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Eating to Lose Weight After Treatment

Posted by Manuela Boyle on 15 August 2021
Eating to Lose Weight After Treatment

Many people gain weight when they are treated with chemotherapy and steroids.

Your extra weight may hang around and increase after chemotherapy if you also take hormonal therapy (tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor).

If your body shifts into menopause because of chemotherapy, there's a tendency to gain weight.

This weight gain may be because of the enzyme lipoprotein lipase (LPL), which is controlled by insulin.

LPL sits on the surface of cells and pulls fat out of the bloodstream and into the cell. If LPL is on a muscle cell, it pulls fat into the cell where it's used for fuel. If LPL is on a fat cell, it pulls fat into the cell and makes it fatter.

It's important to know that the hormone estrogen suppresses LPL activity on fat cells.

This could be one reason why some women gain weight after menopause or after breast cancer treatment that dramatically decreases estrogen levels. With less estrogen in the body, LPL can pull fat into fat cells and store it there.

The shock of a diagnosis, the disruption of your life, getting through and beyond surgery and radiation, the strain of relationships at home and at work, financial stress, and less physical activity all may contribute to weight gain.

During chemo, extra fluids and steroids together with less physical activity and a yearning for sweets all combine to cause weight gain.

And like many people, you may be certain that taking a hormonal therapy medication makes you gain weight and makes it nearly impossible to lose weight.

Two of the major studies conducted in the United States and Canada by the National Surgical Adjuvant Breast and Bowel Project (NSABP, a cooperative research group) showed that women taking a placebo (a sugar pill) were just as likely to gain weight as women taking tamoxifen. 

Losing weight becomes much harder as we grow older, but it can still be done with careful diet changes and exercise. Be nice to yourself; don't punish yourself.

There are lots of good reasons to maintain a healthy weight.

You'll feel stronger, have more energy, and boost your self-esteem. Also, research has shown that being overweight can increase the risk of the cancer coming back.

To imbrace an improved wellness, please ask us about our weigh balance program!

Author:Manuela Boyle
Tags:NewsResourcesDiets & RecipesWeight OptimisationCancerBreast CancerWellbeing


  • The Institute for Functional Medicine
  • Society for Integrative Oncology
  • Naturopaths and Herbalists Association of Australia
  • Australian Traditional-Medicine Society
  • British Naturopathic Association