It’s hard to stay in shape. There just doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day to add one more thing. I have tried working out early in the morning, later at night, or at the lunch hour. What I’ve come to find out is that finding time to work out is difficult, but it’s something that I have to make time to do. When I was in 9th grade, I was diagnosed with a thyroid disorder. My metabolism changed dramatically, and I gained at least 30 pounds. It was very detrimental to my self-esteem, and I really struggled to feel good about myself. My parents took me to a nutritionist who had some good suggestions for me, but I knew I needed to decide for myself that I was going to change. I began exercising every day. I began to feel more energized, and it was empowering to take control and to see change in my body weight. Over the years, I’ve been under a doctor’s care to monitor my thyroid, but I still have to commit to exercising and eating right to keep my weight under control. According to an article in Cancer, Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, insulin and glucose metabolism disorders can increase the risk of cancers that are linked to obesity. Researchers believe that 33 percent of future cancers will be related to obesity. Being overweight puts people at significant risk for colon cancer and post-menopausal breast cancer, and this is most concerning as obesity rates in the United States are steadily on the rise. Recent studies from the Center for Disease Control have determined that 35.7 percent of American adults are obese. Non-Hispanic blacks have the highest age-adjusted rates of obesity at 49.5 percent. Mexican Americans come in second at 40.4 percent, followed by Hispanics at 39.1 percent. Non-Hispanic whites come in at 34.3 percent, still above one-third of the population. The state with the lowest obesity rate is Colorado (20.5 percent) and the highest is Louisiana (34.7 percent). Thirteen states (Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Mississippi, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and West Virginia) have obesity rates over 30 percent (Source: CDC.gov). Poor nutrition and a sedentary lifestyle are to blame for a large percentage of obesity. Therefore, eating healthy and getting regular exercise will keep weight under control to help prevent obesity and cancer. Nutritional epidemiologist Niyati Parekh says that there are more studies now that suggest a connection between body fat and cancer of the esophagus, pancreas, colon and breast. People who have high levels of insulin and glucose are at higher risk for cancers because these elevated levels actually stimulate cancer growth. Simply said, too much sugar can cause cancer cells to multiply and spread (Source: Doctor Tipster). In a busy society where it feels like we are always rushing, we often choose prepared or processed foods because they are easy and fast. However, these foods are high in sugar, sodium, and saturated fat. I try to make a habit of looking at food labels. If the label looks more like my study guide from high school chemistry, I don’t buy it. When I look at a food label, I want to know and understand the ingredients. Fresh is always best, though. Fresh fruits and vegetables and whole grains are the basic building blocks of a healthy diet. Sometimes it just takes some pre-planning to eat right to avoid falling back on fast food or processed meals. A little creativity is good too. Watching a cooking show or browsing online for a new recipe can widen my horizons and diversify my grocery list. The Butt Seriously Blog has some delicious and healthy recipes designed to be high in fiber and protein and low in sugar and fat. Take some time to search the archives for some new recipes with some ingredients you have never used before. So get out and exercise, eat right, and stay cancer-free!