When weight loss is unintentional

The spontaneous act of dropping pounds unintentionally may seem like a dream for many but not for those who are not deliberately trying to lose weight.  Anytime a person’s weight goes down without trying, it could be a sign of something more serious and should be addressed by a doctor. The sooner a person with unintended weight loss sees their doctor, the quicker they can figure out why weight loss is occurring and then work on getting back to a healthy weight.

Unintentional weight loss is particularly alarming in people as they age as it can have far-reaching effects and could be a result of one or more of the following:

·Loss of muscle mass resulting in loss of muscle strength

·Decreases in immune functioning making a person vulnerable to illness

·It could be a sign of a serious illness such as cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, Parkinson’s disease, or Alzheimer’s disease

·Digestive issues, alcohol-related disease and depression could contribute to weight loss

·An overactive thyroid gland or hyperthyroidism

·Congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

·Poor appetite

·Medications that can alter taste and smell of food or cause dry mouth, constipation or nausea

To prevent further loss of weight, it is important to address healthy eating as this is necessary for good health.  Each day the human body requires nutrients to nourish, replenish and support proper functioning of various systems throughout the body.  When the body is devoid of these nutrients and calories, this is when unintentional weight loss can occur with possible dire consequences.

To avoid this scenario, here are tips minimizing unintended weight loss to help reach and maintain a healthier body weight:

·Eat regularly scheduled meals or snacks every 3 to 4 hours throughout the day.  Going longer than this makes it difficult to get in enough food and calories.

·Make every bite count.  Avoid focusing on low-fat food options.  Instead choose healthy fats found in foods such as peanut butter, all nuts and seeds, cold water fatty fish such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, or trout, and avocados.

·If living alone, try sharing meals with others such as a neighbor or family on a regular basis to stimulate appetite

·If transportation to a store is an issue, check to see if the supermarket makes deliveries.

·Choose hearty, dense whole-wheat breads topped with nut butters, hummus or mashed avocado

·Choose more starchy vegetables such as corn, potatoes, peas, sweet potatoes, beans, and winter squash

·Add shredded cheese to casseroles, vegetables, scrambled eggs, potatoes, and soup

·Make hearty soups such as minestrone or bean

·Eat more dense fruits such as bananas, pineapple or dried fruit

·Drink more nutritious beverages such as milk, 100% fruit juice or homemade smoothies

·Add nuts and seeds to cereal, yogurt, stir-fries and salads or eat as a snack

·Maintain adequate protein intake by including ground beef, chicken, eggs, salmon, tofu, yogurt, and cheese

·Enjoy desserts that contain nutritious ingredients such as apple crisp or oatmeal raisin cookies

·If necessary, use bottled liquid nutritional supplements as a snack and not as a meal replacement