Oesophageal Patients Association

Weight Problem?

Hi everyone,

Reading your blogs is now something I look forward to. Five months from my oesophagectomy and doing OK (I think). Still getting twinges around the ribs and slipping down the pillows causes problems but my biggest worry is weight.

Not the usual worry of not gaining any but the opposite, putting weight on, despite trying to hold it steady by restricting quantity I eat and taking exercise .

Prior to the tumour I had lost four stone (I thought by dieting but maybe it wasn't) but I like the new weight and would not wish to return to the old . After my 'op' I weighed thirteen and a half stone now I've gone up to fourteen and rising. My typical diet is one Weetabix for breakfast , a soup or open sandwich for lunch and a low meat (only eat chicken since the 'op')with veg for dinner. I have fruit juices and fruit and try ( when the weather permits) to walk a mile a day.

I also take cottage cheese and flax oil before every meal.

Should I worry about the gain ? Your comments will be appreciated.

Good luck to all.


12 Replies

Some people lose more than 4 stone during the treatment and are quite OK, but it does sound as if your weight loss was prior to the treatment. Many people do settle down to a new normal weight that might be different (usually lighter) than their old one.

You sound as if you are doing sensible things like moderate exercise.

The important thing is that your digestive system takes in sufficient and balanced nutrition and that what you eat is not causing you to experience digestive problems. After that, and providing that those priorities are OK, you might start thinking about your overall weight for general health reasons, but to be honest, five months after the surgery is quite early to start worrying too much about weight for its own sake (either too heavy or too light).

One of the factors that affect quite a lot of people is the effect of having insulin spikes quite a while after having a meal. The sugar content of what you eat, and how quickly sugar gets released in your system, can have an effect on this. So low glycemic index and load food, that are sometimes used for people who are trying to slim, can actually be the same sort of food that will help with 'dumping syndrome'


Low fat cottage cheese is low glycemic index.

I think your body will settle down to a new weight that is partly affected by where you were before, and I would not worry about putting on a stone five months from surgery. If after a year or so you are worried, I would think about consulting a specialist Upper GI dietician.


Is it possible your weight gain is caused by water retention?

When I was in ICU I was hugely swollen all over, and felt very fat, but the swelling went down as I recovered.

It seems unlikely to be your problem five months post op. but it could be.


Thank you for your comments it may sound a trivial worry but I suppose I was expecting my smaller food intake and my new internal configuration to easily look after my weight , it seems not so.




I can emphasis with you, i too lost 3 stone after my op but have now put 1 stone back on, i am trying to lose more weight but even though i eat fat free and small meals i dont seem to be able to lose any weight now.



Hi Alphagista,

I Have put on a little weight, but I put it down to an old mans bad eating habits, its been 6 years since my Op,I don't worry now I am on a new life, I look on things differently.

About slipping down your pillows, try and treat yourself to a electric bed, look around for a second-hand one. its been a blessing to have one, as they are just like the hospital Bed.



Hi Tony

Thank you for you comments I have come to conclusion that putting on a bit more weight is probably the least of my concerns .6 years! Well done I always feel that bit more hopeful when I hear how long fellow sufferers have found a new life after their 'op'. I like your suggestion about the bed but after 54 years sleeping next to my wife it would have to be a double ;-)

Continued good health ,regards



Your eating/exercise regimen sounds spot on.

You didn't mention your age or height so it's difficult to judge what might be an ideal weight.

Don't forget that BMI is a more scientific assessment.

I lost 3 stone pre and post op (from thirteen & half down to ten & a half) and then gained a stone during the second year post-op. That was 21 years ago---so chin up !

The problem I have is that Dumping/Hypo and the resulting Insulin flush causes sugar to be deposited as fat around the midriff ; a constant battle with middle-aged paunch.

Please try to find a solution to your slipping off the pillows problem -- it really is so dangerous.

The only truly safe method is to raise the head end bed legs not less than 5 inches , doing this means that your stomach tube is not kinked or compressed and when you inevitably slip down

your body will still be on the same gradient so keeping your Trachea above the flood level.


Hi Gutlesswonder

What I'm sure is a totally undeserved pseudoname:-) Well height and weight , I'm 5`10" and this September will have been married for 55 years I didn't get married in my teens and am probably past my sell by date. I take your point about about the gradient of the bed and as a result of these blogs have done something about it this morning , that shows how very important these blogs are.

I'm in awe about the 21years it really does give hope.

Best wishes and thanks



The medics must have been pretty impressed with your state of preservation to offer the Op --- attributable to all those years of TLC no doubt-- I expect you will be making a trip to your local Emerald mart ?

Do let us know if the bed re-arrangements are a success.

All the best


I'm only just realizing how lucky I was to have the operation it didn't seem like that to me at the time and I would have deserved your pseudonym. Immediately before the operation I put it to the anesthetist that I was concerned about my age for that kind of op and although he may have been geeing me up said I was fitter than he was. The operation took 9 hours ( I'm told) but I was back home in 7 days. Regarding the emerald I didn't know that was the anniversary stone may have been cheaper if I had never known. My wife loved your reference to the TLC and I have to agree with you.

I will certainly report on the new bed arrangement.


Just a quick butt in - it might sound silly but are you eating enough? If you are eating too few calories then your body will just store it all to be ready to use it if you do something energetic (the walking might be the case even though it's not hugely energetic)

My trainer at the gym used to say to me you have to feed your body before it can do anything - in his words "you wouldn't set out to drive a long distance in a car with an empty tank"

I'm five months post op and my weight loss has stalled but when I count how many calories I eat on a daily basis it averages about 700 - 800 (I'm a woman and it's recommended that I eat 2000 a day before even doing any exercise) so I know it's not because I'm eating too much I just need to focus on eating MORE so that my body doesn't store everything for a 'just in case' situation when it might need a little bit extra.

Hope this helps


Oh Spanner 16 how I'd love you to be my dietitian:-) I take your point but when would my body decide it had stored enough? I suspect never but thank you for comments and interest.

Best wishes



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