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Weight gain after chemo

I am so fed up of being THIS FAT, I have just downloaded some pics of me playing with my granddaughter and I look enormous!!!!

Oncologist are not worried at all about my weight gain now borderline obese. They just tell me they`d be more worried if I lost weight.

I eat healthy but the weight won`t go anywhere and its now starting to depress me!

Anyone else have the same problem after the stearoids with chemo?

I am unable to exercise because I also suffer from Chronic fatigue syndrome alongside fibromyalgia. This means that if I spend more money than I can afford from my energy bank I run into a lot of painful trouble. The only way is to eat less but I always feel hungry.

I only eat three healthy meals a day.

Pre-weight was 9 1/2 stone I am now 11 1/2 - I only weighed 9st 10pds the day I had my babies, this is soooooo not good xxx

41 Replies

Dear Tina

I've had exactly the same problem - my weight gain almost mirroring yours. I was so pleased to lose weight last year and never thought it would pile on so much at the end of the chemotherapy. I've even tried appetite surpressers as it worries me so much.

I read a blog recently where someone recommended Slimming World and thought I'd give that a try. It seems we have to learn to eat less and less to remain a healthy weight. Such as shame as I love cooking. One thing I did notice last year was that the size of the portion governed my weight. I simply couldn't eat for about 6 months and never felt hungry though I could feel my stomach was empty. If I went back to the portions of last year and ate all my meals on a saucer I think I'd regain my envious size 8 .... but then I think would I rather have the cancer back ... and I say a definite NO to that.

I went out and bought some new clothes yesterday. That made me feel a whole load better about my weight. xx

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I also have this problem, and now weigh over 17.5 stone, not that I've ever been small. Add to the weight the ascities, and I seem to be buying larger sized clothes every month. My onc is not worried, and I don't eat much, less now with the ascities, but am so breathless it's all I can do to walk let alone exercise....... Anyone with ideas please help.


I can't offer any advice, was hoping for some from you. I suddenly bloated about a week ago, as I'm seeing Miss Tipples tomorrow, I think I'm going to be back on treatment very soon! If I dont see you there, I'll hopefully see you at the support group in a couple of weeks



Hi everyone I am very unhappy about my weight and unfortunately my diet (due to radiation enteritis) is not really very healthy. Like you my Oncologist and surgeon are not worried unless I start losing weight. I am trying to do more exercise but I am limited after the treatment and my slipped disc op. Gosh I soiund so miserable and I am not just theopposite it just hit a nerve when I read the Blog. Keep swimming around everyone.

Lucy x


I think this is such a common problem..my GP said the worse thing I could do is lose weight.. I am never going to have a flat tummy though.. as I have an incisional hernia (bowel sticking through) I buy bigger clothes to hide it...I read somewhere more people die of malnutrition when they have cancer than they do of the cancer..so maybe this is why they are not fussed on us losing weight ..I do understand how you feel Tina.. as we still want to look as good as we can..I think this is why people remark how well we look.. grrrrrrrr ....they expect us to be skinny..they reckon you put on weight after a hysterectomy it might be that ..love x G x :-)


I have mixed feelings now.

a) I was so happy to hear that I am not alone with this -

b) unyet sad to learn how so many of us are effected by the weight gain.

I expected to lose it once the treamtnet was over and my eating habits reversed back to how they were before - I couldn`t have been more wrong.

I have to say, I am enjoying my food - it has never tasted sooooo good and I know that is a positive thing for us.

I do remember my then GP telling me I would gain at least one stone - maybe two just because of the surgery and treatment. He told me not to worry that bonny women are more attractive than the skinny ones, ho ho! I wish I could agree with him, lol!

He also said that when we stumble and fall in old age we have a better protection against broken bones. I laughed, and told him he meant that we would bounce off the pavement and he said "well, yes"

To be honest buying new clothes depressed me further because I had to buy 2-3 larger size - I go home cut the lable out and try to forget - as IF!!!

Anyway, by sharring this has made me feel loads better rather than the fat pig I see myself as.

I have never had a weight problem so its all very new to me.

My son-in-law and his mum have lost 2 1/2 and 3 1/2 stone with Slimming world and it seems like a healthy way to eat. I just can`t be arsed!!!

After Gwens comment about more people dieing from malnutrition rather than the cancer itself, helps me understand the reason why we really mustn`t lose weight on purpose. Nature has its way and maybe we are holding onto the extra pounds for whenever we may need it.

I think I should accept the extra baggage and make the most of what I do have.

It didn`t help after my size 8 friend stayed with us last week, ho hum she would make anyone feel hughmungus!

