Although there are several ways to lose weight without dieting or exercising, unexplained weight loss or losing without making any efforts can be a cause of concern. Losing 10 or more pounds or about 5% of one’s body weight over a period of 6-12 months effortlessly is termed ‘unexplained’ and could indicate one of the underlying health conditions mentioned below, especially if it is significant or persistent.

  1. Cancer- It is one of the most dreaded reasons for unintended weight loss and losing weight effortlessly might be one of the early signs of cancer, especially when people are affected with cancer of the pancreas, stomach, esophagus, or lung. People with cancer will lose weight at some point because cancer cells consume most of the body’s energy supply or change the way the body generates energy from food.
  2. Diabetes- Although unintended weight loss is found in individuals with both types of diabetes, it is more common among those with type-1 diabetes. The effortless weight loss in type-1 diabetes is because insulin insufficiency prevents the body from getting glucose from the blood to generate energy and instead, the body starts burning fat and muscles for energy causing a reduction in overall body weight.
  3. Hyperthyroidism aka overactive thyroid- It can accelerate one’s body metabolism and cause unintentional weight loss. People with hyperthyroidism lose weight effortlessly even when their appetite and food intake increases. This is because the thyroid hormone which is linked to a high basal metabolic rate makes your body burn more energy even at rest.
  4. Rheumatoid arthritis- The autoimmune disease which makes one’s own immune system to attack the lining of the joints to cause inflammation can cause unexplained weight reduction. This is because chronic inflammation can speed up your metabolism which in turn leads to reduced body weight. Sometimes, weight loss in RA patients can be an adverse effect of certain medications used to treat the condition.
  5. Depression- It can make a person lose weight without trying. It is a mood disorder which can cause distressing symptoms that affect the way one feels, thinks, or handle day-to-day activities like sleeping, eating, or working. Depression affects the same regions of the brain that control appetite and this is why a depressed individual is likely to have a poor appetite which can result in weight loss.