“How we spend our days is, of course, the way we spend our lives.” – Anne Dillard
Over the years my clients have told me that the most difficult time to be a cancer patient is the day after treatment stops. That was my experience too.
Sure, you’ve just been through one of the most stressful and painful experiences of your life, but you’ve been surrounded by caring professionals and you’ve had a plan. The day you walk out of the oncology department after your last treatment you’re on your own. It’s a strange feeling: your whole life ahead of you, your energy through the floor, your home life unrecognisable and your inner life… Well, let’s just say that most of us feel the cancer journey leaves us profoundly changed.
TIME FOR A NEW PLAN
When cancer turns your life upside-down, it also gives you permission to put everything back together again in a way that suits you better than before. It’s the perfect time to make a new plan – to build the life of your dreams: the ultimate ‘note from your mother’, and a cast iron excuse to be a little bit selfish for a few precious weeks or months – or even years, if you need to.
I have designed my cancer recovery programme to pick up where the NHS leaves off: to help you rebuild your life from the inside out: one day at a time. We’ll play close attention to your physical health in the knowledge that the way you live is just as important as the way you eat.
We know that around 90% of cancers are caused by poor diet and lifestyle choices, so if you are dealing with a cancer diagnosis and want to do something positive about your future, nutritional therapy and lifestyle coaching is an excellent place to start.
SEND A LOVE LETTER TO YOUR CELLS
Cancer starts with problems in your ’tissue microenvironment’ (as Dr Mina Bissel would say) which means all the nutrients and gases and cell signalling molecules that are surrounding the tumour giving it permission to grow… or not.
Thanks in part to the groundbreaking work of Dr Candace B. Pert, we know that tumour cells respond to all sorts of messages: stress and sex hormones, endorphins and neurotransmitters, vitamins and minerals, diet and exercise. And, while researchers are busy trying to manufacture expensive drugs that will mimic the magic messages, the simple fact is that following a healthy diet and lifestyle is the best known way to switch your internal comms environment from self-destruct to ‘live long and prosper’.
That’s what Better Every Day is about: improving the tumour microenvironment, or metabolic milieu, by supporting healthy biochemistry and gene expression to make your body as hostile to cancer as possible. The combination of nutritional therapy and lifestyle coaching is a particularly powerful way to do that by fine tuning your body to function well on a physical and mental level.
In fact, Bernie Seigel MD, the celebrated New York oncologist, said he could identify survivors within the first 30 seconds of meeting them, just by their attitude. They were the ones who took an active interest in their treatment, and carried a sense of personal responsibility for their future health.
GIVE YOURSELF A PROMOTION
Supporting you to see yourself as the lynch pin in your own recovery programme is an important part of our work. And, while improving your diet is important, we will also be interested in the other areas of your life that may drive your nutritional status: sleep, stress, genes, environment and emotions all have a role to play.
Better Every Day is a simple but comprehensive plan designed to support your return to health, based on the latest evidence and many years of experience. Playful and personal, the programme is designed to help you establish self-supportive new habits that will last a lifetime, building into a personal blueprint for health.
It’s a holistic programme so, as well as lots of science-backed diet and supplement advice to help reboot your biochemistry, we will be taking a long, hard look at your lifestyle to see where you can cut yourself some slack, buy yourself some time, and regain your joie de vivre. As well as nutritional therapy, we’ll be using coaching techniques to help you put your needs higher up the agenda, and make the changes that matter most to you.
Breast cancer can bring out the rebel in the best of us. A sort of ‘now or never’ feeling that prompts a root and branch review of the way we live. At the same time we normally have some people in our lives that we care about (and for) and it’s common to worry about rocking the boat. But you don’t have to resign yourself to the status quo: coaching can help you make decisions that make everyone feel better.
TAKE ALL THE TIME YOU NEED
To get the most out of Better Every Day you need to have some time to invest and enough energy and motivation to make a few changes in your life. For that reason I don’t recommend starting this programme during treatment.
Once treatment is finished, the pressures of ‘normal life’ tend to loom large again, threatening to overwhelm your good resolutions, so it’s the perfect time to have someone rooting for you and reminding you to take the time to recover. I have found that regular contact and steady support makes it easier to find the energy and motivation to make the changes you want to make. Six meetings, two to three weeks apart, seems to be the optimum timing to support recovery.
The best way to change your life is to change your days. Over the course of six meetings we will explore and transform every aspect of your daily routine, starting with your morning routine and working week by week through your eating and living habits at each stage of the day to build a regime that makes you feel glad to be alive.
We will link the different times of the day to the underlying metabolic processes and biochemistry so that you can understand and optimise what you’re doing to your body when you make different choices.
We will focus on the following areas (though not necessarily in the following order depending on your needs):
- Identifying individual cancer risk factors and nutritional deficiencies
- Creating simple and nourishing shopping and cooking habits
- Restoring circadian rhythm with eating, sleeping, exercise and light exposure
- Optimising metabolic adaptability with macronutrient balance and fasting patterns
- Reducing toxic exposure and optimising detoxification pathways
- Creating steady and reliable energy pattens through the day and into the evening
- Exploring the effect of lifestyle on the metabolic milieu
- Understanding the impact of exercise and activity on mood and metabolism
- Creating the perfect conditions for sleep and rest
- Managing post-cancer life stress, anxiety and emotional disruption
- Supporting inner peace with stress management, mindfulness and ‘flow’ exercises
- Holding yourself and your needs in balance with the other people in your life
- Increasing your sense of purpose and fulfilment
The programme includes six meetings of around sixty minutes, we will co-create a personalised diet and lifestyle plan during each meeting that builds into a personal commitment to take better care of yourself and make the most of every day. The creative, collaborative and gently challenging atmosphere of the programme is designed to help you push your own boundaries and give yourself permission to do things a bit differently.