8 Ways to Prevent Weight Loss During Cancer Treatments

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Essential # 1: Let Food Be Your Medicine | Mar, 25 2024

8 Ways to Prevent Weight Loss During Cancer Treatments

cancer treatment weight loss prevention

Body weight (loss and gain) is often a traumatic and emotionally charged topic to discuss. Long before your diagnosis, you probably felt societal pressures to be a certain weight and fit a specific mold. Right now, please pause, give yourself an enormous heart hug, and take a cleansing breath. Exhale shame and inhale nurturing body love.

I am proud of you for even reading this blog and any other content on my website. By taking these actions, you decide to let your inner warrior out to heal and strengthen your body, mind, and soul. She is strong, you are strong, and together with the Breast Cancer Conqueror Community, we will all heal and experience vibrant mind and body health!

Weight loss and gain of two or more pounds a week can be side effects of treatments for various reasons, which I will discuss in this blog post. You should be aware of this because cancer treatment weight loss is a common struggle, as 31 – 87% of people experience it. Moreover, a healthy diet and weight will help your body tolerate and respond better to treatments. As always, I will provide practical and realistic solutions for fueling your body for peak performance. It’s time to leap into LIVING mode and leave survival in the dust of your healing journey.

cancer treatment weight loss

What causes unintentional weight loss during breast cancer treatments?

This list of cancer treatment weight loss causes is meant to be purely informative. Even though a symptom can be miserable, knowing why you are experiencing it can be reassuring.

  • Anxiety, grief, and distress. These are all completely understandable feelings when starting your cancer treatment journey and grieving the changes in your life. However, they can suppress your appetite.
  • Elevated metabolism. This can come from your body trying to accommodate the increased inflammatory response or even the extra energy it takes to control the cancer.
  • Changes in food taste. Chemotherapy can sometimes give food a metallic taste.
  • Nausea, vomiting, dehydration, and diarrhea. They all go hand in hand and are a prevalent side effect of chemotherapy.
  • Mouth sores. (Mucositis) It’s a common but painful side effect of treatment that causes your mouth and gut to be sore and inflamed.
  • Hormone changes. Some tumors produce hormones that could alter the signaling process that tells your body it is hungry.
  • Tumor necrosis factor (TNF). This inflammatory protein can make you feel gross and not be in the mood to eat.
  • Abnormal cells. These cancerous cells divide, proliferate, and push out healthy cells in a process that causes you to burn more calories at rest.
  • Chemo belly. It’s the name for when your abdomen feels bloated, gassy, and uncomfortable during and after treatments. It occurs due to changes in the gut bacteria and how food moves through your digestive tract.

Solutions for maintaining a healthy weight during breast cancer treatments.

The evidence-based solutions are meant for a general audience. Please take them as ideas to discuss with your medical team and Breast Cancer Conqueror Coach. To learn more about foods that help prevent cancer treatment weight loss and support better outcomes, please read this blog post.

1. Lift weights and exercise.

Researchers found that there were 72% fewer metastatic cancer cases in people who reported regularly exercising at a high intensity compared to those who did not engage in physical exercise. 72% FEWER CASES! Ladies, it’s time to live the sweat life to enjoy the sweet, healthy breast life! Additionally, lifting weights can help you gain weight while boosting your mood. Click here to view this blog on exercise oncology.

2. Prioritize mental health.

Our minds, emotions, and physical bodies do not live in silos. Studies are now finding that “The immune system consists of a complex biological and psychological network designed for fighting against infections and to protect the body from pathogen factors, including the internal ones.” How you take care of your body can directly relate to weight loss or gain, especially during treatment. Click here to learn about 7 ways to boost mental health.

3. Reduce nausea.

Since nausea can lead to throwing up, dehydration, and a reduced appetite, finding ways to reduce it is critical for maintaining a healthy weight. Zofran is a tiny pill that can stop your brain from experiencing nausea for 6 hours at a time. Ginger (buy the supplement or the tea) and aloe vera can also relieve symptoms. I suggest taking them 3 days leading up to chemotherapy or radiation treatments. Recent studies have also found cannabis can reduce chemo-induced nausea, stimulate appetite, and relieve pain.

4. Prevent diarrhea.

Probiotics and lots of fiber work together to protect and repair the cells of the digestive tract, re-establish a healthy balance of gut microflora, strengthen your immune system, and reverse diarrhea. I highly suggest looking into The Floré Adult Custom Probiotics Program, as they will customize your probiotic according to test results! 

5. Eat an anti-inflammation diet.

This will slow your metabolism and, more importantly, starve the cancer. Glutamine and glucose power up cancer cells. “Essentially, if you don’t have glutamine, the cell is short-circuited due to a lack of glucose, which halts the growth of the tumor cell,” says Dr. Don Ayer of the Huntsman Cancer Institute. To learn more about cutting inflammation out of your diet, please read this blog post.

6. Fend off mouth and throat sores.

This is one of the most common causes of treatment-related weight loss because it’s too painful to swallow food if your mouth is covered in sores. To prevent and heal, eat high-quality Manuka honey for its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. A clinical trial discovered that this kind of honey prevented mouth sores in both chemotherapy and radiation therapy patients.

7. Eat lots of protein and fat-packed snacks.

My raw matcha bites, hempseed protein bars, and almond butter blossoms are simply divine and are packed to the brim with protein, nutrients, and fats to nourish and maintain weight. For more delicious and healing recipes, please check out my Healthy Breast Recipes.

One of my new favorite recipes comes from Breast Cancer Conqueror Karin Campion, who is keeping weight on and nourishing her body through conventional treatments in the most deliciously decadent way! She invented the Sea Salt Chocolate Date Bark to maintain weight, nourish, and energize her body—in the yummiest way!

8. Eat what your body absorbs.

No one knows you better than your actual genes. Instead of following the diet flavor of the week, eat precisely what your body needs for healing and health. You can do this through The Nutrition Genome at-home DNA test kit.


If you have any helpful tips and tricks that are working for you, please share them via this Instagram post. We always love hearing from you and learning new ways we can support each other!


Author: Dr. Veronique Desaulniers, better known as  Dr. V, is a Doctor of Chiropractic & has 44 years of experience in the wellness industry. For personalized support, please partner with a trained Breast Cancer Conqueror Coach.