How To Stop The Weight Gain On Tamoxifen

weightlessCreative Commons License courtesy of JonathanCohen

I have been on tamoxifen for over 4 years now. I have been successful in losing weight, but wish to re-train everyone’s thoughts on “losing pounds.” We are on a drug that wants us to gain weight, so we will not have the same results as another individual not taking the drug, so never, never compare yourself to them, never!

That is my first advice. The best “diet” is Protein, veggies, and fruit. Key point to make here is “Protein.” Eat protein with EVERY meal and EVERY snack. Do not eat a carb without having a protein with it. Protein is not only found with meats, think nuts, cheese, cottage cheese, protein powder, as example.

For your workout - have your trainer change your focus from mostly cardio to mostly strength-training. Think weight training and squats/pushups/jumping jacks, truly the basics... Also, pilates is focused on strength training. Cardio is good, but should only take up 25% of your time with strength training taking up the other 75%.

I have lost 20 lbs, and no one associates me with taking Tamoxifen anymore because I do not gain weight.

**Very important - I started this post with this - do not compare your weight loss with anyone. You need to understand that it can take up to 6 mos to lose just one pound. However, protein feeds the muscles you are creating with your strength-training efforts which naturally raises your metabolism which burns fat! The fat weight will drop (you just do not see it on the scale but you see it in dropped dress sizes!!).

** Best advice I can give as I have made the journey these past years - do not obsess about losing weight. Simply follow the above ideas, relax, eat that cupcake if you want, and continue your life habits mentioned above and you will shrink and feel strong AND replace fat with muscle removing the fuel that our cancer feeds off.

Hope this helps! Signed - your cancer sister. PS: Another key point to remember on this journey - the idea is to stop the weight gain, so even if you do not see any drops you ARE succeeding because you have not gained anymore! Once you stop the meds, the weight will pour off if you keep your workout plan active.

Originally posted at the Questions & Answers forum by Guest Cancer sister

So... what do you think? Please leave me a comment.


