Are you struggling with your weight?

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From Kelley Kull, RD, CDE

Does body weight affect cancer risk?

An estimated 1 out of every 3 cancer deaths in the United States is linked to excess body weight, poor nutrition, and/or physical inactivity. These factors are all related and may all contribute to cancer risk, but body weight seems to have the strongest evidence linking it to cancer. Excess body weight contributes to as many as 1 out of 5 of all cancer-related deaths.

Being overweight or obese is clearly linked with an increased risk of many cancers, including cancers of the:

     · Breast (in women post menopause)    · Endometrium (lining of the uterus)

     · Colon and rectum                              · Esophagus

     · Kidney                                               · Pancreas

Being overweight or obese also likely raises the risk of other cancers, such as:

     · Gallbladder                                        · Liver

     · Ovary                                                · Cervix

     · Non-Hodgkin lymphoma                 · Multiple myeloma

     · Aggressive forms of prostate cancer

In addition, having too much belly fat (that is, a larger waistline), regardless of body weight, is linked with an increased risk of colon and rectal cancer, and is probably linked to a higher risk of cancers of the pancreas, endometrium, and breast cancer (in women past menopause).

But the links between body weight and cancer are complex and are not yet fully understood. For example, while studies have found that excess weight is linked with an increased risk of breast cancer in women after menopause, it does not seem to increase the risk of breast cancer before menopause. The reasons for this are not clear.

The timing of weight gain might also affect cancer risk. Being overweight during childhood and young adulthood might be more of a risk factor than gaining weight later in life for some cancers. For example, some research suggests that women who are overweight as teenagers (but not those who gain weight as adults) may be at higher risk for developing ovarian cancer before menopause.

Clearly, more research is needed to better define the links between body weight and cancer.

From Dr. Pierce

As achieving persistent weight loss at a healthy level is what drives us to participate in this program, today I’ll give a few reflections on some needed basics.

You wouldn’t be here if the goal were easy. I haven’t found a participant here who hasn’t tried multiple ways to lose weight. Previous failures have been the rule.

Here’s something to consider: many wise persons, as a rule of thumb, consider us to be comprised of three parts, or ‘bodies,’ the physical one that we really want to slim down, our feeling body (which many of us experience as being alternately confused, hopeful, fearful, self-doubting, etc.), and our mental body. In this concept, these three parts don’t work well together (each works as it it were its own master), and each is almost completely controlled by previously-acquired habits.

So, the part of us that holds an intention to lose weight is our mind, and that intention just isn’t connected with our feelings and body. Sure, we feel great after the job is done and we’re slim and trim, but, believe me, that feeling that it’s for real is often fleeting. Too many report a lot of doubt that they can keep it up, that they can really preserve the change. How many times have your feelings, your fears and desires been the ‘enemy’ of your intentions, however good they are?