For many people, losing weight is something to celebrate. When the weight comes of unexpectedly and unintentionally, however, it may cause concern. Several factors can contribute to sudden weight loss, some serious and some not so much. Before you get concerned, take a look at your lifestyle to see if any changes may have caused you to lose weight.
Changes to your diet over an extended period can contribute to a substantial weight loss. That's because reducing the number of calories you eat each day is one of the ways you can lose weight. If you have stopped eating eat so much, started eating smaller portions or been eating more fresh fruits and vegetables instead of processed foods for snacks, those changes are likely to be reflected on the scale,the Weight-Control Information Network reports. Even if the changes were made without intending to lose weight, these kind of changes can cause you to shed some pounds.
Change in Activity Level
Weight loss occurs when you burn off more calories than you consume, so if you start burning off more calories each day than you once were you may notice your pants getting looser, the University of Michigan reports. If you haven't been getting regular exercise but suddenly started talking the dog for a walk each day or walking to public transportation instead of driving to work, you can lose weight. If you do exercise regularly but have changed the frequency, duration or intensity of your workout sessions you also may notice some weight loss.
If you haven't changed your diet or activity level and have lost a significant amount of weight, you may have an undiagnosed medical condition. Many illnesses and health conditions can cause you to lose weight. Some are serious, while others are not. Among the health problems that can cause unintentional weight loss are infections; HIV and AIDS; certain types of cancer; chronic diarrhea; hyperthyroidism; and depression. Unexplained weight loss can also be a side effect of some prescription drugs, as well as some illegal drugs, MedlinePlus reports. Even your dental health can contribute. For example, changes caused by loss of teeth or getting braces can also lead to weight loss.
When to See a Doctor
If you lose more than 5 percent of your total body weight in less than a year and have no explanation for your weight loss, you need to visit a doctor, MedlinePlus advises. You should also make an appointment with a health practitioner if your weight loss is accompanied by other unexplained symptoms. Your doctor will perform an exam and ask questions about how the weight loss has occurred and likely will order tests if no cause can be determined.