Your feelings about weight loss

Weight loss can be upsetting and difficult to cope with, as it can be a visible reminder of your illness. It can also affect your body image. Body image is the picture you have in your mind of how you look (your size, shape and form), and how you feel about your body.

When you lose weight due to cancer or its treatment, you will see a different image of yourself from the one you are used to. It can be hard for some people to accept that they look different because they have lost weight. You may feel angry, anxious or sad. It is natural to feel like this and it is part of adapting to the way you see yourself. You may meet other people who have similar thoughts and feelings.

You may worry that the change in your appearance will affect relationships with a partner, family and friends. You may be anxious about what people think of you or about being rejected. Or you may feel self-conscious about eating at home or out with your family or friends.

We have more information about body image that could help with these feelings. We also have information about coping with your emotions.

Talking about how you feel

People often keep their thoughts and feelings about their bodies to themselves. But keeping your worries hidden can make them grow into something bigger, so it is important to talk to someone.

Many people find that it helps to talk to someone close to them. If you find it difficult to talk about your feelings with a partner, family or friends, you could talk to your doctor or specialist nurse. Some people also find it helpful to speak to a counsellor. Your GP or nurse can give you advice on how to contact one.

If you are close to someone who has changes in their body image, it may also take you time to adjust and accept the changes. You may need to talk about your feelings too.

Getting help with meals

You may not always feel well enough to be able to cook food for yourself or others. If you are the person who usually prepares the meals for your family, it may feel strange to let someone else take charge. Try not to feel guilty about letting someone else do the things you usually do. When you feel better, you can get back to your normal routine.

If you live on your own and need help with cooking or shopping, contact your GP, district nurse or social worker. They may be able to arrange for a home helper, meals on wheels or a local organisation to help you with cooking or shopping.

Back to Preventing weight loss

The building-up diet

If you have lost weight during cancer treatment, the building-up diet will help to give you more energy.

Shopping list

There are several types of food that can be particularly helpful in building up your diet.

Meal ideas

You can increase your energy intake by preparing your meals slightly differently. Our menus offer some suggestions.