Exercise, the gym and treatment? Recovered from an ED but worried the lack of exercise and weight gain might set me back into old habits

  • 27 replies
  • 28 subscribers


I'm due to start chemo on 8th January after being diagnosed on 1st December. 

Pre-diagnosis I was an avid gym-goer. I had a PT and  I'd work out 5 days per week, mostly weight training and some cardio/strength based classes.  I eat a really clean Mediterranean diet  The gym has been my life for 22 years (I'm 42). 

I've not been to the gym in over 1 months due to breast pain and fatigue.  My nurse has advised me not to go to gyms as my immune system is low and I'll have zero immune system when I start chemo.  I'm now really struggling from not going to the gym.  It's affecting my physically and mentally and I've not even started  treatment yet.

My chemo nurse told me that I'll gain weight from the steroids in a very matter of fact way .   I'm in recovery from previous eating disorder and the nurse telling me that I'll gain weight and I can't go to the gym has really triggered something in me.  I'm trying hard to not let it trigger me but I'm really struggling with this.  I can cope with hair loss, mastectomy, sickness,  side affects, but being told I'll gain weight and can't exercise has been the thing that has  affected me.  I know this sounds fickle,  the treatment will save my life.  But I'm struggling with this, probably due to my ED history.

Has anyone experienced this or does anyone have any advice about how to deal with potential weight gain/ lack of exercise?

Has anyone found any types of exercise that they've been able to do building up to and whilst going through chemo?  Or any advice for avoiding weight gain during this time please?  

  • Hello, hoper you're keeping well.
    I have been recently diagnosed and had surgery for a brain tumour grade 2. Whilst also recovering from an ED. I feel everything you're saying so much and im only 33. Im healthy and well and a very active person. Im so scared. Like yourself I can take the surgery, I learn to balance and walk again, but the idea of no exercise and weight gain is just too much. I cant. And then they keep pushing back my oncology appts which I know is a good thing in a way, but then if I don't have chemo/radio im scared I'll ell wishes xjust keep gaining weight for nothing.

    Well wishes x

  • I don't know if you can get a referral to a dietician esp with past difficulties and they can help with a meal plan or a PT specialising in women post op or with cancer? Everyone says my body needs nourished but im still struggling that its let me down so much too

  •    thank you so much for your reply.

    I'm sorry that you're having to go through this and hope that your surgery recovery is going well.

    Thank you for sharing your experience of this. I'm already feeling the changes in my body and as much as I'm trying to change my mindset to see food as fuelling the good cells so they can fight the cancer, 6 weeks of no gym is starting to show in my mental health and body. 

    Thank you for suggesting the dietician/PT.  I'll ask my nurse about that.

    Sending you lots of positive energy Sparkles️  

  • Im glad you have reached out!

    I think the lack of exercise and lack of control over everything has been so much worse for me than everything else im going through regards diagnosis, surgery, rehab. My mental health is not great. 

    I can feel the changes on my body too and im trying to convince myself its a good and much needed thing but I can understand how tough and difficult it is!

    Def reach out for some help if thats to your specialist nurse, mm nurse or gp, anyone who can help xx

  • Yeah I completely can relate to all of that. 

    Tonight I think I started to realise I can't just go to the gym.  Usually of I'm feeling down ill gp to the gym.  That outlet/coping mechanism is now gone.  It's definitely like you said, the lack of control is difficult. 

    I keep telling myself it's only short term etc.  But it's still difficult isn't it.

    I think that tomorrow I'll research online exercise I can do at home like yoga or pilates. And I'll deffo speak to my nurse about that   thank you for your suggestions, I really appreciate your response xx 

  • A friend sent me this link that she's used to book yoga- https://vickyfox-yoga.com and ive found a youtube video from her - https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=xSViEEOSFDk

    plus she sent a link to the future dreams website - ive used evening meditation class and benefited with sleep so there's yoga on there too and pilates and physio - https://futuredreams.org.uk/momence-exercise-schedule/

    I stumbled upon thos too with videos ond yoga, nordic walking, tai chi etc - https://www.breastcancerhaven.org.uk/self-help-films-and-audio/

    Just in case something in there is of help. Was hoping to start a regime but I have another op to face to remove lymph nodes so it will be another 4-6 weeks depending on my recovery before I can set up someting solid up. Im walking every day, going with poles for the next week to mimic the nordic walking

    Ninsim Heart

  • Hi   have you been told what dose of steroid you’ll be on? During my chemo I only took them for 5 days after & my chemo was every 2 weeks. I didn’t really gain weight and cos I didn’t feel unwell with the chemo, I was able to keep active. I did give up the gym but I did classes at home. Don’t know if you’ve heard of Les Mills but all their classes are available through their app which I pay £30 every 3 months. You can stream onto the tv too! I asked my gym to pause my membership whilst I was having treatment.

  •   thank you for those links,  they'll be really helpful.   I'll have a look Blush

    That's really good that you're walking every day.  I'm going to try to do that too. Starting with a walk around a local park this afternoon.

      I'll be on dexamethasone.  I'll have to take 4 tablets twice a day the day before chemo, day of chemo and day after chemo.  I'll be having 6 rounds of chemo over a 3 week cycle so I'll do that with thr steroids 6 times.

    Ohhh I do know Les Mills!  It's Les Mills classes I do at my gym.  I didn't know they did online classes?  That's fantastic,  thank you.  That's made my day!   My gym wouldn't pause my membership foBlushlonger than 3 months unfortunately so I had to cancel.  But I'll definitely sign up to Les Mills online. Thank you for suggesting that.  Blush

  • Hi   hopefully as you’re only having the dexa for 3 days each time it won’t affect you too much. I had to take it daily when I had a brain tumour and I gained loads of weight then but not during my BC chemo.

    oh I’m glad you like Les mills, it’s the best app and has so many classes on there for different lengths as well. I’ve got the app on my tv but the app on your phone will cast as well. Hope you enjoy it! 

  •   only realised now I was replying to your question - didnt look who posted! Seriously following you around this community!

    Ninsim Heart