Lifestyle changes are hard: You make the difference

Working as a dietitian specializing in weight loss for the past two years, my patients consistently report similar challenges. Lifestyle changes are hard – going from daily take out/fast food to home-cooked meals, for example, requires a dramatic change in your daily routine. Suddenly you have to not only plan out a grocery list, but you might also have to develop cooking skills and allow extra time in your day for food preparation.

One major thing I’ve leTop View Of A Pair Of Shoes With Laces Making Heart Shape On Wooarned in helping people manage their weight is that anyone can make a lifestyle change, but the motivation and commitment comes from you.

Most people are aware that maintaining a healthy body weight leads to health benefits (from reducing risk of cancer, to diabetes, to increasing life span and improving quality of life). Your doctor, a friend, or a significant other may have put pressure on you to lose weight. However, at the end of the day, the one thing that really matters is your own desire and motivation to make that change.

I like to show my patients a model called the Stages of Change Transtheoretical Model, developed by a health psychologist at the University of Rhode Island and his colleagues. This model depicts 5 stages and can be a helpful tool for anyone interested in embarking in the life-long commitment that is necessary to lose and maintain weight loss. Here are the stages: Continue reading


Friends, Family and Weight Loss: How You Can Help Me

Last week Sonja helped us with choosing apps for keeping food records – one strategy research shows is key for successful weight loss. Another crucial piece to the weight management puzzle – and making healthier choices – is being able to rely on support from family, friends and colleagues.Two Overweight Women On Diet Eating Healthy Meal In Kitchen

That’s important because getting to and staying a healthy weight is AICR’s first recommendation for cancer prevention. Too much body fat increases risk for eight cancers, including colorectal, postmenopausal breast, and endometrial cancers.

When you experience a setback in your weight loss efforts, you might think you just need more willpower or to be mentally stronger, but research shows that even with our best efforts, those around us affect our weight loss success. I saw that dynamic in action too many times in my work with college students trying to lose weight. They’d be making progress with eating less junk food or finding ways to be more active, and then time at home with family and friends could quickly seem to undo the good work.

But you can change that. You may be starting new habits this fall making positive eating or activity changes, so how can you make sure you have the support you need? Here are 3 tips to help you garner positive help from those around you: Continue reading


Report: Half of Cancer Deaths Can Be Prevented

More than half of the estimated cancer deaths projected to occur in the United States this year are related to preventable causes, states a major report on cancer research released yesterday by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Source: AACR Cancer Progress Report 2014.

Source: AACR Cancer Progress Report 2014.

AACR’s fourth Cancer Progress Report focuses on diagnosis and treatment, but a significant part of the report highlights the research in prevention, using World Cancer Research Fund and AICR findings, along with other data.

Here at AICR, we focus on how diet, foods, weight and activity link to cancer risk. With changes to those lifestyle factors, AICR estimates that approximately one of every three cancer cases are preventable.

Using data that includes vaccines, sun exposure, smoking and other facts, the AACR report says that more than 50 percent of the 585,720 cancer deaths expected to occur in the United States in 2014 will be related to preventable causes.

Knowing that so many thousands of cancers are preventable is far beyond what research knew only a few decades ago. The report also has a great quote from Theodore Roosevelt: “Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much, unless you do what’s right.”

For strategies and more information on how lifestyle factors relate to each cancer site, visit our new site on prevention.