7 Jun, 2020 @ 10:51
2 mins read

Costa del Sol’s Lisa Burgess offers her experience on weight-watching and how chemo can tip the scales

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MY weight has always gone up and down – much like Elizabeth Taylor except she was much more beautiful and had more husbands than me.

In my late teens, I weighed in at a hefty 15 stone. I was planning my first big fat American wedding in Los Angeles and was desperate to lose weight. I watched a motivational programme on the Oprah Winfrey Show which changed my life. It gave advice on starting your weight loss slowly by simply walking every day.

I kept at it and headed down the aisle at a more respectable 11 stone. I forged ahead with Jane Fonda videos, Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig and a sensible nutritious diet until I had whittled myself down to 8 stone. It lost me my first marriage. Instead of being invisible on Doritos aisle 4, I had metamorphosed into a decent looking broad on eye candy aisle 5.

I tell you all of this because I believe weight was a factor in my contracting cancer. When I lost my dear mum in 2014 my weight ballooned out of control. I had to hit the weight control restart button again in 2018 and repeat.

Lisa And Tv Stylist Cathy O Connor Skinny Days
SKINNY DAYS: Lisa and TV stylist Cathy O’Connor

Some people on chemo actually put on weight due to progressive anti-sickness drugs but I was determined to lose what my oncologist strictly advised. With the beautiful weather in Mijas, the breathtaking boardwalk and a communal pool at my disposal it wasn’t that difficult. I was very careful with what I ate, keeping portion sizes small but frequent and sticking to a diet of fish, vegetables, fruit and nuts. 

This brings me to what I learnt just recently as I embark yet again on a weight loss regime with one more stone to lose before my operations ahead. Don’t buy any junk food AT ALL because you will eat it and you know it is there. It is a very simple tip but I have never tried it properly, always having a hidden cache of crisps, my weakness, in the house.

I don’t weigh myself daily, it’s far healthier mentally to weigh in weekly or fortnightly. As my ‘Bridget Jones knickers’ slacken, I am on the way to my goal, albeit at snail pace. It really is mind over matter.

For those who totally despair, I really understand and I would recommend small steps towards weight loss. Take the stairs instead of a lift, park away from where you are going to lengthen your walk and force yourself to stick at it every day so it becomes your routine. Find different physical activities you enjoy such as golf, pilates, swimming (when we are allowed)  and just keep walking. Keep an eye on those portion sizes and replace your dinner plate with a side plate or small bowl so that your plate looks full. 

Vary your routine so you don’t become bored, find different walks, try a new sport. I had to adapt after my mastectomy and swap tennis for padel as my right arm is usually in freeze mode having had 25 lymph nodes and 15 tumours removed. Luckily I am a left-handed player.

We all need to make our physical and mental health a top priority. For as the American musician Steve Adler once said: “You can have all the riches and success in the world, but if you don’t have your health, you have nothing”.

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