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Weight Loss & Gaining it Back

Posts: 316
Joined: May 2013

I see from other posts that weight loss during treatments is quite common.  I finished treatments in mid-March and had lost 15-20 lbs. that I really didn't need to lose.  The doctors haven't complained about it and don't seemed concerned, although I really haven't pursued this issue with them.   I figured once I started eating more and the diarrhea stopped, I'd put some weight back on but here it is four months later and I still have not gained.  I really don't want to eat "junk" just to gain weight.  I try to maintain a healthy diet with fruits, vegis, proteins and carbs.  Has anyone else had a problem this problem?

mp327's picture
Posts: 4147
Joined: Jan 2010

My treatment ended in September '08 and I am nearing the 5-year survival mark.  My weight dropped to 92 pounds while in treatment and up until just the last few months have I topped the 100 pound mark on occasion.  I really don't want to gain anymore weight.  However, due to the fact that I am unable to eat a lot of the foods that are really good for me because of a risk of intestinal obstruction, such as raw fruits and veggies, I am a few pounds more than I used to be.  I crave salads, fruits and veggies, but I have a real fear of eating them these days because of the potential blockage.  I'm glad you are able to eat those foods.  I think you'll find that as time passes, you'll put some weight back on.  For some of us who were not yet through menopause at the time of treatment, I think now being in menopause will cause weight gain.  For some of us, that will be welcomed, for others not! 

Posts: 379
Joined: Jan 2013

I lost 10 pounds during the course of treatment and in the months that followed.  I had no appetite for quite a while after treatment so I continued to lose some weight.  At my lowest I reached a weight I hadn't seen since my mid-30s (still much more than my thinner teens and twenties - hard to believe now at almost 60 that I worried about a few pounds way back then).  I actually had been on weight watchers before I got my diagnosis as I was trying to lose a little.  It's difficult to do being more than ten years post-menopause with a sedentary job and little interest in exercise beyond a leisurely 3 mile walk every day.  Since I went back to work in March I have gained back almost all that weight - work, fatigue, less walking than when I was home recovering, some lazy food choices have all added up.

So I don't have the same problem as you do but I think over time as you continue to recover you will probably slowly gain.  If you really are underweight and want to gain in some healthy way you might want to consult a dietician.  One of the things I did that helped me not lose a huge amount of weight during treatment was a protein-rich smoothie every day - full-fat greek yogurt, whey protein, frozen fruits.  Don't go for the junk.

Posts: 46
Joined: Jun 2013

In my utopian world (!), nutritionists would be stationed at every hospital clinic, ready to give individual advice to patients. it is so important to recovery and on-going health and well-being.

I have a friend with Ulcerative Colitis and it was only post her diagnosis that I first became aware that certain foods and certain health conditions simply don't mix, and that they are quite specific to the issue / individual. I always assumed broccoli was an innocent veg without angst - but no!

I am sure there must be a pathway to obtaining some more support and advice in the US. I'm sorry that I cannot help in this regard.


Posts: 1122
Joined: Aug 2012

Just to show you how very odd my body is, I actually gained weight during treatment! Lol. My normal diet prior to treatment was primarily raw vegetables. Because raw vegetables could not be consumed with all the diarreah, I ate more carbs during treatment. I ate things like crackers, ginger ale, english muffins, plain bagels, etc. Go figure! Also, my hair got thicker! Sometimes I really wonder whether I got a placebo!

Posts: 316
Joined: May 2013

I know it sounds silly complaining about wanting to gain weight but I am 5'5" and on a 'heavy' day weight 100 lbs.  I weighed 120 lbs. when they diagnosised me and lost 5 lbs. before starting treatment just from the stress & worrying.  There was a dietitian at my radiology center and I saw her every week.  She had me on a low residue diet which I followed and still had diarrhea but I think following that my be why I can eat just about anything now.  She also told me to introduce only one new food a day after treatment.  Martha, I don't know what I'd do without salads.  The only vegetables I ate during treatment were canned red beets (not pickled) and canned green beans.  One thing I couldn't wait to eat after treatment was fresh asapagus (I now I'm weird).  K8, I like your utopia Laughingand you have me curious about the broccoli not being good all the time.  Mary, I'm very jealous about the hair - mine got so thin, I had bald spots but I refused to shave it all off.  It's finally starting to get full again but I had to get it cut very short (2 inches) when it started coming back.  I was pretty positive through everything but the hair really upset me.  Jcruz, thank you for your advice & encouragment - I think more fruits & the full-fat greek yogurt (I eat low or fat-free every day) will be helpful.  I really appreciate everyones repsonses and the valuable information that you all share through this board.

sandysp's picture
Posts: 862
Joined: May 2011

I was not overweight but pushing the BMI for normal healthy weight when I was diagnosed. The nutritionist was adamant that I return to the weight I was prior to diagnosis. I loved the weight I was after treatment, the weight I am now, but drank a lot of smoothies (she highly recommended Carnation Instant Breakfast with Ice cream or Yoghurt frozen and blended). I have to say it was a high calorie, wonderful treat that felt really good throughout the whole process.

Then one day I decided enough was enough and I went on a fast for seven days and became a Vegan who avoided grains for about six months. The avoiding grains was hard and I was never 100% particularly on that and absolutely no eggs since so many foods contain eggs and flour and all that bad stuff you need to choose from when eating out. But I got back to my post treatment weight and even a few pounds less. I found a lot of support from the Lymphedema PT's about losing weight. The massages, etc are much more effective with less weight.

Now, since I had the vertigo and lost my hearing in my left ear completely I have had a case of the_ _ _ _-its.I am enjoying ice cream almost every day again. So I imagine soon I will repeat the process. But sometimes you just have to do what you have to do. Vanilla Ice Cream comforts me, so I am eating it and will worry about the consequences later.\

Hope this helped you.



horsepad's picture
Posts: 131
Joined: Apr 2012

I lost 35 lbs.  I was happy with new weight.  After treatment, ate every/any thing and never gained a pound (very unusual for me).  I mentioned this a few times to doctor, he was not concerned.  Now, 2 years late, back to old self.  Just gained 5 lbs in last month.  Free ride is over with, guess so is the high calorie food since I'm gaining like the old days.

Posts: 316
Joined: May 2013

I guess I expected to gain weight and everything to go back to normal after treatment.  But I'm seeing that this is the "new normal." Thanks for sharing your experiences and advice.

Posts: 1122
Joined: Aug 2012

You just finished in March. You will gain weight and get back to normal in time, so don't rush out and buy a new wardrobe! You may want to work with a nutritionist, which is usually covered by health insurance and is available at all reputable cancer hosptials.

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