What Are the Causes of Losing Weight Without Trying?

Losing weight without trying can occur for a variety of reasons. This may be welcomed by some but for others can be the sign of a serious underlying medical condition. Losing a few pounds is rarely cause for concern, but the sudden loss of 10 lbs. or more or persistent, unexplained weight loss, can be cause for concern.

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Lifestyle Changes

A hectic schedule can cause you to lose weight, and you may not even realize it. Skipping meals and eating on the go can lead to a drastic decrease in the amount of calories your body gets. A lack of proper nutrition in combination with constantly being on the run or intensive participation in exercise can lead to unexplained weight loss.

Gastrointestinal Diseases

Conditions that affect your gastrointestinal system can lead to sudden weight loss. When your digestive system isn't functioning properly, you may lose weight due to a loss of appetite or as the result of malabsorption of the vital nutrients your body needs. Your body may also not be able to break down your food to a form your body can use for fuel. Many conditions can cause you to lose weight, even if you stick to a well-balanced diet. These conditions may include inflammatory bowel disease, peptic ulcer disease, Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and celiac disease.

Endocrine Disorders

Endocrine disorders create abnormalities in your body's endocrine system. As a result, your hormones aren't regulated properly. This can have multiple affects on the body, including weight loss -- even if you have a well-balanced diet. Diseases that affect your endocrine system can include hyperthyroidism, hypothyroidism, diabetes, adrenal insufficiency and hypercalcemia.


As you grow older, weight loss may occur unexpectedly. Aging adults tend to experience changes in their taste and smell, along with increased nausea and even depression. This can lead to changes in appetite. Older adults taking medications may also experience weight loss as a side effect of the medication.

Heart and Lung Conditions

Diseases and conditions of the cardiovascular system and respiratory system can lead to unexplained weight loss. Weight loss is often a complication in people with advanced heart and lung diseases. These diseases include congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. Medications used to treat these conditions can also cause weight loss.

Other Conditions

Other conditions that can lead to weight loss without trying include cancer, infections, taking over-the-counter medications or prescription medications, neurological illnesses, kidney disease and changes in your mental health. If excessive weight loss is a concern for you, talk to your doctor about possible causes and treatments.

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