“BIBBIDI BOBBIDI BOO!”– Making Permanent Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Colon Cancer
We might be too old for cartoons and fairy tales, but how many of us wish that genies-in-a-lamp and fairy godmothers were real? If we had a little magic on our side we could look like we were 25 again, win the lottery, have super powers and prevent colon cancer from ever rearing its ugly head. But like many of the notions from our childhood, magic does not exist. Yet, colon cancer remains very real.
While it’s true that not all cases of colon cancer can be prevented, research shows that a key to prevention is a healthy lifestyle. Adults who increase their physical activity can reduce their risk of developing colon cancer by 30-40 percent. Also all those who make significant dietary changes by eating less saturated fats and more fruits, vegetables and fiber-rich foods can effectively help their chance to prevent colon cancer.
In a fairy-tale world, three magic words and a wave of a wand would be all you’d need. But, alas, this is not a fairy-tale world and making permanent lifestyle changes requires time, perseverance and a plan. A couch potato cannot expect to become a marathon runner overnight. A fast food junkie will not be able to change her diet quickly and easily.
Here are five suggestions to help you achieve your new healthier lifestyle and hopefully help you prevent colon cancer:
1. Start by defining your long-term goal. Maybe you want to run a marathon in a year or maybe your twenty-year high school reunion is coming up in a few years and you want to look your best. Whatever your long-term goal, know that it will take time, perseverance and hard work to attain. Also know that your goal is doable. To make things easier, try setting smaller short-term goals to help you achieve your new healthier lifestyle.
2. Make a list of small attainable goals. Just as you can’t expect to lose fifty pounds in a week, you probably won’t be able to run a 5K until you can first run one mile. Sit down and make a list of steps you will need to take to accomplish your long-term goal. Be realistic in your expectations. If you haven’t exercised in years, then don’t sign up for next week’s marathon. Instead, start with running one mile and work your way up to another and then another. Likewise, if you want to lose weight but have been living on TV dinners and McDonald’s, begin by cleaning out the junk food in your house. Then, go shopping for healthier foods: whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean meats. Next, learn how to prepare healthier meals. From there, commit to starting a simple exercise regimen. The Couch to 5K Running Plan
3. Have an accountability partner. Find someone you can count on to hold you accountable for your goals. This person should motivate you to do your best, be tough on you when you slack off and encourage you when the going gets tough. In order to make a permanent change, you must have someone who knows your goals and can keep you on the right track.
4. Make it a habit. They say that for something to become a habit you must do it daily for twenty-one days. Thus, in order to make a lifestyle change, repetition is essential. Try exercising at the same time everyday so you will come to expect that at 9:30 a.m. you will head to the gym to workout. If your goal is to eat a healthy diet, then buy only foods that affirm that goal. When grocery shopping, stick to the perimeter of the store—the produce, meats and dairy—and avoid the center aisles, which are stocked with high-fat and calorie processed foods.
5. Reward yourself. Little rewards along the way will encourage you to keep up the hard work. However, be careful what you choose as a reward! If your goal is a healthier diet, don’t sabotage your short and long-term goals by indulging in a Big Mac or DQ Blizzard. Instead, splurge on some new kitchen utensils or a cookbook to encourage you in your lifestyle change. Or if your goal is to run a 5K, then a week off from the gym might not be the best reward. Instead, invest in new running shoes or download some upbeat tunes for your iPod.
Making permanent changes to your lifestyle is not easy nor does it happen instantly. Getting started is often the hardest part. By implementing a plan, being realistic about how long it will take, and persevering even during the challenging times, you won’t have to worry when the clock strikes midnight. You will be transformed into the healthy person you’ve always wanted to be!Tags: accountability, accountable, dietary, dietary changes, goals, Healthy Living Tips, high risk, lifestyle, lifestyle changes, physical activity, prevention, risk of colon cancer, risks, setting goals