Week Two Is Through, Weight Loss Tips for Cancer Patients (really? yes!) and the 5-to-1 Rule with Bob and Brad!

Well, hello everyone! Week Two of radiation therapy is through, and by the time you read this, I’ll be halfway through Week Three!

It may seem counterintuitive to talk about losing weight being a positive thing when you’ve got cancer. However, as many fellow breast cancer patients can testify, there definitely are some people who gain too much weight rather than lose too much weight. The reasons for that, to the best of my deduction, are as follows.

One: when you get the diagnosis, your first instinct, if you’re already struggling with weight issues, is to pile on the comfort food. Reasoning: “I’m going to die anyway, so I might as well have those Ho hos now!”

Two: inactivity. While you’re waiting more or less patiently for all those nice folks in your various doctors’ offices to call you back, schedule your surgery, schedule your various treatments, etc. ad infinitum, you may tend to just “go to ground.” Reasoning: “I’m going to die anyway, so I may as well catch up on all those shows in my Hulu and Netflix queue!”

Three: medications. This one isn’t something that applies to me (yet!). However, it may apply to others who are doing some form of chemotherapy in addition to surgery and radiation treatments. Some of the medications you may be taking list weight gain as one of the possible side effects.

Take heart, though! There are some things you can do to make it easier to, if not lose weight, at least maintain the weight you start out with. One great thing to try is just doing a walk every day. It’s a habit that’s good to get into. And if you’re like me and you have several weeks of radiation treatment scheduled, 5 days a week for however many weeks, why not make it a rule that every time you finish a radiation treatment, you immediately go out and do a short walk? (Well, maybe not “immediately” – be sure to take the hospital gown off!).

Now I know I preach a lot of stuff that I should actually practice, but in this case, I’m actually doing that. The first week it was hard to do that because my appointments were scheduled at like 5:30 or 5:45, so obviously that’s a very difficult time to do a walk in a park somewhere! However, now that my appointments are mostly in the mornings, it’s much easier. it’s just a matter of deciding that you’re going to do it, and then doing it!

And here’s the thing: you get to set all the rules for how the walk should go. In my case, my rule is as follows: One: park in a safe place. Two: get out of the car. Three: walk for 30 minutes. That’s it!

Also, I give myself permission, especially the first few times when I’m still getting used to the movement and my muscles are aching, to stop every few minutes and just look at the scenery around me before I continue. In other words, I’m focusing on the time, 30 minutes, rather than the distance.  The main thing is to just get outside and move in approximately a forward position in a loop trail of some sort for 30 minutes. And I get to determine the loop!

Now, the 5 to 1 thing that I mentioned also sounds like a good way to look for healthier stuff at the grocery store. And I really love these guys, Bob and Brad, physical therapists, on YouTube! So rather than try to explain it myself, I’m just gonna post their video and let you enjoy it.

That’s it– all my great advice for the week! I’ll see you in a week from now when it’ll be– let’s see—”Week Three and I’m Almost Free!” How’s that? Well, I’ll come up with something appropriate by then! Have a great week, if possible!

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