Eating for Health Courses and Fit Prescriptions

Eating for Health Courses and Fit Prescriptions

I had my 3-month check last week - now 14 months since finishing chemotherapy. My CA125 has been rising steadily in the last 6 months and more recently there has been a dramatic rise. The last CT scans show some small increase in the tumours on the lymph nodes but I feel OK so we agreed we'd wait and watch. That suits me just fine.

I noticed a flyer on a noticeboard in the waiting room advertising courses in Eating for Health for women with Breast and Thyroid Cancer. My weight has increased recently and I'm aware of research that points to weight and fitness levels being linked to length of remission so I mentioned that I'd like an opportunity to join a group. I was told it's a trial, that it might be available to women with other cancers in time and that it was restricted to these two cancers as there had been 'more call' for this service from women with these two cancers. I pointed out that whilst there's an obvious link between thyroid cancer and weight gain there are likely to be more requests from women with breast cancer than ovarian cancer because there are just more of them than us. I must've hit the right note as my oncologist arranged for a personal appointment with the dietician and we spent a half-hour looking at diet and lifestyle. It was incredibly helpful. She gave me her course book and we went through it so I can follow the course at home. She has also organised a 'fit prescription' for me through the Physiotherapy Department. This gives me gym membership for 15 weeks at £1 per week and a personal fitness programme devised by a specialist member of staff who has medical training combined with fitness expertise.

I think a number of us have been crying out for this sort of approach from our oncology units. We've been talking recently about the value of the patient lobby. I thought I'd share this information with you just in case you feel it's something your local oncology unit should be looking into. It does make sense for our NHS trusts to help us achieve a longer and healthier remission.

Please use the example of the Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff if you want to lobby your local unit for more holistic therapy.

Good luck! xxxx

15 Replies

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  • Good idea.... love x G x :-)

  • Well done!I have put weight on since having chemotherapy and am struggling to lose it.

    I ,too,feel that people with the more common cancers have many more resources and treatments available to them and our group should not be excluded.Diet and health are closely linked whatever the illness or prognosis.

    Anne x

  • One of the things we talked about was a change in lifestyle. Since my diagnosis I have ceased to work. On working days I'd grab a piece of toast or muesli, drink plenty of liquids in the office due to many offers of tea during the day, then return home to a quick dinner such as grilled chicken breast and salad. The day included cycling to and from work and walking from meeting to meeting and running up and down stairs.

    I have a much more sedentary lifestyle at home and as cooking is one of my hobbies tend to spend some part of the afternoon making Martin something tasty for tea - often accompanied by a glass of wine. The half-hour meeting with a dietician helped put this in relief and made me realise I have to take positive steps to do some exercise, I have to balance the different groups of food better and I have to restrict my calorie intake. I've never felt the need to count calories before so it's quite an interesting venture.

    Hopefully the gym membership will help me identify what exercise I enjoy and might expose me to new classes and get me into better habits. The objective look at what I ate and drank in the 24 hours before the appointment was enlightening.

    It's a bit of a faff counting calories but the dietician mentioned a good I-Phone/Android App called My Fitness Pal. You can look up a database of foodstuffs to calculate the calories, and I've just started to work out the calories of recipes I cook and have noted these in the app and in the cook book.

    I don't think I'll ever become a fitness fanatic, run marathons, or a size 8 model - but hopefully this will help me achieve a better lifestyle and maximise whatever remission I might have.

    xxx

  • Hi Annie

    It sounds great - a personal fitness programme devised by someone who has medical expertise is what I wish I could find. I have had some really good nutritional advise from a oncological dietician.

    Wish you lots of success with your new regimes

    Monique x

  • Hi Annie! Good luck withnyour plan. it sounds really helpful. i'm glad that the hospital sounds as if they are supporting you well, even if you did have to bring a little bit of pressure to bear. It's really weird, I have been wishing inwas a bit lighter, and haveing read a supplemenetbin my paper today, just downloaded 'My fitness Pal' app .....and I can immediately see why I've not been losing any weight. It will be really useful, I think! May even encourage me to go out for a walking more often, especially when I want a shortbread :-o

    All the best with your new regime. If you use the My fitness app, you can add a friend, so we can compare results!

