By making a few changes in your daily routine, you can reduce your risk for developing cancer. Here are some guidelines for cancer prevention, or for getting (back) into a healthy lifestyle after cancer:
- Look at your plate. Are most of the food plat based? Try to have 75% of fruits/vegetables and grains, and 25% or less animal protein. Check the American Institute for Cancer Research www.aicr.org for the New American Plate program.
- Being fit doesn’t mean you have to run marathons. But walk, dance, cycle, garden. Move your body.
- Burn more calories than you take in if your goal is to lose weight. Even a loss of 10% of your weight can have a healthy effect on your body.
- If you want to lose weight, use common sense. Avoid diets. Don’t starve yourself. When you do skip meals, you actually train your body to hang on to it’s weight, because you’ve become an unreliable source. So your body says, “Hey, man, I’m holding on to this food, because I don’t know when this person is going to feed me again!” By focusing on healthy eating, you focus on health rather than what you can’t have, and you learn to have healthy food around rather than having to use your will power around junk at home. Focus on the pleasure of eating, rather than the fast—gulp— now back to work meal. Make the atmosphere enjoyable. Clear off the table. Light a candle. Sit down. Turn off the news. Listen to nice music, have a nice conversation or practice a silence meditation while eating.
- If you’re not in the habit of reading food labels, it’s a healthy habit to begin. Look at the serving size and how many servings are in the product. If a bag of chips lists about five chips as a serving, can you stop at five chips? I recently sat down with a bag of popcorn. Curious, and almost finished with the bag, I turned it over and noticed what I considered my personal bag of popcorn contained three servings! Another part to pay attention to on labels is the fat content. If the calories from fat are more than one-third, put it down and step away (or at least know on a conscious level the choice you’re making.) If it’s a treat, it’s not the end of the world. It’s when that “treat” happens often that a bad habit is being formed. Form a good one!
- Variety is key. Learn to cook an updated casserole, lessening the salt, or meat. Casseroles are easy to make, and you can put leftovers aside in the freezer. These are meals you can take out of the freezer in the morning, put them in the refrigerator and when you come home from work, heat them up. Add a side salad, fruit or vegetable, and maybe some rice or bread on the side.
- Watch your portions. It may help to use a smaller plate. (It’s a visual trick; we tend to fill a plate no matter what the size.)
- Go easy on sugary drinks and alcohol. They both have lots of calories. I’ve know people who cut out only wine from their daily habit, and they lost the weight they wanted. Outside of weight consciousness, keep alcohol to a maximum or one a day for women and two a day for men.
- Add some raisins or fruit to your cereal or oatmeal in the morning.
- Limit your salt intake.
- If you smoke or chew tobacco, stop.