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I can't stand being fat

Posts: 9
Joined: Feb 2011

I've piled on 30+ pounds since diagnosis/treatment 3 years ago and it keeps coming. I haven't seem to been able to stick with any exercise: just a week or two and that's it. My eating isn't so bad, so I know I need exercise.

I have developed terrible self-image and am totally disgusted with myself. I can't stand the look of myself and can't bring myself to have sex with my husband. (btw, he doesn't say anything about my weight, it all me). I vacillate between trying to dress my large body fashionably and thinking that that's just a way of giving in.

How do I get out of this funk?
Has anyone else experienced this?


Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

(recently my gyno said you put on some weight! i said YES I KNOW..he said oh you look so much better/ healthier) I have always been thin...but not junk food eater etc..but I DID put on 25 lbs.-combination of steriods for ulcertive colitis (which was terrible while going through radiation) I lost 10 lbs over about 2 1/2 yrs...

So KNOW exactly how you are feeling...I look at me and just not me...(I know I am not over weight but just NOT ME how I was used to and comfortable)

I know think to myself...I am healthy (colitis in remission since on taxmoxifen and feel great) and if added pounds to deal with ....I"LL have to !

I"ll be thinking of you..
so my self image of course weight and lopsided boobs! but cancer free to more then happy!

Denise W.

Posts: 9
Joined: Feb 2011

That's exactly how I feel: That's not ME in the mirror. There are many people larger than me who would love to be my weight, but it doesn't make me feel any better. I feel one way, but then see my double chin or padded waist and wonder who that is in the mirror.

Some days I can say at least I'm healthy, and that's usually when I do the dressing fashionably thing, but other days I just can accept it.


Posts: 177
Joined: Mar 2010

I so can feel your pain!! After all the treatments, I have gained about 30 pounds!! I don't know what to think!! I am anemic also, which is hard because all I want to do is rest after work.. I force myself to take a walk and try to do some weights, but it's so hard. I cried all the way to work today. I don't recognize myself or know what to do.


Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

Don't recognize yourself...I so get that...

I just try to look at all the good points of things when I can...and for me..my extra weight is ok cuz my colitis and cancer are both in remission...so weight is just (not over weight unhealthy) image and must get past it...but still not used to it when lookin in mirror..but I FEEL great..

Posts: 177
Joined: Mar 2010

I know if I could just feel better, it would be be so much better! I have bone and joint pain and anemia, which causes so much fatigue. I know I have so much to be grateful for and I keep trying to re-direct my thoughts. Sometimes, I just feel bad!!!

Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

I have never had..(I DONT" THINK) so I have never dealt with it...when I 'd go for treatments they would say how is fatigue , do you have fatigue..I would say I DON" THINK so what is it?

I was told if I HAD IT would KNOW!

I HOPE You feel better....

VickiSam's picture
Posts: 9085
Joined: Aug 2009

self esteem and self value. Having fought my weight for more than a decade, or longer than I care to remember, I empathize with you, and your current predicament. Do you think that may besides the weight gain, you may be facing a little depression?

Please really take a few days to search your soul, and reach out to your health care provider -- go in and speak with them. Then try try try .. to walk several houses each day, or if the weather does not cooperate with you .. slap in an exercise, yoga dvr, video ..and just move for 15 to 25 minutes, twice a day. I am not CRAZY, I've been where you stand today .. and moving along with Effexor has made a difference in my life, and how I am viewing my future.

I've been there .. and you MUST move. Use your kitchen chair .. hold on and start swing, moving, lifting your leg's and opposite arm. I hate exercise, always will .. but I know in my heart and soul .. it is a necessity for my well being, and a long life.

Fact: hip replacements can be reduced by 69% if people would get up, and walk for 20 minutes .. 3 times a week! Just 3 times a week, how scary, is this statistic?

Keep us posted, dear Sister in PINK.

Strength and Courage,

Vicki Sam

Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

I say to my hubby IF I was eating bad, unhealthy it is one thing..but just packed on from med...grrrrr

but this too shall pass...

I am 51 and honestly had been same weight as high school-so between steriods, menopause, age it was just a matter of time...