Thanks ladies - its so lovely to be able to support one another - on that note HAPPY EATING and ENJOY!!!!

Lots of love from Tina xxxxxx

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I don't feel so bad now as each time I have been for chemo (Which is three times now) I have put on a kilo and the nurse said that was good, I know I lost weight at first due to being a bit stressed but now my weight is creeping up, I put it down to only working part time now and not doing the gym 4 times a week. I just feel to tired now, maybe next year after my operation I can get back to the gym.

Still its a good excuse to get new clothes and it will soon be winter so we will all be wrapped up in lots of clothes no one will notice if we have put on a few pounds

Love to all the ladies Babs x x x


Hiah Doreen,

if we have lost weight due to the cancer of course we will welcome the weight gain and I am so hapopy that you are creeping back up to your healthier weight.

I am now 2 stone over weight and over 1 1/2 stone more than I was the day I gave birth both times. I am seeing this as rather serious now and its time to do something about it. I am also concermed about being over weight incresing our risks of cancer and I have enough risks without adding any more of them.

Its all about balance isnm`t it? a balance of a healthy apetite with a healthy weight we feel comfortable with. This is NOT me I feel ugly in my skin, I know this sounds ridiculous when we have been through so much and escaped death by the hair of a thread but if I am strong enough to recover from the cancer I should be comfortable to get back down to a healthy weight. I am also only 5ft and 3 inches tall with tiny bones, which isn`t helping a lot.

I am still too tired for the gym but also feel losing the extra baggage may help. My grandson weighs three stone and he is heavy, OMG I need to lose almost that, it hasto go.

Thanks for the wonderful support - its great to hear everyone elses take on it, God Bless you all dear friends xxxx ANd get well soon, all of you, drink to some good days ahead darlings xx


I'd like to recommend the Extra Easy plan with Slimming World. I too put weight on during chemo (thanks to steroids and cisplatin-induced nausea which meant eating stodge all the time). It took me a long time to lose the weight I needed to lose but it it did kick in and it did go all the way.What was great about the extra easy plan was that I never felt hungry & it was not like a diet - sounds unbelieveable but honestly it works. It's all very well consultants telling us we don't need to worry about being overweight - they have a fatalistic attitude which says yes we all weight through chemo and just have to accept it - OK fine while we're on chemo but after that getting back in shape is very important to us!


I totally agree with the Extra Easy plan. I piled weight on during and after chemo..due to not working and then indulging myself because i felt i deserved it after everything i'd been through. I joined Slimming World and i lost 3.5 stone in 12 months on the EE plan. I lost it slowly but steadily..and ive kept it off. It doesnt feel like a diet..im never hungry and i can still treat myself. I feel better n look better now..and after the trauma of surgery n chemo its great to feel like ive got my life back. I'd definitely recommend it too. Love Sharon x


I do agree bellabee,

I now have my hair back to normal and at last am begiinibg to feel like the origional me - apart from the weight gain. I worked hard the year before the cancer to get down to 9 stone for my daughters wedding. I only needed to lose a stone then, but it was still hard work. I did the weight watchers on my own with books borrowed from a friend. I was determined not to put it back on, then the cancer struck and the rest is everyone elses story too.

I know from my daughters mother-in-law that you never go hungry with this diet and surely just by changing the way we eat rather than starving and being hungry is the better way to go about it but I need to understand more about it. I am seriously thinking about joining the class.

Anyone feeling upto the challenge by doing it with me - would be great, thanks bellabee its great to hear from someone who has gone through all of this and come out the other side with a nice fab smile. Hope all else is going great for you too.

love from Tina xxx


Thanks Tina.

I was going through chemo for my first relapse and am doing OK right now thanks. Losing all that chemo-induced weight has been a big part of my recovery both physically and psychologically.

Please get in touch if you go to SW and start the plan and have any questions - make sure you do Extra Easy(they also do Green and Red days, which are the old eating plans - avoid them IMHO) - extra easy it isn't called that for nothing!

The other thing I would add is that I do believe that after chemo our bodies try to hold onto the weight, so the initial losses can be quite small (well, they were for me) but just stick at it and it will kick in eventually. GOOD LUCK!!!!


I just posted this for someone who was too thin but I think it's relevant. I have just seen an inteegrative doctor in America, she has put me on a high protein, low carbohydrate diet and I feel better than I have in ages. I eat a lot of fish, eggs and whey protein, skip the potatoes and pasta.Apparently we need a lot of protein to rebuild after chemotherapy.


I don't have a problem with weight gain, so i'm now thinking why haven't I? My onc

asks on every visit if I have put any weight on.I only gained couple of pounds since

ending chemo and now weight 9st.6ibs.

