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Because it’s SO personal. Such a delicate topic.
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Yet the health professional in me KNOWS that a huge percentage of women who’ve survived cancer are overlooking this incredibly vital piece in making sure they never have to face cancer again.
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Can I whisper it to you, without judgment? Ok.  It’s… weight. What a loaded topic for women. From pigtails, we are shamed for our bodies no matter their size or shape.
I would be remiss if, as a cancer survivor myself, AND a Dietitian supporting other cancer survivors, I did not talk about this.
I grew up watching my beautiful Mum struggle with over-eating and obesity her whole life.  I vividly recall her standing there, at the kitchen bench, her spoon hovering over the tub of ice cream, eating down layer upon layer while it melted beneath her.
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And then later, in my own attempt to not put on weight, I battled bulimia in my late teens / early twenties. So I had a fear of putting on weight BUT I had also learned to ‘eat’ my emotions.
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And to this day I am still untangling a few emotional tentacles!
Do you sometimes wonder why you can’t stop eating or drinking certain foods that you KNOW you should be limiting or avoiding?
It’s confusing because there are so many reasons why we choose to eat the foods that we do. Some we know about all too well, and others, we just aren’t as informed about.
The chemicals in some foods are DESIGNED to be addictive (dairy, sugar, alcohol, chocolate).
We are often “trained,” as I was, watching my mother with that melting ice cream, to become emotional eaters – we eat to fill an emotional need that we may not even be aware of.
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And then the social obligations.  How hard is it to refuse to eat your mother-in-law’s homemade cake?  Ugh!  Or to tell your partner you want to try plant-based eating?  Yikes!
And sometimes it’s just such an ingrained habit that we enjoy.  Potato chips with sandwiches.  Cookies dunked in milk.  Coffee in the morning.  Wine at dinner.  Habits can be HARD to break.
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But there is hope. There are alternatives.
I hear your cries for help! It’s almost like we need to take each food and work through the list above.
Chemical Addiction?
Yes, some foods are addictive. Sugar affects the same part of the brain as drugs and alcohol. So you may need to ditch some foods altogether. However, you can find healthy alternatives, like Black Bean Brownies, so you don’t feel deprived. (They are actually reeeeally good!) Here’s the recipe.
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Habit?
You know if you’re reaching for the biscuits or chocolate bar every afternoon because it’s quick and easy! Taking the time to make some hummus and cut up carrot sticks and create a new habit may be all you need to do. But be aware of decision fatigue. By the end of the day when we’re tired, it’s harder to make healthy decisions – so have the food that you want to eat prepared in advance.
Social Obligation?
I get it! With some groups of people, the way you eat is off the Richter scale compared to them. However, most people are understanding if you mention you’re “fussy” because you’ve had cancer. Other times it might be easier to just go ahead and have a sliver of your mother-in-law’s home-made cake.
Emotional Eating?
This one is where you may need to spend some time digging around to find out why you’re eating or drinking in a particular way.
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Do you feel like you are:
  • Avoiding
  • Suppressing
  • Anesthetizing or
  • Stuffing down emotions?
When we work out what drives us to eat foods we don’t want to, then we can develop specific strategies to untangle ourselves from their invisible tentacles.
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Rather than white-knuckling it (which is what we do when we diet) we can find a place where we happily choose to not eat certain foods and make eating healthy foods a lifestyle.
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I would encourage you to just start by observing yourself without any judgment.  Be interested in why you are reaching for a glass of wine or another row of chocolate.
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Journal if you find this helpful.
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However, many people find they need help to identify ‘why’. Please reach out if you would like some help in uncovering your ‘why’ so you can leave behind the roller-coaster of on/off dieting and make your healthy eating a lifestyle.
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If this topic interests you, you might enjoy following me on Facebook or if you feel like you are ready for a little more hand-holding with finding foods that support staying healthy and feeling great, you can book in an obligation-free chat right here. 

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