Weight loss: Survivor turned life around with exercise after gaining 2st for open surgery

Expert explains why enjoying exercise is important

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After Lyndsey Procter was diagnosed with stomach cancer in 2020, it forced her to gain a whopping two stone in weight before undergoing 10-hour open surgery. She is now nearly two years cancer-free and almost feeling back to normal and the 38-year-old has made a big change to her life through exercise.

Before her diagnosis – which she described as feeling like “being handed a death sentence” – Lyndsey prided herself on leading an active lifestyle, but now believes that having made exercise central to her life post-recovery, has made her stronger than ever before.

She was repeatedly told by doctors she was “too young to have cancer”, which prolonged her diagnosis and allowed it to grow uninterrupted.

Lyndsey’s life was dramatically altered when the diagnosis finally came through and it destroyed her physical abilities, as she had to re-build herself from not being able to walk from the toilet to the sink without losing her breath, to having to learn how to eat again.

She fought hard and won the battle, and Lyndsey is now enjoying a happy and healthy lifestyle – after her ordeal, it’s one she thoroughly deserves.

Speaking exclusively to Express.co.uk, she said: “Initially the thought of having to gain weight and not just a few pounds but two whole stone was a bit daunting. My surgeon had informed me after surgery I was highly likely to lose two and a half stone so anything I could gain as ‘reserves’ would be great.

“My family and friends then took it upon themselves to ‘fatten me up’ and help me as much as they could and deliver meals to my house every day.

“In one way I didn’t want to gain the weight because I wanted to do the best for my body, but in time I realised in this rare situation this was the best for my body.

“I wanted to give myself a chance, and it was reassuring to know after surgery if I was to lose the two stone I’d simply go back to my original body weight.”

But due to having chemotherapy every two weeks, it wasn’t all plain sailing: “The tumour was still there so it was a real task trying to gain that much weight,” she admitted.

With Covid also running rife, Lyndsey had to ensure she stayed on top of her fitness so she was strong enough to go through the operation itself.

“I had my dumbbells to perform short workouts and I bought a treadmill and set it up in the living room. I still had to make sure I was physically fit enough to get through the operation itself as it was a 10 hour open surgery,” she explained.

Following her surgery, she then had to go through another four cycles of “brutal” chemo, which she noted was a lot harder on her body.

But as the new year rang in, so did Lyndsey’s mindset: “I started 2021 with specific goals to get my fitness back on track. I started to use my weights again most mornings at home and if I felt up to it I would get on the treadmill in the evening before my shower,” she said.

“I lost a lot of muscle mass following all of my treatment so I really wanted to build myself up again and feel strong. I hated what cancer had put me through and I wanted my fitness, my health and my life back!”

And after joining Battle Cancer, the world’s leading functional fitness fundraising competition, she saw huge improvements in her fitness and helped her find confidence in her body again which she didn’t think would be possible after everything it had been through.

“I feel so much better right now, I almost feel back to normal. My body has adjusted really well, I’m almost two years cancer free, I attend all of my maintenance CT scans and appointments. It’s early days, but so far so good,” she beamed.

Her workouts consisted of two fitness classes per week throughout the 12-week program, which also offered her rehabilitation and support to reach her fitness goals.

She explained: “I know how to control my symptoms but sometimes things happen out of my control where I will eat the same meal I’ve had so many different times before and it’s been fine and I’ll eat the same meal again and out of nowhere your body rejects it and there’s nothing you can do about it – on the whole though I know how to manage my symptoms.

“If I go through an episode of feeling nauseous and light headed I’m the one who’s probably caused it by eating something I shouldn’t, which is normally a chocolate bar. Lovely at the time but not so great afterwards. I’m only human!”

To find out more about the Battle Cancer Program in partnership with WHOOP, please visit battlecancerprogram.com.

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