/ by Sean O'Nan, MS, RD, LD
Written by Sean O'Nan, a registered dietitian at UK Markey Cancer Center.
Did you resolve to live a healthier lifestyle this year? One of the best ways to do this is to maintain a healthy weight.
Research shows that being overweight increases your risk for many chronic diseases, including some types of cancer. In fact, excess body weight is thought to be responsible for about 8 percent of all cancers in the United States, according to the American Cancer Society. If you have been diagnosed with cancer, being overweight can also complicate different aspects of your treatment.
In an effort to take control of your weight, follow these five tips to help you reach and manage a healthy lifestyle:
- Keep a food log.
Food logs help you keep track of the types of food you are eating as well as the amount. You can use this information to review your current dietary habits and discover areas where you can make improvements.
- Avoid fad diets.
Every few years new diet trends emerge and promise weight loss and “healthy” lifestyles. However, these diets can be unrealistic and difficult to stick to. Often, these diets are not backed by current research and may not be safe for everyone. When considering how to change your diet for the better, remember that limiting calorie intake and eating a generally well-rounded diet will promote safe weight loss for most people.
- Be a mindful eater.
It can be easy to overeat when you multitask, so try limiting outside distractions during meal and snack times. Avoid eating while watching TV as this may cause you to ignore your stomach’s “full” feeling.
- Have a support system.
Healthy lifestyle changes can start with having a good support system at home. Having your loved ones join you in making healthy diet changes or even simply provide words of encouragement can increase your chances of maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Talk with a registered dietitian.
If you are still struggling to reach a healthy weight, it may be helpful to reach out to a registered dietitian who can recommend different strategies for maintaining a healthy diet. They can also sit down with you in person and answer any questions or concerns you may be having about your weight.
The UK Markey Cancer Center has dietitians available during your visits with your oncologists who are happy to speak with you. Feel free to ask for a dietitian during your next visit or you can call 859-323-2798 to schedule an appointment.
For more information on how your body weight may affect your cancer risk, check out the American Cancer Society for additional information.
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Markey Cancer Center
UK Markey Cancer Center800 Rose St.
Lexington, KY 40536