My Ovacome
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Losing weight

I was a few stone overweight when I was diagnosed with peritoneal cancer which is the same cell as serous ovarian cancer at a late stage. Once three and a half litres were drained from my abdomen, I lost half a stone, but then put another two stone on during and after chemo. I think this was partly due to the steroids and partly because of having problems with mobility... which I still do. When I went to see my MacMillan nurse last year, she said that because I was being treated palliatively, it was better to keep the weight on. It's hard for me to exercise because the pain is too bad and I get exhausted easily. I've now decided that enough is enough. I don't want to go through life feeling that I'm not attractive and having to sit in a corner when I'm forced to go to a wedding or the like. It's bad enough having the disease without feeling frumpy too. I'm eating sensibly like lean chicken and fish with plenty of fruit and veg. I was wondering if there are any ideas out there which may help.

13 Replies

Hi TinaB I also put loads of weight on after my treatment and I was advised to keep it on as the oncologist said it was better than being thin. I often end up in hospital about twice a year poorly and they usually drip me and stop me eating for a while. I then lose a little bit of weight but once home put it all back on. I now weight two stone heavier than when I was diagnosed and hate being fat. Recently I saw this advert which suggested hypnosis by Paul McKenna for a gastric band. You don't have any surgery it's just a book, with a CD and DVD. I started it four weeks ago and so far have lost 8lbs. Because of my health problem I am on a low residue diet and therefore can't really eat very healthily or follow a diet as such, so this seems to be a good way of doing it. It isn't a quick fix but it does seem to be working although its very early days. I will keep you posted of my progress.

Lucy x


I love cooking and chanced on the Hairy Bikers' Diet Cookbook which is half-price in Lakeland Plastic - £7 - at the moment. The recipes are mouth-watering and calories are counted out for you so long as you keep to the recipes.

I hate feeling overweight. I'm sure there are some medical reasons for us not to be too slim if we're at risk of hospitalisation and nil-by-mouth. I still don't agree with the oncologists that it's better to be overweight than underweight. I don't think they look at the bigger picture at all. Everyone else seems to recommend keeping weight under control to maximise remission. MacMillan recommend being at the lower end of the spectrum of BMI for your body weight. I agree with Tina that it's enough to be dealing with cancer, hair loss and everything else without feeling frumpy as well.

Best of luck to everyone who's looking at keeping within a sensible weight spectrum. xxxx


You are so right. adding weight to ones middle will encourage oestrogen production therefore blah blah guys know the rest.


We all seem to be affected by this at times, even those of us who have to work hard at keeping our weight up to a reasonable level at times. I'm finding an app called 'My fitness Pal and calorie counter' is helpful. It is helping me keep track of the calories I eat, the nutritional value of things and plot in the effect I'd any exercise I take too. It looks up calories for you, and so long as you input what you've eaten regularly, seems to be working for me. Hope this is helpful. I know it's a long process. Ten years in my case :-( Still, I'll get there :-)

Good luck

Love Wendy xx


Hypnosis is powerful and relaxing, more effective face to face rather than with a self help book, although they are very good. As a hypnotherapist we do see people in our clinic with weight issues, and in cases of poor mobility travel to a clients house, although that is less effective as they are distracted by their surroundings.

Recommend hypnosis, and a sensible diet.



I'm doing the intermittent fasting diet, which has worked for me when many others do not. I am not grotesquelly overweight, but I need to lose 10 kg or so. A side effect of intermittent fasting is that expression of IGF1 is reduced - supposedly good for cancer.

Did you see drdu's posts about ibuprofen? She's a retired gp, and she believes thet ibuprofen is keeping her in remission.

Intermittent fasting is tough at first but you are allowed 500 cals, i.e. breakfast, a bowl of soup and a couple of pieces of fruit. I find the great thing is that you don't have to think about it at all, you just do it.

I think the drs are thinking about terminal cachexia, and, God help us, we are all some way from that.

Never give up! Cx



I do know exactly how you feel as I too put on a load of weight during and after chemo. (I have exactly the same cancer as you PP). My oncologists registrar was aghast when I lost weight after diagnosis and my first chemo. I told him I was eating 3 meals a day, and trying to eat sensibly. He told me I should eat when I was hungry and if I felt like a doughnut then have one! Think I took him to literally and ate all the doughnuts! I had put on 2kg by the end of my chemo. My GP wasn't very happy about this and said I had been given bad advice. It wasn't until the beginning of the year when I'd put on even more weight, that I decided I really must do something about it, as I felt so fat and uncomfortable. I haven't been silly about it, but I've cut out bread (I ate so much), I eat much smaller portions and include a lot more vegetables and fruit. I feel so much better for it and my bowels are much more settled!

