Unplanned weight loss can happen for lots of reasons, and we want to put your mind at ease.
Have you recently lost some weight without meaning to? If you’ve dropped a few lbs without embarking on a diet, you need to know why this can happen.
What are the common causes of unexplained weight loss?
Losing weight is almost always a case of calories in versus calories out. If you create a calorie deficit, your body will burn into stored energy and you’ll lose weight as a result. You can do this by eating fewer calories than you expend, or expending more energy than you eat.
But a calorie deficit isn’t the only explanation for unexplained weight loss. Illness, stress, emotional upheaval, and digestive problems can all lead to weight loss. Is your body able to digest, absorb, and use the food you eat? There’s often no single, simple explanation for surprise weight loss. If your weight loss carries on past a point where you feel happy with your body, it’s time to take stock.
Any of these sneaky little lifestyle changes be causing your unintentional weight loss. It’s time to get to the root of what’s happening inside your body.
There are a number of health issues which can contribute to weight loss. If you think it could be something serious, go to your doctor to get a specialist opinion. There are less-serious health complaints however which could be at the root of the cause. If your digestive system isn’t functioning properly, it might not be absorbing the nutrients from food. You might think you’re eating enough but if your body isn’t digesting and utilising some of it, you could lose weight.
Ruling out illness, stress can lead to weight loss in some people. Living in a constant state of chronic stress can cause your body to burn more energy. Stress can also affect your sleep, energy levels, appetite, and food choices. All these things could easily lead to you losing some weight.
Has life recently taken a busy turn? Are you more active than normal? Everyday activities like walking and chasing around after other people can make you burn a lot more energy than usual. People can lose weight because they are moving house, doing DIY or garden projects or because they get a dog!
Unexplained weight loss is rarely anything to worry about. It’s likely that you are eating less, or moving more, without realising it. If you are worried about your health, please talk to your doctor.
What can I do about unexplained weight loss?
If you are worried about your weight loss, it’s time to do something about it. You need to see if you are eating less than you think, or expending more energy than you realise.
If you want to maintain your size, you need to know how to stop unintentional weight loss. Not everyone is keen to lose a bit of excess weight. If you don’t want to be any lighter than you are, you need to know how to stop your weight from falling.
- Reflect – Track your food and drink for a few days (some weekdays and at least one weekend day). Make a note of all your activity, not just formal exercise. Think about how well you are sleeping. Have your stress levels changed? Is anything in your everyday routine different?
- Eat more – The most common reason for unexplained weight loss is a calorie imbalance. You could be eating less than your body needs without realising it. If you have a small appetite or if your daily routine is making it tricky to eat enough, that could be the culprit. Is your routine busier, or more stressful, at the moment? Keep a food diary for a few days to see if you are under eating.
- Move less – Staying fit and active is healthy but if you are expending more energy than you are taking in, you will lose weight. Your body will need the extra energy from your fat and muscle tissue. Whilst we’d never advise anyone to be less active, look at your routine. Are you running about more than usual? If so, you will either need to eat more (to match your output), or scale back your activity levels.
- Get stress under control – Stress can make weight drop off in some individuals. If stress or high emotions cause you to lose your appetite or gravitate towards lighter food choices, pay attention to your diet. You need to nourish your body. Choose nutritious, calorie dense foods which will keep your body healthy.
- Make sure your digestive system is happy – If your digestive system isn’t working properly, you won’t get all the nutrition from the food you eat. If you suspect this is the case, try a probiotic, prebiotic, or digestive enzyme to help your system cope.
If you can’t pinpoint your sudden weight loss to any dietary or lifestyle changes, there could be an underlying medical issue. Chat to your doctor to put your mind at rest.
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