I do have problems with high cholesterol and have to watch my diet and also take tabs

so maybe this is why my weight hasn't shot up.

Watch this space..........I may be asking for help to loose 2stone in the near future!!!

Best wishes X


Hi Angelina,

9st 6lbs is my goal weight, its a nice healthy weight - how tall are you?

I am 5ft 3inches.

As long as you are not losing weight for no reason such as diets then I wouldn`t worry sweetheart.

Did you have stearoids to stop the sickness? I think its more down to that rather than the chemo itself. I ate, and ate and never stopt. Thought I`d lose it as soon as I returned back to my normal healthy way of eating, but it won`t go anywhere.

I do knoiw that most ladies gain weight after the menopause and its often more quickly when we go through a sudden surgical menopause as a lot of us have. But I also do have friends who lost a lot of weight after the menopause too, maybe you are one of those ladies. I know oncologists like to see weight gain more than weight loss but as long as you are not losing then I really wouldn`t worry why you haven`t gained.

Also my cosin who went through breast cancer at the same time as myself never gained weight either and she is also still in remission. Hope that helps you worry less.

Love from T xx


Hi Tina

I'm 5'4 and did take steroids when having chemo. I was terribly ill with

pain in legs and feet which lasted two weeks before next session. I didnt

get it sorted out until nearly the end of treatment - therefore I lost a

lot of valuable eating time .. if you know what I mean.

Ive got my appetite back now but wouldn't say I eat a lot as I feel

full quite quickly. Think my stomach must have shrunk. I do try and go for

lots of short walks daily as I did a lot of walking before discovering

I had OC. Don't know if that would be any help to you.

Good Luck with your Diet.

Love Angie x


yes I was very poorly with each chemo too and the pain was horrendous, I hadto opt out of the 6th session of taxol because of the nerve damage but it never stopt me eating, LOL!

I think for your height you are at a healthy weight so unless the oncologist is worried then you mustn`t worry either. I hope to be at your weight very soon. But this is not a weight loss diet as such is a change for a life time - a much healthier diet than any Mrs average is on, so hopefully I will soon start to have more energy and so forth, ho ho it may even help my muscles. One can live in hope.

Take care love from T Xxx


Hi.., I am very depressed about my weight gain.. I need to loose about 3 stone and no matter how hard i try i cant get any off.. I am seeing a health coach at the moment but to be hones t i already know all about healthy eating.. I put some of the gain down to the menapause after my hystrectomy but in truth i think its the lack of exercise .. But i am left with terrible leg pains after chemoshit. that if i try to do any exercise i am in agony.. :( this really does get me down i like to exercise but its just to painful...

love suzanne.. xxx


Hi Suzanne

I was asking the same thing last week about musle cramps. Try putting 'muscle cramp' in the search box - my question was the one mentioning carboplatin. In brief the solution to reduce the pain involves 1) phorpain which is ibuprofen gel to rub in from the gp 2) gruelling massage by physio 3) leg streches/lunges 4 times a day 4) eating more fruit and potassium rich foods 5) drinking tonic water. Yesterday managed to stand long enough to do some ironing, though it was done to a walking on the spot motion as well. Strange to think that I now regard ironing a few things as a major achievement.

Good luck

Love Christine


Thanks christine.. I have seen a phyiso but she seemed stumped at my symptoms and didnt seem to want to be hands on i feel she just wants to refer me back to my gp..

love suzanne. xx


Hi Suzanne,

Christine is right - stretch those muscles as much as can do, but make sure its gentle and never push harder than you can cope with.

Forget `no pain no gain` that is just a miff.

If you do this you will sure to run into bigger problems.

I drink Soda water to help prevent the muscle cramps, cola drinks are the worst thing for the cramps so avoid caffeine because that is our enemy.

Also, pacing is the biggest hurdle to get over. Always stop BEFORE your body says you have had enough.

Rest plenty in between acitvity. Its a change in life style and accepting that you are a different you, right now.

Fibromyalgia (FMS) can be triggered by stress, trauma including emotional trauma. I think we have been through all of those.

It is possible that some of your pains and cramps could be down to post traumatic stress so bare that in mind if this doesn`t improve in time.

Does anyone know if the post chemo pain improoves in time? BIG question! I`m sure many of us would like to know.

I was warned the chemo would make my FMS worse, I wouldn`t say it has but I do have different aches and pains that are very new to me.

We do learn to live with chronic pain but it can be depressing and difficult because it robs us from the quality of life that we were once used to. There are a lot of self help techniques we can use to help us cope.