Posts: 177
Joined: Mar 2010

Thankk you, Vicki Sam,

You were were so kind! Just what I needed! I agree that I have and have had depression. I walk at least 20 minutes a day 5-6 times a week. I know it's the bone & joint pain. I take 1/2 a pain pill each night so I can sleep.

It so helps to know that others "feel your pain".


Posts: 9
Joined: Feb 2011

I'm with you. Before Cancer I battled my weight constantly. And now, it feels like a loosing battle. I asked my husband if he thought I was depressed, but he didn't seem to think so. But I do -- I just can't seem to get motivated.

I will try the Get Moving bit. I liked your suggestion to use the kitchen chair -- just getting going.


Kristin N's picture
Kristin N
Posts: 1969
Joined: Mar 2009

All I can add is to give yourself time. Look at what you have been thru. Hoping you lose the weight easily.

Posts: 402
Joined: Nov 2010

After having lost 66 pounds (with more to go), I got married on 2/14/10. Between the celebrating and the cancer dx on 7/16/10, I gained about 46 back. Then during chemo I gained another 10+. My onc kept telling me not to diet, just eat what felt good (not good instructions for a compulsive overeater!!). Now I've started rads (had my first real treatment today) and they won't let me loose weight either. I'm going crazy--just too fat--and walking hurts my knees so I haven't been doing a lot of that.
What makes matters seem worse is that everyone I see tells me how good I look (sure gain almost 60 pounds and I still look good??). I guess people expected chemo to make me emaciated or something--NOT!
It is terribly demoralizing and while my wonderful husband doesn't care--I do! I also don't feel sexy or desirable--poor hubby.
I've had to buy new clothes (had tossed all the ones that would have fit), and must try to look good because hubby is president of our temple and I must participate as the "first lady" at various functions.
I'm looking at 4/1/11 when I should be finished with rads (if everything goes according to plan which it never seems to) to start dieting by cutting back on carbs and red meat. This is difficult cause my husband is a big meat eater, but I'll just need to cook separate foods for him I guess.
I figure once I drop about 20 pounds, exercising will get easier...
I'm just pissed off that not only do I have to battle cancer, I also have to battle weight (my life-long struggle)...sigh...

Posts: 6587
Joined: Oct 2010

So sorry you going through this...I wish you the best and hope you feel well soon!

Posts: 9
Joined: Feb 2011

I understand your pissed off feeling. I actually wished to be one of those people who'd loose tons of weight in treatment, but no, not me. Only a couple of pounds -- not enough to notice. I DO think that when people say "you look great" they mean that you haven't died. Really, how can we look great? All right, maybe, or Not-bad, but Great? I, too, have gone up and up in clothing sizes and donated many of my clothes but I just can get myself to get rid of all of them because that seems too permanent.

mrs gadget
Posts: 118
Joined: Jul 2010

I am in the middle of rads right now and have put on about 20lbs during treatment. I talked to my onc about this and he said move!! Even if it's just walking your dog a little bit every day. I have been riding my exercise bike about 30 min per day, walking my dog and have concentrated on better food choices. All of these things combined are starting to help me and I am losing about 1lb per week. I think the key to this thing is to find a new normal and stick with it...

Hope that helps...

Mrs Gadget

mariam_11_09's picture
Posts: 695
Joined: Nov 2009

Sorry about the weight problems. I also gained quite a bit of weight during chemo and had the same thing, people telling me how good I looked. However once chemo was over and I was still gaining weight I told my onc. that I was going to count calories because I just could not keep going up and up and did this during radiation. I think the doctors are concerned that you caloric intake might go too low and then put you at risk of infection. I used 'mydailyplate.com' to track calories so I didn't have to give up that piece of chocolate or small desert in the evenings. Also you can specify how many pounds a week you want to loose and it will tell you how many calories you need. My Onc. told me not to go below 1500 calories a day. I did exercise everyday however have recently started swimming which helps my joints (inflammation due to chemo) and that burns even more calories than walking around the block. So far in 5 months I have lost 27 lbs.

Some women have been doing weight watchers and have had great results from that.

I am not sure if either of these things are an option for you but just wanted to share anyway.

