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New Year’s Resolutions With Mindfulness

New year’s Resolutions – Making them Mindful

Unfortunately, New Year’s Resolutions are often made flippantly – maybe we really do have

New Year's Resolutions with Mindfulness

the best intentions, but no plan goes into integrating them into our busy lifestyle. Let’s face it – we are all masters of resistance to change. Change can very often be good.  Personal growth comes from change.

 

Now is the accepted time to make your annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual. ~ Mark Twain

We all know what a new year’s resolution is – but let’s first talk about mindfulness – I think its become more of a cliche – rather than appreciating it for its full worth – kind of an oxymoron.

Mindfulness is a state of active, open attention on the present. Focusing on this moment or topic, pushing aside other distractive thoughts. When we’re mindful, we observe our thoughts and feelings from a distance, without judging them good or bad. Instead of letting our life pass us by, mindfulness means living in that moment learning  and awakening to experience.  In our world of priding ourselves on multitasking –  mindfulness, focus and most of all planning are tossed aside.

Only 8% of people who make resolutions attain their goal and  24% of people who make Mindful New Year's resolutions Best In Health Radioresolutions year after year never reach their goals. So this year – let’s be our own anomaly  – impress ourselves – and come up with a systematic plan – rather than flying by the seat of our pants.

For that decision to become a reality, it requires us to develop a series of habits, activities and supporting behaviors  that become second nature to us, and that will keep us moving in the direction of the goal.

1) Reality: we need to make them realistic – please no “I will learn to hate eating chocolate” or “I will lose 30 pounds by March.” So please make new year’s resolutions  realistic, sustainable goals. No setting ourselves up for failure.  Write out your plan – make sure it is realistic.

2) Choosing Our Best Support System:  I believe one of the most important of all is choosing carefully who we invest our time with. Example: Say we are really serious about quitting smoking this year. We know being around those who smoke is going to make it more difficult – for many reasons. Very often those people will try and talk us out of our resolution, as it makes them feel less guilty. Don’t go there. But share your new year’s resolution with people you know will support you, not lecture you, and cheer on your successes.

3) Ritualize: Psychology tells us on average it takes 2 months to form a new habit – of course this will fluctuate. Example: Let’s say we want to be physically active every day.. OK fine – we might not make it to that run, or the gym every day – but on those days we do not have a “workout” find something else to keep you in the activity mindset.  March in place standing at your desk, work with a resistance band while sitting down – pay respect to that resolution in some way every day, even if the activity isn’t for as long or as intense.

4) Expect to Hone Your New Year’s Resolutions: No my way or the highway – you might have to hone and modify your goal.  In the modification – add a timeline – how each month we can add a little something to fully reach or exceed the goal.

5) Inventory your Life: Take a good hard look at your life – what time zappers we can eliminate. No hoarding – clean up any clutter – emotional or material in your life.

6) Track and measure progress: It is well known and accepted that people who keep food and/or exercise journals have far more success with their goals. If the behaviour is worthy of a mindful resolution – it is worth tracking. Adding a section to your daily calendar – an app – whatever will be the most accessible for you to commit to.

7) Word Your New Year’s resolutions is a positive way: Design it as something you really want to achieve – not another miserable task you know you should do.

8) Add a Monetary Commitment: aka put your money where your mouth is. If you want to get in shape – hire a trainer – don’t just get a gym membership or an exercise machine at home. You know what the number one use of the home treadmill is? Hanging laundry. A trainer will keep you dedicated to your resolution, hopefully be fun and help you really love your resolution and want to continue.

9) Make New Year’s Resolutions You Actually Want to Achieve:  Only commit to a New Year’s resolution if it is something you want to do – not because you should do it. If it is something you should do – you first need to analyze it – and turn it into something that you mindfully – feel the worth and value outcome of the commitment. Change your mindset.

10) Identify Rewards: How do you know – how will you recognize you are achieving this New Year's Resolutions identify rewardsgoal? Will you feel physiological rewards? Example: Quitting smoking: focus on the reward of getting rid of the smoker’s cough, the self pride, visualize your lungs healing. Get those pictures of the smokers vs. non smokers lungs. Look up all those steps about how your body recovers from 1 day without a cigarette to 1 year and beyond. Add the mindfulness – know the rewards, track them, pat yourself on the back.

A healthy, happy 2017 all of us. Let’s remember, keeping healthy requires a mindful commitment, it does not just happen. May we become more mindful about ourselves, and the world around us. May we achieve all of our mindful New Year’s resolutions.

 

 

Shira Litwack Medical fitness, Corporate wellness, Radio talk show host
Shira Litwack Medical Fitness Professional, Cancer Exercise Specialist , Corporate wellness Provider Industry expert cancer exercise
Radio talk show host
Health & Fitness Educator

Shira Litwack – founder Best In Health Radio & proudly speaker at the International Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Summit December 2016:

Corporate Health Programs – What an Incredible Way to Make the World A Healthier Happier Place…..so we make them affordable to EVERYONE……Shira@BestInHealthRadio.com

Shira Litwack, Medical fitness professional |Cancer Exercise Specialist|Personal & Corporate Health Coach | Fitness For Disease Recovery| Industry Expert Cancer Exercise| Health and Fitness Professionals’ Educator

Director of International Relations Cancer Exercise Training Institute Master Trainer

Radio talk show host/Guest/Producer Health & Fitness Radio

BSc Psychology & Chemistry| Medical Exercise Specialist|Holistic Nutrition| Addiction Recovery|Total of 18 exercise designations

Articles featured in: ezines, ArticlesInk, European Registry of Exercise Professionals, The National Post, Investment Executive Magazine, Directory of Greater Toronto, Canadian Leukemia & Lymphoma Association, Prostate Cancer Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Anytime Fitness, Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Seniors, Fitness Clubs of Canada, Medical Fitness Network, Recovery on Water, Willow (Breast Cancer), Sirius XM Doctor Radio, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), Cancer Exercise Training Institute,  Urban Poling for Breast Cancer Recovery,

Breast Cancer Awareness = Alcohol Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness Necessitates Facing the Realities of Alcohol

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. The truth is drinking alcohol is a game of Russian Roulette for breast cancer.

Fuel to the fire, alcohol to estrogen..… Alcohol is a cause of breast cancer. There is no such thing as a little poison, poison in moderation. Poison is poison. Alcohol is NOT our friend. One in eight women will get breast cancer.

Breast Cancer Awareness:

All major cancer institutions agree – the 3 most influential lifestyle choices paramount to maintaining breast health are:

  • controlling body fat level
  • limiting alcohol
  • Being physically active

They are all important – being vigilant about 2, does not ease the burden of onus on the  third.  All 3  of these lifestyle factors have a common theme – they all either add to the estrogen load, or estrogen exposure (body fat and alcohol) or they ease the hormonal strain from estrogen (physical activity).

Women who are carriers of any of the inherited defective genes, BRCA, PALB2, HBOC… have a greater risk of developing breast cancer. Minimizing, even better eliminating alcohol would be an  outstanding prophylactic choice. Alcohol is also associated with an increased risk of recurrence of breast cancer.

 

Shira Interviewed on Rehabilitative Medicine, Doctor Radio Sirius XM, Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2016

A few myths to dispel and annihilate immediately:

  • A glass of wine a day is NOT good for you – not for your heart, not for any part of you
  • The health effects of alcohol start with the very first glass
  • Alcohol does not reduce stress, it causes physiological stress, oxidative stress, inflammation, cellular dysfunction.

“Moderation”, social drinking, are vague concepts perpetuated by those marketing alcohol       ….they are not representative of guidelines supported by  health professionals.  These are concepts people want to believe, and many health professionals believe they encourage people to drink more. True breast cancer awareness means we cannot hang on to old myths but must heed to current scientific research.