If anyone would like any information for this then please do email me teenapilgrim@btinternet.com

I just keep telling myself FMS and CFS is better than cancer and I know which one out of the three I`d sooner have to deal with.

You can also talk to your GP about pain managment.

You can ask to be referred to a pain managment clinic at your nearest hospital, trust me there is a lot of support out there but we may need to do our own research.

Hope this helps a bit - all the best from Tina sending a nice gentle hug to you xx


Hi Suzanne,

I hate that word exercise I feel pain just thinking about it - I haven`t been able to walk very far let alone exercise for a very long time due a condition called fibromyalgia, some of you may or may not of herad of the disease but it stands for Fibrous tissue, such as the muscles, tendons, ligaments and nerve PAIN, sometimes accompanied by profound chronic fatigue syndrome which I have also suffered from for 15 years. Therefore exercise has always been my worst enemy and no one can understand better than myself with true empathy what this feels like.

After chemo it left me with severe joint and nerve pain from the pelvic area down.

Not being able to exercise has never affected my weight before so I am not balming it onto that now either however I do belive that the many changes out body has suddenly gone through with hormome change and drug use does have an affect on our weight.

I have therefore decided to start the Slimming World's Extra Easy plan TODAY - any one with me?

Love T xxx


I have had problems with weight loss!! After each treatment I lose about a kilo and only put a little back before the next 3 weeks. Have no appitite and so many foods seem to irritate my gut. Always been a bit skinny but the worst thing is my skinny face, so many new lines. Poor us nothing seems easy!!

I do find whey helps, but hate the Ensure drinks everyone wants me to drink. Plus the ingredients seem horrendous.


Hi nandi,

And here we are complaining about our weight gain and you are wishing you had. Why, does chemo affect our weight so differently?

Well, most of us increase our appetite where as you have lost yours, it seems that at the end of the day we really are what we eat!

My brother lost a lot of weight when he had his cancer, I expect it could depend on various treatments etc, he was very sick with his chemo, where as I had stearoids to stop that.

I think losing ones appetite must be dreadfully difficult for you, bless you.



Hi nandi

I felt like you when on chemo.Couldn't eat because I was in so much pain.

I would lose about 4lbs and put a little back on before next session. My

face looked very skinny but am pleased to say it has now filled out as my

appetite is improving.Chemo Dr.told me to eat chocolate and cakes for

calories to build up my weight gain. Aren't I a lucky lady!!!!!!

Good luck with rest of your treatment.XX


It's reassuring to read blogs like this, because it makes you realise your not alone, I too have gained a lot of weight and don't have the energy to do much exercise. I know I eat too much but sometimes think why should I deprive myself of something I enjoy. But yes looking at photos does depress me and I never thought I would need size 14/16 clothes. My oncologist doesn't worry either.

I think maybe the answer is smaller plates and portion control but I still need some treats!

Love George x


Hi George,

I tried to cut down on portion size - the only side effect was hunger. I cut out bread, potatoes and sugar and even that made no difference.

So, next mission is `slimming world` and if that doesn`t work I give up - I will get fat but be happy and accept its better that way than have the cancer back.

I was size 10-12 and now need 14-16 but it seems we are far from being alone with this, maybe its much better this way than losing appetite, now that would be dreadful.

I also think that after we`ve been through all of this - the last thing we need is diet, but hay ho, if the weight gain makes us misearable then we have to do something about it. If it doesn`t bother us then just indulge and enjoy, life is after all too short to be misearable either way.



This is just my theory but if your body has been in weight gain mode then something has to happen to make it stop and start going in the opposite direction. My experience of losing weight through Slimming World's Extra Easy plan was that this change in direction was quite slow to come about, partly because I was already eating healthily post-chemo, but eating too much healthily if you know what I mean. I would guess that after about two months of very small losses and lots of 'maintains', there was the first real inklings of something kicking in - it was as if my body had got the message that it was in weight loss mode now, and after that it was steady progress - still quite small losses but regularly. I cut myself a lot of slack and did not make too many demands - after all I had been through chemo and that wrecks the body. I had been exercising regularly throughout all of this but can categorically say that I lost no weight through exercise, it was all from making changes to my diet. By the way, I didn't go to SW till about 8 months after the chemo finished - it makes sense to let the body recover - but then I realised that the weight gain was here to stay unless I did something, and so off to SW I went (I'd tried Weight Watchers a long time ago but was always hungry on that). The other thing was that I lost the weight while still having my 2 glasses of red wine in the evening (this was how I used up my 'syns') as I could not see the point of depriving myself of something I really enjoyed after everything else I had been through.


