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Breast Cancer Survivors: Nutrition and Fitness Tips

Eat foods that are cancer-protective to help prevent a recurrence, and get back into exercise to lose extra pounds.

Strengthening Your Body, and Slowly Shedding Extra Pounds

If you've had lymph nodes removed, many experts will warn you not to lift more than 15 pounds with the affected arm. Bernard, who had been working out with weights a lot at the time of her diagnosis and worried about losing her new muscle tone, says she was "scared straight" by such warnings, and found herself almost afraid to do anything with that arm.

"That's why you get frozen shoulder, though. You're supposed to try to work that arm and strengthen it again," she says. "You have to start with smaller weights and go slowly, being very careful of the arm, but strengthening it is not only fine but important."

You may not lose weight as fast as you'd like after breast cancer treatment, but keeping up with a regular exercise program will strengthen your body and help you fight many of those other lingering side effects, like fatigue. "You want to regain your body right away. I know the urge," says Bernard. "That's just not possible. You've been through a lot and your body is still coming back from it. It could take months or years to get back to where you were. But if you keep exercising, it will happen."

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