Weight Gain From Cancer Treatment
There is no right or wrong way to feel when you are faced with cancer as when the treatment for cancer begins many people become aware of changes and losses associated with treatments that impact their well-being. Cancer treatment causes many physical side-effects that are different for different people. Some of these may include fatigue, weight gain or weight loss, nausea, and loss of appetite. Fighting with cancer isn’t just about the problems of the body but the mental distress is also important. Weight gain after cancer is a really frustrating side effect for so many cancer survivors but weight gain doesn’t take place because of cancer itself.
Weight gain comes from a couple of different things:
- When a person doesn’t feel good, they tend to be less active which leads to the loss of muscle and some general de conditioning because as compared to other days, the person doesn’t do much movement or other physical activities.
- Also because a lot of times, cancer treatment causes taste changes and just not necessarily having the ability and time to cook really healthy meals.
People tend to eat very differently during their cancer journey when their treatment is going on and then at the end of that timeline, one finds that they have gained some extra weight.
So one of the things that one must really understand is that it’s not cancer or the treatments themselves that are actually causing the weight gain, it is usually the lack of activity and the increased calories that are contributing to having more weight on the body.
What can be done about it?
The good news is that the strategies related to eating well and exercise during cancer treatment and cancer medication can have positive impacts on physical as well as emotional well-being.
- Get your nutrition in check: Good nutrition can help you cope better with treatment side-effects and help wounds or damaged tissues to heal better. It can also improve the immune system and assist with feelings of having enough energy for everyday tasks. Make sure that you reach out to a dietician who can come up with a great meal plan as eating well is very beneficial for the balance of the weight of the body.
- Exercise: Exercise has been shown to help people cope with many of the side-effects of treatment including fatigue, nausea, loss of appetite, depression, anxiety, and also can help in maintaining body weight and body composition. It’s great to do walking exercise as it burns calories but the only type of exercise that could really change your metabolism is strength training. Anything that creates resistance overload is considered to be strength training. Simple things that a person can do is to make use of a good sturdy chair to sit down and stand up from that chair as it is also a kind of squat. It works the big muscles of the legs which are great in increasing metabolism. If you are a little more advanced then, you can add weight or even do a free squat without using the chair. Another great upper body exercise is a push up which anyone can do according to their comfort. Resistance training exercises every other day for about 10 minutes or so will make a big difference in the metabolism and energy level of the body.
- Lifestyle factors: There are many things that can improve quality of life and well-being like being positive and believing that anything is possible and things will change for good and the bad times will be behind us very soon. The person must join some support groups consisting of the people going through the same journey as their own which really could boost the confidence to a great extent. Finding ways to cope with these changes and the ability to adapt a little to a situation can be heavily influenced by the support group as then, it wouldn’t matter how bad it felt when you are surrounded by people you love and people who are going through the same journey. The people should also try to go outside when they feel well enough. Doing things you love and following your passion in your free time like reading or writing when you have the energy, can also be very beneficial.
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Have patience and accept the changes: The body goes through many changes after the treatment and there are various highs and lows with a lot of uncertainty but with time these all changes could be healed and the person can gradually maintain their initial body composition and emotional setbacks could be brought back to normal. Therefore, patience plays a major role in the improvement in the person’s health after these treatments. Also, the faster we accept the changes, the faster we can get better.