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Weight Loss & Fatigue

While most people would like to lose a few extra pounds, I would not recommend cancer treatment as a diet. Nevertheless, chemotherapy can, in some people, promote unwanted and unhealthy weight loss; and that's not a good thing. You need to maintain your health, now more than ever. By maintaining and managing your weight, you'll may have fewer side-effects and experience less fatigue through the cycles of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation.

Appetites can also shift during treatment. Often an appetite is diminished as the day progresses, most often from overall fatigue. Eating a balanced breakfast followed by frequent snacks and light meals can help you alleviate this effect and provide essential nourishment for maintaining a healthy activity level during treatment. Lean protein is key to rebounding between treatments. Protein, along with other essential nutrients, supplies the body with the ability to grow and repair tissue damaged from chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.

When trying to avoid weight loss and maintain your pre-treatment weight, consider these recommendations:

"¢ Food is fuel. Proper nourishment helps minimize fatigue. Eat often and when you are hungry, regardless of the time of day.

"¢ Appetite fades as the day goes on, so eat a balanced and nourishing breakfast followed by frequent, protein rich snacks and meals.

"¢ Whole grains can help offset peaks and valleys of energy. Whole grain foods that release energy over time will ensure that you have energy between meals and snacks.

"¢ Increase calories and protein. Focus on preparing lean meats, fish, poultry, whole grains, legumes, dairy, cheese, soy products and mushrooms.

"¢ Snacks that are rich in protein are important as they help your body maintain its lean muscle mass, which in turn allows you to support your metabolism.

"¢ Applesauce, bananas, oatmeal, cream of wheat, jello, nuts, peanut butter and cottage cheese are excellent examples of quick snacks that are easy to prepare and travel well.

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