Posts: 3660
Joined: Aug 2009

My first thought is that you haven't found the right exercises yet for you - something that drives you and gives you peace and joy. Exercise does not have to be going to a class and the DI telling you what to do - there are so many options. There is no way that I will go and be treated (again) like someone in boot camp or high school PE. I won't use treadmills or jog but like using the bikes - just started using the recumbant (think that's the right word) and love it. Once spring finally gets here (and I get my bike ready), I'll be doing the 15 mile paved bike trail through town a couple of days a week (as out of shape as I am it'll be weeks before I do the entire route at a time) but I love doing it. If you are into doing the classes there is a good chance that your local YMCA/YWCA has free classes for cancer survivors. There is swimming, golf, bowling, tennis - so many things that most city parks departments have for all level people. They are all exercise. Try contacting your Equine Therapy group if you think you might like to ride.

Doing what you're 'told' to do is not always going to work - find what you like to do - there is something that you will like. Remember even working in you garden/yard is exercise.

I'm very fortunatel that I have a great gym to woek out in that cost me nothing to use, i already know that once winter leaves, I'll be bikeing, I/We have horses so once I get back in better shape (and the weather allows), I'll be working them 6 out of 7 days - thus also working myself.

Find what you like to do - not what someone else says you should do.

(I didn't gain weight - I lost 45 lbs. [Drs weren't happy.] Hubby [of 35 yrs] would have been much happier if I had gained some than lost. He called me several times a day to find out what I had eaten and remind me to eat during chemo and rads. I still have to tell him what I've eaten daily. He does have a reason that 'bugs' him - the first 4 years we were married he learned what anorexia does to the person and family - Mom was anorexic.)


Double Whammy's picture
Double Whammy
Posts: 2805
Joined: Jun 2010

and piled about 45 extra pounds on me. I also contributed to it by overeating and not exercising and accepting that these things happen with menopause and I deserved that burger and fries. I'm 63.

Then I was hit with the double whammy of both breast cancer and endometrial cancer. The risk factors I had for developing both were being overweight, late menopause, and hypertension. I had a serious talk with myself and since my diagnosis I've lost around 25 lbs. Before my breast surgery I walked every day and ate healthy. Shed about 5 lbs. B4 that surgery. Since I had around 6 weeks between my breast surgery before I could have a hysterectomy, I walked every day and ate healthy then, too. I lost 8 more lbs. before my hysterectomy. Proved to me that I had a lot to do with my weight gain - I couldn't blame it all on menopause. I did not "diet". I lost about 12 lbs. during chemo and have kept it off. I want to lose the remaining 20 lbs and am walking and trying to keep my calories around 1500 per day - and eating primarily a low fat, plant-based diet. I haven't lost any more weight, but haven't gained any either. I find my stamina isn't quite back to normal yet after chemo but it will get there.

I learned that for me, my weight is definitely related to how much (and what) I eat and how much I move. It doesn't come off as quickly as it used to, that's for sure, but I'm not as active as I was 20 years ago, either.

I have to remind myself that it's important for cancer survivors to eat healthy and exercise; it's also important for my overall health and should I ever have to fight these ugly deamons again, I want to be as healthy as possible. That doesn't mean I won't have that cheeseburger and fries on occasion, but I just cooked a black bean burger for lunch (no fries or chips) instead and I'm perfectly happy. (and last night I went out for Mexican food!)

Choices . . .


jo jo's picture
jo jo
Posts: 1175
Joined: Jun 2010

Im so glad im not the only one dealing with this...i have gained so much weight since chemo and still gaining...im like that pilsbury dough boy...just roll me in flour and call me done!!!
I to have always been thin and now im a house. It use to be if i was outside on a windy day i would get blown away if i didnt hang on to something but now if im outside and the wind blows i can fly using my layers of flab for wings.