Hi Bellabee,

I have managed to borrow the slimming world extra easy plan from my daighters mother-in-law and have started right away. I have to say after reading through the books, I am well impressed. I do belive a slower steady pace of losing weight is far better than losing heeps amount suddenly and this new way of eating will suit me down to the ground.

I feel quite excited about it too. Its such a wonderful new way of educating your system and Healthy, healthy, healthy here I come. I feel really happy about this - so watch this space. It will be interesting if it actually helps the cancer too.

Lots of love everyone from Teeny as my friends call me xxxx


All the best wth it Teeny! Message me anytime if you need any advice.


Thanks luvie I will do, bless you always xx



Good luck with the new plan. Sounds to me like you are starting with a great atitude, excitment always helps.


Thanks for the encouragment. Good to know your face filled out. There is hope!


Lost 1/2 pound this week - well, its a start I supose, LOL!


That's all I lost on my first week!


Hello ladies - everything you say mirrors my experience: steroidal weight gain which wouldn't shift, my oncologist saying not to worry too much, that she'd be more concerned if I was losing weight, but then saying yes it's a good thing to lose some and also to excercise as studies say that's important. I was following Weightwatchers but I just stuck at my post chemo weight for about 4 months after treatment and only slowly slowly slowly has it started to come down - 9 kgs since April. But I had to take drastic measures to achieve this and I was getting really down about it and how I looked. So I cut out bread, potatoes, pasta and rice: well, not totally, I will eat them if out for a meal or allow myself occasional portions of rice or pasta - they do have some nutritional value! I generally only eat vegetables and fruit ( I aim for 11 portions of various veges and fruit a day) and some protein. The hardest is cutting out cheese and I confess I eat more of that than I should. I now swim 2 to 3 times a week, when I can and I walk just about everywhere, aiming for the recommended 10000 steps, even when my feet hurt: this is new, for a while I had to take the bus to the pool as it was too exhausting to walk there, swim and walk back. I have started this new 5:2 eating regime, combining it vaguely with WeighWatchers, after I asked my oncologist if that was ok. Her reaction was 'half the staff in the hospital are on it, not me because it will make me too grumpy! But there's no reason why you shouldn't try it'. It does seem to have helped me edge towards my first goal: I'm now at my pre chemo weight, which was still too high, 'only' 15 kgs to go to get to my actual goal weight. But omg it's a bloody hard slog.


hello moominkat

i wonder if it's harder to lose the weight closer to chemo ending? i waited about 6 months before i started Slimming World, and it was slow slow slow even then. in any case, well done for the success you have had so far.


Hiah Moominkat, congratualations on your weight lose, you have done so well. I think having the determination like you to achieve your goal is the hardest hurdle of all. My inspiration seems to be lost somewhere.

I had a awonderful dream the other night after reading 50 shades of grey - you would have thought it would have been about something else, wouldn`t you? but I dreamt that I got on the scales andI had lost one stone and one pound. I have been rather good but the weight is still sticking. I will continue to do as I am doing because I know that one day it will start to move. They say if you eat one extra choccie bar a day for a whole year we will gain a stone. It doesn`t seem to work the other way though, Why I wonder? But hay ho, I am cutting out more than one choccie bar a day so If i continue I must lose something in a year.

My main prority is beating the cancer as I know it will be yours too, but it can get us down when we feel so fat and frumpy. I look in the mirror and don`t think I look too bad then I see myself on photographs and just want to burn them.

Lots of love to you all from Tina xxx


I think for the people who say they dont eat much but are overweight, my question is really??? I finished chemo 5 months ago had my kidney removed had inense chemo, i lost 4 1/2 stone. Ive put it all back on amd its my fault because i eat crap. Im On a diet now and already seeing results..you need to be truthful to yourself first .


I've put in exactly the same, I've started Slimmingworld and my husband has joined me for moral support. I've gone from 9stone to 11stone and don't like it one bit as I'm only 5ft 2, I'm in the right frame of mind to go for it. Lots of best wishes x



Yes I am weeks post 2nd line chemo and I have the same problem.

I can hardly fit into any of my clothes.

I went from a woman's size M to L and sometimes XL

It's all in the mud section mostly!

I know how you feel

At the moment bad body image

thinking about the Reboot juicing program


TinaWright, Hello my friend. I looked grotesque right after chemo. The steroids did it. I also have fibromyalgia, I don't know about CFS. It's been 21/2 years since I finished, okay so far. I joined weight watchers and have lost about 30 Pounds in maybe 8 months. I'm 60 so it is harder. I'm going for maybe 30 pounds more. We shall see. Easy to say. I'm from California so the ponds/ stones are different.

When I saw your story, I could definitely relate to your struggle. I wish the best in your struggle, Nesie 237


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