  • Tippy: Thanks for the advice, I’ve been gaining weight and don’t know why, maybe this is the problem .. going to ask dr about it
  • Rox: Thank you for your sound advice. I am embarking on the Tamoxifen journey tomorrow morning and I am very concern about allergic reactions mainly, have just finished the chemo and radiotherapy treatment I have put on a couple of kilos and I have a tendency to put on weight fast so I am a bit worry about gaining too much, which it should be the last of my concerns since I have survived so far chubby or not...!
    Thank you again! Your post gives me great hope!
  • Thank you I’m going to try you eating plan and exercise plan.
  • Nai: Thanks this is awesome
  • Sandy: This was TH e most logical advice I have read. Thank you!
  • TinyLady: I have some questions: How much training is required to start shedding the extra weight. I have been doing training with my personal trainer 3*1 hour/week plus 3*1hour/week cardio on the treadmill or bike for 9 months already. I was 57kg before treatment and now I am 65kg (still taking Tamoxifen) and the fatlayer on my tummy does not want to budge. I am eating sensible. What calorie intake would you recommend? Are there any foods which shall not be consumed (I heard of dairy being bad for you)? Thanks for the advice.
  • BaRBARA: Thank you i have been taking this meds for 2 weeks and feeling fatter and fatter and getting more depressed by the minute Now I know how to stop it and put it in reverse thank you thank you
  • Robyn: Thank you so much. This was great reading and great information. I have gained 25 pounds since June 2013. I would love to lose it if I can. Thank you.
  • Linda Morella: Thank you, thank you! I can attest without a doubt that my weight gain has been from Tamoxifen. I have not yet gained any real lbs, but I have rolls of fat in my midsection! I am 62 yrs old & have always maintained my body shape; i.e.,a waist- & actual "fitted" clothes-until last yr when starting Tamoxifen. Let me add that I haven’t changed my diet, & have actually increased my activity.
    Before my diagnosis. I felt terrible, had zero motivation to go out, do anything. I lost 11 lbs in a mo. My Dr started frantically sending me for tests.
    Immediately after my surgery, (lumpectomy, stage 1, with radiation, but they didn’t get all the cancer first time, although it was the size of blueberry, don’t know how they missed it, but..)
    I felt a surge of energy! That has remained constant, more or less. I couldn’t take any of the other aromatase inhibitors as I got trigger fingers & severe joint pain.
    After breast cancer it isn’t seem fair to lose one’s shape. I’d decided
    NO MORE of this fat will settle around my middle or I will stop the medicine. It’s just horribly uncomfortable. None of my clothes fit. When does the weight gain, or redistribution of it STOP? And I’m always hot, sweaty, hair & under garments wet. I’m trying Black Cohosh root/extract.
    I will follow your advise with the strength training. I’d already tried: walking, yard work, house cleaning & really do watch my diet- BUT, I see where I can improve, thanks to your post.
  • Pauline Forbes: Hi there
    Thank you so much for this. I had breast cancer two 1/2 years ago and I have gained so much weight.
    I have been judging myself and finding myself wanting because I carry weight. You have just reminded me that cancer survivors are different, and we should not compare.
    Thanks for resetting my thought process. It came at a good time as I have been hard on myself.
    Thanks so much for being so sensible. I will take on your ideas and see how it goes.
    Yours very gratefully
  • Antonia M. Stevens: Thanks for your advise. I have been taking tamoxifen for 6 years and my oncologiest wants to take it for 4 more years. I miss eating citruis fruit. I have a lemon tree and I go on a bench went they are ripe. I miss my grapefruit as well.
  • Kay Richards: Was very informing. Good to know someone has had the same trouble.
  • Sheila: thank you for this information bc in 2013 lost weight while on chemo but has come back in abundance since... Do need to get motivated will definitely try the fruit n veggies have cut out a lot breads confectionery any sweet form cakes bars crisps would not have been an over eater but did like treats at wk end☺️.. We are different from what was normal this weight gain is not by choice... Thanks again will let you know if I get a weight change in a wk.... Sheila
  • kim: Glad to get some advice. Am starting tamoxifen after a year on anastrazole,2 stone on. Am dreading putting on more weight. Thanks
  • Jalayne: Thank you for posting this information, an excellent reminder of the power of protein and strength training combo! I’ve seriously bee thinking of discontinuing tamxoifen, 2.5 yrs in. But, I’ve amped up protein in the last 6 mos and pilates, yoga
    And at my 6 month checkup, a 2 lb gain! So, there is actual proof in what you are saying, my cardio, 5 days a week is about 45 minutes, and will reduce cardio just a bit and add more to strength training.
    Again, thanks for sharing and many cancer free days ahead♡♡♡♡♡!
  • Linda: Thank you for your excellent advice. I have recently added fruit smoothies and vegetable juicing to my diet. Along with walking on a treadmill and weight resistance strength training I feel really good! I found it better not to weigh myself but go by how my clothes fit. With the addition of all the fruit and veggies all my clothes fit. I found that i actually eat less because the smoothies and juicing fill me up. I, too, have added more protein to my diet. Thanks to all of you for our mutual encouragement while on our cancer journey. We can do it!
