According to the American Cancer Society (ACS), weight changes (either gain or loss) are common during cancer treatment. Cancer treatment procedures like chemotherapy and steroid medications may cause the body to hold excess fluids, hinder physical activities, and trigger food cravings, leading to weight gain.
On the flip side, the same treatment procedures may lead to nausea, mouth sores, and taste changes, making it difficult to eat. Given these challenges, weight management shouldn’t be an afterthought for cancer survivors. So, here are tips on how to manage weight changes after cancer.
Loss of weight is a common cancer symptom, primarily due to cancer treatment procedures. But what are the worrying weight loss signs to look out for?
Weight loss can lead to suppressed immunity, inhibiting your chances of beating cancer once and for all. That’s why looking out for weight loss signs like dizziness, dry skin, fatigue, dehydration, and loss of at least three pounds of weight in a week should signal you to alert your doctor.
Can weight loss be averted? Fortunately, the strategies below can help you deter excess weight loss and promote healthy weight gain.
With lingering cancer treatment side effects like loss of appetite, it might appear a tall order to require cancer survivors to eat more. Thankfully, there are tricks you can devise to ensure that your body has sufficient nutrients for optimal functionality.
If large meal portions seem overwhelming, try to eat small portions, but frequently throughout the day. You could consider small-sized cups and plates if typical-sized utensils seems a mountain to climb. Consider a cooler box for storing quick and easy meals (or high-nutrient foods) that you can snack on while resting or on the go.
The good thing with smoothies is that they are loaded with lots of fiber, vitamins, fluids, minerals, and other nutrients. And the best part? Smoothies are gentle on you even if you have mouth sores.
Increase the calories density of smoothies by adding nut butter, avocado, fruits and veggies, and healthy oils. Again, add proteins to help with the replacement lost muscle mass.
Water is vital in alleviating the side effects of cancer treatments. Additionally, for those trying to stem weight loss, water adds calories in your body but in a healthier manner. Besides water, you can consider fluids like 100 percent fruit juice for hydration and calories uptick.
Most people associate cancer with weight loss, but weight gain is typical, especially for people recovering from breast cancer. A slight increase in weight is acceptable but being overweight can increase the chances of cancer recurring and invites a host of other diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
How can you tell you are overweight? According to the ACS, look out for the following signs:
To manage weight gain, below are some healthy tips you can follow for general well-being.
Exercising is not only suitable for weight management but boosts your energy levels. Start your workout routine with simple exercises like walking. You could start with a 10- minute daily walk and increase the rate as your body becomes enduring.
Later on, you could add other activities that you enjoy (like cycling) on your workout regimen. But be sure to check with your health provider before embarking on a new physical activity.
Eat Plenty of Fruits and Veggies
The goal is to reduce the intake of high-calorie foods and get on high-nutrient foods. Veggies and fruits contain essential nutrients like Vitamin C, which aid in your recovery journey.
Limit Intake of Sugar, Salt, and Fats
Cut down on sugary and fatty foods high on calories and low on nutrients. Cut down on salt as it increases fluid retention rate in your body. It would help if you start reading food labels to understand what you are eating.
Weight management after cancer isn’t a walk in the park, especially when dealing with other post-recovery physical and emotional adjustments. Nevertheless, you can make the journey manageable by tracking your weight management goals and asking someone to hold you accountable.
With a healthy weight, you will not only feel better but avert cancer relapse and the occurrence of other health problems.