When it comes to physical and mental health, eating the right foods and getting enough exercise are two of the most important things anyone can do. This is especially true for cancer survivors.
Achieving and Maintaining a Healthy Weight is Important
Gaining Weight After Cancer Treatment
A common side effect of cancer is weight loss. Certain cancer treatments, such as chemotherapy and radiation can result in nausea, a loss of appetite, or dry mouth— all of which make it hard to swallow food. The taste and smell of food may have also changed, causing people to have an aversion to foods they once enjoyed. Because of this, gaining weight back after treatment can be a challenge for many people. Check out our nutrition blog for healthy recipes.
Losing Weight After Cancer Treatment
While some patients need to regain weight after cancer treatment, others may focus on losing weight. There are various reasons weight gain occurs in cancer patients, including medications, stress eating, lack of exercise due to treatment, or something different altogether.
If your cancer treatment left you overweight or underweight, it’s important to do all you can to get back to a healthy weight.
Diet and Exercise Affect Your Weight, and Much More
Foods for Cancer Survivors
You’ve probably heard the expression, “You are what you eat.” But, did you know that it’s actually true? As a cancer survivor, now, more than ever is the perfect time to assess whether your diet and exercise habits will keep you on a healthy path. What foods are stocked in your pantry and refrigerator? Does the amount of processed food outweigh the amount of fresh food? Is the fridge lacking because you eat out often? If so, it may be time to re-evaluate your habits. A great place to start is by enlisting the help of your cancer care team. Consider asking them to recommend a nutritionist to help you get on track. Keep in mind that it can take a while to adjust your diet habits. Keep pushing forward one step at a time until you are eating a balanced diet that is not filled with convenience or over-processed foods.
Physical Activity for Cancer Survivors
Exercise is also incredibly beneficial for cancer survivors. If exercise isn’t something you usually make time for, now is the perfect time to start. The good news is that you can do this in stages, adding a little activity at a time. While you can certainly go to the gym, you don’t have to. There are plenty of other activities that count as exercise, including taking a walk in the park, lifting light weights at home, or going on a bike ride. The goal is to be consistent, making time for this several days of the week. A good way to help you succeed is to focus on activities you actually enjoy!