Wednesday, March 04, 2009

taking care of my body in 2009: part 3

My one New Year's resolution this year was to start "
treating my body as well as I've been treating my mind." However, I decided that the best way to go about making these changes stick was by taking very small steps.

You can read my review of January here.

Here's how I did with February's goals:

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

I fell short by almost 300 minutes (or almost a week's worth of walking) this month. However, given the fact that I got the flu after chemo and that I travelled and attended a conference, I am not being too hard on myself.

I am also mightily impressed that I took breaks from the conference to walk (doing loops around the little track in the back of my hotel) on the non-travel days that I was in Texas. My walks have also become more vigorous and I miss them on the days I don't get out.

One of the things I learned last week end is that the body of evidence that exercise helps prevent the recurrence of cancer continues to grow. And studies show that all you need (in terms of cancer prevention) is 180 minutes a week. I am doing that, easily.

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

I am struggling with this one but continue to work at it.

Another thing I learned at the breast cancer conference is that the consumption of fruit and vegetables does not seem to be as effective in terms of cancer prevention as scientists first thought. However, they do help prevent heart disease and with weight control (and there is a link between obesity and cancer prevention).

3-Cook dinner at least once a week.

I am doing pretty well in this area. I am also pleased to find that cooking is becoming more intuitive and that I don't always have to rely on cookbooks to figure out what can work.

I would like to cook more vegetarian dishes that my kids will eat, though.

4-Go to yoga once every week.

I went twice in four weeks. One week I had the flu and then, this past Monday, I was just too exhausted after attending an intense conference all week end and then arriving home after 1:00 in the morning.

This month, I'll aim for four times, which will mean making up for the classes I miss when we're in Florida (we are going to visit my in-laws in Sarasota).

5-Cut down on refined sugar.

I caved a few times (less than a dozen) and generally, only when the treat was really worth it. And when I was really hungry in the airport, I ate two oatmeal rains cookies. I do feel better when I don't eat sugar so I am going to keep working on this one.

4- Take my vitamin D and calcium supplements daily.

I remembered to do this about half the time.

I think I need to keep my goals very modest this month, in order to entrench the steps I have already taken. Our vacation, while therapeutic in other ways (if the kids don't drive each other and us crazy on the drive), will not be conducive to entrenching new habits. This month, I pledge to:

1. 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'll start this one on Saturday.

And if I can get enough fruit and veggies and keep the junk food in the car to a minimum I will be happy.

While on the subject of nutrition, the Rowan Chlebowski, the oncologist who spoke about diet and nutrition at the conference said that the relationship between alcohol and breast cancer is a controversial one. And there seems to be no link at all between moderate alcohol consumption and recurrence. So I needn't worry about the occasional glass of wine.

Alcohol is, on the other hand, a source of empty calories and it increases the appetite. I generally try to save the booze for weekends and special occasions (which are admittedly fairly broadly defined) but with a vacation on the horizon, I think that in April I will look at cutting back in this area.


Anonymous said...

At least if it's sunny in Florida you won't have to take the vit D supplements.... (the sun will do it all for you). For all the rst: good for you. I'll try and think of some good vegatarian dishes; since my daughter decided she doesn't want to eat animals I'm getting more and more experienced.

Mom2Amara said...

Again, I will say that 7 servings is a LOT! I have a hard time with the three servings I strive for!

But I will help push you towards yoga more. I have been wanting to practice to yoga more regularly but it hasn't happened...

Anonymous said...

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The main author Richard BĂ©liveau works hard to make current scientific knowledge about cancer understandable, relevant, pragmatic and practical.

The cookbook in particular can be a great resource when friends and family members ask how to help. A copy of a shopping list or even a favourite recipe with a request that it be prepared for someone is an educational opportunity and a learning experience.

I have given a few of those books to friends who are living with cancer. I use the books as a reminder for myself; my sister died of ovarian cancer 10 years ago and my mother of leukemia, 7.