Daily Mirror - Print Edition

Probing the WEIGHT LOSS dilemma

13 Jan 2020 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      



Losing weight might sound like a good thing and maybe that’s what everyone dreams of. Finally changing into a skinnier person might excite you and you might also win a few compliments. Maybe all the hours spent on daily workouts succeeded in bringing satisfying results.

However, while everything seems to be working out well for your looks on the outside, things might not be going so well within the body. Sudden, extreme weight loss can result in certain complications that would interrupt the proper functioning of the body.

Weight loss can also occur due to unintentional reasons. This type of uninvited changes would affect the bodily functions and the daily performance of an individual.
The Health Capsule spoke to Doctor Damayanthi Perera, Nutrition, Dietetics and Lifestyle Specialist to get more insight on this detrimental issue.



Weight loss refers to the reduction of total body mass of an individual due to a mean loss of fluid and body fat of an individual. 

Dr. Perera explained that there is an ideal body weight for an individual. This body weight should be maintained in order to ensure solid health. However, certain situations may cause people to experience excessive weight loss.



Weight loss can be intentional or unintentional. Intentional circumstances include diets and exercises while the unintentional circumstances involve certain illnesses.

Improper and unguided diets are a main reason for the unnecessary weight loss that would cause many harmful effects on the body. Many people follow extreme diets that are usually not guided or supervised by a qualified nutritionist or dietitian. These type of diets can trigger many side effects that would harm the individual. 

There are also certain weight loss pills available at drugstores. While these promise instant weight loss, they may cause harmful side effects.

“There are no quick fixes for weight loss. There are no magic gadgets or magic bullets for weight loss. Most of the drugs would produce various side effects in the long run,” Dr Perera explained. 

Unintentional weight loss occurs when an individual is not well.  For example, a person with uncontrolled diabetes can experience sudden loss of weight. Other illnesses include cancer, HIV, tuberculosis, depression etc. 

When it comes to patients with diabetes, the insufficient level of insulin produced by their body will prevent the body from obtaining glucose from blood to the body cells.  This will cause an issue in producing the energy required by the body to perform normal bodily functions. Therefore, the energy is obtained by burning fat and muscles for energy. This will cause a reduction in the overall body weight. 

Dr. Perera explained that apart from depression, other psychological issues can also affect the normal body weight and cause weight loss. These issues involve mental trauma and negative life experiences. According to Dr Perera, a person who is suffering from the death of a loved one, or is dealing with a sudden breakup of a relationship may suffer great stress that would result in the reduction of body weight. This is mainly due to the extensive amount of stress they have to deal with. 

Stress can have a great and direct impact on the body weight of certain people. Stress can lead to skipping meals and loss of appetite; thus causing weight loss.  Dr Perera further mentioned that mastication problems that arise during old age would eventually lead to weight loss due to the inability to consume food properly. 

Methods of diagnosis include medical checkups. It is important to consult a physician if the individual is losing an abnormal amount of weight. It is important that patients run through their medical history with the physician. Blood sugar testing will assist in diagnosing whether unintentional weight loss is due to diabetes. 

“If there is unexplained weight loss, the patient is advised to consult a physician,” Dr Perera said. 



While there are no specific symptoms that reveal weight loss itself, the symptoms of certain illnesses that lead to the loss of weight could be detected. Sudden, unintentional weight loss causes great fatigue, lack of energy and the decrease in the level of performance; especially in young children.



Weight loss due to unintentional factors is a medical condition that is beyond the control of the individual. Therefore, it cannot be prevented. However, treatment can be introduced to manage weight loss.

“Unintentional weight loss cannot be prevented. If weight loss is caused due to a certain disease, it can be treated by taking medication relevant to the disease,” Dr Perera explained.  

“Those who wish to lose weight must consult a qualified Nutritionist or Dietitian. Unguided dieting is not safe. Complications can be prevented if proper guidance is received from a qualified practitioner. Therefore, people should also avoid following various fad diets that can cause nutrition deficiencies” the doctor concluded.