avoiding weight gain holidays help fight cancer

Holidays are something we all look forward to – the gatherings, the chatter, and of course the food! Unfortunately, holidays can lead to weight gain due to overeating, less time for exercise, traveling to visit family and friends, and the stress of it all.

We all know we should watch what we eat and work out regularly. But if you have cancer and are undergoing treatment, it is especially for you to pay attention to your food intake and physical fitness.

Treatment options, such as chemotherapy, may affect the way food tastes. It may affect your ability to keep food down and hold onto valuable nutrients. You might even lose your appetite altogether.

While undergoing cancer treatment, it is important to take care of your body as much as you can. By eating the right foods, you can curb your side effects, increase your energy, and help fight your cancer.

The American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics stresses prevention of weight gain over the holidays as an important step toward preventing cancer and improving your overall health. But how do you turn down the extra homemade gravy, pumpkin pie, cookies, latkes with sour cream, and jelly-filled doughnuts that often come with holiday traditions?

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Tips To Prevent Weight Gain and Fight Cancer

Here are some tips to help you keep off those holiday pounds and fight cancer.

Plan your meals and do not skip meals.

If you skip one meal, you are more likely to overeat at the next meal. This habit may lead to weight gain if you continue to skip, or it may make you sick. If you’re undergoing treatment, you need to eat regularly to keep up your energy and limit nausea.

Eat a healthy breakfast.

Having breakfast will help prevent you from binge eating when you first arrive at the holiday gathering. It also can help reduce cancer treatment side effects. Skip the bacon and eggs, and opt for creamy oatmeal with walnuts, raisins, cinnamon, and nonfat or low fat milk. It will taste like a holiday breakfast!

Use your small plates instead of larger ones.

By using a smaller plate, you won’t be able to fill it up as much, lowering your risk of overeating. Weight gain and obesity are leading risk factors for many chronic diseases, including cancer.

Opt for the vegetable platter.

Grilled vegetables, such as carrots, zucchini, eggplant, and shiitake and other mushrooms, are powerhouses full of many cancer-fighting nutrients. If you’re concerned there won’t be any vegetable platters, bring one yourself as your contribution to the party!

It’s OK to let loose a little — especially during the holidays — but try to limit overeating foods that are high in fat and sugars, and eat more hearty, healthy foods. You should always talk with your cancer care team about specific foods you may want to avoid or consume while undergoing cancer treatment.

If you’re interested in understanding more about how you may benefit from diet and nutrition options while you undergo treatment for cancer, visit the UPMC Hillman Cancer Center or and make an appointment with the registered, licensed dietitians at Nutritional Services. They specialize in diet and nutrition for those being treated for cancer.

Editor's Note: This article was originally published on , and was last reviewed on .

About UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

When you are facing cancer, you need the best care possible. UPMC Hillman Cancer Center provides world-class cancer care, from diagnosis to treatment, to help you in your cancer battle. We are the only comprehensive cancer center in our region, as designated by the National Cancer Institute. We have more than 70 locations throughout Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York, with more than 200 oncologists – making it easier for you to find world-class care close to home. Our internationally renowned research team is striving to find new advances in prevention, detection, and treatment. Most of all, we are here for you. Our patient-first approach aims to provide you and your loved ones the care and support you need. To find a provider near you, visit our website.