OK, so you know losing weight can improve your chances of fighting cancer, but how can you focus on weight loss when you’re fighting for your life after a cancer diagnosis? Ask friends to help. Research (New England Journal of Medicine, July 2007) shows that we lose weight more effectively if we belong to a social network in which others are also losing. So, when friends and family ask what they can do for you, give them an option that helps their health as well. Work together to change your diet and increase your physical activity.
• Make a formal diet and exercise plan and publicize it. Going public makes it harder to fall off the wagon.
• Don’t diet—change the way you eat. This is not a short-term goal, but a long-term change. And your family will benefit from a healthier diet as well—you will be helping them reduce their cancer risk.
• Have healthy potlucks. Show off your low-calorie, low-fat, low-cholesterol recipes and show one another that you can still enjoy food together.
• Pool your money to hire a dietician. Most cancer clinics have access to these professionals.
• Have fun—get a dance video game, round up the kids and boogie the pounds away.