One drink equals:

  • 12 ounces of beer
  • 5 ounces of wine
  • 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.

The National Toxicology Program of the US Department of Health and Human Services lists consumption of alcoholic beverages as a known human carcinogen. In 1988, the IARC (International Agency for Cancer Research) declared alcohol a carcinogen

The fact is that alcohol is a contributing factor to all of our major illnesses…heart disease, at least 7 types of cancer, liver disease, obesity, mental health issues, immune dysfunction,  with inflammation being at the root cause. I feel compelled to mention here heart disease kills more women each year than breast cancer, in fact, more women than all cancers combined.

According to the CDC, alcohol costs  each year:

  • 88,000 lives. According to the American Journal of Public Health, 20,000 cancer deaths in the US per year are attributed to alcohol. 15% of those deaths were breast cancer. This equals 6,000 breast cancer deaths per year in the US attributable to alcohol. What is even more shocking, studies in New Zealand showed that the majority of women whose breast cancer was attributed to alcohol, drank no more than “a glass a day”. A real slap of breast cancer awareness!
  • $223 Billion Dollars: health care costs, lost productivity at work, motor vehicle accidents, criminal justice system
Breast Cancer Awareness - Alcohol and breast cancer Best In Health Radio
The Many Health Effects of Alcohol: An interview with Cardiologist Dr. Holly Andersen, Surgical Urologist Dr. Andrew Siegel, Psychiatrist Dr. Michael Diamond & Public Health Physician & Author of the July 2016 study “Alcohol Causes Cancer” on Best In Health Radio

In July 2016, New Zealand Public Health Physician and Epidemiologist Dr. Jennie Connor released an extensive study commissioned by the Center for Addiction. The study was a compilation of thousands of world wide meta analyses studying the relationship between alcohol and cancer. The conclusion was that alcohol causes cancer in at least 7 sites in the body. I have had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Connor twice. Once on her own, and the second time with a panel of 3 other health professionals I assembled, discussing the many health effects of alcohol: Dr. Holly Andersen, Cardiologist,  Dr. Michael Diamond Psychiatrist, & Dr. Andrew Siegel, Surgical Urologist.

Breast Cancer Awareness……..There are a number of ways in which it is thought that alcohol causes breast cancer.

  • Alcohol can increase levels of estrogen and other hormones associated with hormone-receptor-positive breast cancer.
  • Girls aged 9 to 15 who drink three to five drinks a week have three times the risk of developing benign breast lumps,  which are associated with a higher risk  (500% higher risk) of breast cancer later in life. One particular of these studies from Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, Dr Graham Colditz study author states ‘“If a female averages a drink per day between her first period and her first full-term pregnancy, she increases her risk of breast cancer by 13 percent”. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 40% of college age women admit to binge drinking…..those that admit.
  • Alcohol (ethanol) is converted into a toxic chemical called acetaldehyde in our body, damaging the DNA, in a number of possible ways and preventing cells from repairing this damage
  • Alcohol causes rapid regrowth of liver cells, which frequently have altered DNA
  • Alcohol is a solvent. When someone consumes alcohol and smokes they exponentially increase their risk for cancer as the alcohol enables the mutagenic chemicals in the tobacco to be better absorbed into the body
  • Alcohol is a cause of oxidative stress, producing ROS – Reactive Oxygen Species which alter the DNA
  • Alcohol encourages the body to store fat. It provides the body with almost  as many calories as fat, yet there is no benefit to the body, only burden. We know body fat cells can be thought of as active endocrine glands, secreting hormones upsetting hormonal balance. Hormonal balance is critical in disease prevention.
  • Still being studied…alcohol interferes with folate metabolism – which is associated with an increased risk of heart disease and cancer
  • As I try and mention in every article I write, our muscle mass is our BFF – Best Friend Forever – protecting us from illness in numerous ways, their great looks is merely a reward for good effort. Muscles are critical for immune function, sugar regulation, metabolism…just to name a few. Alcohol lowers testosterone levels (critical for both men and women to build muscle and as we mentioned earlier raises estrogen levels.  Alcoholic Myopathy – Alcohol destroys muscle mass AND interferes with protein synthesis, not allowing the body to build more muscle mass. In an alcohol free body – studies have shown us people have the ability to grow muscle mass well into their 90s. Alcohol also depletes the body of many vitamins and minerals critical to muscle growth.
  • Alcohol dehydrates, proven in numerous studies hydration is a key step in cancer prevention

Abstaining from alcohol for periods of time and binge drinking (defined as 4 or more glasses of alcohol per sitting (see measures of a glass above) is associated with pancreatic cancer.

A glass of wine a day is not good for the heart. According to the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 500mg of Resveratrol ( used as the rationalization that wine is healthy) are necessary to provide health benefits. A glass of red wine has 12.5mg of resveratrol. To meet the potential health benefits of resveratrol would require drinking 40 litres of wine per day. Older studies which tried to claim that a glass of wine a day was good for you have been dissected, proving what was thought as a benefit of the alcohol, has been attributed to other factors, not the alcohol. The scientific methods in these studies was painfully loose. I think we can all think of a number of heart smart activities!

The bottom line is: Alcohol is a carcinogen and increases our risk of cancer, especially breast cancer. Breast Cancer awareness necessitates accepting the realities of alcohol on breast cancer. It increases our risk of most chronic diseases. We can still engage in the many social aspects of drinking alcohol, we can substitute the alcohol with other choices…….save our money and our health!

Shira Litwack Medical fitness, Corporate wellness, Radio talk show host
Shira Litwack Medical Fitness Professional, Cancer Exercise Specialist , Corporate wellness Provider Industry expert cancer exercise
Radio talk show host
Health & Fitness Educator

Shira Litwack – founder Best In Health Radio & proudly speaker at the International Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Summit December 2016:

Corporate Health Programs – What an Incredible Way to Make the World A Healthier Happier Place…..so we make them affordable to EVERYONE……Shira@BestInHealthRadio.com

Shira Litwack, Medical fitness professional |Cancer Exercise Specialist|Personal & Corporate Health Coach | Fitness For Disease Recovery| Industry Expert Cancer Exercise| Health and Fitness Professionals’ Educator

Director of International Relations Cancer Exercise Training Institute Master Trainer

Radio talk show host/Guest/Producer Health & Fitness Radio

BSc Psychology & Chemistry| Medical Exercise Specialist|Holistic Nutrition| Addiction Recovery|Total of 18 exercise designations

Articles featured in: ezines, ArticlesInk, European Registry of Exercise Professionals, The National Post, Investment Executive Magazine, Directory of Greater Toronto, Canadian Leukemia & Lymphoma Association, Prostate Cancer Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Anytime Fitness, Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Seniors, Fitness Clubs of Canada, Medical Fitness Network, Recovery on Water, Willow (Breast Cancer), Sirius XM Doctor Radio, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), Cancer Exercise Training Institute,  Urban Poling for Breast Cancer Recovery,

Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Summit

Online International Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Summit

Breast Cancer Rehabilitation – A cause I am very proud to say I am contributing to……..
A summit for healthcare practitioners:
Physios, physical therapists, Nurses, Occupational Therapists, Breast Surgeons, Oncologists, Radiotherapist, Exercise Physiologists, Mastectomy Prosthesis and Bra fitters, Breast Cancer Navigators, Yoga and Pilates trainers, Clinical Psychologists, Researchers
Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Best In Health Radio

December 6th – 11th

Experts from across the world will speak about their work and their findings in the area of breast cancer rehabilitation. Health care professionals and researchers will present their experience with assessments and treatments designed to facilitate the process of recovery from: breast cancer surgery, chemo and radiotherapy. Understanding and managing barriers to breast cancer rehabilitation will also be addressed by speakers.

