Weight loss, in the context of medicine, health, or physical fitness refers to a reduction of the total body mass, due to a mean loss of fluid, body fat or adipose tissue and/or lean mass, namely bone mineral deposits, muscle, tendon, and other connective tissue. Weight loss can either occur unintentionally due to an underlying disease or arise from a conscious effort to improve an actual or perceived overweight or obese state. “Unexplained” weight loss that is not caused by reduction in calorific intake or exercise is called cachexia and may be a symptom of a serious medical condition. Intentional weight loss is commonly referred to as slimming.
Weight loss can be intentional, such as with dieting and exercise, or it can be a result of an illness. Here are some methods typically used to lose weight intentionally:
- Dieting: This often involves reducing calorie intake, changing the types of foods you eat, or both. For example, some people may choose to cut out added sugars and saturated fats, while others may reduce the overall amount of food they eat.
- Exercise: Physical activity can help you burn more calories and lose weight. Both aerobic exercises like jogging or swimming, and anaerobic exercises like weight lifting can contribute to weight loss.
- Lifestyle changes: Other changes like getting enough sleep, reducing stress, and staying hydrated can also support weight loss.
- Medical interventions: In some cases, healthcare providers may recommend medications or surgery to help with weight loss.
It’s important to note that while losing weight can have health benefits for those who are overweight or obese, not everyone needs to lose weight, and weight loss isn’t the only or best indicator of health. The goal of any weight loss plan should be to achieve and maintain a healthy weight in a healthy way, focusing on balanced nutrition and regular physical activity.
Unintentional weight loss can be a sign of a serious underlying condition, such as diabetes, cancer, or digestive disorders. If you’re losing weight without trying and don’t know why, it’s important to speak with a healthcare provider.