Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Find a "Fitness Friend"

(Photo - Quick, easy, and healthy meal of stir-fried tofu and vegetables over brown rice)

Research is continuing to show that being overweight is both a risk factor for developing post-menopausal breast cancer and, even more worrisome, a risk factor for relapse and death from breast cancer. With 82% of African-American women being overweight or obese, research is urgently needed for this under-studied population to show that weight loss is possible by using a holistic approach to lifestyle changes in order to promote both long-term cancer survivorship and overall improved health outcomes.

A recently reported small pilot study called Moving Forward done in Chicago with urban African-American breast cancer survivors has demonstrated that weight loss is achievable by a multi-focused lifestyle approach using diet, exercise, and social support that is tailored to be culturally appropriate for this group of cancer survivors. It is still to be determined if and/or how much weight loss will increase the odds for long-term survival of breast cancer, but that is no reason to wait for further research before starting to take control of your health. Even small amounts of weight loss (10%) will lead to reduced risk or better control of other medical conditions that also kill breast cancer survivors, such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, for starters.

If you have made some healthy goals for 2009 and have already started to find yourself losing motivation or have not yet even started, it is not too late. Find a "fitness friend", someone who is also interested in improving their own health, someone who will make a commitment to exercising with you, someone who will enjoy sharing healthy recipes, even cooking together (try to share cooking for two families on different nights of the week or cook together in large quantities on the weekend or your days off of work so you have food to freeze or eat during the coming week), someone who will plant a small vegetable garden with you, someone who will pump you back up when you get off track. We ALL get off track sometimes, and we All benefit from supportive friends.

Ask at your cancer center or health clinic if there is a group for walking together and classes for healthy diet, nutrition, and cooking, ask if your cancer center or clinic has a Registered Dietitian who will help prioritize all of your health concerns and then coordinate all the appropriate nutrition and diet recommendations so you can be as healthy as you can possibly be. Check at the local YMCA or Wellness Community for nutrition and lifestyle classes for cancer survivors. Many of those classes are FREE for cancer survivors because of generous grants and donations.

2009 may be one month old already, but the rest of the year and your life is waiting for you to pick up the baton and get back on track. Finding a friend to join you in the pursuit of good health and a great life may lead to more than a "fitness friend". Such a friend may truly be your "friend for life"! :-)

Diana Dyer, MS, RD


Jen said...

There's a group of us who have done this for each other for many years, now. As you can see by me, we all have a long way to go. We've lost and gained... It still helps to have that support, though.

Anonymous said...

I know this comment is not related to the post, but I was unsure where to put it. FIRST, I'm excited about your CancerVictory garden blog, but was wondering if maybe you can do some items on food, nutrition, etc on a budget (what with the recession)? I know that cooking from scratch is healthier and cheaper than packaged food (I cook from scratch about 80-90% of my food), not to mention organic is better (I DO have a question regarding organic... is generic organic...like Meijer brand organic...better, the same or worse that lets say Westbrae items?) as well as with such economic doom and gloom, what items would you put in a "depression garden" (white potatoes, lettuce vs. ?) and what products would you NOT skimp on when it comes to organic (I was SHOCKED the other day when I went to buy some pure vanilla for a recipe and the store/name brand had HFCS in it...I bought the organic... not to mention all the other products that you would think are "pure" and aren't.) I do your diet religiously and will do whatever you say. Take care and God bless.


Anonymous said...

Here's an interesting blog I was directed to from another blog I read (I'm sure you already know about it)...


Take care and God bless.