This summit will help health care professionals understand the impairments experienced by many patients during breast cancer rehabilitation and learn more about current leading treatments and interventions.

Understanding the breadth of rehabilitation options and practices can help clinics and clinicians to better direct breast cancer survivors to the rehabilitation services that will enhance their recovery.

Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Online Summit Best In Health Radio
View the presenters for the online summit here:
Register for the Online  Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Summit and receive:
  • Emails about the summit presenters leading up to the summit.
  • Links to gain free day pass to the online presentations.
  • Email notice of new presentations over 5 days.
  • Purchase option for the entire summit to listen to in your own timeframe.
  • Access to presenter’s post summit masterclass information.

Online Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Summit Denise StewartDenise Stewart

Organizer of Online International Breast Cancer Rehabilitation Summit

Denise Stewart is an Occupational Therapist and has provided rehabilitation services to people after breast cancer diagnosis for more than 25yrs.  Denise is a sole practitioner and has created several international projects over the last few years-  Share Cording Protocols project and Mastectomy Scar Assessment Survey.

Developing networks with like minded therapists and sharing information to others working in this field has been wonderful for maintaining creativity in a field where text books and research does not yet offer best treatment and assessment answers.

Watch it on YouTube! https://www.youtube.com/my_videos?o=U

Shira Litwack Medical fitness, Corporate wellness, Radio talk show host
Shira Litwack Medical Fitness Professional, Cancer Exercise Specialist , Corporate wellness Provider Industry expert cancer exercise
Radio talk show host
Health & Fitness Educator

 

Shira Litwack – founder Best In Health Radio & proudly speaker at the conference:

Corporate Health Programs – What an Incredible Way to Make the World A Healthier Happier Place…..so we make them affordable to EVERYONE……Shira@BestInHealthRadio.com

Shira Litwack, Medical fitness professional |Cancer Exercise Specialist|Personal & Corporate Health Coach | Fitness For Disease Recovery| Industry Expert Cancer Exercise| Health and Fitness Professionals’ Educator

Director of International Relations Cancer Exercise Training Institute Master Trainer

Radio talk show host/Guest/Producer Health & Fitness Radio

BSc Psychology & Chemistry| Medical Exercise Specialist|Holistic Nutrition| Addiction Recovery|Total of 18 exercise designations

Articles featured in: ezines, ArticlesInk, European Registry of Exercise Professionals, The National Post, Investment Executive Magazine, Directory of Greater Toronto, Canadian Leukemia & Lymphoma Association, Prostate Cancer Canada, Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, Anytime Fitness, Today’s Black Woman, Today’s Seniors, Fitness Clubs of Canada, Medical Fitness Network, Recovery on Water, Willow (Breast Cancer), Sirius XM Doctor Radio, FORCE (Facing Our Risk of Cancer Empowered), Cancer Exercise Training Institute,  Urban Poling for Breast Cancer Recovery,

Alcohol Causes Cancer: Doubt Protection from CVD

Alcohol Causes Cancer in 7 sites of the body…and probably others…

Alcohol causes cancer was the conclusion of a study released in July, 2016 by Jennie Connor, Department of Preventive and Social Medicine, University of Otago, New Zealand:

There is strong evidence that alcohol causes cancer at seven sites in the body and probably others

Listen to Dr. Jennie Connor,  Chair in Preventive and Social Medicine at the University of Otago Medical School in Dunedin, New Zealand. She is a public health physician and epidemiologist, involved in teaching epidemiology, and in research about the health effects of alcohol, injury prevention, and sexual health. She has led two New Zealand studies on the health burden of alcohol in New Zealand, in collaboration with the Global Burden of Disease alcohol group, and is an advocate for evidence-based alcohol policy.

Points of Discussion with Dr. Connor:

  • Methodology of the study commissioned by The Addiction Journal
  • How it has been determined that alcohol is a cause of cancer
  • The many ways alcohol contributes to disease/kills
  • Effects of alcohol from the first drink, and continue with each drink
  • Alcohol addictive and toxic, “even without getting drunk”
  • Neurotoxic effects……effects in utero
  • Cancers attributable to alcohol
  • Breast cancer leads alcohol related cancer
  • Heavy episodic drinking (binge drinking)  and pancreatic cancer
  • What guidelines for drinking really mean – there is no “safe” threshold
  • “Moderation”…evidence does not support it…there is no definition
  • Alcohol and hepatitis
  • “Glass of wine a day”…not without a risk….but not improving health
  • Head and neck, oral cancers from alcohol
  • Smoking and alcohol and cancer
  • Breakdown of alcohol to acetaldehyde
  • “Moderation” encourages people to drink
  • Alcohol in younger women and breast cancer

Cancer is thought to be only 8%-10% genetic. The remainder is thought to be exposures to mutagens in our lives. There are always exposures we are unaware of, however, there are numerous exposures that are within our control. The evidence of a causal role of alcohol in cancer is unfortunately smothered by the once thought protective effects of alcohol on cardiovascular disease.

The same, or similar, epidemiological studies also commonly report protection from cardiovascular disease associated with drinking but a high level of scepticism regarding these findings is now warranted.

And….I think its fair to say, most people do not want to accept the thought of alcohol causes cancer, and would much prefer to think of it having protective effects against CVD.

Denial is a psychological defense mechanism that helps a person avoid a potentially distressing truth.

Alcohol causes cancer Best in Health RadioThis is about choices. Our bodies are regularly bombarded daily by mutagens, toxins, carcinogens, viruses and bacteria. Some of these we are aware of their risk,  many are being studied, and some we are completely unaware of their potential health burden. It is our duty to be active participants in our health management.

Please make choices based on current scientific data.

Alcohol and Cancer – Statements from the National Institute of Health (NIH)

  • Metabolizing (breaking down) ethanol in alcoholic drinks to acetaldehyde, which is a toxic chemical and a probable human carcinogen; acetaldehyde can damage both DNA  and proteins
  • Oxidative Stress: Another byproduct of ethanol metabolism – free radicals- reactive oxygen species, which can damage DNA, proteins, and lipids (fats) through oxidation.
  • Impairing our ability to break down and absorb  nutrients  including vitamin A; B complex, such as folate; vitamin C; vitamin D; vitamin E; and carotenoids
    increasing blood levels of estrogen linked to the risk of breast cancer
  • Alcoholic beverages may also contain a variety of carcinogenic contaminants that are introduced during fermentation and production, such as nitrosamines, asbestos fibers, phenols, and hydrocarbons.
  • There are several mechanisms by which alcohol impedes immune function, including blocking neutrophil action

Other Carcinogenic Chemicals in Wine:

  • Pesticide Action Network (PAN)(Europe)….pesticide residues in European wine…glyphosphate – the chemical found in Monsanto’s Roundup
  •  University of Washington study  tested 65 wines from America’s top four wine-producing states — California, Washington, New York and Oregon — found all but one have arsenic levels that exceed what’s allowed in drinking water.
  • Reported in JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association: “findings from the Nurses’ Health Study exploring the relationship between alcohol consumption and breast cancer risk. The authors’ principal findings were that the cumulative amount of alcohol a woman consumes during adulthood is the best predictor of her breast cancer risk and that low levels of alcohol consumption (as few as 3 drinks a week) are associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. ” Author Dr. Steven Narod, referred to alcohol as a “third breast carcinogen.” Alcohol followed on his short list only after ionizing radiation and hormone therapy.
Shira Litwack Medical fitness, Corporate wellness, Radio talk show host
Shira Litwack Medical Fitness Professional, Cancer Exercise Specialist , Corporate wellness Provider Industry expert cancer exercise
Radio talk show host

