Tamoxifen and Arimidex

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  • January 2010 I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. On the day I was diagnosed I was already 2kg over my preferred weight. Now after a year on Tamoxifen and two years on Arimidex I am 9kg over my preferred weight. I have been told that I will have to remain on the Arimidex for a further 2 years.

    My Consultant and my Macmillan Nurse have told me that weight gain and being unable to loose weight are all recognised side effects of both Tamoxifen and Arimidx but I cannot face the prospect of getting any heavier.

    In the past year I have manage to loose the odd kilogram by being really careful what I eat but pile it back on as soon as I stop being careful. I do as much exercise as I can with a minimum of two Zumba sessions plus swimming and gym sessions every week.

    So, my question is, has anyone experience of following this diet whilst taking Arimidex?

    Many thanks for reading this.

    So sorry to hear about your cancer. My stepmother was found to have a very tiny lump at a routine mammogram and has since been through a lumpectomy and chemo because it was such an aggressive cancer. I don’t know what her medication is at the moment (just completed her chemo) but I do know that she is still doing 5:2 (started before diagnosis purely for health reasons – she’s very slim) and is a doctor so has read extensively around the subject. I’ll be seeing her on Tuesday so if there is anything valuable to relate I will come back to you.


    I was diagnosed with early breast cancer last year and I am currently taking tamoxifen. I’ve only gained about a kilo since starting the medication 6 months ago but I am now about 4kg overweight in total and I am finding it very hard to lose any despite being careful about my diet, exercising regularly and giving up alcohol(except for very special occasions). I have just read the book and I am keen to try this diet. I will let you know how I go. I would be interested to hear whether you are trying it too and whether it is working for you on arimidex.

    Well, after my first post on July 7th when I weighed in at 69.4kg and after following the diet ever since, I can report that today I weigh 64.7kg!

    That’s a loss of 4.7kg in just over 9 weeks or about 1/2kg a week. It is a slow steady loss but I am very pleased. I have lost over 3″ from my waist and have been able to wear clothes that I haven’t worn for a couple of years.

    I am seeing my oncologist for my regular check up in December. By then my goal is to get down to 62.9kg, which was my weight on the day I was diagnosed.

    My husband has kept me company on the diet, fasting on the same days I do and has seen his weight drop too. I’m not sure how much he has lost but he has had to buy a new belt; the old one was too loose!

    Good luck to anyone else trying this diet whilst also taking Tamoxifen and Arimidex, I hope you experience the same success that I have.

    Hows the weight loss going now ? This is very interesting to me as I am 18 months in of 5yrs to take Arimidex for breast cancer. I am desperate to lose the 8-10 kgs I put on during my treatment; Your results on the 5:2 diet have given me new hope as I just cant shift it.
    Do you feel at all tired on the diet ?
    Thanks Sue

    Hi suzie

    Sorry I didn’t see your post until today.

    The weight is still coming off, although very slowly. Yesterday I weighed in at 63.3kgs so I have lost just over 6kgs so far. My body fat percentage has also dropped by 2.6% and my BMI from 27.5 to 25.4. I am very pleased!

    As to feeling tired, not especially since I have been on the diet but then I was suffering with chronic fatigue following all the treatment I had received. A clinical psychologist told me last week that after all the treatment one goes through, particularly chemotherapy, it can take up to and more than 2 years for your body to recover and this manifests itself in chronic fatigue.

    So, if you are feeling tired maybe that is the reason and not the diet? The advice he gave me is to treat yourself as you would a dear friend. Tell yourself to rest when you need to, pamper yourself and don’t push yourself to over do things. This is your time to recover.

    Do let me know how you get on losing the weight, if that is what you decide to do. May you have as much success as I am with it.

    Thinking of you
    Best wishes

    Ps I wonder how Jandy 23 is getting on with the diet?

    When I started his thread I said my aim was to reduce my weight from 69.4kg to 62.9kg, (which was my weight on the day I was diagnosed with my Breast Cancer), by the time I saw my Oncologist for my routine check up.

    Well, I saw my Oncologist on Monday of this week, December 16 and I can report that, when I weighed myself the day before, the result was as follows

    weight 62.1kg
    Body fat 38.5%
    BMI 24.9
    Waist 75cm (29 5/8″)
    Neck 33cm (13 1/8″)

    So since 7 July I have lost, 7.3kg. My body fat has reduced by 3.2. My BMI has dropped by 2.6 and is now within normal limits for my height. I have lost 5 3/8″ from my waist and 3/4″ from my neck. My waist size is now correct for my height.

    I am very proud of myself and my Oncologist says I should be.

