Wednesday, June 03, 2009

taking care of my body in 2009: part 6 (or you have to be ready)

First of all, let's review the goals I set for myself last month:

1-Walk VIGOROUSLY for an average of one hour, five times per week (300 minutes a week).

This is a good place to start, since I did well, accomplishing this goal and exceeding it. Next month, I may think about doing something to ratchet up the intensity.

For now, I am also riding my bike around town. As a result, I have a sore rear end. I am sure this will get better.

2- Do either 10 minutes (at least) of strength training or yoga with the Wii Fit or abdominal exercises every day (chemo recovery days excluded).

I did this only 4 times. I also hurt my back this month, pulling my suitcase down from a shelf on the train. I was in a hurry and not paying attention. It was a bit of a wake-up call about the need to improve my core strength.

To that end, I saw my physiotherapist again on Monday. She surprised me by saying that, when it comes to my back, the stiffness in my hips is a bigger problem (she actually said, only half-joking that she is surprised that I can walk). She said it she hasn't seen anyone as stiff as I am in a long time.

So, I now have some stretches that I need to do regularly in addition to the core strengthening.

3-Go to yoga once every week.

I didn't go at all in May. And despite the fact that my physio says that she sees "a lot of yoga in my future" I think that I may not go again until the fall.

It's becoming harder to find a class I can attend regularly (and this will only get worse over the summer, with fewer classes and the kids around more). And I don't really want to go back to the class I have attended the most regularly (the timing is good but the teacher, always more impatient than most, actually yelled and swatted another student the last time we went. It was a bit of a turnoff).

Besides, I feel that I have a lot on my fitness plate right now.

4- Take my vitamin D and calcium supplements daily.

I didn't do this in May either but I am 2 for 3 in June. And going to take them with lunch, I promise.

Now for the big change. I have decided to start doing the Weight Watchers thing again. It's a program that has worked for me before (I lost almost 50 lbs after D. was born) and I feel ready to do it again.

I know I said this last year but this time I have a support group, comprised of two good friends who also would like to get down to their pre-breast cancer diagnosis weight. For four weeks now, we have been weighing in every Monday. They are both doing WW and I have just been reporting on exercise and my quest to eat more veggies.

Then, on the weekend, I admitted to myself that I have the best success when I write everything down that I put in my mouth. And I also realized that I am ready to do this. It wouldn't have done me any good to start earlier in the year. I am ready now. And it feels like the right thing to do.

I did check with my doctor. The conversation went like this:

Me: "I am thinking of making some changes to try and take off some of the weight I have been putting on since my diagnosis..."

Dr.: "Have you considered Weight Watchers?"

So, clearly I have the green light to do this now. And I don't have the discipline to do this any other way than really slowly.

This process will also help me reach these goals:

5-Cook dinner at least once a week.

Easier to count points if I know what went into dinner. Easier to stretch those points out if I prepare lower points options for all of us.

6-Cut down on refined sugar.

I really don't want to waste points on empty calories.

7-Eat seven servings of fruit and veggies a day.

Conversely, filling up on fruit and veggies makes those points go further.

As you can see, I have all the zeal of someone on the third day of a diet. And I'm hungry.

I need to make vegetable soup today.

What goals did you set for yourself this year? How are you doing?


Christine said...

A few suggestions that you might find helpful:

You’re probably busy with family on Saturday mornings, but there is a group of bc survivors that meets in the Bushtekka parking lot every Saturday morning at 9:00 to walk. We may meet at different locations over the summer, so check the blog first at All are welcome.

BCA offers fitness and yoga classes for free to members: I went to the step class last Friday and it was a great workout. I also go every Thursday to the yoga class. Unfortunately they are wrapping up for the summer soon, but will resume in the fall.

I’m also doing the Weight Watchers thing and have managed to take off all my chemo weight and a few extra lbs too. I posted things that I’ve found helpful at A friend & I send each other an email with a list of what we eat every day.

Good luck!

Amy said...

A little tidbit of info to maybe help you curb the sugar habit...

Refined sugars are more than just "empty" calories, they actually "negative" calories. In nature, sugars naturally occur ALONG with the vitamins and minerals needed to digest them, ie. in fruit, in actual sugar cane.

When we eat refined sugars, we're eating sugars that have had all the good AND NECESSARY vitamins and minerals stripped out of them. However, our bodies still need those vit and minerals to digest said sugars and therefore have to draw them out of any reserves that our body might have.

So eating refined sugars, actually REMOVES important vitamins and minerals from our bodies. With chemo, you reserves are likely lower than most peoples.

Good luck with your goals!

laurie said...

Thanks to both of you for the great info.
Christine, I will check out your tips. The cancer centre also offers free yoga classes. They are mostly attended by staff but they are free to patients. I just don't like working out in the cancer centre. Maybe I should get over it?

Nili said...

Healthy eating and exercise are a great idea. Yoga is wonderful. But, Laurie, your body is already beautiful... I'm going to weigh in (so to speak) on this topic because it worries me: How can we get women to stop weighing themselves?!? My aunt can only eat 800 calories a day, she recently told me, if she wants to lose weight. 1000 calories a day to maintain a stable weight... She has my body (5 feet tall, petite but not skinny)... or she would have my body, if she lived life without the point system... Think how much more fun she'd have! My mother diets. My mother-in-law controls everything through food. I don't want this body preoccupation for my daughter (when she is old enough to recognize her own reflection, I want her to smile when she catches a glimpse of herself, skipping past a mirror). Our bodies are great (when they aren't sick or leaking or hurting...)... Have you read Susie Orbach's new book, Bodies? Feminist critique of our relentless desire to reshape our bodies...

laurie said...

Hi Nili- Thanks for your kind and thoughtful comment. I do bring a feminist analysis to this process (and having done Women's Studies at uni, I have read Susie Orbach and many, many others).
And I know what you mean about body image and feeling protective of your daughter - I have stories from my own childhood which I can share over coffee. And I get especially protective of pre-adolescent kids who put on weight before puberty. I know that these kids are just fine and will be perfectly healthy if we just let them be themselves.
I am sorry if my latest posts seem like a contribution to the "beauty myth." I did worry about that.
I am only trying to get down to a healthy weight not a skinny one. After Daniel was born, I lost 50lbs and kept most of it off until my cancer diagnosis. I ate and exercised and lived and felt good.
Next to exercise, the single most important thing a cancer patient can do to prevent recurrence is maintain a healthy weight.
I am at risk of type2 diabetes at my current weight (and my weight has been climbing steadily).
Herceptin puts a big strain on my heart. Eating things that are healthier will ease that strain.
I love being active, and my joints have been complaining of late. I had to stop running last fall. I don't have a big frame and I want to help it do it's work without strain so I can be increase my odds of being fit and healthy and active for a long time.
And that is a positive thing. It's not about deprivation.
But I will think about how I write about this much more and think about the message I am sending to all the beautiful girls (and boys) and women (and men). love, L. xo

Jeanne said...

Hi Laurie--I just posted something similar:

The Chubby Cancer Patient

So you're another one of us who has gained weight since your diagnosis? It's awfully common.

Good luck with the exercise. Walking is my best exercise too, along with gardening.