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For Immediate Release: January 24, 2012
Contact: Mya Nelson, m.nelson@aicr.org, 202-328-7744 x3047

Are You Sticking to Your Resolutions?

Experts Offer 4 Ways to Avoid Setbacks – and Lower Your Cancer Risk

WASHINGTON, DC – We're just a few weeks into the New Year, a time when many Americans start to lose steam on their new, healthy goals. But sticking to those resolutions could help lower cancer risk, according to experts at the American Institute for Cancer Research, and that's why AICR is choosing this moment to offer four tips to stay on track.

According to USA.gov, drinking less alcohol, eating healthier and losing weight top the list of New Year's Resolutions Americans make every year. Those same goals happen to be important in lowering risk for several cancers. In fact, according to an AICR report, simply by eating smart, moving more and keeping off excess weight, Americans could prevent about a third of the most common cancers – that's over 340,000 cases – every year.

"Whether you resolved to undergo a complete health overhaul or take a small step in the direction of a healthier lifestyle, you need support," says AICR Registered Dietitian Alice Bender. "Achieving New Year resolutions may depend on whether you're prepared for those inevitable obstacles along the way."

Top Tips to Overcome the Obstacles

1. Takes Too Long

New habits require a time commitment and chances are you'll not get less busy. Here's the key: start with a change that you can work in to your existing schedule. Be specific and begin gradually:

  • "I want to walk every day." Set a specific time goal like 45 minutes. Start with 10 minutes daily – or add 10 minutes to your current time – then add a little more each week.

2. Becoming Bored

The problem here is the goal, not you. How to solve? Think practical and (as much as possible) enjoyable.

  • "I want to eat more vegetables." Think healthy convenience: purchase pre-chopped vegetables, stir-fry meat strips and frozen brown rice. Stir-fry the meat; add plenty of veggies with a little broth. While that steams, microwave the rice. Season to taste – a tasty, veggie-filled meal. Bonus: ready in 15 minutes.

3. Vices and Vacations

Routine is key to starting and maintaining new habits, so interruptions to your usual schedule can be resolution-killers. Plan for these interruptions and have a strategy to ease back into your routine and your specific goal:

  • "I was on vacation for 10 days and haven't been back to the gym." Plan for some support like a scheduled training session at the gym or ask a friend to go with you.

4. Exaggerated Expectations

Sustainable weight loss is gradual and slower than we'd like, but you should see a few pounds loss within 6-8 weeks. The most import actions for success? Setting appropriate and realistic goals and select strategies that you can follow:

  • "I will change my after dinner snack from chips to a piece of fruit." For weight loss goals, break it down to specific changes that you can make over weeks and months. You might substitute lower calorie foods at some meals and snacks, or change habits that lead to overeating such as eating in front of the TV.

Find more information and strategies in Moving More for Cancer Prevention, Eating Smart for Cancer Prevention and Staying Lean for Cancer Prevention.

 

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The American Institute for Cancer Research (AICR) is the cancer charity that fosters research on the relationship of nutrition, physical activity and weight management to cancer risk, interprets the scientific literature and educates the public about the results. It has contributed more than $95 million for innovative research conducted at universities, hospitals and research centers across the country. AICR has published two landmark reports that interpret the accumulated research in the field, and is committed to a process of continuous review. AICR also provides a wide range of educational programs to help millions of Americans learn to make dietary changes for lower cancer risk. Its award-winning New American Plate program is presented in brochures, seminars and on its website, www.aicr.org. AICR is a member of the World Cancer Research Fund International.

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