Treatment was over. All pain had ended. Blood work was heading back to normal human status. My oncologist felt this was the time to let me know what I could do to help prevent cancer from returning—get my BMI into the ‘normal’ range and get my waist circumference to fewer than half the inches of my height and exercise regularly. You know, as soon as possible, ok?
If you are like me, you bloated and put on weight during chemo, partly from the chemotherapy itself, partly from the comfort food diet, partly from not exercising with pre-cancer intensity if at all. I did start the whole thing plus sized. Great. How to lose all of that to get to the golden BMI of less than 25.
I did some research on effective long term weight loss and keeping it off. My husband did so as well. We both ended up finding about the ketogenic diet at about the same time and we knew two people who were starting this lifestyle: my next door neighbor (female) and a neighbor across the way (male). They said that they were losing weight and that they were feeling great in the process and NEVER hungry. They could have been on a TV commercial! Since both genders were represented, we really didn’t have any excuse not to try.
We figured that there is safety in numbers. I started doing even more research to make sure that this wasn’t going to kick start more cancer, in fact, a significant amount of research both in and outside the country suggests that cancer could have metabolic origins and is a symptom of the metabolic disorder and that ketosis could help set the metabolism right, thus reducing the possibility of cancer coming back. Potentially two benefits for the price of one.
I found a great website dietdoctor.com that talked me through the basics, there is a facebook group too. Both have been invaluable in the journey.
We started losing weight. I reached my first goal to the target BMI within a month. My next stretch goal was to be at the target BMI by my next oncology visit, this was possible, truly!
I had been on blood pressure medicine, Hydrochlorothiazide, my diastolic pressure was in the mid 90’s routinely. I went to a cardiologist prior to BC diagnosis because something wasn’t right (which turned out to be quite useful as a baseline). I returned to see if chemotherapy had damaged my heart, no damage, woohoo! My follow up cardiology visit resulted in coming off blood pressure medicine! Way to go keto!
I didn’t make the stretch goal, but I made such good progress that my blood work was returning to normal quickly and she was pleased with my progress! Way to go keto!
On October 11, 2019 I reached 24.9 staying faithful to strict keto for 6 months. In addition to weight loss, my energy has come back nicely. My chemo symptoms, word loss, memory issues, fatigue, to name a few, have gotten better and my hair is coming back thick and curly, white/gray, but thick and curly! Way to go keto!
I am still living a keto lifestyle and people ask all the time how I have been losing weight, I send them to dietdoctor.com and let them know that I have an unfair advantage—chemo is still fresh in my mind and there isn’t a cheat in the world that is worth stalling or halting my progress toward a normal BMI.
If you have been told to lose weight or if you want to mitigate the symptoms of chemo or get over the side effects of chemo, find what works for you, keto worked and continues to work for me. I am never going back, I like the way I feel too much! Just make sure that you are doing what you need to do faithfully and remember that you deserve to live your best life, that is really what you are doing this for!