    Have a lovely weekend ....... I

    I'm off to make a low-cal cottage pie, but I am not about to cut out the wine yet ;-)

    Love Wendy xx

  • Dear Wendy

    We might need to be Facebook friends and that would be great. I'll have a look at adding friends to the app. A colleague from work called today and she said she'd like to add me as a friend to her Fitness Pal too. It would be almost like joining the class I've missed at Velindre if we all compare notes and tips.

    It's really good for calculating the caloric value of some of your favourite recipes - takes a bit of time to start with but gets quicker and quicker as you add your favourite ingredients to the app. I've also made a pencil note of the calorific value of each recipe I've prepared in the last week and I've started to look through them to see if I can save on cals but come up with something just as good.

    I'm not about to give up having a glass of wine either. Not on a Saturday evening. We've just had a major spring-clean and clear-out of one of our lofts this afternoon. Now one of the bedrooms is full of boxes to go through but at least I can go sort it all and take the rubbish (most of it probably) to the tip.

    I can't bear the thought of leaving everything in a mess in the years go come and leaving Martin to sort it all out.

    mmmmm cottage pie sounds nice. Martin's favourite. I've just put 2 potatoes in the oven to bake as we're a bit shattered and might just put our feet up and see what we can download to watch on the television. Have dug out 3 little-used calorie-controlled cookbooks on the recommendation of the dietician. She raised an eyebrow when I told her I'd cooked coq au vin on a Tuesday evening and washed it down with 2 glasses of red wine!. She says celebrity cook books are for special occasions.

    xxxx enjoy your Saturday evening! xxx love Annie

  • Hi there Annie ...

    Well done for your encouragement it will indeed be most welcome by our lovely ladies .

    Good to hear how you got on last week too as was wondering ...

    Great source of help you have there through the oncologist and the fit prescription is wonderful value at a £1.00 a week .

    I completed our NARS scheme in December doing 12 weeks at £2.50 a week this was circuts exercises and I had the option of carrying on with it only a pound more a week ..

    This I found out about through our big C centre at our hospital .

    Nicki our instructor say that exercise is so very important after having cancer .

    I have a Ainsley Harriot low fat meals in minutes cook book ..really great recipes and very tasty too .

    Have been cooking a mixture of veggie meals and low fat meat meals from the book .

    Have to agree with Wendy on the wine ...cannot give that up ..as its very good for you !

    Love Jan xxxx

  • Ah I'm impressed if you're doing circuits! I really need to find something I enjoy - or even something that I don't enjoy but will keep going.

    I agree with you about veggie meals. We've tried several this week using different sorts of starch/grains and they're really tasty. Not only do they tend to be low-fat - they're also economical. Surely all this talking about low fat will help shed the weight!

    I'll stop chatting now and will raise a toast to your health Jan. xxx

    love Annie

  • Hi there Annie ...

    Well done for your encouragement it will indeed be most welcome by our lovely ladies .

    Good to hear how you got on last week too as was wondering ...

    Great source of help you have there through the oncologist and the fit prescription is wonderful value at a £1.00 a week .

    I completed our NARS scheme in December doing 12 weeks at £2.50 a week this was circuts exercises and I had the option of carrying on with it only a pound more a week ..

    This I found out about through our big C centre at our hospital .

    Nicki our instructor say that exercise is so very important after having cancer .

    I have a Ainsley Harriot low fat meals in minutes cook book ..really great recipes and very tasty too .

    Have been cooking a mixture of veggie meals and low fat meat meals from the book .

    Have to agree with Wendy on the wine ...cannot give that up ..as its very good for you !

    Love Jan xxxx

  • Hello Annie,

    Sorry your markers, etc are rising - I hope they start diminishing soon!