I've lost 12lbs so far and intend to keep it up. For me as long as I don't feel deprived I'm okay.

I honestly think it's more a case of eating sensibly and not too much, but still allowing yourself a treat.

Good luck!

Love Linda xx


Thanks all. I've decided that I should keep at it and lose weight slowly without leaving out essential vitamins and minerals which I think help me to feel better. We're all in the same boat aren't we and I feel body image is important for me and I wonder why I've stopped thinking about it so much and then I remember that I'm rarely seen out and about. I think feeling big makes me feel low and unacceptable to others when I need others to be positive about me. I don't want to be felt sorry for when I'm out in the big wide world . Thanks again everyone.


Hi Tina!

I have had weight problems for years! Lost loads of weight during my first round of treatment (ie 3 stones) but put it all back on during my first remission. After my second tumour, (unresponsive to chemo) I had another op and, while convalescing with my daughter joined her on the Slimming World Extra Easy Programme. When I came home I joined my local group. I have lost 2 1/2 stones, find it really easy to adapt to my lifestyle and, once my radio therapy for breast cancer is over, I hope to lose another stone at least! I am now wearing size 16 for the first time in 20 years and hope to resume a size 14 or, dare I hope, a 12!

BTW I am 72 and I do not want to be a frump either!

I have also got my steroid induced diabetes so well under control that, had I not been diagnosed, I would be normal! Sod's law because metformin has been shown to slow the growth of OC cells but my GP will not prescribe it as it could cause me to have hypos!

I am having a party on Sunday and no one will realise that everything on the table will be "legal" a la slimming world!

I have a very large bowl of fresh fruit salad for breakfast with black coffee, Home made veg soup, wholemeal bread and fruit for lunch. At night I have fish with fresh veg and potatoes or wholemeal pasta with a home made sauce and salad or rice with a stir fry (using frylight) and more fruit. I save syns for the odd glass of wine! (or two! LOL)

I hope that this helps! mind you I have always disliked most sweet things (gave up sugar for lent in 1955) and chemo has put me off chocolate and ice cream because of the aftertaste! My rationed things are cheese and good bread!



I'd like to endorse Slimming World Extra Easy too - it certainly worked for me and is nothing like any diet I've ever tried before - to put it simply, I was never hungry.

Chemo weight is particularly difficult to shift - I don't know if the body is trying to hold onto the fat for some reason - so it seems to take a bit longer than it would normally do to kick start the weight loss process.


p.s. attending the group weigh-in and staying for what they call 'image therapy' (when they go round everyone to get feedback) really does help - I didn't go public on the cancer business, though some people do talk about health issues and how they are impacting on their ability to lose weight.



I had the 'hypnoband' done by a local hypnotist- I must be miserably resistant as after three sessions all I did was eat more and put on a stone!! Felt that with my band I could eat anything! Fail.

Heigh ho, when I was diagnosed as pre-diabetic on top on all my other problems I got referred to a dietician at the hospital who sent me on a ten week healthy eating course run by the NHS nutritionist locally. I now do the healthy eating plate and use a portion tracker and lost about two stones and many of my can't eat that sin phobias gained from well known slimming groups.

It is also very healthy and I feel better than I have for years. It was all free and the nutritionist weighs every week or two if you need that kind of support. I haven't put the weight back on as the portion tracker keeps me right and I have stopped the binging that went with trying to diet when you are deprived of the goodies and treats.

Good luck and I hope you find something that suits you.

Polly xx


I think the issue of feeling loved is a big one because often I eat when I'm not hungry at all and just do it to fill an emotional void. It's all closely connected with feeding issues as a child and the use of rewards for being 'good' in the early stages. My mother's no longer here and I'm no longer a child but I somehow fill the gap of missing her by eating childhood treats. I know I do it but I also know there are other reasons for eating things. This is how it all affects me and the cancer issue is the icing on the cake. Spurred on by all your helpful tips, I lost 2 pounds last week. I decided to replace one meal each day with my mother's favourite scotch broth type soup although using only a little olive oil for softening the leeks and replacing the ham with chicken thighs.Once it was all cooked, I took out the thighs and replaced the meat into the pan. Sorry for this description for veggies reading. I think it would be as tasty without the meat to be honest. I might try this. For my main meal, I've chosen lots of vegetables, fruit, a small piece of homemade bread and a small piece of lean white meat or fish. My main rule is to jettison all precooked food from the house. Thanks once again all for your help. Will keep you posted on my progress (or not!) xx


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