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Understanding and diagnosing unintentional weight changes

For almost everybody, body weight is in a constant state of flux – you’ll find that you never weigh the same in the morning as you do just before you go to bed, and that number will even be different in the middle of the day too. These sorts of fluctuations are very natural and nothing to worry about on a day to day basis. The majority of the time, if you find that your body weight is fluctuating, it can be put down to what you’ve eaten that day, the amount of exercise that you’ve done lately, or even something as ridiculous as when you last used the bathroom.

If, however, you notice that your body weight is changing more dramatically than usual or that you’ve had a sudden or unintentional weight loss or gain, there may be an underlying problem that needs to be resolved.

Causes of unintentional weight gain

Slowly putting on weight as we grow older is usually a natural phenomenon due to the way that the body deals with calories and a slowing metabolic rate, so is not something to be overly concerned about. It’s when this weight gain becomes dramatic or starts to impact on your overall health that you need to review what your food intake and exercise plan looks like. If you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet and taking regular exercise, but are still noticing weight gain, there may be some other reason behind it. It’s important to discuss this gain with a medical practitioner, but some conditions that might cause you to put on weight and struggle to manage it at a healthy level might include:

  • Hypothyroidism
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome or other hormonal changes
  • Fluid retention resulting from cardiac or kidney disease
  • Side effects of certain medications.

It’s also important to note that weight gain, whether you know the causes or not, should always be carefully managed as it may result in other uncomfortable or potential harmful symptoms or conditions for your body including high cholesterol, elevated blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and mental health issues. Read more about obesity and its effects on our blog here.

Causes of unintentional weight loss

At the other end of the scale, unintentional weight loss can be a scary prospect, particularly if you feel like you’re eating plenty and not over-exerting yourself in the gym. 

One condition that can cause unintentional weight loss that is more common than you might expect is malnutrition. Even if you’re eating enough food, you might not be getting all the correct nutrients to keep your body running at its best level, meaning that it begins to eat away at your fat and muscle stores. This is an indication that you need to review your diet and the balance of healthy and unhealthy foodthat you’re consuming. 

Understanding your personal genetic  health profile with our NutriQlu testwill give you a far better insight into how your body personally deals with the different levels of nutrients, your personal metabolic rate and your predisposition towards different exercise types. As such, you’ll be able to create a diet and workout plan that works for you.

If you’re still experiencing unexplained weight loss, even after reviewing your diet and exercise levels, it may be down to an as yet undiagnosed health condition such as the following:

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • Hyperthyroidism
  • Stress/depression.

When to see a medical professional

If you realise that your body weight has increased or decreased by 5% over a 6 month period, you should book an appointment with your GP or with a specialised healthcare consultant – the weight changes might be masking an underlying condition that could be just the tip of the iceberg. 

As a result of unintentional weight loss or weight gain individuals can also be pushed towards eating disorders or other mental health problems such as depression and anxiety as they struggle to understand why they’re unable to manage their weight. If this is something you’re worried about, it’s very important to consult your GP who can both look into further testing to help diagnose the reason behind your weight changes as well as refer you to someone who will help you manage your mental health.


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