Corporate Health Programs – What an Incredible Way to Make the World A Healthier Happier Place…..so we make them affordable to EVERYONE……Shira@BestInHealthRadio.com

Shira Litwack, Medical fitness professional |Cancer Exercise Specialist|Personal & Corporate Health Coach | Fitness For Disease Recovery| Industry Expert Cancer Exercise| Health and Fitness Professionals’ Educator

Director of International Relations Cancer Exercise Training Institute Master Trainer

Radio talk show host/Guest/Producer Health & Fitness Radio

BSc Psychology & Chemistry| Medical Exercise Specialist|Holistic Nutrition| Addiction Recovery|Total of 18 exercise designations

Shira@BestInHealthRadio.com

Contact: Shira@BestInHealthRadio.com

Genetic Counselling BRCA Testing

Genetic Counselling BRCA Testing

Knowledge is Power. Now our job is to prove this to the world. Seeking genetic counselling BRCA testing could empower you to live a healthier lifestyle.
We so often want a crystal ball to gaze into our future. We have a number of crystal balls. These are crystal balls based on science and research, customized to our own unique DNA. I am referring to genetic testing, specifically BRCA testing.
With all of our many loves, accomplishments, dreams…they are all for not without our health – health is the very greatest wealth of all. There is a cliche out there – but it is most unfortunately Oh so true….Youth is wasted on the young, which goes hand in hand with hind sight is 20/20. My plea here is that none of you fall into this abyss, and you opt for earlier genetic testing.

If you were cruising along on a mountain road just beckoning us to speed, would you slow down if you knew there were a cliff with a 500 foot drop around the next bend? Of course you would.

genetic counselling BRCA testing
Shira Litwack Medical Fitness Professional, Cancer Exercise Specialist , Corporate wellness Provider Industry expert cancer exercise
Radio talk show host

My #1 goal of this article is to empower people to take charge of their health’s destiny – speak to health care professionals – every one of us can prosper from a good MD and ND. Open dialogue with a number of health care professionals, and determine if genetic testing is right for you.

We have the power for genetic screening for BRCA1 BRCA2 and PALB2. All three genetic mutations are associated with a higher risk of breast and ovarian cancer.

A breast cancer, BRCA gene test is a blood test to check for specific gene mutations that help control normal cell growth. Finding changes in these genes, called BRCA1 and BRCA2, can help determine the chance of developing breast and/or ovarian cancer.

The BRCA gene is a tumor suppressor gene. The BRCA gene mutation is also associated with male breast cancer, fallopian tube cancer, peritoneal cancer, prostate cancer, pancreatic cancer. BRCA1 & BRCA2 are responsible for producing a tumor suppressing protein. Tumor suppressor proteins help prevent cells from growing and dividing too rapidly or uncontrollably. When there is a mutation in these genes, they do not produce the protein, or it does not function properly, therefore threatening the stability of the cells by the cell not being able to repair damaged DNA. Our cells take hundreds of hits daily from oxidative stressors in our lives, our bodies must be equipped to repair, otherwise, serious illness results.

Let’s consider some data on BRCA and breast/ovarian cancer. (cancer.gov)

  • 12% of women in general population get breast Cancer
  • 55%-65% of BRCA1 carriers will develop breast cancer before 70 years of age
  • 45% of BRCA carriers will develop breast cancer before age 70
  • About 1.3% of general population will get ovarian cancer
  • 39% of women with BRCA1 and 11-17% with BRCA2 will develop ovarian cancer before 70
  • Mayo Clinic: BRCA gene mutations are responsible for about 5 percent of breast cancers and about 10 to 15 percent of ovarian cancers.

Most women with breast cancer and/or a family history of breast cancer do not have an abnormal gene, and not all women who have inherited one of these genes will develop cancer.

Genetic testing is a subset of genetic counselling. I am NOT a genetic counsellor…but I do know the incredible power of proactively planning lifestyle choices over reactive planning. Genetic counselling is the process by which we can learn and understand relevant aspects of our own genetics, offering us assistance in clarifying options available for any decisions that might be necessary with the newly acquired genetic insight. The psychological component is emphasized equally to the physiological aspect – blood sampling. However, it is equally important to research where you would like to do your genetic counselling. Many doctors offer testing, however, please seek out in your community genetic centers, which can often offer more in-depth consultations by genetic counsellors.

There are a number of choices available if the BRCA1 or BRCA2 tests are positive. And I feel very compelled to remind everyone here, testing negative does NOT give you a get out of jail for free card. A life to prevent cancer is the healthiest lifestyle of all.

If the genetic tests are BRCA positive a genetic counsellor will help you plan and make decisions. Again, various options are available:

  • Prophylactic mastectomy -removal of both breasts,…has been found to reduce the risk of breast cancer in high-risk women by about 90%. However, people need to be alerted breast cancer testing changes after a mastectomy. To be discussed with your counsellor.
  • Prophylactic salpingo-oophorectomy, or removal of both ovaries and fallopian tubes, reduces breast cancer risk up to 50% if done before menopause, as it takes away the body’s main source of the hormone estrogen. It also can greatly reduce ovarian cancer risk.
  • Hormonal therapies
  • Discuss pros and cons of modified screening procedures
  • Opt to modify lifestyle choices
  • A combination. a woman who is tested in her early 20s might decide to modify lifestyle choices, and opt for prophylactic surgery later….this is what genetic counsellors will discuss with you.

One of the many perks of having genetic testing at a younger age, is having the knowledge and power to make lifestyle decisions that can impact your life. These lifestyle choices will not only help prevent breast and ovarian cancer, but are guidance to prevent all of our chronic illnesses.

Please remember, screening does NOT replace a proactive lifestyle and vice versa.

Some of the well documented choices to prevent breast cancer include:

  • Limiting alcohol. Even one drink a day increases risk of breast cancer, and it takes very little more to dramatically increase the risk.
  • Don’t smoke, and this includes “vaping”
  • control body fat levels
  • Exercise and physical activity. However, I feel compelled to mention that excessive, strenuous exercise can be a source of oxidative stress. This is where you need to consult with a qualified exercise professional – specialized in cancer and medical fitness. Many exercise professionals are completely unaware of this. Our outer being does not necessarily reflect our cellular health.
  • Breast feeding: Many women choose not to breast feed. Another potential reward of earlier testing is making the choice to breast feed. According to the Mayo clinic breast feeding can reduce the risk of breast cancer. The longer we breast feed, the greater the reduction.
  • Far too overlooked – learn about potential oxidative stressors, mutagens, viruses, toxins in your life that could potentially lead to DNA damage. Every one of us need to evaluate our level of oxidative stress.Genetic counselling BRCA testing could give you that push to learn about one of our greatest threats to our cellular health.

Most unfortunately, in this world we must consider legal implications of genetic testing. One more aspect of genetic testing I urge everybody to look into in GINA….Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, prevents your insurance company from denying coverage or changing premiums on the basis of your genetic testing results. It also protects from discrimination by employers on the basis of the test or its results. However, it is not as clear cut with other insurance policies, such as life insurance. I urge everybody, as part of planning to look at:

United States:  Cancer Legal Resource Center’s national Telephone Assistance Line (866-THE-CLRC)

Canada: May 3, 2016 – Bill S-201: An Act to prohibit and prevent genetic discrimination was tabled in the House of Commons. A number of provinces already have legislation – best to check with your MPP office to see where the genetic discriminatory laws stand.

The “deer in headlights” refers to being caught off guard – eyes opened wide and forcefully, but no ability for motor response. A terrifying thought. Genetic counselling BRCA testing can prevent the deer in headlights. There are many of us who can live longer, happier, healthier lives, more confident lives, my consulting with a genetic counsellor. A counsellor can help you weigh out the decision to have or not have testing, based on YOU. And for many reasons, our chances are increased dramatically the earlier we have this knowledge and can be encouraged to make wiser decisions.

