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Michelle Ashworth: Healthy Weight Week

January 18, 2019

A cancer diagnosis can mean many changes. When it comes to nutrition and exercise, I prepare each patient at the start of treatment for the changes they may experience in appetite, food preferences, and activity level. This empowers them to be prepared for any risk of unintentional weight change, and possible impact on their usual fitness regimen.

I offer referrals to nutritionists early on and brainstorm with patients on ways they can improve their nutrition and stay active based on their own resources. Additionally, I keep free trial memberships to local gyms on hand, as well as contact information for fitness groups who provide customized services for patients with cancer. It's equally as important to engage caregivers since it's usually a partner or family member who is instrumental in coordinating nutrition and activity.

In conjunction with the physical benefits of maintaining nutrient stores, muscle mass, and what we call “functional status,” eating well and staying active helps patients feel they are contributing to their own recovery. Healthy Weight Week is an important time to reflect on how we can address bad habits, try new foods and activities, and remember that we only get one body so we should nourish it accordingly.

– Dr. Michelle Ashworth


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