5 Steps to Kickstart Your Cancer-Prevention Weight-Loss Journey

If you’ve reached the point where you know you need to shed a bit of excess weight, you’ve come to the right place! Yes, losing weight is a challenge. But, armed with the knowledge that by overcoming this challenge you will be decreasing your risk of developing 13 different types of cancers is all the motivation you need, right?

Step 1: Decrease your meat intake. No, no, we’re not saying you need to become a vegan, or even a vegetarian for that matter. Red meat is a good source of protein and iron but unfortunately, too much of it can directly (through affecting cells) and indirectly (through causing weight gain) increase your cancer risk. In 2015, the WHO classified red meat as a possible carcinogen, but if you choose lean cuts of meat (less than 10 grams of total fat, and 4.5 grams or less of saturated fat), then eating them once or twice a week is probably not going to do too much harm. Processed meats and fatty cuts, on the other hand; cut them out completely! 

Our top tip: Follow plant-based chefs like Deliciously Ella for recipes that will make you wish you’d started your weight-loss journey sooner! 

Need some additional inspiration? Watch this TED Talk titled “Why I’m a Weekday Vegetarian.”

Step 2: Drink more water. Sometimes when we think we are hungry, we are actually just thirsty. 

Our top tips: Drink a glass of water (or two) before every meal and buy yourself a reusable 2-litre bottle (like this one) that you can carry with you wherever you go!

Step 3: Keep a Food Journal. Looking at 15 previous studies that focused on dietary self-monitoring, this research paper highlights the positive correlation between weight loss and keeping a food journal. 

Our top tip: Either use a good old-fashioned paper diary or an app like Day One to record the type and amount of food (and water) you consume at each meal, the time at which you eat, who you eat with, and how you are feeling at the time. 

Step 4: Get enough sleep! Yes, you read that right. Did you know we have a hunger hormone? It’s called ghrelin, and the more of it you have in your system, the hungrier you feel. When you don’t sleep enough, your body produces more ghrelin, meaning you will feel hungrier, eat more, and subsequently gain weight.

Our top tips: Practice good sleep hygiene by staying away from screens before bed (or at least activate the warm light setting), keeping regular sleeping hours (when possible), and not eating too close to bedtime. Headspace and Calm also offer fantastic sleep meditations to quieten your mind before bed!

Step 5: Move more. You don’t have to become a super-athlete overnight to lose weight; even just walking for half an hour a day will make a difference to your health! If you’re not a member of a gym, there are thousands of online classes available for you to do in the comfort of your own home (like Sweat and Yoga with Adriene). Or you might want to try something different, like joining a hiking group or learning to surf! 

Our top tip: Get yourself an accountability partner! Finding the motivation to exercise can be hard, but if you commit to exercising with someone else (i.e. your accountability partner), it makes it a whole lot easier. 

The two keys to losing weight are changing your mindset and forming new habits. We’re not saying they’re going to be easy, but they will definitely be worth it!

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