Genetic counselling BRCA testing………Knowledge is power.

Shira@BestInHealthRadio.com

 

Glycemic Index with Dr. David Jenkins

Glycemic Index- Mastering our Master Hormone Insulin for Every Aspect of our Health

The Glycemic Index, the creation of Dr. David Jenkins, revolutionized the health industry. I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Jenkins back in 2010 – and given that it is still popular on iTunes – thought I would share it again here on Best In Health Radio.

Insulin is truly the master of our metabolism – this master hormone is produced by the pancreas and used by the liver, muscle cells, and fat tissue to absorb glucose from the blood (from the food consumed) and is stored in the muscle & liver cells as glycogen. Therefore, insulin controls the level of glucose (sugar) in the blood by taking it up into the cells. Insulin our of control reeks havoc on every cell and every organ system in the body. Now you know why it has earned the name “the master hormone”.

Of course at the top of everyone’s list of concerns is weight management. When we eat carbohydrates (sugar) our bodies release insulin in order to take that sugar out of the blood and into the cells.

Glycemic Index with Dr. David Jenkins Best in Health Radio
Live Laugh Love ……Liberate with Best In Health Radio Health Processes

I urge everybody not to think strictly about weight management. Managing our insulin by respecting the Glycemic index, is proving repeatedly to be a key aspect of chronic disease prevention and management – yes – including cancer. Insulin management is one of those tasks that truly reigns as an omnipotent factor in our health including:

  • menopausal weight gain
  • breast cancer, colon cancer…….
  • mood
  • heart disease, kidney disease…….

When there is no insulin in the blood – body uses fat as an energy source.

Most of us want to burn body fat. Therefore, don’t have insulin surging through our blood. Therefore, ditch the empty sugar, keep it complex – carbs that is.

Type I diabetes = the pancreas is unable to produce insulin

Type II diabetes = (aka insulin resistant) body does not respond effectively to insulin

This use to be called “adult onset” diabetes, however, with the obesity epidemic & horrible eating habits & yes “move” has become a four letter word- many kids are now dealing with diabetes.

Insulin allowed to flow wildly destroys the heart, kidneys, liver, cognitive ability, sexual performance, nervous system, high blood pressure, stroke, cholesterol, and can lead to certain cancers. Insulin resistance can reduce our bodies ability to absorb magnesium – a critical mineral – one of its many responsibilities is the relaxation phase of the heartbeat. Insulin resistance can also lead to osteoporosis & Alzheimer’s. Insulin controls all of our other vital hormones – ghrelin, leptin, thyroid, growth hormone, cortisol….you get the message. Therefore it is the master control behind much of our metabolic function.

OK – so hopefully we get it and we have to control our insulin levels.

Enter the Glycemic Index: We all owe tremendous thanks to Dr. David Jenkins, from right here in our beautiful Toronto. Not all carbs affect blood sugar levels. The genius of Dr. Jenkins – he came up with a ranking of how different carbohydrates manipulate the release of insulin into our bodies.

Low GI = below 55

Medium GI = 55-69

High GI – Above 70

Clearly, we want to aim for eating lower GI foods. FYI= white bread = 100GI. The Glycemic Index is the MOST logical way to choose the foods we eat. The GI not only helps us manage our weight, but helps protect us against disease of every system in the body. Hint: eat high fiber foods – that’s a really good start!

And……don’t forget those muscles! Strength training – cherishing your muscle mass – is a co-powerhouse with the glycemic index for blood sugar control an every aspect of our health.

 

Medical Marijuana And Cancer Care – Interview

Medical Marijuana and Cancer Care – Interview with ReThink Breast Cancer

The topic of medical marijuana and cancer care – or medical marijuana conjures up a range of fiery opinions. Make an educated decision based on fact with MJ DeCoteau of ReThink Breast Cancer, Toronto and  Dr. Marni Brooks, an expert on addiction and cannabinoid medicine.

Medical Marijuana and Cancer Care on Best In Health Radio with Shira Litwack
Medical Marijuana and Cancer Care Founder ReThink Breast Cancer MJ DeCoteau and Dr. Marni Brooks, an expert on addiction and cannabinoid medicine on Best in Health Radio

Medicinal Marijuana when deemed medicinal is NOT an excuse to smoke pot. Our goal is to alleviate concerns and misconceptions, and enable people to make their own decisions on this very controversial topic. Fact is, pain management and quality of life in cancer patients must be a priority.

 

 

 

Mackie Research:

The Marijuana for Medical Purposes Regulations (MMPR), overseen by Health Canada, authorizes three key activities: (i) the possession of dried marijuana (or oil) for medical purposes by eligible patients, who have the support of an authorized healthcare practitioner;

(ii) the production of dried marijuana or oil by licensed producers;

 (iii) the sale and distribution of dried marijuana or oil by licensed producers to eligible patients. By strictly regulating the medical marijuana industry, MMPR helps ensure a safe and consistent product.

Medical Marijuana and Cancer Care – A few key points covered in the interview:
  • Who is ReThink Breast Cancer
  • The ReThink Breast Cancer Medical Marijuana and Cancer Care program
  • Metastatic Breast Cancer In Younger Women
  • Appropriate times and decisions for medicinal cannibis
  • “weed” vs. Medicinal marijuana
  • Medical Marijuana broken into chemical components
  • Legalities of medicinal marijuana
  • Studies showing potential side effects of usage
  • Address some of the more debated, controversial issues
  • In combination with other lifestyle factors
  • more resources on medicinal cannibis
  • Cannabis use disorder
  • cannabis vs. opiates

 

420 – “Weed Day” – Learn with us the applicability of medical marijuana. Its NOT the same

Shira Litwack Industry Expert Cancer Exercise
Shira Litwack Medical Fitness Professional, Cancer Exercise Specialist , Corporate Health Provider Industry expert cancer exercise, Radio talk show host

To consult with Dr. Brooks:

Please obtain a referral from your Physician

Dr. Marni Brooks, addiction and cannabinoid medicine

Vector Medical Scarborough

9 Progress Road Unit 1A

647-725-9650

Physician Referral:

fax: 416-335-7796

 

 

 

 

Shira Litwack Medical fitness, Corporate wellness, Radio talk show host

Breast Cancer Recovery with Pole Walking

Breast Cancer Recovery with More Cancer Exercise

Breast cancer recovery demands a solid, safe cancer exercise program. Yes, exercise and physical activity are vital to any healthy lifestyle, disease prevention or recovery program. Please may I introduce you to another great exercise partner – pole walking.

I have had the pleasure of a new walking buddy – a set of 4life poles from Urban Poling. I would like to share with you some of the wonderful health benefits, especially as part of a  breast cancer recovery program. Even better…Urban Poling donates 2% of all proceeds to breast cancer research…..And….Urban Poling donated poles and training to cancer wellness centres in Ontario, BC, AB and Dalhousie university in NS.

Lymphedema is a possibility in breast cancer recovery as with any cancer treatment involving lymph node removal or radiation. Survivors should always consult their health care professional for:

a) Permission to resume exercise, and be aware of any contraindications

b) Recommendations for compression garments and proper fitting

c) Cancer exercise is different. Contraindications must be avoided. Maximize the benefits. Many stereotypes over exercise can be dangerous. Work with someone who is specialized in cancer exercise.

Yes, caution and vigilance are a necessity, but a thorough, carefully planned fitness program is a crucial part of disease recovery, and a healthy lifestyle for all.