woodsygal's picture
Posts: 64
Joined: Jul 2009

I too have gained weight, around 40 pounds in two years. My oncologist also told me to eat as much as I am able. I didn't get sick with chemo, so weight stayed. Lot's of steroids, which causes tissue to hold more moisture. I do not like it either, but, have learned to accept it as a "temporary" situation and will lose it. I also have another chronic illness to treat and prednisone is on and off as a med choice. I have been able to lessen it down to 5 mgs a day. I do walk and use a treadmill. I am hoping that with Springtime weather,(no ice), I will be able to walk like I did last year. I took a major fall today, walking my dogs, even tho I am banged up, I keep on going. Please do not beat yourself up over this, your body and "head" need time to heal and process what you have truly been through. Hope this helps!! Carlie

Posts: 9
Joined: Feb 2011

U R just too funny! I love your attitude. :-)

CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

I had gained some extra pounds back in 2000. I lost weight first by cutting portion size and eating many less calories. I did not exercise at all at first, because I was feeling a little down and self-conscious (stupid, I know). After I lost weight, my energy picked way up and I began to move more and lost a little more and toned up.

So my advice is always to eat less first. Although it helps, you do not have to exercise to lose weight.

Start small--just begin to cut portion size first and substitute healthy foods for unhealthy ones. Keep a food journal.

We avoid fast food like the plague. Fast food=densely caloric food that rarely satisfies for long. And when we do eat out, we split food. Portion sizes are so grossly distorted these days that one "meal" is the equivalent to about 3 healthy meals.

Do not diet--it will make you crazy. Just begin to cut back a little at a time. Food can definitely be an addiction, but, of course, we can't "give it up" like alcohol or tobacco. So try and wean yourself a little at a time. As you gain confidence, it will become easier.

And your ultimate goal is health not weight loss. So do get out and walk, move, hit the gym or whatever works, because exercise has so many, many great health benefits.

new2me's picture
Posts: 177
Joined: Jun 2010

I can relate to everyone of you !! I'm struggling too - gain 20 lbs. I bought a treadmill last week hoping it will help and give me an incentive. so far this last week, I am averaging over 500 calories a day burn. It really makes me think before i eat that chocolate (my weakness). I try to hit the gym 3 times a week for the aerobic classes. but still - my fat is stubborn and isn't making this easy.
I do not suggest you cook 2 seperate meals - thats too hard (on you) red meat isn;t that good for us anyway - maybe he should cut back right along with you. My husband does most of the cooking and we eat very healthy now - alot chicken, brown rice, veggies. My dr. told me to try to cut all sugars out of my diet - that is ssooo hard.
anyway, I know i'm all over the place here - but looks like the weight gain of typical for the most of us. I also believe that becasue I put on weight I didn't get sick during chemo.
Hang in there - we are all in this together...


sausageroll's picture
Posts: 415
Joined: Dec 2008

Isn't it good to hear that you are not the only one? I so relate to what you are all saying. I lost 35lbs during chemo...but it is all back on and gaining. Some parts of my body are O.K. but I have developed this enormous belly and jowls too. My hair has started to come out again and I look years older. We are about to go on vacation and we went shopping yesterday for some clothes. I happened to see myself in the mirror as we left and just knew I would not be buying anything. I don't even feel like dressing up anymore. Yes, I know I am very lucky...but wish I could just look a little better.
I'm thinking that this is just a passing phase for most of us and we will find a way to deal with it as we have other things in this fight.
Take care all and know you are not alone. Pat

Posts: 9
Joined: Feb 2011

We are in the same boat. I will say that when I have to look nice and my clothes that used to fit me and make me feel good don't fit anymore, I go to one of those "big girl" shops and that can usually help me feel a little better. Just a thought.

I'm hearing most everyone say eat a little less, but don't strict diet.
Move a little more, but don't feel like I have to enlist a fitness instructor just now.

Last night I went for a walk with a neighbor. In that hour we both burned some steam. IT was good. I could probably enjoy doing that more often.

Thanks all.