    Very interesting! I'm very much for the fitness and exercise inducements; but rather more sceptical that the NHS understand diet. There is so much misinformation and misunderstanding about fats and sugars especially - and much of the 'health' information about these is dangerous.

    I would be very interested to see the information that they are promulgating if you don't mind sharing the name of the book!

    Best wishes,

    Isadora.

  • Dear Isadora

    The booklet was written by the dietician at the Velindre Hospital. If you send me a PM with your email I'll scan in all the pages and send to you. They're definitely in to calorie-counting, and recommend the ideal plate as 1/3 starch and 1/3 veggies but very low fat and very little meat. It did occur to me that it wouldn't be suitable to anyone with a food intolerance. Luckily I'm not intolerant of any food but would like to know how to combine the different elements better to lose weight more effectively.

    Hopefully hear from you soon. xxx love Annie

  • Thanks, Annie,

    No need to go to all that trouble! I think it is usual that the training of dieticians does not go deeply enough into the science of food production - perhaps for political reasons. For example; It is now widely understood that dairy products and meat from grass fed cows, and those kept organically, have a very different composition than those in mainstream production. Grass-fed butter fat helps the body improve the uptake of all vitamins and minerals in the diet. It also contains CLA (conjugated linoleic acid) which aids slimming, supports the immune system and helps with insulin levels. It supports joint health and contains butyric acid a short chain fatty acid; whilst your body can produce this nutrient, in many people it is compromised. butyric acid is especially helpful for leaky gut, other digestive imbalance, and has broad metabolic benefits. Instead, we are encouraged to substitute with highly processed fats called 'low fat' which are often dangerous emusions of water and trans fats (banned in many countries).

    Other 'good' oils (and the only ones I would allow through the door) are cold pressed olive and flax oils and coconut oil - all of these will aid your metabolism and help you to maintain a healthy life and weight - processed oils and 'lighter' oils will do the opposite.

    Spelt is another case in point - much better for you that modern wheat types, and actually helpful in weight management, but hardly ever mentioned in the literature.

    Choose the right fats and oils, and eat plenty of whole grains pulses fruits and veg, and exercise for health (not necessarily weight loss, as we carry weight differently at different times of life). Also never forget that there is a natural tendency to lay on fat when under stress!

    This has grown - sorry; it's a bit of a specialism of mine!

    Isadora.

  • Dear Isadora Thanks for all this information. It's very interesting and insightful. I generally buy organic food and have always avoided those spreadable butters. You had me searching the Président website to find out about their cows. Apparently they are grass-fed in summer and in winter their feed avoids bonemeal and hormones. I buy it because of the taste.

    I agree with you about eating a range of whole grains, pulses, fruit and veg. Generally this is advised in the NHS booklet but I guess it's a personal choice and a matter of financial priorities whether people opt for organic over and above factory-produced foodstuffs. I'd rather eat smaller portions of quality meat, fish and dairy products knowing the animals have been treated well.

    My bug-bear about food are the massive regional abbatoirs we have in the UK. It's cruel and produces stressed meat. I do my best to source meat that has not passed through one of these.

    It's good to share healthy eating tips. xx Annie

  • Dear Annie

    I am sorry that your markers are rising again however I know that you have a very positive attitude and will deal with whatever comes your way very positively.

    Like you I have also started clearing a lot of clutter and putting things into order so that my husband and son do not find it hard to find things. Isn't it amazing how much information we store in our heads.

    Thank you for this useful information. I have noticed that i have put on weight in the last month and although I am eating a sensible diet I have not been able to exercise as much as I used to before. I am generally very good about food and even though I am at home I do not snack on unhealthy foods or eat out of boredom. I have started walking regularly when the weather permits and started doing some yoga stretches too. I think I will find it easier to control my weight when I start work in February.

    It has been very interesting to read everyone's comments to your post and the useful information they have given too. Thank you to all the ladies who have added more information about diet and exercise.

    Take care and lots of love

    Samixa X X :-)

  • Hi Annie

    Well done for standing your ground and thank you for sharing this with us.

    Sending you my best wishes

    Love Mary xxx

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