Breast Cancer Recovery with Best in Health Radio
Live Laugh Love ……Liberate with Best In Health Radio Health Processes

The obvious that stands out about pole walking for breast cancer recovery is helping people (men and women) with range of motion challenges often faced after treatment. However, there are many other aspects of pole fitness I would like to point out. Far too often in recovery from breast cancer, or any surgery, the immediate surgical area is focused on, the truth is the entire body, is the immediate surgical area.

Think of our body as an ecosystem. Every part of the ecosystem has a crucial function, and when one part is struggling, the entire ecosystem is compromised. When trained properly in form and cardio respiratory management, pole fitness can be a valuable partner in balancing and optimizing the ecosystem by:

  • a wide range of cardio respiratory training options
  • Range of motion and flexibility training
  • metabolic support
  • Development of the Power pump muscles
  • Body fat management and lean muscle mass development
  • affordable and attainable
  • Balance, core strength & postural training
  • hormonal ….mood balance
  • minimizing side effects of treatment – during treatment and beyond
  • Social aspects
  • Fun = adherence

All of these are performance partners in an  effective exercise program, but are also beneficial to lymphedema prevention. Let’s remember lymphedema can happen any time after treatment…even 20 years later.  Unfortunately as a person ages, fitness levels are much harder to maintain. Changes in body fat percentages, lean to fat ratios, can be dangerously conducive to lymphedema.

Cardio respiratory training is vital – and it is critical to include a broad range of training – target heart rate zones are far too often over looked. Health care professionals might recommend a particular target heart rate zone to be respected faithfully. Even for those ready to train in higher zones, it is still important to vary training from easier demands of 40% capacity up to the higher ranges of 75-80% capacity. Constantly training in the more vigorous range can be a source of physiological stress and oxidative stress. Far too overlooked in conventional training – we should all make disease prevention a focus of our training. Many traditional training beliefs are not wise for disease prevention.

Something that women are often far more guilty of is appreciating our muscle mass. Simply put, out muscle mass is our BFF(best friend forever)  in life. Besides the obvious functions, little known is our immune system is helpless without strong muscles. Muscles are the pump of the immune system. Our power pump muscles as I refer to above are our gluteal and leg muscles. Strengthening the power pump muscles is vital for heart health, venous return (VR) to the heart. VR is the flow of blood back to the heart. Muscles are also vital for metabolic control, adiposity management, hormonal and mood control.

The 4Life poles are fully adjustable – allowing a proper fit. It is a very difficult exercise for me to be at the gym, watching MOST people destroying their posture on the machinery. Most people have compromised posture due to their day to day activities – screen time, driving, poor muscle balance…rounded shoulder syndrome, spinal subluxation (misaligned back), exaggerated pelvic tilt.  Good posture affects every aspect of bodily function, comfort, and healthy aging.

A feature of the 4Life poles I especially appreciated was the lack of vibration. Many poles you feel a rippling through the body – not cool. Those vibrations add up to stress on the joints over the years. At every age, we must prioritize keeping our body “young” flowing smoothly.

The handles do not have straps – personally I find straps a nuisance as well as a potential danger. There is no hand cramping or sweaty palms due to the shape.

Every major city has pole walking clubs – and if you do live in a town without, or there are no groups near you – start one. We are social creatures. An analysis by Stats Canada provided convincing data highlight “the importance of frequent social participation to maintaining quality of life.”

“The greater the number of frequent social activities, the higher the odds of positive self-perceived health, and the lower the odds of loneliness and life dissatisfaction,”

Physical activity within a group – being part of a pack – greatly increases chances of adherence.

Breast Cancer Recovery with Cancer Exercise Specialist Shira Litwack
Shira Interviewed on Sirius XM “Doctor Radio” for Breast Cancer Awareness month

And speaking of adherence…….the fun factor with the 4Life poles…..I have never met anyone looking for another torturous, miserable thing to do in their life. Pole walking is fun and exhilarating.  It becomes a focal point of our schedule. And yes, living in Canada – the weather is a brutal reality. I actually used the poles with indoor training with clients. ………We called it – Dancing with the Poles!

I leave the 4Life poles in my front entrance – they are always clean and sparkling as they are durable and very washable looking brand new. They are a source of intrigue (unfortunately I find most people are unaware of pole walking) and motivation for the many people of all ages that come through my home.

Exercise should not be an intrusion in our lives, and should be something we look forward to. After using the 4Life poles  for a few months – myself and within my medical fitness practice – whether it be outside winter and spring or inside Dancing with the Poles” …..they provide hours of invigorating and fun, complete exercise. Get trained with them properly, and reap the benefits for years!

Prevent Cancer health and fitness webinars for cancer recovery and cancer prevention

Living a Life to Prevent Cancer – Webinar

Prevent Cancer – The Healthiest Lifestyle of All

Join us for this 4 hour webinar, learning the many ways to prevent cancer. Cancer is a gene mutation. As healthy a lifestyle we believe we are living – know the hidden saboteurs, according to latest research. The webinar is divided into 2 hours, on 2 evenings.

Next webinar: November 2: 8-10 p.m. eastern     November 9:  8-10 p.m. p.m. eastern.

Live, interactive, participate, ask questions, learn with people from around the world

*** This webinar is open to the general public, and as a continuing education credit  for the Cancer Exercise Specialist  designation from the Cancer Exercise Training Institute. *****

Living a Life to Prevent Cancer is the Healthiest Lifestyle of All

Living a Life to Prevent Cancer Live interactive webinar

 

Many of the basic strategies to cancer prevention are key in prevention to many of our chronic illnesses.

The same triggers that cause a gene to mutate, are at the root of many of today’s common illnesses including heart disease, depression, Alzheimer’s, arthritis……many of these triggers come from easily modifiable lifestyle choices. Create an inner biology hostile to cancer, to prevent cancer.

Webinar Outline:

 

Understanding Studies and Research

“Science is not a body of facts, Science is a method for deciding whether what we choose to believe has a basis in the laws of nature or not. We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge—from climate change to vaccinations—faces furious opposition.”

How to make our own decisions. We present the research and statements of many respected studies and cancer institutions. But we learn studying science, even facts accepted as “engraved in stone” are still challenged.

What is Cancer

  • Understanding cancer at the cellular level –
  • Understanding why our world is cancer friendly
  • Feed healthy cells starve cancer cells – creating a inner biology hostile to cancer
  • The genetics of cancer:  heredity vs. acquired (somatic)
  • Genetic testing and counselling ….points to consider making the decision.
  • The “heredity” of lifestyle choices

Our world of inflammation and oxidative stress

  • Physiological stress
  • Oxidative stress
  • Endocrine Disruptors
  • Mutagens
  • Carcinogens
  • Viruses and bacteria
  • Identifying culprits in our every day life
  • Optimizing our immune system against the constant bombardment

Exercise…. The Magic

  • Your BFF in life…..Your muscle mass
  • Exercise and physical activity
  • Sedentary is the new smoking
  • Elements of a complete exercise program
  • Research and data on exercise and cancer prevention and cancer recovery

Nutrition….

  • Why are there so many differing opinions on a healthy diet?
  • A healthy digestive track…Lessons from ancient medicines and naturopathy proven in science
  • The macro and the micro, antioxidants, detoxification
  • Feeding Cancer Cells
  • Research on anti cancer foods
  • Our food supply under sabotage
  • Supplementation

From Stress to Laughter

  • The chemistry of stress
  • Research on common everyday stressors and impact on health and cancer
  • Physiological Stress
  • Common Methods of reducing stress – creating more physiological stress

Working with our Health Care Professionals. 