CypressCynthia's picture
Posts: 4014
Joined: Oct 2009

We are all in the same boat and your post kicked my butt into doing a longer walk this am. I think that it is awesome that you walked last night! Don't deprive just make little changes wherever you can. And I'll try to take my own advice ;-)

natly15's picture
Posts: 1941
Joined: Sep 2009

Oh how I identify. I lost and gained the same 5 pounds all thru chemo. I was overweight before I was diagnosed and have struggled with weight all my life. I dont like being heavy and my Onc doesnt like it either, however it is so important to accept ourselves and love ourselves fat or thin. I had to get comfortable in my skin and I'm carrying way too much, but I must remember that I am way more than my body. It seems to be such a struggle for most women and as we age it becomes evern more difficult to take off those pounds. Be gentle with your self. You have been thru a lot and I will remind myself to do the same.

dbhadra's picture
Posts: 344
Joined: Jan 2011

I lost 25 pounds last year...weight has been a struggle my entire adult life...after dx lost a bit more due to stress...now, eating like crazy with steriods and chemo and stress...gained back 5-10 (fluctuates every day it seems!!!!)

I try to walk, and do yoga once a week..I know I need to control my portion sizes but right now feels like one more thing to deal with...I used to do Calorie Count and log everything I ate...and that really helped....but can;t deal with it right now..so doing the best I can and trying not to beat myself up about the weight....

and agree..what is this with "you look great" - my hair is falling out, I have bald patches on top and I;m fat!!!! "you look great" meaning, great for someone who has cancer and chemo - I know people are being nice and I do appreciate it but honestly, I don;t think I look "great" right now, sorry!


Posts: 1191
Joined: Dec 2010

i have been very overweight for years, a size 18 on a 5'4 body,in 2009 i was severely mentally ill and lost just about 30 and went down to almost a size 14. i gained a little back over the summer. but man have i packed on the pounds since my lumpectomy in nov and now mastectomy 1/11/11even more. i have small legs and butt, but man, i have one of those bellys that i have seen on women that i swore id never have when i was younger...the kind that looks like a frontal butt, sags, and makes me have a very unfeminine figure.since mastecomy, i have not been able to wash alone yet (although i am making progress) and it was so hard at first to have my boyfriend (who is wonderful) see me naked without breasts but with that giant belly.it was like having larger D cup size breasts made up or somehow compensated in my mind for the big belly.now i have no breasts but have the big belly. i still get uncomfortable when he watches me have to lift up the fat and wash and dry underneathe. dont get me wrong, i know its my fault that i am this way.i guess i have a weird distorted body image, i somehow, think i dont look that bad like i look how i did years ago until i look in mirror, shower with help from bf or see myself in pictures.recently carrots were on sale so we got me some of those and eat a salad everyday, i eat canned fruit in 100% juices,i stopped having him buy me chips, i eat popcron in the air popper,i have grapefruit to eat for breakfast and i still gained two pounds in the last few weeks!but i am determined to keep going. we sort of live in the country and today was beautiful weather and i was able to take my dog for a 20 minute walk today! a few weeks ago, i could walk out to get the mail, i figure any walking i can do, do it.not easy to do in a ce ntral wisconsin winter when i have to be careful of falling on ice. my goal is to have a flat stomach some day so a. i can wear pretty tank tops with my almost flat chest and no big belly sticking out with shorts and b. wear a pretty lacey kind of sexy but tasteful nightie and surprise my bf.i wish of all us whatever we need, whatever size we are that we are uncomfortable the strength, stamina and will power and luck maybe to either change the way we are or come to terms with ourselves if for some reason we cant. thank you ladies, you are all wonderful!
ps i forgot to leave out that my latest weight gains 1 lb per week has been from an inability to do much more than sit after postlumpectomy heading into postmastectomy/snb problems.

aysemari's picture
Posts: 1596
Joined: Dec 2009

I want to literally SCREAM if one more person tells me you look great.
Sure they mean well, but I know I gained thirty pounds and don't fit in
my clothes. I have been reluctant to buy chubby-flage clothes but I
realize I need something to make me feel better about myself and tie
me over, till I loose the weight. My frustration really built, when I was
too darn exhausted to do anything towards the end of chemo... At the
beginning I worked out at home on my Nordic track. I nearly lost it
when I couldn't anymore.

When I look in the mirror I am in disbelief that this is my reflection.
As a former pilates instructor, I was very trim and toned, never had
a belly in my life and now I have this pooch. But I am back at the gym
and take long hikes on weekends.. pOOooch be GONE! I want my sexy back.


