Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Let's Lose Weight Together

I love French fries, potato chips, pastries, coffee in my cream, enchiladas with green chili, tacos, and you get the point.  This food is truly addictive.  According to The Extraordinary Science of Addictive Junk Food, in The New York Times Magazine, food companies know just how to grab us where we're most vulnerable—with crunchy goodness that taps into brain receptors through sugar, salt or fat.  All this makes our blood sugars spike and leads to our craving more.  And our consumption of these foods is  supported with staggering marketing efforts.

One scientist, who spent 30 years developing fast food, commented in the article, "I feel sorry for the public."

So if you have been having trouble losing weight—or if, like me, you have been gaining it—stop feeling guilty. We're working against some serious forces.  It can take a truckload of effort to fight our impulse to eat these taste-good, feel-bad treats.

But I am going to do it. Here is my plan.

I have been somewhat lax in my healthy eating habits lately.  I sort of fell off a cliff once I allowed myself unlimited access to French fries.  It was all uphill on the scale from there.  And downhill on my health.  I have gained ten pounds in two years and it is time to get back on the health train.  So, in an effort to keep me honest, I am going public with my diet.  I will publish what I eat each day, so I can motivate myself to do what is good for me.  If you want to join me, just add your notes to the comments section.  Or join me silently.

[Here's how I did the first day.]

There's a great deal of evidence that being overweight is a risk for triple-negative breast cancer.  And the only real way to lose weight is by modifying our diet and increasing our exercise.  No fads, no quick fixes, just modifying what we eat and how much we move. I will maintain my goal of four hours of exercise a week—I have been OK with that one—but I will strive to:

• Focus on a plant-based diet high in vegetables, fruits, grains, nuts, and seeds.
• Eat at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
• Reduce the amount of saturated and trans fats in my diet—these come from fried and processed food, plus meats, cheese, butter, and ice cream.  This will be difficult.

We'll see how this goes.     I'll do it for two weeks and see what progress I make.  

I hope you can join me.  I hope I can be a good model.

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Read more about diet and TNBC in my book, Surviving Triple-Negative Breast Cancer.


dmDiane said...

Pat, I was sorry to miss your presentation awhile back at the library. So I have a couple of more general breast cancer questions: 1) Is weight gain seen as a risk factor for all types of breast cancer? 2) Are the kinds of foods we eat linked directly to higher breast cancer risk, just as they are for heart disease? Thanks so much for sharing the valuable research you've gathered.

Patricia Prijatel said...

Diane: Weight loss is a factor in other breast cancers as well, but it is especially implicated in TNBC, perhaps because of insulin reactions. (I personally think the insulin connection and TNBC is big). And because there is no targeted treatment yet for TNBC, diet becomes especially important. Your second question is a little trickier—there is evidence that a diet high in fruits and vegetables can reduce the risk of TNBC, and there are studies linking fruits and vegetables, especially cruciferous veggies, to a reduced risk. But the message I take from the research is that a holistic approach is what is important— eat well overall, with a balanced diet low in fats and high in plant-based foods. Cramming with broccoli while the rest of your diet stinks really does little good. Make sense? Pat

Karen said...

Strange thing about me having TNBC is I was a vegetarian for 7 years, was at a normal weight and exercised 3 to 4 times a week. I was eating a lot of vegetables and fruits but I don't think I was getting enough protein in my diet. I never got sick either, so when I was diagnosed with TNBC it was a big shock.

Patricia Prijatel said...

Karen: SItuations like yours demonstrate how difficult it is to make generalizations about this disease. And what an important role genetics play. I hope that your healthy diet and lifestyle will help you fight the disease better, though.

Karen said...

Thank you, it has been a year and 3 months now since my lumpectomy, I had stage 2 so I was treated with 6 treatments of TAC and 32 treatments of radiation. I am in remission and doing good. I think the other bad thing is I love sweets. I am trying very hard to cut it out of my diet. By the way I really loved your book.

Patricia Prijatel said...

So glad you are doing well, Karen! Yay! I hear what you say about sweets, though. So good, but so bad for us. Our brains are just not wired for the way we live now. Seems pastries should be one of the food groups. Glad you liked the book! Hugs.

Caroline said...

Hi Pat, Just before I was diagnosed with TNBC, I wasn't feeling great and felt hypoglycemic. Sure enough, my blood work came back and it showed I was hypoglycemic and then I got my diagnosis of breast cancer shortly after. To your point, I think my hypoglycemia was an indication that things weren't right. I have very little symptoms of hypoglycemia now but I do eat much more frequently and super healthy too! I love your book too... always by my bedside table!