    If there is anyone else out there taking Arimidex and who wishes to loose weight, I would advise them to discuss it with their doctor and with their approval to give it a go. Hopefully it will work for you too.

    Now Christmas is upon us and I don’t feel inclined to watch my weight over the festive season, life is too short. So, I will be eating anything and everything that I fancy. I am sure I will put some of the weight that I lost back on but the New Year will see myself setting a new goal of getting my weight down to 60kg.

    Happy Christmas to one and all but especially those who, like me, are thriving with cancer.

    This is great news, Poet! What a fantastic Christmas present to yourself!

    Did you follow the 5:2 way of life? Can you give us a bit more information about how you did the diet?

    Congratulations and Merry Christmas!

    Well done Poet!
    I was on Tamoxifen for 5 years and finished about 18 months ago. I probably had put on about 18lbs in that time and despite online WW and calorie counting it hung about (literally).
    The only side effect I get now from Tamoxifen is ‘tropical moments’ at night which is okay.


    I’ve been on Tamoxifen for almost 2 years having been treated for BC in Jan 2012. I was a little overweight at the time, but two ops later, infections, rads and tamoxifen my weight increased to 88kg. I’ve started the 2/5 diet but the weight loss was so slow. I’ve upped my exercise as much as I can manage at the moment. I really want to lose this weight especially as I’m planning on doing a trek in June to raise money for BC Campaign. Any tips would be most welcome!

    Well done poet – thats great news. I will start again probably after the weekend – or maybe before. I also saw my oncologist just before xmas for my yearly check-up & he said the Arimidex was probably the reason I cant lose the extra weight & did I want to see a dietician. I think perserverance on the 5:2 is the preferable way to go. At least altough Im not losing it like I want – Im not putting it on with the 5:2 so that must be worth it.
    All the best for 2014 to everyone & keep posting with progress
    Sue x

    Hi Poet, I was interested to hear your story and well done for sticking to the eating plan. I was on tamoxifen and then Armidex for 5 years and put on some weight during this time. I was also told that the weight gain was due to the medication and that it would be easier to lose after I had stopped the Arimidex. In my experience this is not the case! As your body is still in post menopausal state nothing changes when the meds stop. I have found it hard to lose weigh but have been able to maintain a reasonably steady, it not ideal, weight through lots of exercise and a reasonably healthy diet. I am just about to start the 5:2 in the hope that I will shed those stubborn pounds so it was good to hear your success.

    Good luck and good health to you all.


    Hi new correspondent with a few general queries please bear with me.
    I am recovering from BC last year and now on AI’s(aromatase inhibitors) have recently undertaken a vlcd – as weight management/loss has become problem, now have just 9lbs to BMI25. think this may suit as a lifestyle change and way to manage loss and management.
    Are there any others with similar experiences and are there any indicator that this should not be embarked upon at this time

    hello fellow BC survivors, I am new to 5/2…. one week in with a 3 lb. loss. Yipee!
    I am 5’6” and weight had snuck up to 184, now 181, and want to get back into a pre-menopausal 150 which just gets me out of the ‘overweight’ category. I like to walk the dog, bike, kayak, and cross country ski in winter.
    Thank you poet for starting this thread. I too have been wondering why oh why it is now such a struggle to drop weight. It crept up some with menopause a few years ago and especially with inactivity this past winter as I did chemo first last fall [after the surgeon delicately said it was a large tumour in a smaller breast] and now on Letrozole — a different aromatase inhibitor –to shrink it further pre surgery. At first I thought only side effects were of the hot flash variety [Menopause 2] but the weight has crept up steadily these past 3 months, and despite making an effort it has not budged til now. It seems I have more cravings for carbs too….
    Hmph I can’t see why better attention to diet [this is not extreme] would be problematic, esp if the calorie choices are of the healthier type. cheers to all

    Question for tamoxifen takers: did you only do 5:2 or did anyone do 4:3? I just completed week 1 and I really like it! I’m just frustrated with the weight not going away. Now to give it some time…..


    5:2 didn’t work for me; just tooo hungry on the 2s and then ate like a pig on the 5s. 14:10 works though. It’s very natural for me not to eat until 10am. I find I don’t get hungry until I start eating. Also, I only eat three times a day, which means I get to eat bigger meals than if I had morning and afternoon tea, and that also means my insulin gets a chance to taper off before the next meal. I don’t get very hungry in between. My husband asked me this morning how I’m losing weight without being grumpy and I think those two things are key, along with eating lots of protein, and not much carbs.

    My weight loss isn’t spectacular, I’ve gone from 58.6 to 55.6 in a bit under 3 months (Christmas didn’t help). You can read about my “journey” at

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