  • Being a proactive patient
  • The world of Integrative Medicine – Its about time
  • Diagnostics vs. Proactive
  • Developing our Cancer IQ – passing on Healthy Lifestyle Heredity to our families

 

Webinar Cost $50. Includes:

  • 4 hour webinar
  • Course Workbook
  • Online coaching followup at 50% savings
  • Complimentary Copy of I Am With You

Email to register, or directly via paypal

Shira@BestInHealthRadio.com

 

Register here on Paypal for the general public. For those registering as continuing education credits please register  at http://thecancerspecialist.net/events/ part I & II  under ceu for professionals

BRCA Gene and Breast Cancer

The BRCA Gene and Breast Cancer –

The BRCA Gene….Should you (man or woman) get tested for the BRCA gene mutation?

An Interview with Dr. Alex Ginty  – Physician, BRCA Gene Carrier, Breast Cancer Survivor

Dr. Ginty is Family Physician and Cancer Survivor. Regional Primary Care Lead for Cancer Care, Cancer Care Ontario, Mississauga/Halton.

BRCA Gene Dr. Alex Ginty on Best In Health Radio“Today, on World Cancer Day, we want to recognize the loved ones who support their spouses, family members, and friends who live with the effects of cancer treatment. The battles they face are not only for the patient; co-survivors experience life-changing emotional challenges through the cancer diagnosis, treatment and beyond.”

Listen to Dr. Ginty’s passionate and powerful message – it will inspire you to strength when faced with hardship.

“It hits you blindside when all the balls are in the air – mum, doctor, tennis team…… delete. Bilateral breast cancers, double mastectomies, reconstruction, 3 axillary node surgeries, BRCA 1 mutation discovery and hysterectomy. Then back to busy work. A journey of empowerment & strength – now to give back even more as a voice from both sides.

Either I had to learn to keep up or be left behind. In my busy job, it is hard to keep work under control so it is not high priority to advertise or increase public access to your strained and exhausting life. Keeping spare time private and quiet is a more common approach.

During my cancer journey however, I experienced the hardest time of my life as I lost control and uncertainty was a daily companion. The fragility of character took a lot of hard work to put back together with trust and support as my glue. My positive thinking cards kept me moving forwards and still echo in my head daily in a positive, forgiving and yet balancing way.

Well, it was fortunate that I came across some remarkably lucky opportunities as stars aligned. As my cards said, I had to step up to the plate if I wanted to change the emotional fallout of cancer treatment and how it could look different if I wanted it to. Passion + opportunity and here I am. I still have to push the comfort zone and push the barriers of media savviness or get left behind.

Stepping up to the plate of change as a Regional Primary Care Lead, at our regional cancer centre and across the province ,on expert panels and cancer pathway committees,  my energy for awareness and change push me on.

In this honest, heartfelt yet powerful interview Dr. Ginty shares with us her journey. Some of the major points covered are:

  • Dr. Ginty’s discovery through journey
  • Facingcancer.ca  and Look Good Feel Better
  • Co Survivors
  • The many tasks in a woman’s life…now breast cancer
  • BRCA gene – Genetic Counselling and getting tested – the facts and the psychological aspects
  • Examining Prophylactic mastectomies, benefits, risks, and the little known
  • Lifestyle habits for prevention
  • Relationship challenges
  • Finding the Go Forward

Please join us – Laugh and cry, but knowledge is power.

BRCA Gene Interview with Dr. Alex Ginty on Best In Health Radio.com

Breast Reconstruction Exercise

Exercise for Breast Reconstruction – Feeling Your Sexy Back!

As many of you know, breast reconstruction can be a very long and winding road. However, you do have the option of of a personalized guide through that journey –

Exercise, the right exercise.

Feeling Your Sexy Back! I’m not going to say getting your sexy back – because you didn’t lose it – maybe misplaced it for a little while. Exercise will awaken all those neurotransmitters, endorphins, muscle activation, mindset……that physiologically constitute your inner sexy.  I actually challenge you to realize – you can further optimize that very hot button of inner sexy, post reconstruction!

Exercise for Breast Reconstruction Best In Health RadioThere will be variations in all of these points based on your own unique situation (over 20 deciding parameters!). However, all of these are integral partners of post reconstruction exercise.

Exercise can take that inner cacophony, and turn it into a blissful symphony. Let us count the ways…..

1) Posture post Breast Reconstruction. I think posture is #1 to feeling our sexing back, physiologically and psychologically. Grandma did tell us to sit up straight and eat an apple a day, both are excellent pieces of advice. Posture is a critical component to breathing, balance and effective performance of our entire body. Rounded shoulder syndrome  (RSS) is all too common to start with in our high screen time world. Reconstructive procedures can create or exacerbate RSS. Good posture though, is not as simple as sit up straight. I urge EVERYONE  to seek postural evaluations post reconstruction from a trained physiotherapist, specialized exercise professional. Posture is NOT DIY (do it yourself). Learning the intricacies of posture, and implementing them into your daily life, will make all the difference for a full, successful recovery from the reconstructive procedure, your quality of life, success with exercise…and feeling your sexy back!

2) Range of Motion: Sure, the first thing we literally ache for after reconstruction is pain free ROM, which also allows us to carry on with our normal, every day functional demands.

ROM exercises can also be easily combined with lymphedema prevention exercises, which are a necessity with most people.

In working with ROM there are certain exercises, when permission is granted from your health care professional – you can practice on your own. These are “Active ROM” exercises.

When working with a health and fitness professional, they can perform “passive ROM” exercises to further improve your ROM – and provide you ways to practice these at home.

Alway start all exercises with NO extra weight

3) Power Pump Muscles: Far too often I see people train the local area of reconstruction only. It is imperative to train the entire body to support recovery. Working the lower body muscles….glutes, quads, hamstrings, lower leg muscles….We know it is important to fend off excess adiposity (body fat) in breast cancer recovery. The power pump muscles are great calorie burners.

Even more importantly, good strong power pump muscles given a greater force for blood return back to the upper body – the heart and brain.

Muscles are our true BFF in life – Best Friend Forever, but unfortunately they are the ultimate example of use it or lose it. Cancer, cancer treatments, Breast Reconstruction and age all attack our muscle mass. Safely working those power pump muscles is a critical aspect of healing and recovery, and yes, prevention of metastases.

4) Cardio Respiratory Fitness: I said fitness, not bop till you drop.  The correct CRF is the strength training for our heart. It does not have to be at a gym, and is important we pump our circulatory system regularly through out the day. Tracking out heart rate, optimizes the efficacy of CRF.

5) Static, Mindful Exercise: One of the most misunderstood aspects of exercise is the importance of both dynamic and static exercise. Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, Meditation – when performed properly are true mind, body and soul boosters. When we talk about stress in our lives – we are concerned with daily stress turning into physiological stress, oxidative stress.  Again, this type of exercise is excellent for prevention, recovery and beyond.

6) Deep breathing: It sounds so simple – but we often just don’t breathe properly. Proper oxygenation is vital – aka Life’s Breath! Master proper breathing techniques – and take a few breathing breaks through out the day. Be very careful during all forms of exercise to breathe fully and properly.

7) FUN and Camaraderie! I have yet to meet anyone who is looking for another miserable task in their lives. If you are an “I hate exercise” or “I have no time”, I hate to be so blunt – but you are misinformed. The body wants to exercise and be active. However, let’s find a few ways to tickle your exercise fancy, and wake up those suppressed neurotransmitters, creating a calling from within. Vital aspects of the right exercise are fun, you will happily do it on your own, and it creates an inner and out camaraderie……camaraderie inside with yourself, and sure with others. Group activities serve us in a spectacular way on many levels.

8) Physical Activity – Measure It:  When people ask me the #1 thing they can do for our health…I ALWAYS reply wear a pedometer, or some kind of an activity tracker.  Pedometers today are wonderful, hook them up to your computer ( or phone, iPad…..) and watch your progress.  You can compete with friends – including friends around the world you have no idea who they are – other than the fact they are fellow fitness enthusiasts. Healthy competition, with yourself and with others – is a spectacular form of motivation, and tickling those neurotransmitters!

