Eating Healthy and Exercising

There is so much research about the benefits of exercising and eating healthily. So why is it so hard for us to do? I am now a firm believer that if you take care of your body, your body will take care of you. I didn’t always know or understand that though. For most of my life, I ate all kinds of junk and I fed it to my kids too. It was how I was raised and didn’t really know better. I don’t know if the junk we ate and the lack of exercise was a contributing factor, but my daughter, my mother, and I all developed cancer. My mother died from metastatic lung cancer. I have and am still living with metastatic thyroid cancer. My daughter, Crystal, was diagnosed at age 25 with Hodgkin lymphoma, which is currently in remission. Since then, I have cleaned up my diet and am encouraging my daughters to do the same.

I've begun avoiding processed foods

We all know that processed foods are not healthy for us, but they’re tasty. I craved those foods and had cabinets full of boxed or bagged junk. Processed food was created to serve a purpose. I’ve had to work for most of my life and, when you work and take care of a family, processed foods are easy. They take a short amount of time to cook and are so convenient. It’s hard to prepare healthy food in the fast-paced world we live in. Cooking whole foods takes time which we don’t always have. Most of us have a job and a family to take care of. When we get home, we want to spend time with our kids and spouse. We also want a little downtime for ourselves. Take out or quick-cook meals are fast, convenient, and so simple to prepare. But they are also very unhealthy. The food we put in our mouths is definitely something to consider, especially after a cancer diagnosis. But how can we find the time?

Finding ways to cook healthily but conveniently

I decided to commit to eating a healthy diet. To do this I’ve come up with a routine. Fridays or Saturdays are my shopping days. Once I have everything I need, I cook for the week on Sundays. This helps me to stick to my plan. When I come home and am tired, I can sit down and rest for a while because I don’t have to worry about dinner. Doing this has helped me tremendously. I have been eating a healthy, whole food diet for the past three years. Since doing this, I’ve lost 40 pounds and no longer have to take blood pressure medication. My daughter, Crystal, is also trying to eat healthier. It also helps her to feel better as well.

Adding movement back into my life

The next thing I need to focus on is exercising. I was a personal trainer before I got sick and had to stop. I haven’t gone back to that or exercising since. I do take walks - and that’s really important, but so is weight training and stretching. That is my next plan of attack. Crystal was smart. As soon as she recuperated, she went right back to getting strong with an exercise routine. She feels great and goes to the gym often and is also part of two running clubs. My plan is to follow her lead and start exercising too.

Change is hard

As all of us know that making a change is hard. Go at it step by step if necessary, but start doing something good for your body. We can try to add more vegetables to our meal or take a walk before dinner. Doing these things can only help to make us feel better. My philosophy is, if it doesn’t hurt, and might help, why not?

My next goal is including exercise in my routine - wish me luck!!

Editor's Note: Before starting a new diet or exercise routine, it is recommended to talk with your healthcare team to find out what is healthy for you.

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