Feature Archive

Evaluating Your Weight

For some, the focus is maintaining weight, not losing it.

By R. Morgan Griffin
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Michael Smith

In a society focused on obesity and staying fit, it's important to remember that dropping some pounds isn't always healthy. For some -- particularly people who are coping with medical conditions like cancer or arthritis -- the danger is losing weight, not gaining it.

Some people lose weight without trying because they simply aren't eating enough to maintain a healthy weight. Some types of cancer -- or treatments for it -- can leave you chronically nauseous. Arthritis can make it hard to get to the grocery store, or even to do simple things around the kitchen. Food may just not taste as good as it once did because of side effects of medication.

Any of these problems can cause unwanted and possibly dangerous weight loss, which can leave you malnourished, weak, and vulnerable to illness. That's especially risky for someone who is already sick.

But how do you know if you're losing too much weight? To answer the question, here are some tips on how to keep a healthy weight and get the nutrients you need.

How Do I Know if My Weight Is Healthy?

Obviously, a healthy weight varies from person to person, depending on age and medical condition. But there are some general rules of thumb. You may need to see a doctor and you may be losing weight too quickly if -- without trying to -- you lose:

  • 10 pounds over six months or
  • 10% of your body weight or
  • Five pounds in one week.