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Healthy Weight Loss

One of the most popular resolutions is to shed those extra pounds. If you’re considering following one of the many fad diets to help you along – stop! Chances are, after a few weeks, you’ll find yourself discouraged and possibly even less healthy. These tips can help you lose weight the healthy way while also incorporating lifesyle changes to lower your cancer risk.

cancer risk factors

The Weight-Cancer Link

AICR's expert report and its updates found a strong link between excess body fat and increased cancer risk. By sticking to your weight loss goals you can lower you risk for cancers of the esophagus, pancreas, colon and rectum, endometrium, kidney, postmenopausal breast, and gallbladder.


Tip 1: Fill Your Plate with Plant Foods

Fruits, vegetables, beans and whole grains are high in vitamins, minerals and fiber to keep you healthy and feeling full. They're also low in calories so filling up on these can help curb your appetite while you're watching your weight. Research has found that a plant-based diet may reduce your risk of cancer.

TRY IT: The New American Plate


Tip 2: Pay Attention to Portion Size

Portion sizes have gradually gotten larger in America. One study found that some food portions were 2 - 8 times larger than the standard serving size. Use the nutrition label on processed foods to see how many calories you're really getting. For produce, meat and cheese, the USDA provides standard serving sizes like these pictured.

TRY IT: Serving Size Finder

walking couple

Tip 3: Move More

Regular physical activity can help lower blood pressure, control cholesterol and improve immune function. It's also a key component when trying to lose weight. The more calories you burn throughout the day, the better positioned you are to lose weight. On top of that, research has shown that just 30 minutes of fitness a day is enough to lower cancer risk.

TRY IT: Calorie-Burning Activities

cola pouring

Tip 4: Limit Soda and Alcohol

Sugary soda and alcohol both add extra calories without beneficial nutrients. A recent study found that Americans consume almost 200 calories in sugary beverages each day! Cut your sugary drinks in half and you can easily eliminate 100 calories. Plus, alcohol by itself is linked to increased risk for cancers of the breast, mouth, pharynx, larynx and colorectum.

TRY IT: Substitute a Sparkling Punch

whole grain

Tip 5: Get Your (Whole) Grains

Whole grains are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals and hundreds of natural plant compounds, called phytochemicals, which protect cells from the types of damage that may lead to cancer. Some studies suggest that substituting whole for refined grains may help reduce waist size. Research points to specific substances in whole grains that have been linked to lower cancer risk, including antioxidants, phenols, lignans and saponins.

TRY IT: Make It a Whole Grain


Tip 6: Snack Smart

Americans are eating more snacks today – we get about 580 calories per day from between meal eating. Snacks are meant to supplement regular meals, not replace them, so it is important to keep portion sizes small. Serve your snack on a plate or in a bowl instead of eating right from the package.

TRY IT: Convenient Snack Foods


Tip 7: Spice It Up

Fresh herbs and spices can give your meals a flavor kick without extra calories. Herbs and spices may also fight inflammation, which is related to cancer development. They're also a great substitute for salt in meals -- important for preventing high blood pressure and stomach cancer.

TRY IT: Guide to Herbs and Spices

salad dressings

Tip 8: Savvy Salads

Dress your healthy greens with homemade dressings. They're an easy, inexpensive alternative to store-bought varieties, which often pack a lot of calories and sodium.

TRY IT: Dressing Recipes


Tip 9: Stay Strong

Muscle burns four times as many calories as fat. Working strength training into your weekly fitness routine can help you build muscle and burn calories.

TRY IT: Resistance Band Exercises

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Ann Wrenshall Worley

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