Why am I eating a lot but losing a lot of weight?

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There’s no way for you to know without getting checked out in person. For an overview, though, we asked Dr. Yolanda Reid Chassiakos, clinical assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Besides rapid growth in the teen years, there are other possible reasons.

Problems with the thyroid are one common cause. That tiny organ in your neck is “the engine of the body,” according to Chassiakos. It can “speed up the metabolism and burn more fuel and calories, resulting in .”

Sometimes, infection can cause unintended weight loss by messing with the digestive system. So can enzyme deficiencies, rogue cells, hormone problems, and diabetes. “Certain medications, as well as legal and illegal drugs, can cause a teen to lose weight,” adds Chassiakos. And people worried about their weight, or other mental and emotional issues, may overestimate how much they’re eating.

So see your health provider. He or she will ask about your life, health, diet, and activity level, plus perform a physical exam and other tests. With a diagnosis, says Chassiakos, “medical treatment, nutritional coaching, or counseling can often help a teen regain desired weight–and good health.”

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