Reikigemgirl's picture
Posts: 278
Joined: Jul 2009

My oncologist warned me that I would gain weight while taking Aremidix sp? for the next 5 years but I had no idea it would be this much. I am hungry all the time. Lost 25 lbs. during chemo and have gained it all back, plus some.

I am in a study for a new kind of breast reconstruction; fat grafting. They have to do liposuction to get the fact to inject into your breast so I will be having it done on my chin and my belly. I am going to post all about it as I go along. Right now the Brava machine is being ordered. It's like a suction cup device that is attached over the breast area where I had my masectomy. It works to stretch the skin out and make a pocket in there where they can inject the fat from your own body into it. It takes from 1 to 4 grafts, depending on how big you want your breast to be. By the time it is done, I just might have a whole new body. After I recover from the surgery, I am joining a Zumba class. It's like salsa dancing and is supposed to really get you in shape.

Are any of you taking Aremidix? That could be the culprit. My body image is very poor right now and I don't really like my fiance to see me without a big t-shirt on to hide the fat. He has never said anything but he knows that it bothers me. Was always very petite. Still only 5'2" but I weigh 174. Can't wait for this extra weight to be gone!!!

Posts: 1416
Joined: Mar 2001

I am not sure your age but I was diagnosed and treated at age 37 so menopause set in and I actually quit smoking though an athlete my entire smoking life. When I lost my knees I took up body building and hard work so my weight problems had subsided until on all kinds of meds after treatments. I had tossed the healthy life style to the curb since it didn't keep me from the cancer journey but managed to quit smoking knowing it was sucking the life out of me, I coud feel it. I gave myself a life present and quit though my partner continued to.
I tipped 200 after almost two years of the inablily to work or work out since being so ill. I finally got fed up as you sound and got back to walking then some yoga and then pretty soon I had the energy to get back to work and soon back to living a life.
Yes much medication was taken for a few years but today I am not on anything coping with problem areas fairly well but not eager to get back on something since fear of side effects plague me.
Try and remember that muscles never forget and actually for those of us who actually did exercise at some point in our lives, it only takes a month to get them kicked into gear and not so stressed because they have that memory stored. After seeing what yoga did for Madonna you would be amazed how much the simplest of moves can do for you. I just did from a book but cd's are the craze and they work. Oh yes and many short videos on youtube a great place to begin. Anything you want to know can be found there, lolol it is true.
Now I am 50 years old and actually in better shape than ever in my young life. I work harder than I have ever worked and work out when I am not working. I truly believe my bodies strength has this interesting ability to give me hope and courage knowing I have made it through it all. positive thinking helps too lolol

mimivac's picture
Posts: 2147
Joined: Dec 2008

As you can see, many of us can understand how you feel. The frustration, self disgust, and the feeling that the person staring back at you in the mirror is someone else -- someone you don't really like! Your body has been put through a heck of a lot and for many of us, weight gain is the response. I am going to give you some unconventional advice: stop trying to lose weight. There is a statistic that 95% of people who go on diets will gain the weight back, plus more. As a culture, we have dieted our way to obesity. First, be kinder to yourself (not easy!). Your body is what got you through treatment, what has sustained you through the most difficult times of your life. Don't tell it that it's ugly and disgusting. Feed yourself when you feel hungry because you deserve to be feed food that you like and that satisfies you. I think one of the keys to a healthy weight is to eat when your body requires it and not when it doesn't. Easily said, but very hard to make the distinction after years of depriving yourself and then overindulging to make up for it.

Next, look at exercise as a source to feel good and not to lose weight. Your body deserves to move in pleasurable ways. I am still struggling with finding these ways for myself, but I will get there. Unlinking eating and exercise from weight will take a lot of pressure off and allow you to really listen to your body. I recommend a book called "Intuitive Eating" that explains a lot of these concepts. I can actually enjoy food now and my emotional eating is at a minimum. Best of all, I obsess a lot less about food and weight than I used to. Anyway, just another opinion. Good luck!

Edited to add: I totally understand that a lot of our problems stem from treatment and not overeating. I still think the principles can apply though.


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