  • Sha: Thank you. I gained alot of weight with chemo and now taking tamoxifen doesn’t really help either. I am a newby, finished my last lot of herceptin in July 2015. I talked to my oncologist and said how I noticed about putting weight on and all he said was watch what you eat and it will it take longer to loose weight when you are over 40 and that was it. I mean a real confidence boost that was. I have started going to the gym doing workouts, bodycombat, zumba, bodypump classes. It is hard trying not to compare yourself to others, but as you say we have to re-train our thoughts about the process we need to go through. Thanks again.
  • kim: Thanks for all the advice ladies. I’ve done low carbs for 4 months & am down a dress size. I think we’re all wonderful 😁
  • Krissy g: I have gained almost 15 lbs on this drug, and I am so discouraged. I read your post all the time. Gonna try again, can’t seem to loose one once. Thank you for writing this. It makes me feel good and excited whenever I read it. I can’t wait to be done this drug. 2.5 more years, (they wanted me on it for 10 years I said no, 5). Feeling down and dumpy, but glad to be alive.
  • kim: Krissy g,we are wonderful & powerful women. Weight gain is hard,but only temp. Keep positive.
  • Sandra: I’ve been on Tamoxifen for 3 and a half years now. I was 39 when I had Breast Cancer and started Tamoxifen in June 2012. I suffer horrendously with fatigue,bone pain and a 3 stone weight gain. My hair has thinned and I feel like 84, not 44.
    As I live alone,bI had no choice but to go back, full time to my job, two months after finishing my treatment. The key is exercise, but how do I find the time or energy, when I’m barely managing to maintain my full time job??
  • Dawn: Hello Molly<
    That is inspiring!
    But I have to say, I have the same mind frame as you and I do strength training and pilates and biking. I feel great afterwards and that I’m doing good for myself.
    Exercise does combat side effects and thats great...BUT....people become discouraged because of the constant bloating from "T". Can’t get rid of the bloating.
    Thank you for your encouragement :)
  • Sandy: I am finally able to count down on less than a year left on Tamoxifen. I work out daily and have been for years but still had to cut back while on Tamoxifen. Does anyone have experience losing weight once off Tamoxifen? I always had to work out fanatically to keep the weight off. I would love to see what it is like to just have it come off via finishing Tamoxifen. Is this just wishful thinking?
  • kim: Thanks for the info. Its hard to not get depressed about the weight gain,but daily reminding myself about what I’ve come through helps. Its good to know when meds stop,the weight will come
  • Gailio: Your post as lifted me so much .... thank you so much cancer sister x
  • Kathy: I have been on Tamoxifen for 1 1/2 years and have gained 15 pounds. I’m so frustrated. I have always been active, work out and eat healthy, but none of this seems to matter. My doctor says Tamoxifen doesn’t make you gain weight....yeah right! I know by reading all your posts that I am not alone. I too, will try more strength training vs cardio. I am grateful that I am in remission, but I am frustrated with my weight.
  • Rox: Hello Everyone,
    I would like to recommend to all of you watching the videos on you tube by Louise Hay, (Author of "You Can Heal Your Life") a great source of advice, meditations and understanding into the healing process and how to love yourself, IF YOU LOVE YOURSELF you will be more aware of what you eat, how you look after yourself and how to eliminate negative thoughts, it works and has helped me more than anything else on my journey with Tamoxifen, my daily protector!
    Also I advice you all to watch "The Secret of the Law of Atraction".
    Attract with your thoughts and fellings all that you desire, in all the areas of your life.
    All these extra help can keep you in your track to a healthy long, long life.
    Please do not underestimate the power of your thoughts and feelings.
    Much Love to you all.
  • kim: Hi ladies,have any of you had ‘lumps’ of either muscle or scar tissue appear in your breast? I’ve just recently found some & their painful. Been xrayed,waiting for results.we seem to do things a bit backward in the UK.😒
  • Maria from Long Island: Thank you for the advice. I have been so discouraged. I have been on tamoxifen for 5 years and I gained 30 pounds. I eat healthy and do alor of cardio. I will try what you said. I feel like there is hope of losing weight. I don’t feel lik myself. I am grateful being cancer free for 4 years and pray for the people still fighting and for the survivors like me. Thank u again I really appreciate the advice.
  • Maria from Long Island: I meant to say 4 years on Tamoxifen not 5 years
  • Jules: Hi Kim, yes I have hard bits/scar tissue and it’s so painful around the op site 21 months afterwards. 2 stone gained, chronic joint pain - fingers, feet, knees and shoulders are the worst. Over the past 2 weeks I have finally managed to lose 4 lb with diet and high intensity exercise, am praying it continues.

Add Your Own Comment:

By clicking 'Submit' you agree to the Site Terms
By entering this site you declare you are 18 or older, you read and agreed to its Terms, Rules & Privacy and you understand that your use of the site's content is made at your own risk and responsibility.
Copyright © 2006 - 2017 BC Advisor