Have you lost weight because of cancer? - Ideas on How to Get Back to a Healthy Weight

by GregP_WN

Cancer can affect weight and how your body reacts to certain foods. Some cancer patients experience weight loss due to trouble swallowing, loss of appetite, or other complications before, during, or after cancer treatment. Weight gain is a common side effect of chemotherapy treatment, but some WhatNexter’s also report weight loss before, during, or after cancer treatment. 

Losing Weight After Chemo

Some WhatNexter’s have found that simply adjusting what they put in their body and what they keep out can help the symptoms they experience from cancer. Trying to gain weight by just eating “whatever” may not be the best solution.

If you struggle with weight loss as a side effect of cancer and are trying to gain back a few pounds you may have lost, or if you are just trying to keep up your healthy weight, here are a few no brainer suggestions for living with the effects of cancer as they relate to weight loss problems you may experience.

See a Nutritionist
WhatNexter’s with weight loss problems often see a nutritionist so they can get specific suggestions that relate to their type of cancer, their body, and their certain reactions to the foods they eat. Your hospital or place of treatment should have a nutritionist or registered dietitian on staff.

Reduce Sugar Intake
Sugar increases calorie intake without giving many nutrients; try to set a goal of increasing calorie intake with protein and nutrients. Trying using other forms of flavor like healthy herbs or spices. Also, don’t have sugary foods on hand and you will not be as tempted to eat them. People sometimes find that if they ween themselves off sugar, then they do not crave it as much.

Eat Healthy Foods that are High in Calorie Density and High in Protein
Foods high in calorie density and high in protein can help you gain weight. This means that you can eat smaller portions of food while still getting the protein you need without hurting your stomach. Examples of these foods are nuts, peanut butter, almond butter, cheese, eggs, yogurt, meats, milkshakes, smoothies with protein powder, and beans. You can also ask your doctor about specific suggestions they have for you.

Eat Small Meals Every 2-3 Hours
Some people have found that their stomach is smaller after treatment therefore they cannot consume the same amount of food in one sitting like they used to. Instead of having 3 big meals a day, consider having a lot of small meals every 2-3 hours. If you stay at home, try keeping healthy snacks on hand or preparing meals and eating them in small amounts instead of at one time. If you work then you can put small snacks into plastic bags or tupperware to eat throughout the day. Preparing them ahead of time will make it easier to stick to those small amounts throughout the day.

Eat Slowly and Upright
It easy to scarf down food because of a busy schedule or mindless eating. Consider eating while you’re doing something else like watching TV or reading; this may force you to eat slower. Another trick is to eat with chopsticks because it will likely slow down your eating process. If you sit upright while you eat and 20-30 minutes after, then your food may digest more smoothly.

Find Foods that are Easy to Swallow
During chemotherapy or other treatment, some WhatNexter’s experience trouble swallowing. You still have to eat to maintain a healthy weight so try to find things that work for you. Some things that have worked for others include pudding, ground meat with gravy, stew or soup with chopped or ground meat, tuna salad, egg salad, hummus, pasta with meat sauce, and scrambled eggs - think soft foods or foods that you can soften with sauces or other condiments.

Get Creative or Make it a Hobby
Dieting or following strict eating habits can seem like a burden; it can be easy to overlook with all the other things going on in your life. You can get creative with recipes, brainstorm recipes online, or make cooking a new hobby. Many have found that it can be fun! You can also let other people know what you are trying to gain your weight back so that they can bring healthy foods during treatment or suggest recipes.

Living with cancer may cause a lifestyle change, but that does not mean that you should be discouraged. There are many things you can do in your everyday life to start to battle weight loss. What are some things that you are doing to gain weight or maintain the healthy weight you are at now? What has worked and not worked? Do you think some of these things are things you can implement? Find out what other WhatNexter’s are doing.

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