It can be difficult to maintain your weight during and after cancer treatment. A lot of people become less active during treatment, thereby burning fewer calories, and unfortunately most remain inactive after treatment is finished. One study found that just over 20% of cancer survivors were active.
Many of the drugs that save our lives can also cause weight gain, and it’s not just water weight. They cause a loss of lean tissue and an increase in fat.
Also, many people turn to food for comfort. This is pretty understandable. Dealing with cancer is tough, and comfort, wherever we can get it, is welcomed. Just remember that maintaining a healthy weight is about balancing calories taken in with calories burned. If you eat a big bowl of buttered popcorn or an extra chocolate for comfort, move more! Find something you enjoy; that way you’re getting even more comfort by doing something fun. Exercise doesn’t have to be 30 minutes on the treadmill. Ride a bike, dance, skip, garden, or run – just move.
Whether it’s from lack of activity, too much comfort food, or drug side-effects, excess weight is not healthy for us. According to the American Cancer Society, being overweight increases the risk of several cancers, including colon, endometrial, esophagus, kidney, and breast; and may be linked to ovarian, pancreatic, cervical, gallbladder, thyroid, myeloma, Hodgkin lymphoma, and aggressive prostate cancer.  It also increases the risk for heart disease and diabetes. In addition, being overweight may contribute to the development of lymphedema.
So get moving! You need to balance calories in and calories burned. It’s important to watch what you eat, but exercise is just as important. The American Cancer Society and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend 30 minutes of exercise, 5 days or more per week. Choose activities you enjoy; you’ll be more likely to stick with it – the key is to start.
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