime AND you’re still not feeling any better, then you need to explore what physiological process is underlying your poor health.

You can do this by keeping a health journal and looking for what patterns come up. Once you’ve found these patterns, find a health professional who can guide you on how best to rebuild your health.

You might find that after only a few months you can go back to eating all those delicious foods you so love!


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