Nutritional columnist, Danny Parker, forwarded me this correspondence he recently shared with a reader named Susan:
I love reading your column! It’s full of information those of us with myeloma need to know, information that will help us. I must admit, though, to feeling a bit overwhelmed right now regarding diet. I’ve read and reread all of the nutrition columns and I’ve worked to incorporate the recommendations into my daily eating, but between the supplements and the food changes I’ve managed to gain some weight. How do you manage to eat the recommended foods without gaining weight? I feel like I am constantly eating! Thanks for your suggestions!
Thanks for your question.
I know things are spread out in the nutrition and myeloma columns over the last year; in a week. I plan to put together a summary of all the recommendations so far in a compact form.
I have challenges with my weight too, and it is important for us not to put on too many pounds as that’s contraindicated relative to our prospects. The research on this topic is so abundant, that I just provide you with one comprehensive survey which reviews the evidence:
Although many of us lose weight during SCT; we often make up for lost time later. And there is also the problem of taking steroids– dexamethasone or prednisone– that increase our desire to excavate the refrigerator.
How to control weight gain? My main adjustment has been to greatly cut bread, potatoes and white rice. I still have pasta, but whole grain most of the time and not so often. As Pat suggests, I increase the amount of veggies I am getting, trying to get a serving of broccoli, kale, radishes, or cabbage each day. Protein can be meat, but I try to get more salmon, fish and soy. And I emphasize the helpful fruits: blueberries, blackberries, papaya and apples.
At restaurants, I often ask for more parsley or basil for garnish; good for us. I reduce the amount of butter and increase the olive oil and the Vitamin K-2 rich cheeses, but use them sparingly.
I still have desserts, but a useful thing is to share with someone else and just eat a bite or two. That can be pretty satisfying on top of a meal. Some things, though, like ice cream are off limits for me other than a birthday or holiday.
Anyway, substituting more vegetables and protein into the early part of the meal will leave less room for the carbohydrates like bread, potatoes and rice that add on the pounds. So that is my main recommendation for you.
On top of that, increase your exercise–even if that is just walking around the block. Then slowly see if you can increase that a bit. Not only is exercise good for weight loss, it also improves your mood and sense of well-being. Beyond that, exercise alters our relationship to food as well; there’s a lot going for it.
As we see a lot of the inside of hospitals, doctor’s offices and grim medical equipment, I like getting outside and seeing trees and sky– even if the weather is difficult. That helps. It gives me perspective and eases a tendency to obsess over problems. Added worry can also result in overeating– standard staple scenario for TV sitcoms.
Beyond that, a walk every day is cheaper than a psychiatrist’s couch. It’s also, easier to get an appointment.
Great advice, Danny! I’m glad I could share it with our readers.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat