When Weight Loss Isn’t Good

As somebody who has struggled with my weight, I fully understand the delight brought on by stepping on the scale and seeing a lower number. It’s a wonderful feeling to see that your efforts are finally paying off.

Who wants to "look a gift horse in the mouth?" If you need or want to lose weight and you start to lose weight without changing your behaviors, that may not be a good thing.

Who wants to “look a gift horse in the mouth?” If you need or want to lose weight and you start to lose weight without changing your behaviors, that may not be a good thing.

What about when your efforts haven’t really changed? For those of us who have had a hard time changing our behaviors and haven’t been very successful, we might not be honest with ourselves. We say we’re working hard, and we know that sometimes we really do work hard. We also want to forget that we often undo our hard work with a lapse. It’s why our weight typically goes down a few pounds and then back up again. We just aren’t consistent enough to make real progress.

Then one day we step on the scale and we’ve lost a little more weight than we expected. It makes us very happy! The weight loss isn’t followed by a gain; we keep losing and we’re happy. We aren’t doing anything different and we haven’t gotten serious about sticking to a weight loss plan. It doesn’t matter though, because we must be doing something right if we keep losing right? Why try to analyze it. Let’s just be happy!

If we’re losing weight, isn’t that proof that we really have been working hard. If not working hard, then maybe at the very least the efforts were making are cumulative. Maybe they have finally “kicked in” to start making the needle on the scale move to a lower position. Yeah! That explains it.

Many people who have been battling their weight are elated to lose weight, so elated that they don’t want to ask the question, “why now when I really haven’t changed my habits? I’m still doing the same “good dieting morning” followed by blowing it every night. How come I wasn’t losing weight before and now I am?”

It’s easy to just take the weight loss any way it happens and be very happy about it.

Losing weight without effort  may be a sign that all is not okay.

Losing weight without effort may be a sign that all is not okay.

Sometimes weight loss is not a good thing. If you are not doing anything differently weight loss isn’t a cause for celebration, it’s a cause for concern. It would be a wonderful gift if we could simply lose weight without any effort on our part, but when that happens and persists, it means something is wrong and we need to find out what that is.

Here are some potential causes for unexplained weight loss in alphabetical order:

In my experience as a Weight Watchers leader I’ve come to get concerned when there’s a change in a member’s progress. If I have a member who has been struggling to make progress and then all of a sudden starts to lose several pounds a week, I ask what is different in the way he or she is working the program. If the member says, “nothing, I guess it’s just kicking in all of a sudden,” I ask the member to track and let me see his or her tracker the next week.

If what I see on the tracker and the weight loss progress don’t seem to match, I urge the member to see a doctor. It may be a small problem. I hope it is, but I’ve experienced members who had cancer and weight loss was the first noticable symptom.

This blog isn’t written to alarm readers; it’s written to alert readers that unexplained weight loss is usually not a good thing.

If you’re losing weight and you haven’t changed your behaviors, don’t accept it as a marvelous, wonderful gift. It’s a call to action to see a doctor!



Jackie Conn

About Jackie Conn

Jackie Conn is married and has four grown daughters and four grandchildren. She is a Weight Watchers success story. She's a weight loss expert with 25 years of experience guiding women and men to their weight-related goals. Her articles on weight management have been published in health, family and women's magazines. She has been a regular guest on Channel 5 WABI news, FOX network morning program Good Day Maine and 207 on WCSH.