9) Be Careful not to Diagnose: Frequently while exercise we might feel different sensations…certain pains, shortness of breath, maybe dizziness. It is NEVER for any of us to diagnose and slough anything off as “that’s normal”.  Report any discomfort to your health care professional.

I do urge people when hiring an exercise professional – please assure you hire someone specifically trained in cancer exercise,and our experience with breast reconstruction and the many demands.  Having trained many people recovering from cancer, is NOT the same thing. There is an inner chemistry that must be respected. Not all exercise is supportive of cancer recovery. Cancer exercise training is very different.  The right exercise, based on your own unique you.

Track your progress – nothing more motivational and healing than self empowerment – knowing what your body can do, but please remember this is not the time to train for a competition. Achieving extremes is NOT the measure of success.

Our psychological health pumps our physical health and vice versa. Breast Cancer and breast reconstruction are both a gruelling test of tenacity.  Exercise – Have Fun. love it, feel it. Fitness is a feeling of liberation, not deprivation and torture. Try different modes of exercise and physical activity….feeling your way to sexy back!

Breast Cancer Recovery with Exercise

Breast Cancer Recovery: Shira Litwack Interviewed By Dr. Jonathan Whiteson

Breast Cancer Awareness month – Listen to Shira Litwack on Sirius Radio interviewed by Dr. Jonathan Whiteson Director of the Cardiac and Pulmonary Wellness and Rehabilitation program at the Rusk Institute. Doctor Radio “Rehabilitative Medicine”, October 6, 2014 show

Breast Cancer Recovery with Cancer Exercise Specialist Shira Litwack
Shira Interviewed on Sirius XM “Doctor Radio” for Breast Cancer Awareness month

Exercise is a vital partner in both Breast Cancer prevention, in recovery, and the little spoken about prevention of metastases. We all know to exercise for heart health. Yes, heart disease kills more women every year than breast cancer.

Even if we are BRCA or PALB2 positive, the right exercise can help in the prevention. Most women who develop breast cancer do NOT carry the BRCA gene mutation, and many women who do carry the mutation do not develop breast cancer. Lifestyle choices are huge in the prevention of breast cancer.

However, this does go far beyond exercise. Often, people are exposed to mutagens, unknowingly, oxidative stressors and endocrine disruptors, all of which can feed cancer. Therefore, getting informed, can help dramatically in prevention.

and women….alcohol is NOT your friend, at all. 

A few quick bits on the role of exercise:

Physical Inactivity: The saddest part here is – most people do not know what this means. Its not about going to the gym X number of times per week. Its not about becoming a competitive athlete, and it is far more than going for walks – however a good start. Physical activity for chronic disease prevention/management requires cardiorespiratory, building muscle mass at all ages avoiding sarcopenia, cachexia, stretching & flexibility……The misconceptions here are terrifying – its not about hiring a personal trainer, and your physical activity should not be dependent on going to the gym. Physical activity is just as critical for emotional, psychological & cognitive health as it is for physical health. Let us find the exercise & physical activity that meets your personal needs. Remember: physical activity, exercise, training.

Obesity: Obesity is a chronic illness unto itself. Even if you insist you can’t lose the weight, it is no less deadly. Our body is not happy to be at that weight. Long term sustainable fat loss is a science. It is far more than calories in, calories out and throw in some exercise. It is NOT just about will power.
Obesity is the major contributing factor to certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes….just about every disease, contributes to emotional health issues, and obesity induced cirrhosis of the liver, which can lead to liver cancer has over taken alcohol cirrhosis of the liver & is growing exponentially.

Poor Eating Habits: Notice how I listed this separately to obesity. Ever heard of skinny fat syndrome? Just because a person appears to be at a healthy body weight, does not mean they are eating a healthy diet, it does not mean they have a healthy body composition. Our diet – is our very best defense against chronic illness along with physical activity. We are what we eat, digest & absorb.

Sports Bra – A Woman’s BFF Best Fitness Friend

Sports Bra – Ladies – Truly Your Very Best Fitness Friend!

Sports Bra Ladies: Workouts are NOT the time to let it hang or for the frilly little number!

I see this mistake every day of my life. Sorry for being so blunt but not reigning in “the girls” during physical activity – Big Mistake! Irrelevant of size, for aesthetic, health, posture….

wearing the best sports bra is your most important piece of fitness equipment. 

Just because it is a name brand, or the brand makes frilly popular regular bras, does not imply the exercise bras are effective.

Sports Bra for breast health Best In Health RadioThere is no question, especially if we exercise in a public place such as a gym or going out for a run – we want to feel attractive – let’s face it, it makes us feel better about ourselves, which helps us maximize our effort and performance. The money women spend on the cutest workout tanks and shorts never ceases to amaze me. The fact is a good sports bra should reduce breast movement by 50%. Breasts can move about 14 cm up and down, side to side in training. A really good sports bra has been proven to reduce this up to 75%.

The most important investment in workout attire by far are the right workout shoes for your shaped foot and gait, and the the best possible workout bra. My picks are listed below.

Women have become much more in tune with breast health – a supportive bra is an imperative part of breast health.  But please choose a bra that still makes you feel attractive, yet meets certain criteria. Yes, you will find one.

First let’s understand why a good sports bra is so important:

Cooper’s Ligament – help her out please!!!!  Very simply – connective tissue that gives the Sports Bra Breast Cancer Recovery Best In Health Radio.breast that beautiful shape. The force of gravity, multiplied by impact…not a girl’s best friend. Nobody wants sagging breasts. A certain amount of impact is a necessary aspect of exercise – mineralize those bones – but as everything in life there are good points and not so good.  Movement and impact tears at the elastin & collagen, which are not as resilient over time to start with. And BTW – there are GREAT strength training exercises to give Cooper hope and strength! Cooper also believes in slow and steady wins the race……quick weight loss elicits rather spiteful hormonal responses – which further miff  Cooper.

Back, shoulder and neck strain: Posture is another gift. Both a lack of wearing the right fitting sports bra & a lack of a sports bra at all can cause great pain and erode posture. Wear a bra that offers support all around – so shoulders do not carry the burden which often causes us to curl forward, placing stress on the neck. We should still be able to keep good posture with shoulders back. Especially important for larger cup sizes.

I happen to be a big supporter of wider straps, racerback bras, not just a compression bra, but encapsulating (complete cups around each breast). Don’t like underwires? There are MANY sports bras available now that are excellent, without an underwire.

Breathing: Yes breathing is a critical aspect of exercise. Tugging breasts (ouch at just the thought) can easily cause a shortness of breath. Proper oxygen consumption during exercise, full deep breaths is #1 to fitness.

Heart Health:  I will say I have NOT seen direct  studies on this….however I refuse to believe heavy breast movement is good for the heart. Just the obvious shortness of breath is a huge strain on the heart.

A few other quick points:

I fully suggest a sports bra for active days. It doesn’t have to be the full support for athletic training – however breast movement can happen and challenge even at lower activity levels.

Please, no built in bra tops for working out. Poor impostor.

Do not ever put sports bras in the dryer, No fabric softener or bleach

Please do not choose a bra according to what your girlfriend wears. Your relative size between back width and cup size will severely influence choice of sports bras. Larger cup size, smaller back – slam dunk for the most difficult shape to fit.

Do Not expect an unbiased evaluation of proper fit and support of a sports bra from your favorite sexy bra store. Besides the obvious go tos of Victoria’s Secret, Lulu Lemon, depending on your level of activity, size, shape…..please look at Under Armour (I happen to believe they provide excellent chest armor), Nike, Shock Absorber,

Very few things in life are forever. Your sports bra is NOT one of them.