How to Maintain a Healthy Weight for Breast Cancer Survivor?


Your body weight can change when you have breast cancer due to cancer itself or its treatment. Managing your weight can improve the treatment outcome and prevent future health problems for cancer survivors.

Access your healthy weight

You want to keep a healthy weight but how can you know if your weight is healthy? You can use body mass index (BMI) to analyze your weight number. You should also ask your doctor and discuss about your healthy target because each person has a different index.

Weight gain

You may think that you will lose your weight due to breast cancer. But in some cases, you may be surprised when your weight increases. Hormonal therapy, certain types of medicines, and certain types of chemotherapy may cause you to gain weight. These types of treatments can also make your body keep excess water. Some treatments can increase your appetite so you will eat more than you used to eat before treatment. Fatigue, common side effect of breast cancer treatment, can change the way you work and rest, leading to decreased physical activities.

Manage weight gain with foods

  • Eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, fibers, and low in calories. They can make you feel full longer but do not cause your weight to gain. Remember to wash them carefully before you eat.
  • Eat whole grains such as whole grain bread, cereals, pasta. They are rich in fiber. However, you should check with your doctor if high-fiber foods are suitable for you.
  • Eat less fat. This does not mean you have to limit all fatty foods. You should not eat foods that contain trans fats, saturated fats. Choose healthy fat such as omega-3 fatty acids which can be found in walnuts and salmons. Eat less fried foods, butter, or mayonnaise.
  • Change your cooking method. Try other healthier methods such as steaming, boiling, roasting, or grilling.
  • Choose lean proteins such as lean pork, lean beef. And do not eat the skin.
  • Choose low-fat dairy products such as 1% fat milk, or skim milk.
  • Eat less salt. Salt can make your body keep water.
  • Eat small meals more often. Cook enough foods. Do not push yourself too much.

Do exercises

Proper exercises such as walking, swimming, cycling, yoga, or running can help you lose your weight. Try to do exercises regularly. They can also help you regain the strength that lost for cancer.

Seek help from professionals

You can talk to a doctor, a dietician, or a nutritionist. They will help you determine why you gain weight after breast cancer treatment. And then they can help you design a healthy eating plan that helps you lose excess weight the right way. It is advisable to discuss with them about your favorite foods.

Weight loss

Weight loss can occur as a result of breast cancer itself or breast cancer treatment. Emotional problems such as anxiety and stress, physical problems such as nausea, vomiting, and fatigue can cause you to lose weight.

Manage weight loss with foods

  • Eat meals in time. You should not wait until you feel hungry. You may not feel hungry at all. This feeling can stop you from eating enough foods your body needs.
  • Eat more small meals throughout the day instead of 3 large meals.
  • Add more proteins and calories to your meals. For example, you can eat bread with butter, drink chocolate milk, eat peanut butter, add more eggs to your puddings and cakes, or use milk to cook foods instead of water.

Do exercises

Exercises can help improve your appetite. So you will want to eat more foods. Exercises can also make you feel hungry more quickly. Try gentle exercises such as cycling and swimming. High impact activities such as football and basketball should be carefully considered.

Talk to professionals

You can discuss your problems with your doctor and dietitian. They will help you determine the reason for weight loss and how to gain weight healthily.

Use special techniques

If you cannot eat normally, you can consider tube feedings. Only use this method if your doctor recommends.

Maintaining a healthy weight is always important, especially after you have breast cancer treatment. A healthy weight can reduce the risk for certain health problems, including secondary breast cancer. Thus, lose weight if your index is higher and gain weight if your index is lower than your healthy target.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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