Why Do I Lose Weight When I Am Sick? What Can I Do?

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Why Do I Lose Weight When I Am Sick? What Can I Do?

Hi, I am 17 yrs old. I have been lifting for around 8 months and have seen some good gains in strength. I do not use any supplements. The main problem I have is that I seem to lose weight extremely quickly whenever I fall ill, which has happened to me twice since I started lifting seriously. This last time I lost 2 kilos in just less than 3 days and I get really down cause all my hard work in the gym in the previous months goes down the drain. I want to know what routine I should follow after returning to the gym. Should I continue with the same split I always use or should I use some other routine to get my strength back first? And also how long should I take after returning to the gym before I start lifting my max amount of weight again. V.

V-man is looking for some preventive measures here, I hope. What I mean by "I hope" is that... who ever heard of planning on falling sick. On a more serious note I understand his pain. V falls ill and loses massive amounts of weight. V then begins to think that all of his muscle has vanished because he was out of commission for three to four days. This is not true. If you have ever thought the same thing than you too were mislead to believe such a thing. You will lose weight when you are ill, that is pretty much a given. Why? When you fall ill your body's metabolism races in attempt to fight off infection. Your metabolism also races trying to re-establish homeostasis. The bad part about being sick is the lack of the hunger mechanism. When you fall ill you tend to lose that hunger sensation which in turn has a negative impact on your condition. You need nourishment to assist your body during this period of stress. So the end result is this: your kilocaloric needs have increased but because you are ill you are eating less, which creates a negative energy balance causing you to shed a few pounds. This is part of the problem but for the most part not the main source of weight loss.

The real reason for losing all of this weight is dehydration. I know for a fact that being sick also requires an increased need for water. When people fall ill they do not drink enough. Water is a vehicle for every chemical action that occurs in the body. It is really important for healing and staying hydrated (obviously). Water is lost through excessive sweating when you are ill. Your body temperature runs high during a time of illness thus increasing your water loss. You need to drink an abundant amount of fluid during your illness and you will see little to no weight loss. I think that if one could make themselves eat more and drink enough during an illness they would be able to actually gain a little weight. It kind of works weird, huh? When there is a time that benefits us to eat a little extra we do not feel like doing so. When we want to eat more we really should not, but hey, that is life.

As far as returning to the gym and attempting to return to lifting to your old capabilities, well I would give it a full week. After returning to the gym, take it easy on the muscles and joints. Try going a little lighter than usual while concentrating on squeezing and flexing the muscle. Try to really get the muscle full of blood and really pumped. The following week you can use your judgment and if you feel like going 100% then go for it. On the other hand if you feel like you need to take another week to build up, do so. Two weeks should be plenty of time unless you are coming off of a major surgery but you were speaking of general illnesses.

So V, remember when you fall ill you must force nourishment, force fluids, and get your rest. If you do this you will be back to where you were in no time I promise. Good luck and try to stay healthy. Falling ill twice in eight months is too much. Take care of yourself.

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